Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Monthly Archives: July 2021

Try to buy authentic Mexican flour tortillas, for example, El Milagro. There is a big difference in flavor over supermarket brands.

Tacos with Chipotle Crema

Serves 4

ingredients

Chicken filling
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium tomato, chopped shredded d
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Crema
2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon salt

Topping
Shredded lettuce
Shredded cheddar cheese
Pickles jalapeno slices

Directions
In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil and cook the onion, bell pepper, paprika, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt until the veggies are soft, 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the tomato and
chicken, and cook until the filling is heated through, stirring about 3 minutes.

Warm the tortillas in moistened paper towels in the microwave for 30 seconds, or in a taco holder in a 350-degree oven until warm, about 2 minutes.

Stir the chipotle into the sour cream.

Pile the filling into the tortillas, topping with cheddar cheese, chipotle sour cream, and lettuce

Black Beans

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 lime, juiced
1 scallion, diced
1 garlic clove. Minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 jalapeno chile, sliced
2 cups cooked {see recipe below} or canned {drained} lack beans

Directions

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add all the ingredients, except the black beans. Saute over low heat until the onion is soft and the corn is cooked for about 5 minutes. Gently stir in the cooked beans and heat until hot, about 6 minutes.
Serve with the tacos.

Cooking the beans:
I use black soybeans because they are delicate and have fewer carbs than regular brands. However, they do take longer to cook than regular black beans.

Black Beans with Chiles
8 oz dried black beans or black soybeans
1 tablespoon oil
1 small red onion, cut in half
1 small carrot, cut in half
2 dried Mexican chilies, any type
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place oil, onion, and carrot in a Dutch oven. Cook until the onion is tender. Drain beans and add to the pan. Add whole chiles, cumin, and chicken broth.. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 2houses. Uncover, add salt and pepper and simmer until beans are very tender, vegetables, and about 1 1 to2 more hours depending on the type of bean you are using. Drain the beans. Remove dried chilies.

Homemade Coleslaw

Ingredients

2 scallions, minced
16 oz package of coleslaw mix

Dressing
1 teaspoon honey or another sweetener
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

In a medium serving bowl with a cover, combine the dressing ingredients using a whisk.
Add the shredded cabbage and scallions and stir gently to mix.
Refrigerate for several hours before serving.


Grilled Pork Chops

This recipe makes 6 servings but the recipe can easily be cut down to 2 or 3 servings.

Ingredients

1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
2 teaspoons minced garlic
6 boneless pork loin chops, about 2 lbs total, and cut 1-inch thick

Directions

Mix water, soy sauce, vegetable oil, lemon pepper seasoning, and minced garlic in a wide glass dish; add pork chops and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Preheat an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
Remove pork chops from the marinade and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade.
Cook the pork chops on the preheated grill until no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).

 Pan-Fried Lemon Potatoes

Ingredients

1 pound whole small potatoes
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 lemon, cut in half
Kosher salt
Olive oil

Directions

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add garlic, rosemary sprigs, and one lemon half to the water and season well with salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain well and reserve the lemon half, garlic cloves, and rosemary.

Let potatoes cool to room temperature and peel them. Cut potatoes in half. Place on a plate until ready to cook.
Zest the lemon half that was not cooked with the potatoes. Chop the reserved garlic and rosemary and mix together with the lemon zest. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet and heat. Add the potatoes cut-side down to the skillet. Cook until the bottom of the potatoes are a deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a metal spatula, turn the potatoes and cook on the second side for an additional 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and drain well. Place the potatoes in a serving bowl. Squeeze both lemon halves (cooked and uncooked) over the potatoes and sprinkle with the garlic, rosemary reserved mixture.

Sauteed Spinach 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
Two 10-ounce bags of frozen spinach
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add spinach and toss to coat. Cover and cook until defrosted, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add lemon juice, salt, and crushed red pepper. Toss to coat and serve immediately.


 

Summertime Corn Chowder

For the corn stock ingredients

12 corn cobs (corn kernels removed and set aside for the chowder)
2 chive stalks
2 stems fresh parsley
2 stems fresh thyme
1 bay leaf

Directions

Put corn cobs, chives, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and cold water to cover in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 1 1⁄2 hours. Strain, discard the solids, and measure the broth.

