Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Casseroles

Serve this pasta with a mixed greens salad and Italian vinaigrette.

Ingredients

4-5 cups cooked (leftover) pasta. I used linguine
3 links of Italian sausage
2 cups Marinara sauce
11/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

Directions

Brown the sausage links in a skillet and add the marinara sauce. Simmer the sausage in the marinara sauce for 30 minutes. Remove the sausage and cut it into thin slices. Set aside.
Mix the marinara sauce with the pasta. Set aside.
Combine the ricotta, egg, parmesan, parsley salt, and pepper. Mix with the pasta. Coat a 12-inch x 8-inch baking dish with olive oil spray.

Spread the pasta out in an even layer in the baking dish. Top with the sliced sausage and cover the top with slices of mozzarella.


Coat the dull side of a sheet of foil with cooking spray. Place on the top of the baking dish. Bake in a 375-degree F oven for 45 minutes, uncover the dish and bake for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.


All three dishes can be baked in the oven together, staggering the cooking time needed by each dish.

Stuffed Sole Fillets

Stuffing Ingredients
4 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 scallion, minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
½ celery stalk, finely chopped
1 mini bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Salt and pepper
½ oz oyster crackers crushed

Fish
12 oz sole fillets
Lemon juice
Butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a baking dish just large enough to hold the fish with olive oil cooking spray.


Combine the filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Spread the filling evenly over each fillet and add a few drops of lemon juice over the stuffing.

Roll each fillet, jelly-roll fashion, and skewer it with toothpicks and place in the prepared baking dish.

Dot each roll-up with butter and cover the baking pan loosely with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when touched with a fork.

Easy Mac & Cheese

No need to make a white sauce to get creamy mac & cheese.

Ingredients

12 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream
Kosher salt and pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup Velveeta cheese cut into small cubes
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

Heat the oven to 400°F. Cook the pasta for half the time recommended on package directions; drain.
In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, sour cream, and 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Fold in the onion and the Velveeta.


Add the cooked pasta to the bowl and toss to coat.

Transfer the pasta mixture to a greased 12×8-inch baking dish and bake until beginning to brown, 20 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the top of the casserole. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake until golden brown, 10 minutes more or until the cheese is melted. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Nut-Crusted Zucchini Sticks

Ingredients

1 medium-large zucchini, trimmed and cut into thin wedges
2 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch each of salt and pepper
1/2 cup finely ground nuts (any kind)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.


Place the zucchini wedges in a ziplock bag with the oil, salt, and pepper. Shake. Add the Italian seasoning and nuts. Shake until well coated. Place the zucchini on the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast the zucchini for 25-30 minutes until crispy and tender.


Spanakopita

Making this delicious Greek Spinach Pie doesn’t have to be complicated. I have simplified much of the process and it still tastes authentic. This is one of my favorite dishes.

Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 pound filo pastry leaves

Filling Ingredients
1 bunch scallions, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4-10 oz packages of frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
5 cloves garlic, grated
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil a 9×13-inch baking pan.
Combine all the filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl.


Brush each sheet of filo dough with olive oil as you work with them.
Lay half of the filo sheets on the bottom of the baking dish covering the bottom and up the sides of the dish.

Spread the spinach mixture over the dough; then cover the spinach with the remaining filo sheets, coating each in oil before placing them in the dish. Brush the top of the layered sheets with oil and bring over any of the filo sheets covering the sides of the dish into the top layer. Brush with more oil. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until the filo is golden-brown and crispy.

I serve Spanakopita with
Cucumber Salad
Lamb Chops

 


Swiss Steak is named Swiss Steak because the meat has undergone a process called “Swissing” in order to make it tender. Beef Steaks for Swissing are generally steaks that are not very tender unless they are cooked slowly in moist heat. It is made either on a stove or in the oven and does not get its name from Switzerland, as the name suggests, but the technique of tenderizing by pounding or rolling called “swissing”. In England and in some parts of the United States such as the Deep South, it is also called a smothered steak. Using round steak in this recipe makes for an economical dinner.

Swiss Steak

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
1 onion, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 pounds boneless round steak, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
1 1/2 cups beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter.
Cut round steak into serving-size portions. Pound the steak until1/2 inch thick with a meat mallet. Flour the steak pieces, pressing the flour into the meat; transfer to the skillet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; brown the round steak thoroughly, turning to brown the other side, Remove to a plate. Save the remaining flour.


