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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Beef

Stuffed Zucchini

2 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
One large zucchini (10-12 oz)
4 oz lean ground beef
1 mini bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
2 scallions (green onions) chopped fine
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

Cut the zucchini in half. Remove most of the flesh with a serrated spoon. Do not go too deep or you will pierce the outer skin. Chop the zucchini flesh into small pieces.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet. Add the meat and brown it completely. Remove to a medium mixing bowl. Add the garlic, bell pepper, scallions and zucchini flesh to the skillet. Cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes.

Add the vegetable mixture to the browned meat along with the remaining ingredients (tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and mozzarella). Stir well and spoon the mixture into the zucchini shells. Place the stuffed zucchini in an oiled baking dish. Drizzle the top with a little oil. (Can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on top and the zucchini is tender.

Eggplant Parmigiana

First Stage

For each one pound of eggplant, you will need:

Salt
2 eggs, beaten with a few tablespoons of water
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat two large baking sheets with olive oil.

Peel the eggplant. Cut peeled eggplants crosswise or lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (no thicker). You want them to be thin.

Lightly salt the eggplant slices.

Place the eggs and water in one shallow dish and the breadcrumbs in another.

Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture, then coat lightly with the breadcrumb mixture.

Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 15 minutes, turn the eggplant slices over, and bake until crisp and golden, about 10-15 minutes longer.

This stage can be done ahead of time. The eggplant slices can be stored with foil between the slices in the refrigerator for a day or two or frozen until needed.

Second Stage

To assemble the casserole, you will need:

Spray an 8 inch or 9 inch or 8-by-11 inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 375 °F.

2 ½ cups Marinara (pasta) sauce
8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
Breaded eggplant

Directions

Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly.

Spoon 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the eggplant and place half of the cheese slices on top.

Add the remaining eggplant slices and top with the remaining sauce and cheese.

Cover the dish with foil and bake until the sauce bubbles, about 25 to 30 minutes.

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This is a great month to take advantage of some of the early spring crops that are coming to market. Broccoli, Cauliflower, all types of greens, beets and strawberries are some of the best choices. And, if you are lucky to have a friend who likes to garden, like me, you can reap some of the harvest. See the photo below for what I was treated to from his garden.

Stuffed Peppers

This recipe goes well with sautéed cabbage. See recipe below.

Ingredients

6 bell peppers, assorted colors
1 lb lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/2 cup jarred, mild salsa
1 cup frozen cauliflower rice, defrosted, or regular cooked rice
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Salt and pepper

Directions

Cut the tops off the peppers. Reserve the top and remove the stem. Dice the tops and set aside.

Remove the seeds and membrane from the peppers. Wash and set on a paper towel, upside down, to drain.

Heat a skillet and add the oil. Brown the ground beef until you no longer see any pink color.

Push the beef to the side of the pan and add the onion, bell pepper tops and garlic. Saute until tender.

Add the Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, stir, and remove the pan from the heat. Let cool.

Stir in defrosted cauliflower rice, salsa and ½ cup cheese. Fill the peppers to the top and place them in a baking dish just large enough to hold the peppers upright.

I used some foil to support them and keep them from falling out.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 -40 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and top each pepper with some of the remaining cheese. Return to the oven for five minutes to melt the cheese topping.

Sautéed Cabbage In Brown Butter

Ingredients

One head of savoy cabbage
1/2 onion, sliced thin
3 tablespoons butter
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper

Directions

Remove the large leaves from the cabbage for stuffing, Cut the rest of the cabbage head in half. Set aside one half for coleslaw or another recipe.

Thinly slice the remaining half of the cabbage.

Heat the butter in a medium skillet and cook until the butter turns a light brown, Add the onion and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes to tenderize the onions.

Add the sliced cabbage and cook until very soft and tender, about ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the stuffed peppers.

