Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Cheese

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.


Baked Chiles Rellenos

I prefer to bake these chilies instead of frying them.

ingredients

8 fresh poblano chiles {peppers}
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 eggs, beaten
8 teaspoons granular flour, such as Wondra or Cassava

Directions

Preheat the broiler. Lay chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Cook about 4 inches. from the broiler until the chiles are blistering and black, about 5 minutes. Turn chiles over and broil until blistering and black all over, about 5 minutes. Put chiles in a large metal bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes. Peel the chiles and discard the skins. Cut a slit on the side of each chili. Remove the seeds. Set chiles aside on layers of paper towels to dry.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Stuff the chiles with 1 ½ cups of cheddar and place the chilies in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle each chile with one teaspoon of flour. Pour the beaten eggs over the stuffed chilies. Sprinkle chiles with the remaining cheese. Bake until the top starts to brown and the eggs are set but still soft, about 30 minutes.


Pizza Margarita

Marinara Pizza Sauce

1 cup Italian crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 dried Italian seasoning
Salt and black pepper

Dough

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

Topping

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz sliced fresh mozzarella
A large handful of fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

Directions

For the dough

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with Cthe paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.

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

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

For the sauce

Combine the sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl

For the pizza

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

Brush the dough lightly with olive oil.
Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the dough leaving a ½-inch border. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the sauce,

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and cover the baked dough with fresh mozzarella slices and basil leaves.

Bake 8-10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the crust is lightly brown.

Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


 

When yellow squash is abundant in your area, you can make this delicious bread with the squash. The bread is great for toast or serves with your favorite soup.

Cheesy Squash Yeast Bread

Ingredients

1 cup shredded yellow summer squash
3/4 cup lukewarm (90 to 95 degrees F) water
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 1/4 cups (13 3/4 to 14 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the flour, shredded squash, yeast honey, oil, and water.

Add the salt and cheese. Switch to the dough hook and mix for 8 minutes.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. l

Let rise until doubled, approximately two hours.

Oil a 9-inch inch loaf pan. Shape the dough into a log, and place it in the pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F,

Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.

The bread should be browned and reach an internal temperature of about 190 to 200 degrees F.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, De-pan the loaf, and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.


This frittata works for breakfast with fruit and toast. It is also good for lunch with a side salad or for dinner with vegetable side dishes and baked ham. The frittata also keeps several days in the refrigerator. Reheat for 2-3 minutes in the microwave.

6 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 spears of fresh asparagus, cooked and diced
½ cup jarred roasted red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup cherry tomatoes halved
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
Salt to taste
8 large eggs
¼ cup whole milk
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat the broiler.

Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat; cook and stir asparagus and roasted red bell pepper until the vegetables are hot.. Stir in cherry tomatoes, garlic, oregano, basil, and salt, and continue cooking until the tomatoes are soft for another 3 minutes. Sprinkle mixture lightly t with salt.

Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl and pour into the skillet to cover the vegetables with egg mixture. Pull up an edge of the frittata with a spatula and tilt the pan to allow the unset egg to run underneath and continue around the pan, lifting the frittata edge, tilting the an, until all the egg mixture is set.

Sprinkle with feta and Cheddar cheese. Place the pan under the broiler. Cook 1 to 2 minutes until the cheese melts. Cut in slices to serve.


Shrimp Kabobs

Ingredients

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 chopped scallions
2 tablespoons feta cheese, mashed
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 bell pepper, cut into 8 pieces
Half a red onion, cut into quarters
½ of a 10-ounce package coleslaw mix (with carrots and red cabbage)
½  cup pita thins broken into small pieces

4 to 6-inch skewers

Directions

Preheat an outdoor grill broiler or stovetop grill to medium-high.

Combine the parsley, scallions, feta, honey sal, pepper, t.vinegar, and oil in a mixing bowl and blend. Set aside.

Thread 5 shrimp and 4pepper pieces on each of two skewers. Place the red onion quarters on another skewer. Brush them with some of the dressing.

Grill the kabobs until the shrimp turn pink and the peppers are lightly charred, about 3 minutes per side. Grill the onion wedges until slightly softened and charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from the grill.

Combine the slaw mix and the pita chips with the dressing. Place on a serving pl; atter and serve the kabobs over the salad.

 

 

 


You can buy rolls if you choose but homemade really make these sandwiches. Serve the sandwiches with pickles and your favorite sandwich sides.