Saute the onions and sliced mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir in the remaining flour and cook for a minute or two.


Add the beef broth, stirring well. Return the browned meat to the pan, cover, and simmer on low heat for at least 1 ½ hours or until the meat is very tender.

Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with mashed potatoes.

 

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1 large garlic clove, peeled
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water by 2 inches and add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Add the garlic clove. Bring to a boil; cook until the potatoes are very tender and easily pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes and garlic to the saucepan. Heat over very low heat for a minute or two to dry the potatoes.
Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes and garlic with olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients

Half a head of broccoli
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 lemon, squeezed
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Oil a baking dish.
Trim the ends of the broccoli and peel the stalks.
Place the broccoli stalks in the baking dish and top with the remaining ingredients.
Roast the broccoli until tender 15-20 minutes.


When broccoli rabe shows up in my supermarket, I know spring is not far behind in my area.

Sausage, Mozzarella, and Broccoli Rabe Pasta

Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Half of a large sweet onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 container (26-28 ounces) chopped Italian tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
8 ounces short pasta
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into two-inch lengths
8 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


In a large skillet or saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is golden brown, 15 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).
Add garlic and sausage. Cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Cook sauce until slightly thickened, 10 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes less than package instructions and add the broccoli rabe to the pot with the pasta. Cook for the remaining time. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to the pot. Stir in tomato sausage sauce.

Transfer to an oiled 3-quart baking dish Top with diced mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbling about 15 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving.


This entire meal may be baked in the oven together at the same temperature. Just stagger placing the dishes in the oven according to their baking times.

Baked Stuffed Shrimp

2-3 servings. This recipe is easily doubled.

Ingredients

12 jumbo raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail-on
1 large scallion, minced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 celery stalk, minced
Half a jalapeno pepper, minced
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 slice finely chopped cooked bacon
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Lemon wedges for serving

Directions

Preheat to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Using a paring knife, cut along the outside curve of each shrimp, from the bottom of the neck to tail, almost all the way through. Arrange the shrimp on the prepared pan, laying them open, cut-sides down, pressing gently to flatten.

For the stuffing
Combine scallions, mayonnaise, celery, jalapeno, breadcrumbs, bacon, salt and cayenne in a small bowl.
Spoon 1 teaspoon of stuffing onto each shrimp. Fold the tail over the filling and press gently.

Bake until the shrimp turn pink and the stuffing is warmed through, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with lemon wedges.

Zucchini Au Gratin

Bechamel Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Au gratin
2 cups. shredded cheddar cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 medium zucchini, about 2 lbs, sliced crosswise into 1/4” circles
1 shallot, minced
Bechamel sauce, recipe above

Directions

To make the Bechamel sauce

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Whisk in flour and cook the roux, whisking, 2 minutes. Add the milk in a stream, whisking, and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly (sauce will thicken). Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 2 minutes, then whisk in the salt and pepper Remove from heat and cover the pan.

For the zucchini

Toss the zucchini slices with 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl or plastic bag. Pour into a large colander and let sit for at least 30 minutes. This will pull moisture from the zucchini so your casserole will not be watery. Dry the zucchini in a kitchen towel.

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter a medium casserole dish. Add a layer of zucchini to the baking dish, overlapping the zucchini slices. Season with pepper and pour about one-half of the cream mixture over the zucchini. Scatter the minced shallot over the zucchini and sprinkle with half the cheese.
Make another layer with the remaining zucchini slices and top with the sauce and cheese. Bake until bubbly and golden on top, 40 to 45 minutes.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

If you don’t have garlic-flavored oil, add two minced garlic cloves.

Ingredients

1 (10 oz) container cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons garlic-flavored olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.


In a medium baking dish, toss together tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Top with thyme sprigs.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and very fragrant.


