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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Gluten Free/Low Carb Baking

A low-carb diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates, such as those found in sugary foods, pasta and bread. It is high in protein, fat and healthy vegetables. A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Some people who eliminate gluten from their diet end up following a low-carbohydrate diet, but not always. Many people who follow a low-carb lifestyle do eliminate gluten because they choose to keep their carbohydrates low. However, they are not the same. A gluten-free diet does not ensure one is on the right plan to lose body fat. A low-carb lifestyle does not ensure one is avoiding gluten. However, with a little label reading, the two can work well together in managing health and long-term weight management.

These recipes are made to fit a gluten-free/low carb diet. They are made with nut or gluten-free flours . In order to keep the recipes low carb you must eliminate regular sugar and use a sugar substitute. If you only want a gluten-free recipe, then you can use regular sugar. Either way, I can tell you that they all taste very good.

Lemon Ginger Scones

Makes 8 scones

Dry Ingredients

2 ½ cups almond flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute or sugar substitute blend, divided
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Lemon zest from 2 lemons, divided

Wet Ingredients

3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with sides with parchment paper.

Mix the 2 tablespoons of sugar substitute with half of the lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, ¼ cup sugar substitute, the ginger, salt, baking soda and the remaining lemon zest.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, eggs, ¼ cup cream and vanilla.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Turn the mixture out onto a cutting board dusted with almond flour. Pat into a half-inch thick round.

Brush the top of the dough with the 1 tablespoon cream and sprinkle the dough evenly with the sugar/lemon zest mixture. Cut the dough into 8 equal triangles.

Carefully place them on the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. These scones freeze well.

Coffee Nut Muffins

Makes 12

Ingredients

1 cup pecan flour (meal), divided
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute or sugar substitute blend
1/4 cup whey protein powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules

Topping

1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar or brown sugar substitute

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or coat with cooking spray.

Stir together the brown sugar substitute and chopped pecans. Set aside.

Dissolve the coffee granules in the brewed coffee and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the pecan flour, almond flour, soy flour, sugar substitute, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat with a hand mixer the sour cream with the butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs. Then beat in the coffee mixture.

With a wide spatula, fold the coffee mixture into the nut flour mixture. thoroughly combine.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups and sprinkle each with the topping.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until set and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the muffins cool in the pan for ten minutes and then remove them to a wire rack.

Low Carb Gluten Free Brownies

Ingredients

1/2 cup (3.5 oz) sugar-free milk chocolate squares (I use Lily brand)
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) sugar-free dark chocolate chips (I use Lily brand)
2/3 cup (5 ¼ oz) butter
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar or sugar substitute or sugar substitute blend
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Pinch of salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line the bottom of an 8×8 or 7×11 baking dish with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.

Put the chocolate and chocolate chips in a saucepan with the butter and melt them together. Add the vanilla. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly.

With a hand mixer beat the sugar substitute and eggs (about 2-3 minutes until the mixture is creamy). Add the chocolate mixture and stir.

Gradually stir in the almond flour, salt and baking powder.

Fold the nuts into the mixture and pour into the prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly in the pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes until the mixture is no longer wiggly and beginning to crack in the middle. Remove the pan from the oven to a wire rack to cool.

When cool, cut into small squares.

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Asian Stir-Fry Dinner

Some of my fresh Florida produce made it into an Asian dish as well. I experimented with a few different flavorings and this recipe turned out well. If you are watching your carb intake make the cauliflower version of the rice and, if not, just use your leftover regular rice.

Szechuan Chicken Stir-Fry

Serves 4

Ingredients

Sauce Mixture
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Stir-Fry
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cooked (poached) chicken breasts, shredded
Half of a large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
1 cup diagonally cut snow peas
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup (1-inch) slices green onion

Directions

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peanut oil; swirl.

Add bell peppers and broccoli and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the next 4 ingredients (through garlic); stir-fry 1 minute. Add the shredded chicken, stir-fry 1 minute.

Add the sauce mixture; cook 30 seconds or until thickened. Add the green onions. Cook until heated through. Serve with the Cauliflower Rice dish or regular rice.

Asian Flavored Cauliflower “Rice”

Serves 4

Ingredients

10 oz pkg frozen cauliflower rice, defrosted or use the same amount of regular leftover cooked rice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced ginger

Directions

Let the riced cauliflower drain in a colander for about 30 minute. Then place it on a paper towel.