If you do not have 6 cups add water to make the 6 cups. Set aside the broth.

For the chowder ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, white and light green sections, chopped
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 carrots, diced
1 bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups fresh corn kernels, divided
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk
6 cups corn stock or vegetable broth if you don’t make the corn stock
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Grated cheddar cheese, chopped chives, or crumbled bacon, for garnish

Directions

Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or large soup pot.

Add the leeks, celery, carrots, bell pepper, jalapeno, and potatoes to the pot and saute for ten minutes until soft.

Add 3 cups of corn, the 6 cups of corn stock, chili powder, and thyme.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for an hour. Remove the thyme branches.

Take the pot off the heat and puree the contents with an immersion blender.

Add the half and half, salt and pepper to taste, and the remaining 3 cups of corn.

Return the pot to heat and simmer the soup for about 30 minutes.

Corn Griddle Cakes

Ingredients

1 ½ cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for greasing the griddle
3 cups freshly shucked corn kernels, from about 4 ears
1 small jalapeño chile, finely chopped, or to taste
3 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
Salsa or Sour Cream, for serving

Directions

Stir together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and mix briefly with a wooden spoon or whisk to obtain a thick batter. Add corn kernels, jalapeño, and scallions and stir to combine.

Set griddle or large cast-iron pan over medium heat. When the griddle is hot, grease lightly with butter, using a folded paper towel or pastry brush. Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle. Adjust heat as necessary to keep griddle cakes from browning too quickly. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, then carefully flip with a spatula and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes.
Serve immediately as soon as griddle cakes are ready or keep warm in a low oven until all the batter is used. To serve, put 3 griddle cakes on a plate. Top with a generous spoonful of salsa or sour cream.


Italian Style Sea Bass

Ingredients

12 oz Chilean sea bass, cut into 2 portions
1 fresh lemon squeezed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
2 pats butter
Salt, pepper to taste
1 tablespoon each fresh parsley, basil, minced
1/4 cup or more of Italian flavored bread crumbs

Directions

Oil a baking pan large enough to hold the fish.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
Lay the Sea Bass skin side down in the pan.
Whisk the lemon juice with the dill, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and garlic together.
Drizzle over each piece of fish, reserving some for the top.
Top each fillet with Italian bread crumbs and a pat of butter…
Bake in a preheated oven for around 20 minutes.

Baked Tomato Slices

Ingredients

1 large beefsteak tomato
2 ¼ inch thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
Several fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

Directions

Cut the tomato in half horizontally. Place them I cut the dude up in a small baking dish.
Top with mozzarella and basil. Drizzle with oil.
Place in the oven for the last 5 minutes of the fish’s baking time.

Italian Style Rice And Peas

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 green onion minced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup long-grain rice
1 cup chicken stock
1 /2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Sauté green onion on a medium saucepan with 1 tablespoon of oil until soft. Add garlic and rice. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
Lower the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook 15 minutes. Add the peas and parsley. Cover the pan and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in the cheese snd serves with the fish.


Healthy Caesar Salad

Ingredients

Makes about 1/2 cup. Can easily be doubled.

Ingredients:

Dressing
1/2 small clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Salad

Half a head of Romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces and1/2 cup croutons

Directions:

Place garlic and salt in a medium bowl and mash with the back of a spoon to form a paste. Add lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, anchovy paste, and pepper; whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Add cheese and whisk to combine.

Chicken Piccata

Ingredients

Four 6 oz boneless, skinless cutlets (turkey, chicken, veal, pork, or fish), pounded until thin
Kosher salt
Ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, preferably Wondra
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons white wine, or dry vermouth
1 lemon, juiced (4 tablespoons),
1 tablespoon capers

Directions

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Lightly coat in flour. Shake off excess.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and butter, swirl them around the pan, and add the cutlets. Turn the heat to medium and saute for 2 minutes per side. Add the wine, lemon juice, and capers, swirl them around in the pan and turn off the heat. Serve immediately.