In my region, CSA’s, local farms and farmers’ markets are bursting with produce. There are so many choices that it is difficult to know where to start. Piles of summer squash might be a good place to begin. Zucchini and summer squash are plentiful during the summer months because they are easy to grow and mature relatively quickly. Some of the more common types are:

  • Patty Pan Squash is a variety of summer squash notable for its small size, round and shallow shape, and scalloped edges, somewhat resembling a small toy top, or flying saucer.
  • Zucchini is a green summer squash also called marrow in some areas of the world.
  • Yellow Crookneck Squash is a lemon-yellow, 6-inch vegetable, with a slightly bent neck that earns it the name Crookneck. For best flavor, pick summer squash like crookneck and zucchini when they are small
  • Cupcake is a hybrid squash shaped like a cupcake, with the soft edible skin of zucchini and the delicate, sweet flavor of patty-pan squash.

Here are some recipes to get you started:

Sausage Stuffed Round Squash

4 main dish portions, or 8 side portions

Ingredients

4 pattypan, cupcake or round zucchini squashes, stems removed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
¼ cup minced onion
¼ cup minced celery
1/2 pound cooked, crumbled Italian sausage
1 large slice Italian bread, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian herbs
4 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds with a serrated spoon, being careful not to tear through the squash. Remove some of the squash flesh with a serrated spoon leaving a ½ inch shell. Lightly brush the insides of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and garlic, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped squash flesh, onion, and celery. Cook until soft. Add the crumbled sausage, bread and herbs. Cook for about 5 minutes to soften all the ingredients.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide filling evenly among the squash halves, piling it up in the center. Top with shredded parmesan cheese. Add water to the baking dish to the depth of about 1-inch. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the squash halves are tender and the tops are golden.

Yellow Squash Casserole

This yellow summer casserole is a favorite all year round, great for family meals during the summer but also popular for holiday dinners, especially in the South. You can use yellow summer or crookneck squash for this casserole. The recipe ingredients are easily increased for a potluck dish or large family dinner.
This casserole is a good side dish that can take the place of a heavier starch, and it goes well with just about any protein, especially chicken or fish. Variations include adding chopped red peppers or green peppers with the onion that adds a little color as well as flavor. You can spice it up by adding chilies as well.

Ingredients

3 medium yellow summer squash
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion. finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 teaspoon honey
4 tablespoons melted butter (divided)
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (divided)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 1-quart casserole or baking dish.

Slice the summer squash and place it in a medium saucepan. Cover the squash with water and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Place the pan over high heat and bring the squash to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan; continue to cook until tender, 15 minutes.
Drain the squash thoroughly; return it to the saucepan and mash it. Add pepper to taste.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg. Add the mayonnaise, chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Stir to blend thoroughly. Stir the mashed squash into the egg and mayonnaise mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole. Top the casserole with the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. Toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter and then sprinkle them over the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve squash casserole hot.

Squash Frittata

Ingredients

8 oz Italian sausage, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 pound small yellow crookneck, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided plus extra for the broiling pan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 large eggs, beaten
3 oz sliced Italian fontina cheese, torn into pieces

Directions

Heat the oven to the high broil setting. Set the oven rack in the oven 3 to 4- inches from the broiler.
In a medium bowl toss the sliced sausage and squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper.
Lay the sausage and squash in a single layer on a foil-lined half sheet pan that has been brushed with oil. Broil the sausage and squash for 5 minutes. Turn them over and broil for another 5 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh colander.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk the eggs, herbs, salt, and pepper together in a medium mixing bowl. Add the drained sausage and squash. Stir.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick, oven-safe saute pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and stir with a silicone spatula to make sure the egg gets under the squash mixture. Distribute the Fontina cheese around the top of the frittata. Cook without stirring until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set on top, about 4 to 5 minutes. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the broiler back on and brown the top of the frittata, about 2 minutes,
Loosen the frittata from the pan by moving the spatula around the edges. Slide the frittata onto a plate or other serving dish, and cut into 6 servings. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Summer Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 small red potatoes (7 oz) peeled and diced
2 quarts chicken (or vegetable) stock
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
2 cups fresh corn kernels
2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cups yellow squash, diced
1 cup zucchini, diced
1 cup okra, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup mixed herbs finely chopped (dill, parsley, and chives)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions

In a large saucepan, bring the broth and water to a boil and add the garlic, onions, potatoes, turmeric and a generous pinch of salt. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add in the remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until all the vegetables are tender about 15 minutes. Serve in individual soup bowls and garnish the soup with grated cheese.



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