Italian Sub Rolls

6 rolls

Ingredients

Overnight Starter
3/4 cup (85g) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (113g) lukewarm water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup (152g) lukewarm water
2 3/4 cups (326g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons (8g) salt

Directions

To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.

To make the dough
Combine the starter and the remainder of the dough ingredients, and mix and knead by hand, or using a stand mixer, to make a smooth dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover it, and let it rise at room temperature until it’s very puffy, about 90 minutes, turning it over and gently deflating it after 45 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide it into six equal pieces.

Roll the pieces into cylinders, 4 1/2″ in length. Flatten the cylinders slightly; dough rises more in the center, so this will give a gently rounded top versus a high top.

Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. While they’re rising, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190°F.

Remove the rolls from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for several days.

Easy Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

2 servings

Ingredients

1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
10 oz shaved deli roast beef
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 sub rolls, split
4 thin slices of Provolone or American or Processed cheese, about 1 ounce each

Directions

In a mixing bowl combine the onion, peppers, garlic, oil, and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.

Spread the vegetables on a stovetop grill pan or large skillet in a single layer. Grill over high heat until they start to brown and are tender, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl.
Place the beef slices in a medium bowl, add just enough oil to coat them lightly, and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

Grill the steak slices on the grill pan over high heat, 1 minute, Turn the beef slices over with a wide spatula and cook for 1 minute

Warm the rolls.
Build the sandwiches with cheese on the bottom, meat, onions, and peppers. Serve warm.

 


Chicken And Vegetables

ingredients

4 chicken cutlets, about 2 lb
8 slices Prosciutto di Parma
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 small zucchini, about 1 ½ lb, sliced ¼-inch thick circles
2 cups diced plum tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
½ cup finely diced red onion
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 cup shreddedMozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
Polenta, recipe below

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Sprinkle the cutlets lightly with salt and pepper
Wrap two slices of prosciutto around each chicken cutlet.
Pour the olive oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish and spread the oil over the bottom of the dish.
Layer the zucchini slices overlapping each other across the bottom of the baking dish.
Place the prosciutto-wrapped chicken on top of the zucchini.
Top the chicken evenly with the diced tomatoes, onion, and bell pepper.
Sprinkle the mixture with salt and Italian seasoning.
Bake for25 minutes or until the chicken registers 155-160 degrees F on an instant meat thermometer.
Sprinkle the cheese over each breast and return the dish to the oven. Bake 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the chicken registers 165 degrees F.

Creamy Polenta

4 servings

Ingredients

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
1 cup polenta
¼ cup cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Place the broth and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add polenta, whisking to prevent clumping. Reduce heat to low. Add thyme and the cream cheese, and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed and polenta is creamy and thoroughly cooked for about 10 minutes.
Add cheese and salt, stirring gently until incorporated.

To serve
Spread 1/4th of the polenta on a serving plate and top with baked chicken breast and vegetables.

 


Suggested dishes to serve with the casserole: baked ham, sliced tomatoes, muffins, fruit salad.

8 servings

Ingredients

2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 large shallot, minced
1 bunch Tuscan kale {spinach/swiss chard}
1 large baking potato, peeled
1 garlic clove, minced
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Coat a medium baking dish with vegetable spray.
Remove the stems from the kale. Wash the kale well. Chop and dry the leaves.
Shred the baking potato on a box grater.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and mustard. Add the garlic, shallot, and, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, the shredded potato, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Stir the kale into the egg mixture, Mix well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Top the casserole with the remaining mozzarella cheese,
Cover with foil. and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake,
uncovered, for 15 minutes, until the top is lightly brown. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

 


Pasta

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 lb bucatini pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
4 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Zest and juice of 3 lemons
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until bright green and just barely cooked through, 2 minutes. Use a spider or strainer to transfer the green beans to a colander.
Add the bucatini to the same pot of boiling water. Let cook to al dente, about 3 minutes less than the package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta.

Return the pot to the stovetop and add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, then add the lemon zest and juice and 1/4 cup pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the butter and green beans, then toss to coat the pasta and beans in the sauce. Keep tossing until the sauce is glossy and thickened, about 3 minutes more.

Turn off the heat and gradually stir in the cheese, tossing constantly. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Divide pasta among 4 serving bowls and garnish with parsley, more Pecorino, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Italian Sausage And Peppers

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage
2 bags of mini peppers, stems removed
1 large onion cut into thick slices
2 garlic cloves, grated
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet with a cover. Cut the sausage links in half and add them to the skillet. Brown the sausage on all sides. Add the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the ingredients until the vegetables are tender.



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