In a wide-bottom skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.

Add the cauliflower rice. Stir-fry until the grains are dry and begin to crisp.

Stir in the rice vinegar, soy sauce and ginger. Stir-fry for another minute or two. Serve with the chicken.

Healthy Cooking With Florida Winter Produce-3

My veggie purchases also yielded extra for a few soups.  We like soup for lunch, so I usually make then weekly. The cabbage and broccoli were large enough for a few meals. Don’t forget some healthy bread to go with these meals.

Italian Beef and Cabbage Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup shredded carrot
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 head of green cabbage
2 cups green beans, cut into one-inch lengths
2 cups diced Italian tomatoes (with liquid)
6 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Italian dried seasoning
2 medium bay leaves
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili)

Directions

Remove 8 outer layers of cabbage leaves and reserve for stuffed cabbage.

Cut the remaining head in half. Reserve half of the cabbage for coleslaw or for a side dish of sautéed cabbage. Shred the remaining half for the soup.

Heat the oil in a Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onions. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften.

Add ground beef to the pan. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, breaking apart with a spatula, until the beef is browned.

Add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Season with more salt and/or pepper to taste.

Cover the pan and simmer the soup on low for 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

Serves 6

1 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 head of cauliflower, core removed and chopped into small florets
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dry mustard
4 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth
4 cups broccoli fresh florets, chopped, divided
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions are tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, half of the chopped broccoli, dry mustard, cayenne and salt and pepper and saute for a minute or two.

Add the chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender.

Use an immersion blender, or transfer the mixture to a blender, and puree until smooth and creamy.

Return the soup to the pot over medium heat and add the remaining broccoli. Bring to simmer and cook 25-30 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese a little at a time until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the cream if you want it creamy and warm through. Do not boil.

Sourdough Oat Round

Delicious with soup.

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats or steel-cut oats
2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup firm sourdough starter

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl or an electric mixer bowl. Mix either by hand or with the electric mixer’s paddle attachment until well combined.

Move the dough to one side of the bowl and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Repeat with the other side of the dough. Cover the bowl and let rise for 18 hours.

After 18 hours turn dough onto well floured surface and gently flatten enough to fold dough back onto itself a couple of times to form a roundish blob.

Take a sheet of parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray. Place the dough in the middle of the sheet of parchment.

Let the dough rest while the oven is preheating.

Turn the oven to 500 degrees F and place a stone baking vessel on a low rack.

When the oven reaches 500 degrees F remove the baking vessel and turn down the oven to 450 degrees F.

Using the parchment as a sling, gently lower the sling containing the dough into the preheated baker, leaving the parchment in place.

Be careful not to touch the baker as it is very hot!

Place the lid on the baker and put the baker into the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Remove the baker from oven. The bread will still bake if left in the hot baker. So very carefully lift out the bread with the parchment.

Discard the parchment and cool the bread on a rack for about 2 hours.

Healthy Cooking With Florida Winter Produce-2

This dinner makes use of the Swiss chard and the Acorn squash that are now in season. The lemons are from my Meyer Lemon tree.

Sautéed Swiss Chard

3-4 servings

Ingredients

1 large bunch Swiss Chard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Cut out the central rib and stem from each leaf. Cut the leaves into smaller pieces.

Rinse the leaves in a sink of cool water, lifting them into a colander to drain a bit (leaving some water on the leaves).

Place the damp leaves in a deep skillet. Cover the pan and cook the leaves for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Heat the oil in the same skillet and add the garlic and shallot. Cook for two minutes. Add the chard leaves and salt and pepper, stir and reduce the heat to low.

Cook the greens until tender, about 10 minutes.

Pistachio Salmon With Meyer Lemon Sauce

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 coho salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios

Sauce

1/2 shallot, chopped
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F

Place the salmon in a small oiled baking pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread with mayonnaise and sprinkle with pistachios.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through its center.

In a small saucepan, cook and stir the shallot in oil over medium-high heat until tender. Add the cream, lemon peel, lemon juice, salt and cayenne and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Serve the salmon over the Swiss chard and spoon the lemon sauce over all. Serve immediately.

