Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Cheese

 

2 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS

2 small eggplants, about 10 oz each

¼ cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 sweet Italian sausage link cooked and diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 plum tomato, seeded and diced

5 basil leaves, chopped 

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 teaspoons grated Pecorino Romano

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Slice a thin layer off the top of each eggplant

Hollow out the flesh of the eggplant to create a boat using a melon baller or small serrated spoon.

Heat the oil in a small skillet and add the onion. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant flesh and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, salt, and pepper to taste the tomato and the chopped sausage. Let the mixture cool. Stir in the mozzarella. Stuff the eggplant shells equally with the filling and place them into a small baking dish,

Top each with 1 teaspoon each of Pecorino Romano cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more.


Stuffed Chicken Breasts

2 to 4 servings depending on how large you like your portions.
I prefer to butterfly the chicken rather than cut a pocket. The breasts are much easier to fill if butterflied.

Ingredients

2 {8 oz} boneless skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil,

For the stuffing
1/4 cup cooked spinach, squeezed dry
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon olive oil

Breading
½ cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1 egg beaten
1 cup panko crumbs mixed with 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
4 slices of tomato from a large tomato, ¼ inch thick
Olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl combine the stuffing ingredients. Mix until well combined.

Pat the chicken breast dry. Place the breast on a cutting board. With a boning knife, butterfly the breast. Place it between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a meat mallet to even the meat out. Repeat with the second breast.

Place half of the filling on one breast. Press down firmly on the filling to help it stick to the breast. Fold the other half over the filling and press the edges to seal. Repeat with the second breast.
Dredge the breasts in flour, then dip in the egg, and finally press in the panko crumbs. Place the breast in an oiled baking dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and top each breast with two tomato slices. Place the dish back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F.

Gnocchi With Peas

Ingredients

One 17 oz pkg Potato Gnocchi or

Homemade Gnocchi

2 pounds russet potatoes
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

Sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

To make homemade gnocchi

In a covered 8-quart Dutch oven cook potatoes in enough boiling water to cover about 20 minutes or just until tender (do not overcook); drain. Peel potatoes.

While potatoes are still hot, push through a ricer into a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add about half of the flour; mix well. Stir in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour to make a soft, pliable dough. Divide dough in thirds.

On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough at a time into a 1-inch-thick rope. Cut rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the top of each piece. Place on a baking sheet; chill while preparing the sauce (up to 2 hours).

Heat the butter and peas.

To cook the gnocchi

In the Dutch oven bring a large amount of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the gnocchi; cook for 10 to 15 seconds or until the gnocchi starts to float to the top. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi as they rise to the top of the boiling water, to the p of the pan with the butter and peas. Add the cheese and mix well. Serve.

 


Stuffed Zucchini

2 servings

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup leftover taco filling I used,y leftover chipotle chicken Taco filling.
Recipe 
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Cut a ¼ inch thick slice off the top of each zucchini. Remove the flesh from both the top and bottom with a grapefruit spoon.

Chop the flesh and cook it in a small skillet with the oil. For about 5 minutes. Add the leftover taco filling. Mix well and let cool to room temperature. Add the cheese and fill the larger two pieces of zucchini. Place the thinner slice on top.

Place the zucchini boats in a shallow baking dish. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Baked the zucchini boats for 45 minutes. Serve with a salad.


Spinach Pasta

Serve with garlic bread

Ingredients

8 oz spinach spaghetti or regular spaghetti
¼ cup olive oil2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red onion, sliced
1 large zucchini, quartered and sliced
3 plum tomatoes, diced
½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
8 oz jar pitted Kalamata Olives, drained
1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onion and zucchini. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and tomatoes. Stir well and add salt to taste. Cook until the tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the olives and keep warm.

Cook the spaghetti al dente and drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta water.

Add the sauce to the drained pasta along with the pasta water and cheese. Stir well and serve in individual pasta bowls with garlic bread.


Creamy Spinach Quiches

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
10 oz package frozen spinach defrosted and squeezed or the equivalent of fresh spinach
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
1 Basic Pie Dough, fitted into a 9-inch pie plate
4 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a skillet, melt the butter over medium. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach to the skillet; season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 /2 teaspoon pepper.

Sprinkle the bottom of the pie dough with half the cheese. Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach. Sprinkle it with the remaining cheese. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and transfer it to the oven.

Bake the quiche until set, 45 to 50 minutes. Let quiches stand 15 minutes before serving.

Cucumber Radish Salad

Ingredients

1 large cucumber peeled and cut into cubes
6 large radishes, trimmed and quartered
2 scallions, sliced thin
¼ cup dried cherries, chopped
¼ cup toasted walnuts
¼ cup chopped fresh mint

Combine ⅓ cup of your favorite Red wine vinaigrette mixed with 1 teaspoon honey. Mix into the cucumber salad. Ket marinates for about 30 minutes before serving.


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.


 

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.


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.



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

 


Insalata Caprese

Insalata Caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) is the perfect summertime dish for cooks in a hurry; slicing is the hardest part. The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for regulars out for a light lunch. They’d order a just-picked tomato and freshly made buffalo mozzarella on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of fughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products; everywhere else in Italy it takes the form of tomato, mozzarella, and basil. The dressing is always a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil — only. Vinegar would destroy the delicate flavor of the cheese and is never used. Sometimes I add Italian black olives to the salad for a change but it is not traditional.

Ingredients

2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup packed fresh basil or arugula leaves, washed well, and spun dry
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled if using arugula instead of basil
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

On a large platter arrange tomato and mozzarella slices and basil leaves, alternating and overlapping them. Sprinkle salad with oregano and arugula and drizzle with oil. Season salad with salt and pepper.



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