Author: Kelly Donlea for Menu Monday & Barrington EATS

Kelly Donlea Author Avatar Kelly Donlea for Menu Monday Barrington EATS

307. Marketplace: A Taste of Italy in Barrington at Frantonio’s Deli & Café

 We have uncovered a delicious option for you if you’re looking for someone to cater your holiday party, your next corporate event or simply your weeknight dinner. It’s Frantonio’s Italian Deli, Café and Catering, a longstanding local restaurant that’s preparing to celebrate 20-years in business in 2013.  The popular lunch and dinner spot on Northwest Highway is owned by Franco and Patti Bruno and has recently increased their dining space, expanded their catering service and are now offering the option to have your order delivered to your doorstep.
Frantonio’s food and the man behind the menu, owner and chef Franco Bruno, are among Barrington’s best-kept secrets.
We are excited to welcome Frantonio’s as the most recent member to join the Barrington Online Marketplace here at because we feel privileged to share the offerings that await you just a short drive or a phone call away from home.  Franco recently took us behind-the-scenes at Frantonio’s to show us how he creates some of his most popular homemade foods.  We’ll share details and a generous helping of photos in a minute.  But first, in case you’re new to, here’s how our Marketplace works..
At the beginning of each workweek, we introduce you to the latest local businesses, professionals & organizations to join our Barrington Online Marketplace by featuring them here at and via our weekly email newsletter. If you’d like to receive those emails, which will also include information about upcoming events in Barrington, just enter your email here and click “Submit”.
Fill out my online form.
You’ll find the new community resource at To have your business, organization, home or event featured, visit for more information or call Liz at 847-691-3150.
Now back to Franco Bruno’s signature brand of convenient, delicious and homemade Italian dining at Frantonio’s in Barrington. The restaurant is a popular spot to grab a quick lunch or dinner in Barrington and their sandwich menu offers an exciting selection of classic Italian subs.  Deciding on one sandwich is the hardest part, with choices like the Buon Appetito, Calabrese, A La Delecto and the popular Magnifico sub, with layers of Prosciutto, homemade mozzarella, basil, tomato and Italian spices. They offer dozens of homemade salads, gourmet meats, pizzas and hot pasta dishes to choose from with friendly counter service and easy seating to ensure hot, homemade meals without a wait.
And, as of recently, they now offer home deliveries of food ordered by phone.  And their catering menu is also extremely popular, especially as the holidays approach….…

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282. Barrington EATS: The Pomegranate Plunge

 Have you noticed the large and beautiful pomegranate fruits, a seasonal favorite found at the grocery  stores these days?

Do you buy them and use them, or are you intimidated by the required task of scoring the seeds or using the fruit?

This post should help you overcome your intimidation, by giving you many, many reasons to take the pomegranate plunge……

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270. Barrington EATS: Perk Up Your Pork Chops

 My company’s mission is to help anyone and everyone achieve more healthy cooking at home, with less stress time and money spent. At the simplest level, I get asked often for meal ideas you can just pop into the oven, with little prep time. There are so many, and they are not pre-packaged processed or ready-made foods. Trust me, with a little thinking ahead, this can be done with fresh ingredients right from your cabinets and refrigerator.  Pork chops are one of those things that make a great pop-in-the-oven dinner.

Some people fear baking pork chops because they tend to be dry. And they are if you don’t add other ingredients. But following are three simple ways to perfectly top pork chops for tasty tender results, each with just a few minutes prepping time……

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266. Barrington EATS: Lunch Lessons on “Tasty Tuesday”