Oven BBQ Pork Roast and Vegetables

 

 

Ingredients

1 top loin pork roast, bone-in, about 3 pounds
8 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on a diagonal
8 oz carrots, thinly sliced
Half a sweet onion, cubed
1 ½ cups bottled or homemade BBQ sauce, see recipe below
Half a head of cauliflower cut into large florets

Directions

Heat the oven to 325 F.

Oil a roasting pan with foil and place the mushrooms, carrots, celery and onion on the bottom of the pan.

Place the roast on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the cauliflower florets on two sides of the roast.

Pour the BBQ sauce over the pork.

Roast the pork for 30 minutes per pound, or until it registers at least 140 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.

Baste the pork roast with the barbecue sauce several times during the roasting time.

Let the roast rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup water
Two 6 oz cans tomato paste
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried minced onion or powder
3/4 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
3/4 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer on low, uncovered, for about an hour.

Make sure to stir frequently, about once every 10 to 15 minutes, while the BBQ sauce is cooking.

This will help better incorporate the flavors and ensure that the sauce is evenly cooked throughout.

Let the sauce cool before transferring to a storage container.

Oven Roasted Salmon and Broccoli

2 servings

Ingredients

1/4 lb broccoli florets (about 2 floret tops)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Two 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced into rings, seeds removed if desired
1 small garlic clove, grated
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped green onion (scallions)
1 mini red bell pepper, minced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Mix broccoli florets with 1 tablespoon oil in a baking dish; season with salt and pepper.

Roast broccoli, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, 10 minutes.

Combine the jalapeño slices, vinegar, scallions, bell pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt in small bowl.

Rub salmon with 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Push broccoli to the edges of the baking dish and place salmon in the center.

Evenly distribute the jalapeno mixture over the salmon and broccoli.

Roast until salmon is cooked throughout and the broccoli is tender, 15 minutes. Serve with Cucumber Salad

Cucumbers In Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

1 large or 2 medium cucumbers
Half of a large cucumber
3/4 cups plain Greek yogurt (not low-fat)
2 scallions (green onion), minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Peel and seed the half cucumber. Grate the half cucumber on a box grater onto a paper towel, roll up and squeeze the towel to remove some of the liquid.

Peel the large cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and cut into thin half-moon slices.

Place the yogurt in a medium bowl.Add grated cucumber to the yogurt along with the remaining ingredients, except the sliced cucumber and stir well.

Fold in the cucumber slices.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator before serving.


Artist Pete Rumney

It has been very cold the past few weeks in most of the country, including the south. Warm casseroles and spicy dishes can warm you up but you don’t have to turn to macaroni and cheese for that to happen. Combining healthy foods with lots of flavor can do it for you. Try these recipes for a start.

Escarole and Italian Sausage Casserole

I save the ends of the parmesan cheese in a bag in the freezer and use them to flavor soups and stews.

Serve with crusty Italian bread.

6 servings

Ingredients

1 pound escarole, approximately 2 heads
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped onion
1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped
1 lb cheese and parsley Italian sausage (or regular Italian sausage), sliced into half-inch pieces
1/2 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup cooked cannellini beans
Parmesan cheese rind
Fresh black pepper

Directions

Remove the outer leaves of escarole if damaged or discolored. Cut off the stem ends, wash the leaves twice in abundant cold water and drain. Cut the leaves into two-inch lengths.

In a large Dutch Oven, sauté the garlic in 2 tablespoons of oil until golden but not brown. Add the escarole, salt and red pepper.

Cover and cook over moderate heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the escarole to a bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining oil, onion, fennel bulb and sausage to the pan; cook until the sausage is browned, stirring frequently.

Add the broth, Parmesan rind, escarole and beans.

Cover; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Beef Burgundy

Like other stews, Beef Burgundy, tastes best when made ahead so the flavors have time to mingle. Serve with noodles, rice, mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash.

Roasted carrots make a nice side dish.