Parmesan-Roasted Acorn Squash

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 acorn squash, ends removed, seeded and cut into 4 one-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat the oven to 375° F.

In a baking dish, toss the squash slices with the oil, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Roast the squash until golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes.

Healthy Cooking With Florida Winter Produce-1

After being away from home for the holidays, I went food shopping on Friday to stock up for meals for the coming week. I pretty much plan my menu based on what looks good in the produce section of the supermarket or the farmer’s market.
The greens this week were gorgeous as were several other vegetables. Each of the posts will show a few photos of some of the items I bought and I will share with you throughout the week what I made with these great looking veggies.

Fiber Pasta

I have also discovered a new type of pasta and my blog readers who are carb conscious may be interested. It is called Fiber Pasta and it is made in Italy but distributed by an American company in CA. Fiber Pasta products are low glycemic, reduced in carbs, high in fiber, high in protein and non-GMO with a traditional taste and texture. For more information visit their website: https://fiberpasta.us/

Broccoli Rabe And Fiber Pasta

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large bunch broccoli rabe, about 1 1/2 lb., ends trimmed
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3/4 lb ziti pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

Cut off the broccoli rabe florets and coarsely chop the leaves and tender stems.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta and cook until al dente.

While the pasta water is heating, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil.

Add the onion, garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes.

Stir in half of the broccoli rabe, including the florets, coating them with the oil.

Cook until the wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining broccoli rabe and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.

Pour in the broth and reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the broccoli rabe is tender, 8 to 10 minutes more.

Stir in the 1/4 teaspoon salt and season with pepper.

When the pasta is ready, drain and place the pasta in a serving bowl. Top with the broccoli rabe sauce and add the cheese. Mix well and serve.

Roasted Italian Sausage and Red Bell Peppers

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1.5 lbs Italian sweet fennel rope sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 red bell peppers, cut into one-inch cubes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the peppers, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil in a baking dish.

Place the whole sausage rope on top and bake for 30 minutes.

Turn the sausages and peppers over and return the dish to the oven for an additional 30 minutes or until the sausages are golden brown.

To serve, cut the sausage into pieces and serve with the peppers.

Cooking the Mediterranean Countries-Israel

 

The Mediterranean countries include France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal along the north; Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel on the east; and the African countries of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco on the south. The Mediterranean countries utilize many of the same ingredients but each country has a unique way of creating recipes with those same ingredients. So far in this series, I have written about Mediterranean cuisine in general and about the cuisine in the countries of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. This series continues with the country of Israel.

The Israeli cuisine has many influences and the traditional food, as with most parts of the Mediterranean, is based on plenty of vegetables and legumes. Tahini (chickpea- tahini dip), falafel (chickpea patties), eggplant dips and a variety of salads are always present on the table. Meat is often the main course but the servings are small and fruit is always served for dessert along with some phyllo based sweets.

Israeli cuisine has adopted, and continues to adapt, elements of various styles of Jewish cuisine, particularly the Mizrahi, Sephardic and Ashkenazi styles of cooking. It incorporates many foods traditionally eaten in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries, such as falafel, hummus, couscous and za’atar. Other influences are the availability of foods common to the Mediterranean region, especially fruits and vegetables, dairy products and fish.

Geography has a large influence on the Israeli cuisine and foods common in the Mediterranean region, such as olives, wheat, chickpeas, dairy products, fish, fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants and zucchini are prominent in Israeli cuisine. There are various climatic areas in Israel. Citrus trees such as orange, lemon and grapefruit thrive on the coastal plain. Figs, pomegranates and olives grow in the cooler hill areas. The subtropical climate near the Sea of Galilee and in the Jordan River Valley is suitable for mangoes, kiwis and bananas, while the temperate climate of the mountains of the Galilee and the Golan is suitable for grapes, apples and cherries.

Israeli eating customs also conform to the wider Mediterranean region, with lunch, rather than dinner, being the focal meal of a regular workday. “Kibbutz foods” have been adopted by many Israelis for their light evening meals as well as breakfasts, and may consist of various types of cheeses, both soft and hard, yogurt, labneh and sour cream, vegetables and salads, olives, hard-boiled eggs, omelets, pickled and smoked herring, a variety of breads and fresh orange juice and coffee.

