Zucchini Spring/Summer Torte

Zucchini Spring/Summer Torte


  • 2 Tablespoons of salted butter
  • 4 cups thinly sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley, flat or curly
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh (preferred) basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Muenster or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 store pie dough or make your own pie dough recipe


Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add zucchini (in small batches) and onion; cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in parsley, salt, pepper garlic powder, basil and Italian seasoning.

In a large bowl, mix eggs, ricotta & cheese choice, add cooked vegetable mixture; stir gently to mix.

Place pie dough in an ungreased pie pan or 8 X 12 pan. Press over bottom and up sides to form crust. Par bake for approx. 10 minutes. Pour egg mixture evenly into crust-lined pie plate. Bake approx. 20 minutes, until knife comes out clean. Let cool for approx. 10 minutes.

Enjoy! This makes a great dish or can even be substituted as a mean with a great salad.

If necessary, cover edges of crust with strips of foil during last 10 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning.

Buno Appettio, I hope you feel the LOVE! Ciao!

Jill Bacus owner/chef at Ciao!

Pizza Rustica (or also known as Italian Frittata)

Pizza Rustica (or also known as Italian Frittata)

This month I’ve decided to share with you a great family recipe. I hope you taste the LOVE. Frittatas are truly an Italian favorite. The nice advantage of a frittata is that it may be prepared the night before and baked in the morning, or be baked in advance and served at room temperature. Delicious served at room temperature or warmed. I hope you enjoy!


8 eggs

2 cups ricotta cheese

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups sliced fresh Cremini mushrooms

3 tablespoons of parsley (diced)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder and black pepper to taste

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup shredded fresh spinach

1 shallot, chopped

5 or 6 strips of roasted red bell pepper, (Mancini) diced

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons grated Asiago or Romano/ Parmesan

1 cup cooked Capellini (Angel hair pasta) – I chop mine, or you can keep it as is

6 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, sausage, bacon, or meat of your choice


Step 1: Place mushrooms, shallot in a shallow frying pan. Add a few teaspoons of olive oil and lightly sauté, then add garlic until all properly sautéed. Take off heat and reserve. Keeping all reserved bits in the pan, add meat and cook to desired wellness. Set aside.

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, ricotta cheese, cheese, spinach, parsley, salt, garlic powder and black pepper.

Step 3: Add all sautéed items to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Add pasta. Pour into a greased 9×13 inch oven proof casserole dish.

NOTE: Can be refrigerated overnight at this point.

Before baking, you can top Frittata with a light dusting of cheese. Bake at 350* degrees, (make sure oven is preheated) on the middle rack for approximately 30 -40 minutes until center is not loose. Serve immediately or even at room temperature.

From my Italian family, we wish you all an amazing 2018 New Year. Buon Appetito! May you always, “Feel the LOVE!

Jill Bacus, owner & Chef @ Ciao Wood Fired Pizza & Trattoria

Nana’s Ricatta Zeppole

Nana’s Ricatta Zeppole

This brings it home for me. I hope you enjoy a little old school Zeppole recipe made with ricotta, the way my Ma made it!


  • 1 ¼ AP(all purpose) Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 eggs, room temp
  • ½ cup white sugar, and set 3 tablespoons aside
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon Or Powered sugar for dusting
  • Oil, for frying

Using either a stand-up mixer or hand held mixer, add 1¾ cups ricotta. Beat until creamy and smooth. Once creamed, begin adding one egg at a time (make sure that the egg is completely mixed before adding another egg.)

Sift flour, baking powder, sugar & salt all together in a mixing bowl. Repeat sifting process twice. Add to wet batter ½ at a time, mixing until totally incorporated. Be careful not to over mix. Let sit on the counter at room temp for approx. 30-40 minutes before frying.

Add the cinnamon to 1/2 cup of sugar (or powdered sugar, whichever you prefer.) Stir to combine, then set aside. This will be used when you are done frying, as the cinnamon/sugar topping. If not frying right away, cover and place in refrigerator. When ready to use, bring out and let set until room temp

In a deep, large frying pan pour the frying oil to about 2”- 3”, then heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360-365 degrees F. Using a small to medium scooper/melon baller, be very careful when dropping about a tablespoon of the dough into the hot oil, frying in batches. Turn the Zeppoli once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up, about 4-5 minutes.

Drain on paper towels. Toss with cinnamon-sugar. Serve immediately.

Sometimes we would drizzle warm chocolate or warmed Nutella spread. However you desire to serve them, they will be wonderful.

Until we meet again, “Best dishes from my kitchen to yours,” but most importantly, I hope you “Feel the LOVE.” Buon Appetito!

Jill Bacus owner/chef of Ciao!

Calabrese Sandwich

Calabrese Sandwich

Now, since we shared the Charcuterie, I thought we might have some left over Italian meats….so I thought I would share an exceptional sandwich for you to also enjoy.

My family calls it the Calabrese Sandwich, using the star of our platter Salami, it’s a little bit spicy, perfectly salty, and it is absolutely delicious. It comes from the Southern tip of Italy and is packed with paprika and an assortment of peppers. The gruyere and swiss cheeses, while both are nutty and rich, they become almost caramel-like when paired with the cured meat. If you can’t find gruyere, you can totally just use swiss cheese – but the gruyere adds a nice sweetness. And the added fresh basil adds a note of earthiness and freshness and helps to keep the sandwich from not being too much.