 Have you heard about Tasty Tuesday? Wondering what’s going on that tastes so good? It’s the latest initiative in Barrington School District 220’s effort to better educate our students on healthy eating.  They’re turning lunchtime into a teaching opportunity by having fun with featured foods.
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Sodexho Food Service and our school PTOs are working to introduce one new healthy food to our students each month.
On the first Tuesday of the month, elementary school students will have an opportunity to sample a fruit or vegetable during lunch. Then, the same food item will be offered intermittently in the lunch menu for the remainder of the month. 
The district is also getting students involved on the middle and high school levels, where they’ll offer the fruit or veggie of the month and display posters about “Tasty Tuesday” in the cafeterias.  And, for early childhood students, a healthy snack of fruits or veggies will be offered twice a week.
The goal of the program is to provide elementary age students with increased opportunities to sample fruits and vegetables.  Why?  Because research shows that it takes five to twenty tastes before children begin to like a new food.
The district is also encouraging families to get involved by including the same fruit or vegetable in your menus at home throughout the month to increase opportunities for further taste testing.
October’s Tasty Tuesday food is Sweet Potatoes. You likely know that many studies point to the sweet potato as the number one healthiest vegetable.
One medium sweet potato contains only 130 calories, 2 grams of protein, less than one gram of fat, is low in sodium, contains a full day’s supply of vitamin C and provides 700% of the US RDA for Vitamin A. The antioxidants in the sweet potato may help to prevent heart disease and cancer, bolster the immune system and even slow aging by promoting good vision and healthy skin. Talk about a super food!

Below is one of my favorite, unique ways to use sweet potatoes, in the Sweet Potato Salad recipe from my 30 Spectacular Salads cookbook……

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261. Barrington Eats: Feast Your Eyes on Heinen’s Fall Foods

 The Prepared Foods section at Heinen’s provides extremely unique and exciting selections for you to take home, heat and eat. And while they have some good standard everyday fare such as Chicken Romano and roasted potatoes, they also offer higher-end options that are fabulous, well-thought-out and really above and beyond everyday dinner. But the best part is that Heinen’s reinvents their Prepared Foods menu for every season and is now offering a full selection of tailor-made fall options at their Barrington store.
We’re taking a look at Heinen’s Fall Foods today in Part Two of a three-part-series about some of the most exciting seasonal offerings to be explored at Barrington’s newest grocery store.  To learn more about the new fall offerings in their Prepared Foods counter, we spoke with one of the company’s corporate chefs and learned that they truly think before they create, taking into account the demographics of their eating audience.  They profiled our area and say they discovered that we like finer things but also happen to love good old-fashioned comfort food.
The results of their research equal creamy rich goodness paired with delicate seasonal ingredients and include items such as rich Pumpkin Bisque, delectable Truffle Macaroni and Cheese and multifaceted Risotto Cakes……

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257. Barrington EATS: Helping Hands & Harvest Vegetables

 It’s harvest time!  For many, that means a love of cooler weather and fun fall decorations. For me it has everything to do with being in the kitchen. I LOVE fall recipes because they are always about comfort food.  And these days, at the grocery stores and in our gardens, produce from the cucurbita family dominates the space.  This includes pumpkins, zucchini, and all kinds of fun squash, like these gathered by my son and his 4th grade classmates this week during a Roslyn Road School field trip.
The students picked squash for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, an organization that provides food for those in need.  What a great opportunity to teach our kids about local harvesting and helping others.
We filled a whole semi with squash and taught the kids a great lesson about community and sharing food.
These fall vegetables are not only festive to look at, they’re easy to grow, harvest and to decorate with.  Though many people do buy them for decorating, I often hear people say they’re stumped as to how to cook them. I agree they can be a bit fussy to work with, but they are well worth the effort in taste and health value if you give them a try. And don’t forget the wow-factor that’s possible with your presentation.

Below is a recipe for my favorite thing to make with Butternut Squash, Squash and Bacon Risotto, plus a fantastic recipe for Shepherd’s Pie Pumpkins in which you can serve your family dinner out of mini pumpkins. It’s one of my favorite Fall traditions and I hope it becomes one of yours too.…

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253. Barrington EATS: More Chick Peas, Please!

 Do you think you know my cooking style by now? My number one goal is to help you find cooking success in your own kitchen. And probably my number one recommendation for this is to shop Smart. Find ingredients that, by always having them on hand, enable you make a great meal any night of the year. And if, like this week’s topic, it has a long shelf life and costs under a $1, it finds itself at the top of the Smart ingredients list.

