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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Monthly Archives: October 2018

Pork Schnitzel

2 servings

Ingredients

2 boneless pork chops about 1 lb total
1 egg
1 teaspoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon honey or sugar substitute
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

Cut the pork chops in half horizontally to make 4 cutlets. Place the pork between sheets of plastic and pound until thin.


In a shallow dish, beat the egg and cream together.
Combine the flour, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic powder and poultry seasoning in another shallow dish.


Heat the vegetable oil in a nonstick pan.
Dip the meat cutlets first into the egg, then into the breading. Fry the cutlets until golden brown on both sides and cooked through – about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel-lined serving plate and keep warm.

For the sauce:

Heat the butter, sweetener, and applesauce in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sour cream and mustard until combined and creamy. Stir in the parsley. Drizzle some of the sauce over the cutlets and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash Spirals

Ingredients

1-12 oz package frozen butternut squash veggie spirals, defrosted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Black pepper, to taste

Directions

Early in the day, place the frozen squash noodles in a colander.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray and place the baking sheet in the oven while it preheats.


Place the squash spirals on a kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Transfer the squash to the hot prepared baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat with tongs. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and toss again. Spread out on the baking sheet.


Roast until crispy about 20 minutes. Toss the spirals after 10 minutes.

Slow Cooked Green Beans

Ingredients

1 lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs

Directions

In a large, deep skillet with a cover, melt the butter and add the garlic and Italian herbs. Stir in the green beans. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the beans are tender, about 15 minutes.

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Steak Kabobs

For a heartier meal, add a tomato salad and some soft rolls.

2 servings

Ingredients

2 ribeye steaks, each 10 oz
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup olive oil
6 mushroom caps
1 small zucchini, cut on the diagonal into half-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, quartered

Directions

Add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and rosemary to a bowl and whisk well to combine.

Trim all the fat from the steaks and cut them into one-inch cubes. the steaks and cut into even sized cubes.

Add the meat to the marinade and stir well. Add the vegetables and stir. Refrigerate the mixture for several hours before grilling.

Preheat an outdoor grill and oil the grill grates. You may also cook the kabobs on a stovetop grill.

Place the meat cubes on one long skewer or two short. Alternate the vegetable on another skewer.

Cook the meat skewers over the grill for about 8 minutes. Grill the vegetables for about 6 minutes until grill marks appear.

Garlic and Herb Rice

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, chives, cilantro, mint, or tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Directions

Bring the broth to a simmer in medium saucepan.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté until tender, about 1 minute. Add rice; stir 2 minutes.

Add the hot broth and 3/4 teaspoon salt and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes.

Turn off the heat; let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Add herbs to the rice; fluff with a fork and serve with the kabobs.


Italian American cuisine is a popular and delicious cuisine. It is a style of cooking adopted throughout the United States that was shaped by Italian immigrants and their descendants. However, what is known in America as Italian food is often not found on the table in Italy.
No one in Italy knows what marinara sauce is. There may be different variants of such a sauce that depend on regional or family traditions (with or without garlic, with or without onions, with or without carrots, with or without a pinch of sugar to counter acidity, etc.) but tomato sauce is simply called “salsa” or “sugo” depending on whether you’re from northern or southern Italy. What’s commonly called marinara sauce in America is tomato sauce in Italy that is the base for pizza, pasta, etc., but without garlic or onion or herbs that are not fresh basil.

Parmigiana in Italy is made with eggplant, tomato, caciocavallo cheese, and basil. No chicken or veal. At best, in some parts of Italy, they alternate the layers of eggplant with prosciutto or beaten eggs for added flavor.

Below is a classic recipe for chicken that I grew up on and it is still a big favorite in my family.

Chicken Parmigiana

2 servings

Ingredients

1 cup plain breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten lightly
2 chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Homemade Marinara, see recipe
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 slices of mozzarella cheese
4 oz thin Spaghetti, cooked al dente

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Combine breadcrumbs, parsley, 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Place bread crumb mixture, flour, and egg in three separate dishes.

First, dredge the chicken breast halves in flour, making sure to shake off any excess. Dip in beaten eggs and, like the flour, make sure to let any excess drip off. Finally, dredge in the breadcrumb mixture to coat well. Allow breaded cutlets to rest for a few minutes on a plate before frying.

