Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Monthly Archives: April 2020

Easy Dinner Night

Ingredients for 2 servings

Avocado Dressing

2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons lower-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons avocado or canola oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 ripe peeled avocado, mashed

Tostadas

2 tablespoons avocado or canola oil, divided
2 large tortillas
1 small onion finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced
1 lb lean ground beef
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled queso fresco

Directions

For the Dressing: Whisk the dressing ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate until serving.

For the tostadas: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to the pan. Cook 1 tortilla 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Repeat procedure with 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining tortilla.


Add remaining oil to the pan. Add garlic, onion, and jalapeño; sauté 2 minutes. Add beef; cook until brown. Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Continue to cook until the beef and onions are completely cooked, about 5 minutes.

To assemble: Place 1 tortilla on a dinner plate; top the tortilla with 1 cup beef mixture, ¼ cup shredded cheddar, 1/2 cup lettuce, 1/4 cup chopped tomato, and 2 tablespoons Mexican cheese. Repeat with the second tortilla. Drizzle each serving with dressing.


Creamy Spinach Pizza

Pizza Dough
Makes one 16 inch round pizza. You can prepare the dough one day ahead and refrigerate overnight or use the traditional rise. This is a very forgiving dough.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Topping
1 cup cooked spinach, chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese, drained
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
3 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.

For an overnight rise:  Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza.

Turn the oven to 450 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.

Mix the ricotta with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan.

Top the crust in the following order: slices of mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, spinach, feta cheese, and oregano.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for about 20 minutes or until the crust is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

I serve this pizza with a tomato salad.


Chicken Kiev is a dish made of chicken fillets pounded and rolled around cold butter and herbs, then coated with eggs and bread crumbs, and either fried or baked. In general, this dish of stuffed chicken breast is known in Ukrainian and Russian cuisines as côtelette de volaille. The history of this dish is not well documented, and various sources make controversial claims about its origin. In the 18th century, Russian chefs adopted many techniques of French haute cuisine and combined them with the local culinary tradition. The adoption was furthered by French chefs, such as Marie-Antoine Carême and Urbain Dubois, who were hired by the Russian aristocracy.  The use of quality meat cuts, such as cutlets, steaks, escalopes, and suprêmes became widespread in the 19th century, and a number of original dishes involving such components were developed in Russia at that time.

Kiev is the capital of Ukraine, and while the name of the dish may sound very much Ukrainian, it actually is not. It turns out that Chicken Kiev was invented by a French chef, Nicolas Francois Appert. Chicken Kiev was one of the most popular foods of the 1970s but fell out of fashion by the late 1980s. Ler’s bring it back since it is delicious.

Chicken Kiev

For the herb butter
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of butter for cooking

Directions

Combine the ingredients for the herb butter in a mixing bowl. Place mixture on plastic wrap or waxed paper and roll into a small log; place in the freezer for several hours.


Place the chicken breasts, 1 at a time, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound to 1/8-inch thickness. Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper.
Lay 1 chicken breast on a new piece of plastic wrap and place 1/2 of the herb butter in the center of each breast. Using the plastic wrap to assist, fold in the ends of the breast and roll the breast into a log, completely enclosing the butter; roll very tightly. Repeat with the second breast. Place chicken in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Place egg and water mixture in 1 pie pan, flour in another, and bread crumbs in a third pie pan.
Dip each breast in the flour and then the egg mixture and then roll in the bread crumbs. Press on the crumbs to completely cover the chicken rolls.
In a frying pan over medium-high heat a mixture of 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oi. Gently place each breast in the pan, sealed side down, and cook until golden brown on all sides including the ends, turning frequently until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Or
Follow the same method for preparing the herb butter and chicken as above. Place the chicken rolls in a lightly oiled baking dish and dot the chicken with additional butter and bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Lemon Parmesan Orzo

ingredients

1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil. Add in 1 cup of orzo, simmer for 7-8 minutes, test for al dente, drain; drizzle with oil. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Heat over low just until hot and serve.

Green Beans With Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients

1/2 lb green beans, tips removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the beans and cook just until they are tender-crisp. The time may vary depending on the size of your beans or how fresh they are but generally for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Heat the oil in the pan and add the chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon of water, and salt and pepper. Return the beans to the pan and toss in the tomato oil mixture and cook for a minute or two so the beans absorb the flavor of the oil. Remove from the heat and serve warm or at room temperature.


Ingredients

1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
4 cups beef broth
2 fresh thyme sprigs or 2 teaspoons dried
2 bay leaves
4 carrots, peeled and cut in half
2 large baking potatoes, washed and quartered
1/2 cup flour ( I use Wondra because it dissolves in liquids)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Season the roast on all sides with salt, pepper, and the steak seasoning.
In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil and sear the roast on all sides. Add the onions, garlic, and tomato paste and cook until slightly colored. Add the wine, broth, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven.
Roast for 1 hour and then add the carrots and potatoes. Continue to cook for 2 more hours. Remove the roast to a serving platter and the vegetables to a serving bowl. Cover and keep warm while you make the gravy

Combine the flour and 1 cup of the braising liquid from the Dutch Oven in a bowl. Heat the remaining braising liquid to a low boil and stir in the flour mixture. Cook until the gravy is thickened. Adjust the taste for salt and pepper. Serve with the roast and vegetables.


Oven-Baked Ribs

Ingredients

Two racks of St. Louis cut pork ribs

BBQ Rub
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Plum BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup Asian plum sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Korean gochujang sauce

Directions

Place ribs in a 13×9-inch baking pan. In a small bowl, combine paprika, garlic powder, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, cumin, onion powder, chili powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle ribs evenly on both sides with 4 tablespoons of the spice mixture and cover the pans tightly with foil. Refrigerate for several hours.