Orecchiette Pasta

Ingredients

Hakf Pound Dried Orecchiette Pasta
2 large zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
2 cloves garlic, minced
Half a red onion sliced thin
Salt & Pepper To Taste
1/3  cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, sliced into thin strips

Directions

Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook as per package instructions until the last 4-5 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta and reserve one cup of pasta water.

In the drained pasta pot, pour 3 tablespoons of the sundried tomato oil into the pot and heat until warm. Add the zucchini and remaining ingredients. Stir and cook for three minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Return the pasta to the pot and adding water as needed to keep it moist.


Farro

One of the seven original grains cited in the Bible, farro was popular for hundreds of years until modern baking techniques left it behind.  Americans are finding it again and realizing that this savory and tasty grain has many modern uses. Italians not only like to use it in bread but also in cakes, pizza, and soups. Related to wheat but very different, this grain is friendly to the body, a great source of fiber, and naturally contains high levels of nutrients, vitamins, and protein.

Farro with Artichokes

Makes 6 servings, about 1 cup each

In this dish, farro stands in for rice in a risotto-like dish, full of tomatoes, artichokes, and fresh basil.

1 1/2 cups farro, rinsed
1 sprig of fresh sage
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1-15-ounce can no sodium added, diced tomatoes drained well
1 9-ounce box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 1/2-2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Directions

1. Place farro in a large saucepan and cover with about 2 inches of water. Add sage and rosemary. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the farro is tender but still firm to the bite, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the herbs and drain.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the farro, tomatoes, artichokes, basil, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.
3. Add 1/2 cup broth (or water), bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until most of the broth is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining broth (or water), adding it in 1/2-cup increments and stirring until it’s absorbed and the farro is creamy but still has a bit of bite, about 10 minutes total. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese and lemon zest. Serve sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

 Italy‘s Other National Dish-Polenta                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Polenta, a coarsely or finely ground yellow or white cornmeal, has been called by some the “Italian grits” and there are similarities to the hominy grits that are so popular in the southern United States. The key to the popularity of Polenta is its versatility. It can be served with nearly anything and that is why it has spread to every corner of Italy, where Italians always make use of what is locally grown or raised. Soft polenta is often a replacement for bread during a meal, or instead of the pasta course, served with butter and cheese and possibly shaved truffles. Polenta can also be served as a side dish to regional meat dishes such as Osso Bucco, chicken, and fish. Polenta in cake form can be layered with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and baked.

Italian Style Braised Pork Chops With Polenta

  • 4 boneless loin pork chops (about 1 inch thick) and trimmed of all fat
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup of sliced white mushrooms
  • 1-15 oz. can of diced tomatoes ( no salt added)
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper. Dredge chops in flour.

 Heat oil in a large skillet with a cover. Brown chops on both sides. Add onions, sweet peppers, garlic, and mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and oregano and cover and let simmer for about an hour until tender.

POLENTA

  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 cups of instant polenta
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
Bring water to a boil and slowly add Polenta. Cook Polenta while whisking constantly for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add oil, cheese, salt, and pepper. Transfer Polenta to a lightly oiled 9×13-inch dish, smoothing until flat. Chill in refrigerator 30 minutes or until firm. Cut into 3 “ squares, brush with olive oil and grill, pan-fry, or broil until golden brown on the outside and heated through. Place pork chops and sauce over Polenta squares.

Extra squares of Polenta can be frozen for future meals.

Polenta Squares



This is not your gourmet recipe for Eggs Benedict. It is my simplified version with an easy-to-make sauce. Store-Bought muffins are perfectly fine but occasionally I like to make the homemade version because they are sturdier for recipes like this than the stores.

Eggs Benedict

2 servings

Ingredients

4 slices of baked ham cut to fit the bottom of the muffins and warmed
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 English muffins, toasted {store bought or homemade}

Cheese Sauce
1/2 cup cubed Velveeta cheese
¼ cup milk

Directions
Fill a large skillet halfway with water and bring to a boil on medium heat. Add the vinegar and salt. Turn the heat down until simmering.
Break each egg into a small bowl and gently add to the simmering water. Cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let the eggs poach for 3 minutes.

