Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Dinner

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the habits of those who live in countries bordering the Mediterranean sea, like, Spain, France, Greece, and Italy. Here is a good example of a dinner based on this type of diet. It is a very healthy way of eating.

Parmesan-Crusted Flounder

4 servings

Ingredients

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Olive oil mayonnaise
4 flounder fillets (about 1 pound total)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a shallow dish, combine the Parmesan cheese with the paprika and parsley.  Season the fish with salt and pepper. Brush the fish lightly with mayonnaise and dredge in the cheese mixture. Place on an oiled baking sheet or dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake until the fish is cooked through and beginning to brown along the edges 10 to 12 minutes. Serve the fish with the lemon wedges.

Whole Grain Pasta With Zucchini And Tomatoes

4 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt
1 medium zucchini (about 8 oz) quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon of prepared basil pesto
1 cup fresh mini San Marzano or grape tomatoes, halved
8 oz whole-grain linguine pasta
Pasta water

Directions

Combine 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in small bowl; set aside.

Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add zucchini and ¼ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.

Push zucchini to the sides of the skillet to create a clearing; add the oil-garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine the garlic tomato mixture with the zucchini and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove skillet from the heat and stir in pine nuts and pesto.

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large Dutch oven. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt to the boiling water; cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, drain pasta and return pasta to the Dutch oven. Turn the heat on to low.

Add sauce and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to coat. Season with salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl.


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.


Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

Chipotle Steak Marinade (Make this one day ahead)

Makes 11/2 cups

14-ounce can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes in juice
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 canned chipotle chile en adobo, diced
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 flank steak (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)

Taco Herb Topping

Ingredients

½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 medium scallions, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon honey or agave
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Tacos

Ingredients

Marinated flank steak in the sauce
1 tablespoon oil
Taco Herb Topping, recipe above
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, soft or crispy, warmed
Avocado slices
Grated cheddar cheese

Directions

For the Marinade

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a small (2-quart) saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 15 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until cold.

With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut the steak into 1 inch by 2-inch pieces.

Pour the sauce into a plastic ziplock bag and add the steak pieces. Seal the bag and refrigerate for several hours before cooking.

For the topping

Combine all the ingredients together in a medium serving bowl and set aside.

For the steak

Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place steak and marinade in the skillet and cook the meat for about 2 minutes. Turn the steak pieces and cook the second side for 2 minutes.

For the tacos

I like to place the tortillas in a holder. They are easy to warm in the oven and then fill. Spoon a small amount of sliced steak into the center of each warm tortilla and add a teaspoon of the prepared herb topping. Add additional topping ingredients as desired.


Have you ever ordered fish cooked in a banana leaf wrap in a restaurant? Delicious; and so I thought I would try making such a dish at home.

Banana leaves are very inexpensive to buy – a few dollars for a large pack. Banana leaves come in large, flat plastic bags at your local Asian market or supermarket (check the freezer if you can’t find them on the shelf or in the produce section).

Banana leaves can be used for baking anything “wrapped”, in the same way, you would use tin foil or parchment paper. However, banana leaves are porous (unlike tin foil), so some of the “sauce” or juices from your food item may seep through. It’s, therefore, a good idea to place your banana leaf “packets” in a glass casserole dish, or a tray that has sides on it, so that the juices don’t drip to the bottom of your oven.

Banana leaves serve many purposes, from adding flavor to foods cooked inside them, to simply being used as a colorful and exotic background for serving plates and party platters.

Banana leaves contain large amounts of polyphenols that are natural antioxidants. These are found in many plant-based foods and green tea. Food served on the banana leaves absorbs the polyphenols which are said to prevent many lifestyle diseases. They are also said to have anti-bacterial properties that can possibly kill the germs in food. The leaf wrapping protects delicate fillets from harsh, dry heat.

You can also use banana leaves as a kind of “mat” for barbecuing fragile fillets of fish, smaller shrimp, or vegetables that have a danger of falling through the grill. Simply lay a piece of banana leaf on your grill, then cook your food items on top of it (as you would with tin foil). The banana leaf will turn bright green at first, then brown as you cook. It will give your food a hint of flavor that is very pleasant.

To store banana leaves, simply wrap them in plastic and place them in a ziplock plastic bag and keep in the freezer. Banana leaves only require about 30 minutes to thaw, so this is a convenient way to keep them fresh.

Use scissors to cut the banana leaves into the size you need, depending on your recipe. For wrapping and baking food items, you will need a large “sheet” or leaf. Place enough for one serving in the center of the leaf, then fold like a handkerchief to make a square packet.

Banana leaves are also excellent for steaming, as it allows the steam to penetrate the food inside or on top of it. You can use banana leaves to line a steamer or to wrap your food and then steam it.

Secure banana leaf “packets” with kitchen twine. Or simply place the packet “seam-side” down to keep it from opening.

Caribbean Inspired Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaves

Serves 2. Double the ingredients for 4 servings.