Ingredients

1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt and black pepper
5 slices bacon, cut into thirds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour or arrowroot powder
1 (750-ml) bottle good dry red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 lb mushrooms, trimmed and halved
1-2 cups beef broth
2 cloves garlic head, crushed
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

Directions

Heat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until the bacon is lightly browned on both sides.

Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate. Break into smaller pieces.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Add the butter to the pan and melt.

In batches, in single layers, sear the beef in the hot pan for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.

Remove the seared cubes with a slotted spoon to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Add onions the garlic to the pan and saute for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour or arrowroot over the onions and stir until no dry flour remains. Whisk in the wine, tomato paste and anchovy paste until combined.

Add the bay leaves, mushrooms and thyme to the pan.

Add the beef and bacon and enough beef broth to come almost to the top of the beef.

Place the pan, uncovered, into the oven and cook until the meat is tender, 3 ½-4 hours, stirring occasionally and adding broth, if needed, to keep the meat half-submerged in liquid.

Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Stew can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Huevos Rancheros

Just a note here that this recipe is my version and not an authentic Mexican Huevos recipe.

For 2 servings

Ingredients

1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups jarred salsa
2 seeded and chopped plum tomatoes
1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
1 Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
4 large eggs
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheese
2 tortillas
1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions

Prepare the tortillas:

Heat the oven to 150° F. Place a pan large enough to fit the tortillas in the oven to heat.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium high, coating the pan with the oil.

One by one heat the tortillas in the pan, a minute or two on each side, until they are heated through, softened and pockets of air bubble up inside of them.

Then, remove them to the pan in the oven to keep warm while you cook the sauce and the eggs.

Make the sauce:

Heat the oil in the same skillet and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno. Cook until tender. Add the salsa, tomatoes, chipotle and roasted red peppers.

Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Return the heat to medium, so that the sauce is bubbling slightly.

Crack 4 eggs into the sauce in the skillet, cover and cook for about 4 minutes until the egg are almost firm.

Uncover the pan and sprinkle each egg with 1/4 cup cheese. Cover the pan and cook for another minute to let the cheese melt and to finish cooking the eggs.

To serve:

Place a tortilla on a serving plate. With a large spoon place two eggs and half the sauce on top. Repeat with the second tortilla and eggs. Serve immediately.


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.


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.


Hear are some of my favorite dinners for entertaining friends over the holidays. The underlined entrees can be accessed by clicking the word.

Oven Barbecued Brisket

Serve with baked potatoes and green peas.

Cooking Time: About 4 hours

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 whole beef brisket, about 5 pounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 or 2 large onions, finely chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup dry red wine or beef broth
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven that can later be covered over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minutes.

When it is hot, add the oil, swirl it around, then add the beef.

Sear the meat for about 5 minutes on each side, seasoning with salt and pepper; when nicely browned, remove from pot to a plate.

Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes (if the meat is very lean you might need to add a little oil).

Add all remaining ingredients, stir and cook for about a minute. Return the meat to pot, nestling it in sauce.

Cover the pan, put it in oven, and cook until the meat is tender, at least 3 hours and probably closer to 4. Turn the meat over several times during the baking process.

When the brisket is done, you can refrigerate it in its liquid for 1 to 2 days and reheat before serving.

Pasta Carbonara

Serve with a Green Mixed Leaf Salad.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced guanciale, pancetta or bacon (about 1/4 pound)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine or other long, thin pasta
4 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, or more to taste

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.

In a medium skillet, combine the olive oil and pork/bacon and turn heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.

Add salt to the boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of water before the draining pasta.

Beat eggs in a large warmed pasta serving bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan and the bacon and its juices. When the pasta is done, drain and toss with egg mixture.

Add a little of the pasta cooking water to moisten. Season with plenty of black pepper, and serve.

Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Serve with Meatballs and a salad.

Serves 6

Sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (chili) flakes
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Half a sweet onion, finely diced
Two 26-28 ounce containers finely chopped Italian tomatoes

Filling

2 lbs (32 oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup grated mozzarella
½ cup chopped parsley
24 jumbo dried pasta shells

Directions

Oil two 13 x 9-inch baking pans, or equivalent. Set aside.