Chick peas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are an extremely healthy, Smart ingredient.  They have tons of iron and therefore make a great main course main ingredient……

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248. Barrington EATS: Dining Out in Lake Barrington

 I live in Lake Barrington. That’s “far” out of town, according to some. But we enjoy our lovely wooded lot in Barrington Harbor. Ever come out my way to eat? Chances are you’ve been to The Onion or Kelsey Road House, but today I’ll tell you about all the restaurants we have here on the northwestern skirts of the Barrington area.

Chances are you may not have known about, or have forgotten about, a few of these local hot spots. So I decided to offer a refresher to whet your appetite for some great food, beer and time out on the town……

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238. Barrington EATS: Get Your Crock-Pot Cooking

 Fall. It’s a time of year when families are busy and warm comfort food returns to the menu. Crock-Pots are a great way to cater to both situations, providing a delicious, moist, steaming dinner that can be made in minutes at convenient times of the day (i.e. before taxi-time, after-school activities and toddler melt-down hour).  I recently gave individual cooking classes to three novice cooks looking for solutions for their hungry children. In addition to a basic soup base and a few simple dishes, we focused on the Crock-Pot. The reason for this is that I find meats in the crock pot are fool-proof.

Each of these inexperienced cooks said their frustration with cooking meats is that they always turn out dry. It’s true, there is a knack for knowing times and temps for cooking certain meats. But with slow cooking, and crock-potting, these cooking methods leave room for grace, and that’s just what unsure cooks need……

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233. Barrington EATS: Dinner Deliveries with Kelly Donlea

 If you’ve read my column here, you know that I like to talk about food. If you’ve wondered about my cooking, and have wanted to try it for yourself, now’s your chance!
I started my company Organizing Dinner to help people make dinner every night at home with less stress. I have written cookbooks, taught classes around town, and have both an online recipe blog and forum to provide continued support at The books are helpful, the classes a success, but still…. When it comes down to it some people just don’t want to cook. And I get it.
After hearing the plea “I just want you to cook it for me” many times, I finally conceded. I will continue to encourage and teach you to find success cooking in your own kitchen, but one day a week, I’ll do it for you.

Through my Dinner Delivery service, I make dinner for Barrington-area residents, and bring it to your home ready to eat (or frozen for future use, if specified). Following is the Dinner Delivery menu for September. Follow the instructions below if you would like to order a dinner for you, or someone else in town……

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220. Barrington EATS: School Lunch Life Savers

 Something big is happening in Barrington this coming Tuesday, August 21st. And if you can say what it is in the blink of an eye, this post is for you.  It’s the first day of school. Your days will no longer be punctuated by “when can we go to the pool?” “can you drive me ____?” and the constant need to provide kid fun. But it may be replaced by something else you find challenging: what to pack in your kids’ school lunches.

My 4th grade son Brian refuses to buy his lunch. He also won’t eat sandwiches. Well, not the normal pb&j or just lunchmeat ones anyway. So, after 4 years of packing him lunch, I have a five quick strategies that will help you pack healthy, unprocessed lunch foods your kids will eat……

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215. Barrington EATS: All Scream for Ice Cream

 What a blazing hot summer it’s been! What’s the best treat on a hot day? Ice cream of course.  My family and I have long visited Barrington’s top spots for ice cream, but we’ve also discovered some new destinations serving our favorite flavors and more in Barrington this year.
With about six weeks left of summer, I thought I’d take a minute to pass along our recommendations about the best places, old and new, to grab a few scoops around town……

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208. Barrington EATS: Pizza in a Pinch

 Smart Ingredients are those that can open up dinner options without and extra trip to the store.  There’s one Smart Ingredient that is not a common pantry item, yet its potential for dinner success is enormous. It’s yeast.  To be able to whip up a loaf of homemade bread to accompany some soup, or especially a super-easy homemade pizza crust, your dinner options are suddenly multiplied.

In my family, anything on a homemade pizza crust equals a successful dinner.  And with endless topping possibilities, I can always put one together with what I have on hand at home…. traditional red sauce and cheese, potatoes and cream sauce, goats cheese and roasted veggies, or in the recipe below, some leftover barbequed chicken.
RED STAR yeast is easy to find at your local grocery store, and comes in convenient single-serve packets or small jars. I find it very reliable for a great, easy pizza dough like this recipe with barbecue chicken on top……

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