1 lb. Salami {or your Italian favorite cured Italian meats}

Gruyere & Swiss cheeses

A nice hard roll, or focaccia bread

Roasted red peppers or gardinara, as per your tastes

As always from our family to yours, “We hope you Feel the LOVE”

Buon Appettio! Ciao,

Jill Bacus owner/chef of Ciao

An Italian Charcuterie Platter

An Italian Charcuterie Platter

Sit back, relax and enjoy my definitions of what Italian meats would make up an amazing summertime charcuterie platter. Italian cold cuts are often made from pork: salami, prosciutto, salsiccia, pancetta, and so on, which are also referred to as salumi. Since their names vary considerably from place to place within Italy, I will share with you the differences of each meat and its own distinctive taste. Great for a summer get together or that special evening w/ a glass of wine.


It’s a large sausage made with ground pork and cubes of fat, seasoned with garlic, salt, and spices. There are two different types, Genoa or Hard. Salamino, is rather spicy is made with enough red pepper to give it that familiar orange coloring; in the US, it’s known as pepperoni.


Known as Italy’s cured raw hams. Prosciutto can be divided into two categories, dolce (sweet), or Toscano (salty, homemade, or known as Tuscan). Parma, is more refined and more expensive. As most of us know the most common varieties of prosciutto are, Parma and San Daniele. Both should have deep red meat and pure white fat. And just like all the other meats, sliced very thin.


Salsiccia made with ground pork, cubed pork fat, spices, and herbs, and dried. When getting ready to consume it is best sliced very thin, just like Salami, and truly is a wonderful treat.


Most commonly used is Pancetta (dried meat), this is made from the same cut used to make bacon. However, it’s not smoked, but does come in two different variations, dolce [sweet] and affumicata [smoked]). The ingredients are garlic, salt, and spices, and ground pepper. Pancetta is most commonly used as an ingredient in Carbonara or in Arrabbiata pasta dishes, also for a replacement it is commonly switched out for a very good bacon, for the added flavoring.


Also known as Coppa, this is cured shoulder butt. This also has two different varieties, sweet & hot, {notice the hot one will have a hint of red around the outside, this is from the crushed red peppers}


The Mother of Tuscany, this is a cured dry sausage, mainly made from pork {the best cuts, the leg, shoulder, loin, and back of the neck} but also can be made from beef. Also blended with other spices such as cinnamon, cloves, rosemary and other savory spices, and then hung to dry.

As always from my family to yours, “I hope you Feel the LOVE” Buon Appettio Ciao, Jill Bacus


Take the 5210 Pledge

Take the 5210 Pledge

Take the 5210 Pledge

Healthy Lee 5210 Pledge News: June 

Thanks for participating in Healthy Lee’s 5210 Pledge!

During the remainder of June, the 5210 Pledge will focus on limiting recreational screen time to two hours or less per day. We’ve included some great tips and tricks below to help you continue your goal of limiting recreational screen time for the rest of June. 

Don’t forget to encourage your family and friends to take the 5210 Pledge! It’s not too late to commit to healthy habits and Healthy Lee will show you how to make it a part of your lifestyle!

5210 Summer without Electronics 
This summer, be one with Mother Nature as you reduce your recreational screen time to no more than two hours a day! There are a variety of ways to connect as a family while you also disconnect from your T.V., phone and other screens, such as:

  • Share a Hobby – Spend time on the boat, play a round of golf, or build a birdhouse!
  • Explore – Grab your family for a day of adventure by exploring all that Southwest Florida has to offer in its natural beauty! Kayak local waterways, take a walk in a nature preserve, park, or just relax at the beach. 
Read Full Article
5210 Summer Safety Tip

Turn off your electronics and head to the pool!

Take the 5210 Pledge
As your family cuts back on the recreational use of electronic devices, review this list by The News-Press to help families stay safe this summer. 
Hurricane Preparation
Take the 5210 Pledge
Hurricane season is approaching! One great way to reduce recreational screen time is to create and practice your hurricane plan. Here are some guidelines to creating a hurricane plan, courtesy of Lee County Government:
  • Prepare your Emergency Supply Kit before the start of hurricane season
  • Prepare several evacuations or sheltering options for your family
  • Be sure all family members know who to call or where to gather if you become separated
  • Prepare your Emergency Supply Kit before the start of hurricane season
  • Prepare several evacuations or sheltering options for your family
  • Be sure all family members know who to call or where to gather if you become separated
Learn More
Share the 5210 Pledge
Take the 5210 PledgeShare the Pledge Now!
Show off your healthy habits and help others stay motivated by sharing photos of your experience using#5210Pledge.
Have a healthy tip to share? Spread the pledge using #5210Pledge on your social media networks!
Stay Active!
Want to have fun outdoors but aren’t sure where to go? Healthy Lee has you covered! Visit HealthyLee.com for information on local parks, walking/running paths and more!
The 3D Racing Summer Series 
Take the 5210 Pledge
The 3D Racing Summer Series 

This family-friendly race series is a great opportunity to get your family out for a fun activity in Cape Coral.

  • July 15th at 7 a.m. 
  • Aug.12th at 7 a.m. 
Learn More
Healthy Recipe

Tortilla Scramble
Courtesy of the American Heart Association

Tortilla Scramble
This recipe serves four people and only takes 11 minutes to cook! Thank you to the American Heart Association for this healthy recipe!
Get the Recipe
#5210Pledge Superstars

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