Bring a big pot of water to boiling and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the sauce:

Combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, onion and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant – you don’t want the garlic to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

To make the filling:

Combine the ricotta, egg, parsley and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until combined, then stir in the mozzarella. Set aside.

To make the pasta:

Cook the shells according to package instructions in well-salted water – until barely al dente. Don’t overcook the shells or they will tear as you attempt to fill them. Drain and let cool on kitchen towels until you can handle them with your hands.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce across the bottom of each prepared pan. Fill each shell with ricotta filling, and arrange in a single layer in the pan. Ladle the remaining sauce over the shells, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncover for the final 15 minutes or until the shells are cooked through and the cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Herb-Crusted Pork Roast

Serve with roasted acorn squash and creamed spinach.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

One 3 pound top loin, bone-in pork roast, fat trimmed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon coarse or kosher salt
¼ cup minced herbs (I used sage, rosemary, tarragon, oregano and basil)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Pat the pork loin dry with paper towels. Place the roast on a platter or in a baking dish. Rub the roast with the olive oil and press the herbs and salt onto all the sides of the roast.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (up to 24 hours). Bring to room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Place the roast on a rack that has been placed inside a roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the roast over and baste with 1/4 cup of the wine.

Return the roast to the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°F. Cook for 60-75 minutes longer, turning the roast and basting it with wine every 20 minutes; reserve 1/4 cup of wine for the sauce.

Check the roast after it has been cooking for 60 minutes. Place a meat thermometer in the roast to determine if it has reached 150 -155 degrees F.

If not, continue cooking until the temperature is reached.

Transfer the roast to a platter and pour the pan juices into a measuring cup.

Place the roasting pan over moderate heat on the stove-top; when it starts to sizzle, add the reserved 1/4 cup wine and cook for 2 minutes, scraping up the drippings from the bottom of the pan.

Add to the pan juices in the measuring cup; let the fat rise to the surface, about 5 minutes. Skim off the fat and season the sauce with black pepper.

Carve the roast into thin slices and arrange the meat on a platter. Serve the pan juices on the side.


Sautéed Cabbage and Onions

I had half a head of savoy cabbage leftover from making the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Leftover cabbage makes a great side dish. Cabbage sautéed this way is quite delicious.

2 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
Half of a medium onion, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups shredded savoy cabbage
½ teaspoon paprika
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic to the pan.

Sauté until the cabbage is soft and somewhat creamy, stirring often while it cooks.

Add the paprika, salt and pepper. Toss to mix all ingredients together and coat the cabbage with seasonings. Serve.

Broccoli in Cheese Sauce

I had half a head of broccoli and about 1 cup of the cheese sauce left over from the Chicken Divan recipe. The recipe made a generous amount of sauce and I only uses half of the broccoli when I made that dish.

2 serving

Ingredients

Half a head of broccoli florets
1 cup leftover cheese sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place the broccoli into a medium pot with salted water to cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 5–6 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Pour the cheese sauce into the empty pot and heat on low. Add the drained broccoli and toss to coat, Serve when the broccoli is hot.

Texas Chili Stuffed Burritos

Instead of reheating the Texas Chili, I decide to use some of it in burritos for our dinner. The original recipe made quite a lot, so there was plenty leftover for the burritos.

2 servings

Ingredients

1 cup of leftover Texas Chili
½ cup cooked black beans
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 flour tortillas

Directions

Heat the chili and beans together. Lay a tortilla on a flat surface. Arrange half of the chili mixture in the middle of the tortilla. Top with 1/4 cup cheese.

Fold two sides of the burrito in, then fold the remaining two sides over to form a small packet. Please seam-side down on a plate.

Repeat with the remaining tortilla and filling. Place on a microwave plate and heat until warm. Serve with Guacamole and Sour Cream.



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