In addition, Jewish holidays influence the cuisine, with the preparation of traditional foods at holiday times, such as various types of challah (braided bread) for Shabbat and Festivals, jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot) for Hanukkah, the hamantaschen pastry (oznei haman) for Purim, charoset, a type of fruit paste, for Passover and dairy foods for Shavuot. The Shabbat dinner, eaten on Friday, and to a lesser extent the Shabbat lunch, is a significant meal in Israeli homes, together with holiday meals.

Vegetable salads are eaten with most meals, including breakfast, which will usually include eggs, bread and dairy products such as yogurt or cottage cheese. For lunch and dinner, salad may be served as a side dish. Israeli salad is typically made with finely chopped tomatoes and cucumbers dressed in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Variations include the addition of diced red or green bell peppers, grated carrot, finely shredded cabbage or lettuce, sliced radish, fennel, spring onions and chives, chopped parsley, or other herbs and spices such as mint, za’atar and sumac. Tabbouleh (sometimes considered a salad) is traditionally made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur and onion and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Some Israeli variations of the salad use pomegranate seeds instead of tomatoes.
Sabich salad may include eggplant, boiled eggs, tahini, potato and parsley.

Chili-based hot sauces are prominent in Israeli food and are made from green or red chili peppers. They are served with appetizers, falafel, casseroles and grilled meats and are often blended with hummus and tahini. Although originating primarily from North Africa and Yemenite immigrants, these hot sauces are now widely consumed in Israel.

Couscous, a type of pasta, was brought to Israel by Jews from North Africa. Couscous is used in salads, main courses and even some desserts. As a main course, chicken or lamb are served over couscous and braised vegetables flavored with saffron or turmeric are served on steamed couscous.

Fresh fish is readily available, caught off Israel’s coastal areas of the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Sea of Galilee or raised in ponds on fish farms in Israel. Fresh fish is served whole, in the Mediterranean style, grilled or fried, dressed only with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Chicken is the most widely eaten meat in Israel, followed by turkey. Chicken is prepared in a multitude of ways, from simple oven-roasted chicken to elaborate casseroles with rich sauces, such as date syrup, tomato sauce, etc. Examples include chicken casserole with couscous, inspired by Moroccan Jewish cooking, chicken with olives, a Mediterranean classic and chicken albondigas (meatballs) in tomato sauce, from Jerusalem Sephardic cuisine.

Israel is one of the world’s leading fresh citrus producers and exporters and more than forty types of fruit are grown in Israel, including oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and pomelit, a hybrid of a grapefruit and a pomelo, developed in Israel. Additional fruits grown in Israel include avocados, bananas, apples, cherries, plums, lychees, nectarines, grapes, dates, strawberries, prickly pear (tzabbar), persimmon, loquat (shesek) and pomegranates.

Pita bread is a double-layered flat or pocket bread traditional in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. It is baked plain, or with a topping of sesame or nigella seeds or za’atar, and is used in multiple ways. They are often stuffed with falafel, salads or various meats as a snack or fast food meal. Baklava is a nut-filled phyllo pastry sweetened with syrup and served at celebrations in Jewish communities. It is also often served in restaurants as dessert, along with small cups of Turkish coffee. Kadaif is a pastry made from long thin noodle threads filled with walnuts or pistachios and sweetened with syrup; it is served alongside baklava. Halva is a sweet, made from tahini and sugar, and is popular in Israel.

Israeli Cuisine

Israeli Falafel Balls

Makes about 40 falafel balls

Ingredients

1 lb chickpeas (dried, not cooked)
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
2 bunches of cilantro
1-2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons table salt
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
Canola or corn oil for frying

Directions

Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Drain.

Grind the chickpeas, onions, garlic and cilantro in a meat grinder. Add the chili, cumin, paprika, coriander, ginger, salt, flour and baking soda and mix well.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a frying pan to a medium heat.

Form 1” round balls using a special falafel tool (or simply using a spoon or wet hands) and fry until the falafel are golden brown and are cooked through.

Serve in a pita bread with tahini sauce and Israeli salad.

Israeli Salad

Ingredients

2 Kirby or 3 Persian cucumbers, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, veins removed, diced
10 grape tomatoes, quartered, or 1 beefsteak tomato, diced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Fresh cilantro or additional parsley, for garnish (optional)

Directions

Combine cucumbers, bell pepper, tomatoes, lemon juice, oil, parsley, salt and pepper in medium-sized salad bowl and mix well.