Heat olive oil in an ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Fry chicken until golden. Be sure to turn for even cooking, about 4-5 minutes per side.
Top each breast with Marinara, covering each piece, place the skillet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbling.

Place two slices of mozzarella on each piece of chicken and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Serve with the cooked spaghetti mixed with the remaining marinara sauce.

Marinara Sauce

Pasta alla marinara (“mariner style” pasta) does exist in Italy, but it’s usually prepared with shellfish and olives. In the United States, the term “marinara” refers to the simple tomato-based “red” sauce that’s a standard in Italian-American cooking.

Ingredients

3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, chopped fine
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
1 tablespoon olive oil
One 6 oz can tomato paste
Four 28 oz containers Italian chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon each dried oregano, dried basil, crushed red pepper, and dried thyme.
Salt and pepper

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven and saute the vegetables and garlic. Add the tomato paste. Fill the empty can with water and add it to the pot.

Add tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Add 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon each black pepper and the dried oregano, dried basil, crushed red pepper, and dried thyme.

Simmer, uncovered, for another hour or until the sauce thickens.

Italian Leaf Salad

Ingredients

1 small head of lettuce, washed and dried
1 small red onion, cut into ring
Italian black olives to taste

Italian Dressing

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Tear the lettuce leaves into small pieces.
Place the greens, olives, and onion in a medium salad bowl.
In a jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Shake well and pour over the greens. Toss and serve.

 


Leftovers in my house always get reinvented into new dishes. In these recipes, they also change from breakfast meals to dinner meals.

Corned Beef Hash

Serve with Roasted Asparagus, recipe below.

3-4 Servings

Ingredients

2 cups leftover corned beef, cubed (recipe on how to make the corned beef)
1 cup diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups cooked Yukon gold potatoes (or rutabaga for a lower carb option)
3-4 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

Heat the butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and cook a few minutes, until soft.

Mix in the chopped corned beef and potatoes. Spread out evenly over the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and press down on the mixture with a metal spatula.

Cook until browned, then turn the mixture over. Do not stir the potatoes and corned beef but let them brown. If you hear them sizzling, this is good. (Use a metal spatula to peek underneath and see if they are browning. If nicely browned, use the spatula to turn sections over in the pan so that they brown on the other side. Press down again with the spatula.)

If there is too much sticking, you can add a little more butter to the pan. Continue to cook in this manner until the potatoes and the corned beef are crispy and brown.

Sprinkle with parsley and black pepper and remove the pan from the heat.

Fry the eggs in a separate skillet and top each portion of hash with an egg.

Oven-Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients

1 bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet covered with foil in a single layer.

Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.

Spinach Cheddar Omelet

2 servings

Ingredients

(spinach recipe)

Ingredients

2 cups leftover cooked spinach
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 large eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Minced fresh parsley, for garnish
Additional black pepper, for garnish

Directions

Heat the butter in a large skillet and add the mushrooms and onions; cook until and soft and tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the leftover spinach and heat until hot.

Beat the eggs in a small mixing bowl and pour over the vegetable mixture. Stir the eggs around the pan with a rubber spatula, pulling the sides in towards the middle, swirling the pan slightly so the runny egg mixture on top hits the pan and cooks. Cook about 2 minutes, until the eggs are just slightly shiny on top. Sprinkle the cheddar over the top.

Carefully lift up the edge of the omelet and check to see if the eggs are lightly golden on the bottom. Once they are, gently fold it over the filling and let cook another minute over low heat.

Slide omelet out of skillet and divide in half. Serve garnished with minced parsley and extra black pepper.

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

2 servings

Ingredients

2 large tomatoes
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 450°F.
Cut a thin slice off the top and the bottom of each tomato. Cut them in half, horizontally.


Place tomatoes on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Bake until the tomatoes until warm, about 10 minutes. Serve alongside the spinach omelet.

 


Pizza Burgers

Add a salad or green vegetable if you have a hearty appetite.