Ingredients

6 navel orange slices, rind removed
2 (6-oz.) sustainable skinless white fish fillets (such as snapper, halibut, or sea bass)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 (12-in.-square) fresh or thawed frozen banana leaf pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the thawed banana leaves in hot water to soak for 10 minutes. Drain and place on a kitchen towel.

Coat fish fillets with oil and place them in the center of each banana leaf. Stir together salt, coriander, cinnamon, red pepper, ginger, and nutmeg; sprinkle evenly over the tops of the fish fillets. Place 3 orange slices on top of each fish fillet.

Fold each banana leaf piece to enclose the fish. Place packets, folded side down, on a baking sheet or in a glass baking dish. Bake at 400°F until fish is done, about 15-20 minutes. Unwrap and transfer fillets and orange slices onto serving plates. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.

Wild Rice, Almond and Mushroom Pilaf

Ingredients

Rice

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup Lundberg wild rice blend
Salt to taste

Pilaf

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Half a red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
1 chopped celery stalk
2 tablespoons toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Bring the broth, rice, oil, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. When the liquid returns to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer 40 -50 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet, and add the onion, garlic, celery, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until tender, and the mushrooms have softened about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and the remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring until the sherry has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with the fish.

Honey- Baked Squash

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large acorn squash (1 1/2 pounds), seeds removed cut into 8 lengthwise wedges
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the squash wedges on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Drizzle the olive oil over the squash wedges.


Sprinkle the squash with the cinnamon, salt, and pepper and drizzle with the honey. Bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes, or until browned at the edges and very tender when pierced with a fork.


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.


Oven Roasted French Cut Ribeye Steak

 

Ingredients

Onion Topping
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 tablespoons butter

Steak
1 ½ lb bone-in rib-eye steak, frenched
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

For the onions: In a medium skillet melt the 2 tablespoons butter and add the sliced onions. Cook until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Season steaks generously with salt and pepper; let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon. oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add the steak to the skillet. Cook until seared and golden brown, 2 minutes per side. Scatter thyme and rosemary sprigs evenly in the skillet and dot with 2 tablespoons butter.

Roast steak in the oven, turning halfway through cooking and basting frequently with the herb butter in the skillet until an instant-read thermometer inserted into steak registers 125° for medium-rare, 12-15 minutes, or to your desired doneness.
Transfer steak to a cutting board. Drizzle with herb butter from the skillet and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and divide among serving dishes. Top each serving with some of the sauteed onions.

Pan-Fried Potatoes

Ingredients

1 pound small potatoes, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 lemon, sliced
Kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

Place the sliced potatoes in a skillet cut side down. Top with the garlic, thyme and lemon slices. Add salt to taste. Cover with cold water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes. Drain well and reserve the garlic. Return the potatoes to the pan cut side down, add the garlic and olive and cook the potatoes until brown.

Sauteed Spinach

Ingredients

10 pkg, frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat until the spinach is hot and tender about 6-7 minutes.


Adapted from an article by Anthony Bourdain in Gourmet.

4 servings

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 ounces small whole mushroom caps
1 chopped shallot
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup of water
½ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Bouquet garni (wrap two sprigs of parsley, two bay leaves, and a sprig of fresh thyme in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie into a neat bundle with string)
1 pound fresh sea scallops, dried well
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Bread crumbs for the topping
Grated Gruyère or Fontina cheese

Directions

In 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan saute the shallots, garlic, and mushroom caps until the mushrooms brown and lose their liquid. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add the water, wine, bouquet garni, and lemon juice to the saucepan and bring yo a boil. Add the scallops, cover, and remove the pot from the heat. Let the scallops sit in the liquid for 5 minutes. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Strain the liquid and discard the bouquet garni. Set aside

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the saucepan and whisk in the flour. Do not let it get dark. Add 3 tablespoons of the scallop cooking liquid and mix until blended. Over very low heat, blend the flour mixture into the remaining scallop cooking liquid. Add the cream and simmer and stir until blended and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the scallops and mushroom mixture, and stir.

Fill 4 scallop shells or shallow 6-inch ramekins almost to the top with the scallop mixture. (If you’re not ready to serve the scallops, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Sprinkle the top lightly with bread crumbs and top with grated cheese.
Preheat the broiler. Broil the scallops until the mixture bubbles and the cheese melts and turns golden brown.

Roasted Vegetables

Save the leftover roasted vegetables for a delicious quiche. Recipe after Christmas.

Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil
4-5 large carrots, peeled, cut on the bias, about 1-inch thick
3-4 parsnips, peeled, cut on the bias, about 1-inch thick
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and quartered
1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
4 garlic, cloves, peeled and cut in half
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a large baking sheet with sides in foil.

Heat the olive oil in the microwave until hot. Place the carrots, parsnips, fennel, onion, garlic, and thyme on the prepared baking sheet. Pour the hot oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the salt. Transfer to the oven and roast until tender and brown, about 45 minutes.



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