Chill for 1 hour.

Just before serving, garnish salad with fresh cilantro or parsley.

Braised Chicken and Vegetables

Ingredients

3 carrots
½ butternut squash
2 zucchini
1 large onion
2 celery stalks
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 chicken drumsticks
2-3 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt
Pepper
Water

Directions

Peel and roughly chop the vegetables.

Sauté the vegetables in the oil for a few minutes and then add the chicken, tomato paste and spices.

Add water until the chicken and vegetables are just covered.

Cover the pan and simmer for 1½ hours. Serve over couscous.

Israeli Tahini Cookies

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup tahini

Directions

Preheat oven to 355 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder together in a large bowl; add butter and tahini and mix until dough is crumbly.

Roll dough into small balls and press each ball into a flattened cookie shape using your palms. Arrange cookies in the prepared baking sheet and press with a fork.

Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake until cookies are golden, about 10 minutes.

Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Italian Recipes To Cook In The Month Of January

It is cold this week in the South- really cold. Here are a few of my warming recipes for the week.

Spicy Olive Tapenade

This recipe is a delicious side to a bowl of soup.

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons orange zest
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups kalamata olives, pitted
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
Crostini or crackers for serving

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor combine the tapenade ingredients and pulse until well combined. Place in a serving bowl.

Serve at room temperature over crostini or crackers.

Pasta Fagioli

Ingredients

6 oz small pasta
2 tablespoons olive Oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 dried bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 28-oz container chopped or diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth or water
Two 15 oz cans cannellini beans, drained
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil herbs, cut into ribbons
Crushed red pepper and grated Parmesan for garnish

Directions

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain well, and set aside.

In a large Dutch Oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the onions, celery and carrots over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender.

Add the garlic, bay leaf and oregano. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth and cannellini beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cover the pot with a lid but leave on a slant. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the pasta and heat until warmed through. Stir in the fresh basil and remove from the heat.

Transfer to serving bowls and top with crushed red pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp

Ingredients

Shrimp

6 thin slices prosciutto
18 large shrimp (16-20 size), peeled and deveined (tail on or off)
Salt and pepper

Garlic Butter Sauce

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Pinch of salt and pepper
Whisk all ingredients together until combined.

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

On a cutting board, cut each slice of prosciutto into three long strips. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around the body of a piece of shrimp, and lay it seam-side-down on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining shrimp and prosciutto.

Brush with garlic butter sauce over onto all the sides of each shrimp. Season with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and opaque and the prosciutto is slightly crispy. Brush with more garlic butter and serve.

Tuscan Kale and Rutabaga Mash

Tuscan kale goes by many names: lacinato kale, dinosaur kale, black-leaf kale and Tuscan kale. It is common in Tuscany, and in Italian it’s called cavolo nero (literally: “black cabbage”). It’s leaves are more tender and flavorful than other types, sweeter and less bitter.and easier to cook than curly leaf kale.
In Italy, rutabagas are often roasted with other vegetables and served with a balsamic dressing.

Tuscan Kale

1 bunch Tuscan kale, stems removed, washed and chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt

Rutabaga

1 medium rutabaga, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

To prepare the kale:

Place the chopped kale leaves in a deep skillet and heat, using just the water that remains on the leaves to provide moisture.

Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain the leaves in a colander and add the garlic, salt and olive oil to the skillet. Toss the kale in the oil for 1-2 minutes and remove from the heat.

To prepare the rutabaga:

Put the rutabaga chunks in a large saucepan and cover with water.

Add 1 teaspoon of salt.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes or until very tender.

Drain and let them dry in a colander. Place them back in the pot and mash the rutabagas with the butter, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper.

Stir in the cooked kale.

Tender Meatloaf

Ingredients

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb lean ground pork
2 cups prepared pasta sauce
2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
1 small onion, minced
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1/2 cup very finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
2 slices partially cooked bacon, minced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Put the mixture into a greased loaf pan. Smooth the top. (I use a meatloaf pan and the fat drips into the lower pan.)

Bake uncovered for 1 hour 30 minutes. Check the center with a meat thermometer. Cooked meatloaf temperature should be 160+.

Take the pan out of the oven and let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.


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