Preheat oven to 250°F. Place in the oven and bake 2 1/2 hours.

Make the Plum BBQ Sauce.combine the ingredients until smooth and set aside

Remove the ribs from the oven. Discard liquid from the baking pans.

Turn the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the ribs with the Plum BBQ Sauce. Return the baking pan to the oven, uncovered, and cook for 30 minutes. If making the stuffed tomato recipe, place the tomatoes into the oven with the ribs.

Cut into 2-rib portions and serve.

Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

2 vine-ripened tomatoes
Salt
1/4 cup Italian flavored panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
Freshly ground black pepper yo taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut a thin slice off the top of the tomatoes and scoop out pulp and seeds. Place the pulp in a colander and ket drain.

 

Salt the insides of the tomatoes and rest upside down on a paper towel for 30 minutes. In a mixing bowl, mix together panko bread crumbs, onion celery, pepper, Parmesan and oil. Stuff tomatoes with the filling and place in a small baking dish.


Bake until tomatoes are cooked through and tops are golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Asparagus With Burrata Cheese

Ingredients

Kosher salt
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
2 ounces burrata cheese
Italian salad dressing
Coarse ground black pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Sprinkle generously with salt. Add the asparagus to the water and, depending on the size of the asparagus, blanch for 3 to 5 minutes. It should still have some bite left to it. Place the drained asparagus on a serving plate and drizzle with some salad dressing. Sprinkle with black pepper and pieces of burrata cheese and serve.


Swiss Chard and Ham Quiche

Ingredients

Easy Oil Pastry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour(for low carb/gluten-free crust use 1 1/2 cups almond flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
4 tablespoons cold water
Quiche
1 tablespoon butter
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups leftover baked ham, chopped
4 large eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 ounces Swiss cheese, grated (1 cup)

Directions

For the pastry:
Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. This can be done right in the pie pan. Whisk together the oil and water, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides. A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help you make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the top. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the quiche:
Rinse the Swiss chard and chop.
Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the onion and saute until just turning golden. Add the Swiss chard and continue to saute about 10 minutes, until the Swiss chard has wilted. Stir in the ham and season with pepper and salt.
Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese in the bottom of the pastry in the pie pan
Spread the chard mixture on top of the cheese.
Beat the eggs and mix with the half & half. Pour over the chard mixture in the pie pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.
Bake about 45-50 minutes, until puffed and browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Ham and Bean Soup

Ingredients

1 lb pound dry great Northern beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 small-medium potato, peeled and chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
A handful of parsley sprigs
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
1 ham bone and the meat surrounding it
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups of water
Leftover chopped ham, optional

Directions

Drain the beans and set aside.
In a large pot on high heat add in the olive oil and then add in the onions, carrots, and celery until soft, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the drained beans, the ham bone, and water. Stir, cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.


Add in the potatoes, garlic, and herbs, stir, cover and simmer for 20 more minutes. Taste one of the beans to see if they are tender. If not cook for 5-10 minutes and adjust the seasonings. Add additional chopped ham if desired and heat for a few minutes.


Miss baking your favorite foods because flour and other pantry items are in short supply due to the virus crisis? Have you thought about baking with alternative flours in place of all-purpose flour, such as whole wheat flour, grain flour, bean flour, nut flour, rice flour or coconut flour to name just a few? Any number of them will work as a thickener for gravy and nut flours make delicious pie crusts. Grain flours such as millet, amaranth, quinoa, and teft are high in nutrition and are excellent in muffin, pancake, crepes, cookies and brownie recipes. Coconut flour is excellent for cakes and quick breads. Coconut flour requires more liquid and eggs in a recipe than you may usually use in your all-purpose flour recipes. In the weeks to come, I will be sharing some of my alternative flour recipes with you.

Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients

6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar or granular sugar substitute
1 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Lemon syrup, recipe below

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line one 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients.
Pour all of the batter into the loaf pan and place it in the oven.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top, is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf and comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the loaf cool completely in the pan.
Once completely cool, about two hours later, place the cake on a plate and poke a few holes in the top with a cake tester or fork.
Drizzle the lemon syrup over the top of the cake.
Store pound cake in a container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Lemon Syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute
1/4 cup of water
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Bring to a boil the sugar, water, and zest in a small saucepan. Add the fresh lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature and pour over cake

Strawberry Muffins

Ingredients

Cooking spray
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs using a hand whisk. Whisk in the remaining ingredients one by one., adding the strawberries last.
Using a 4-tablespoon ice cream scoop, transfer the batter to the prepared muffin cups, filling them 3/4 full.
Bake until the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted in their center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Cool the muffins 5 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack, then transfer the muffins directly to the cooling rack to cool 10 more minutes before serving.

Banana Walnut Pancakes

Ingredients

1 cup store-bought gluten-free pancake mix

Or make your own:
Gluten-Free Pancakes Dry Mix 1 1/2 cups (210 g) basic gluten-free flour 9any kind), (140 grams superfine white rice flour + 45 grams potato starch + 25 grams tapioca starch/flour) 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup milk or buttermilk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Maple syrup for serving

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine pancake mix sugar, and cinnamon.
Stir in egg, milk, oil, bananas, and walnuts; until well combined (batter will be slightly lumpy).


Heat lightly oiled grill or frying pan over medium heat. Pour batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot with maple syrup.



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