For the sauce
Place the cheese and milk in a microwave bowl and heat in the microwave for 2’3 minutes until smooth.
Remove the eggs, one at a time with a slotted spoon, and hold the spoon over a clean kitchen towel to drain for a few seconds. Place the egg on top of the ham for each of the 4 muffin halves.
Place two muffin halves on each serving plate. Top each egg with 2 tablespoons of sauce and serve immediately.

Homemade Baked English Muffins

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons vinegar, white or cider

Directions

Stir together all the ingredients in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat for 1 minute at the high speed of an electric mixer; the dough will become somewhat smooth.
Scrape the dough into the center of the bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for about 60 minutes until it’s quite puffy.
Cover two large baking sheets; or line with parchment. Grease twelve 3 ¾” English muffin rings, and place them on the baking sheets.
Turn the dough onto a lightly greased or floured work surface. Cut it into 12 equal pieces; each will weigh a scant 2 ounces..
Shape the dough into balls. Place each ball into a ring, pressing it down to flatten somewhat, and top with a greased baking sheet (or a sheet of parchment, then the baking sheet). The baking sheet should be resting atop the rings.
Let the muffins rise for about 60 to 90 minutes until they’ve puffed up noticeably. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Bake the risen muffins for 10 minutes. Flip the pans over, and bake for 5 minutes more. Remove the top pan, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, and the interior of one registers about 200°F on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the muffins from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool. Remove their rings as soon as you’re able. When completely cool, store muffins in a plastic bag.
Yield: 12 muffins.
Adapted from King Arthur recipes

 


Zucchini Frittata

8 servings

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes
1 medium onion
2 large zucchini
8 fresh sage leaves, chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
12 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Cut the potatoes, onion, and zucchini into thinly sliced rounds.
Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet. Add the potatoes and cook until softened, Add the garlic and onions, Cover the pan and cook until the onions are soft. Add the zucchini and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Pour in the eggs and tilt the pan so the vegetables are covered. Cook for a few minutes and using a spatula lift the edges of the mixture to allow the uncooked egg to drain underneath. Cook until most of the egg is set,
Tuen the broiler to high,


Sprinkle the top of the frittata with the cheeses. Place the pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes. The top should be golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into servings pieces.


Scallop and Prosciutto Kebabs

The shellfish and squash kebabs can be grilled on a sheet of heavy-duty foil to prevent sticking.

4 servings

You can also make a combination of shrimp and scallops if you prefer.

Ingredients

16 large sea scallops (about 1½ pounds)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
16 large basil leaves

Directions

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium. Or use a stovetop grill pan.

If the scallops still have the tough muscle that attaches them to the shell, trim it off. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels.

Whisk together the lemon juice and a hefty pinch of salt in a medium bowl until the salt has dissolved; whisk in the olive oil. Add the scallops and toss until they are well coated.

Cut the prosciutto slices in half lengthwise. Arrange the strips on a work surface and place a basil leaf on the edge of each strip. Top the loaf with a scallop and wrap the prosciutto around the scallop to enclose it. Thread 4 prosciutto-wrapped scallops onto each of 4 metal skewers. (If using wooden skewers, soak them for 20 minutes in water before threading the scallops.)

Place the skewers on the grill and cook the scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until almost firm to the touch, transfer to plates, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Grilled Summer Squash

This recipe can be broiled also.

8 servings

Ingredients
4 medium zucchini, about 6 inches long and 6-7 ounces each
4 medium yellow squash, about 6 inches long and 6-7 ounces each

Marinade
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped scallions, white portion only
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Directions

Trim the ends of the zucchini and the squash, cut them into 2-inch rounds.
Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and add the squash rounds. Roll the bag to evenly coat in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat a well-oiled charcoal or gas grill to medium. Or use a stovetop grill pan.
Remove the zucchini and squash from the bag and thread on skewers.
Place the skewers on the grate, close the lid, and grill until well marked, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the skewers over, close the lid, and grill on the second side until well marked, 5 to 7 minutes.



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