2 servings

Ingredients

2 mozzarella string cheese sticks
12 oz lean ground beef
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Marinara or Pizza sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Form the burgers earlier in the day if possible. Mix the beef with the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Form into 4 thin patties. Cut each cheese stick into 4 equal pieces. Place 4 cheese pieces on 2 of the burgers. Place a plain burger on top of the cheese and form into a large burger patty. You should have 2 cheese stuffed burgers. Refrigerate until serving time.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a medium ovenproof skillet and brown the burgers on one side. Turn the burgers over and top with 1/4 cup of marinara sauce Move the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Take the pan carefully out of the oven and top each burger with shredded mozzarella cheese. Return the pan to the oven and bake the burgers for 5 more minutes. Serve the burgers with cooked spaghetti squash and extra marinara sauce on the side.

Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

1 small spaghetti squash about 2 pounds
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/4 cup finely minced parsley or basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pierce the squash a few times with a sharp paring knife (to let steam escape). Bake the spaghetti squash for 60 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces easily through the skin with little resistance. Let squash cool for 10 minutes.
Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Use a fork to remove and discard the seeds. Continue using the fork to scrape the squash to get long, spaghetti-like strands.
To serve: use about 1 cup of the spaghetti squash strands per person. Heat a large saute pan with the butter and the garlic over medium-low heat. Then add the parsley, salt, pepper and spaghetti squash strands. Toss well, sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and serve.


Italians started coming to Chicago from Italy during the 1850s and by the 1940’s there was a significant Italian population of Italian immigrants and their descendants in the city. There are some stories about U.S. soldiers of Italian descent returning from Europe after World War II and experimenting with different pizza recipes, and eventually creating a deep dish pizza. The only problem with these stories is that deep dish pizza was being sold in Chicago in the early 1940’s, before the end of the war. The one story that is probably true is about a man named Sewell who created the deep dish pizza in 1943 at his bar and grill, Pizzeria Uno. It was so popular that he soon opened another place called Pizzeria Due. Soon other restaurants were serving deep dish pizza and the dish became popular. Soon Chicago became known for creating it and everyone, not just Italians, adopted it as a ‘Chicago’ food. (source FoodReference.com)

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

Ingredients

1 lb of your favorite pizza dough, at room temperature
16 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
8 oz cooked Italian sausage, sliced thin
12 oz jar Mancini Fried Peppers with sweet onions or equivalent amount of cooked onions and peppers
2 cups marinara sauce
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a deep dish pizza pan. (My pan is 10 ½ inches in diameter)
Turn the pizza dough out into the prepared pan and use the heel of your hand and your fingertips to press it into an even layer across the bottom of the pan, then about halfway up the sides of the pan.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes.

When the crust is done baking, remove the pan from the oven and keep the oven temperature on 350 degrees F.
Add the toppings in the following order:
On the bottom of the crust place an even layer of cheese slices. Then add the sausage slices in an even layer. Top it with another layer of cheese slices. Then add the cooked peppers and onions. Top with a final layer of cheese slices. Pour the sauce over the top and spread it into an even layer, making sure it is covering all of the cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until the edges are golden and the filling is firm. Allow the pizza to cool for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Oven Baked Corned Beef Brisket

Servings 4 -6 servings

Ingredients

2-3 lb corned beef brisket
4 teaspoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons brown sugar or brown sugar substitute
1 large onion quartered
3 carrots each cut into 3 pieces on the diagonal

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Place the brisket, fat layer up, in the middle of aluminum foil big enough to cover the whole brisket.
Spread the whole brisket with Dijon mustard. Then, evenly sprinkle brown sugar over the top and gently pet it on. Pat some onto the sides as well.


Add the onions and carrots to the sides of the brisket.
Bring the aluminum foil together and close it, covering the brisket loosely, leaving a little space between the brisket and the foil. Place the covered brisket into a rimmed roasting pan.


Bake it for 4-5 hours until very tender. Remove the meat from the foil and let it rest for a few minutes on a cutting board.
Be sure to slice the meat against the grain. Serve with the cooked cabbage, onions and carrots.

Butter Cooked Green Cabbage

Ingredients

4 servings

1 medium head green cabbage
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Remove 8 large outer leaves from the cabbage head and reserve for stuffing or another recipe. Cut the remaining head in quarters and remove the core from each. Slice the quarters into thin strips.

Melt the butter in a deep frying pan.
Sauté the shredded cabbage on low heat for at least 15 minutes or until the cabbage becomes soft and tender.
Stir often and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the baked corned beef.



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