Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Dinner

Chicken Kiev is a dish made of chicken fillets pounded and rolled around cold butter and herbs, then coated with eggs and bread crumbs, and either fried or baked. In general, this dish of stuffed chicken breast is known in Ukrainian and Russian cuisines as côtelette de volaille. The history of this dish is not well documented, and various sources make controversial claims about its origin. In the 18th century, Russian chefs adopted many techniques of French haute cuisine and combined them with the local culinary tradition. The adoption was furthered by French chefs, such as Marie-Antoine Carême and Urbain Dubois, who were hired by the Russian aristocracy.  The use of quality meat cuts, such as cutlets, steaks, escalopes, and suprêmes became widespread in the 19th century, and a number of original dishes involving such components were developed in Russia at that time.

Kiev is the capital of Ukraine, and while the name of the dish may sound very much Ukrainian, it actually is not. It turns out that Chicken Kiev was invented by a French chef, Nicolas Francois Appert. Chicken Kiev was one of the most popular foods of the 1970s but fell out of fashion by the late 1980s. Ler’s bring it back since it is delicious.

Chicken Kiev

For the herb butter
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of butter for cooking

Directions

Combine the ingredients for the herb butter in a mixing bowl. Place mixture on plastic wrap or waxed paper and roll into a small log; place in the freezer for several hours.


Place the chicken breasts, 1 at a time, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound to 1/8-inch thickness. Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper.
Lay 1 chicken breast on a new piece of plastic wrap and place 1/2 of the herb butter in the center of each breast. Using the plastic wrap to assist, fold in the ends of the breast and roll the breast into a log, completely enclosing the butter; roll very tightly. Repeat with the second breast. Place chicken in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Place egg and water mixture in 1 pie pan, flour in another, and bread crumbs in a third pie pan.
Dip each breast in the flour and then the egg mixture and then roll in the bread crumbs. Press on the crumbs to completely cover the chicken rolls.
In a frying pan over medium-high heat a mixture of 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oi. Gently place each breast in the pan, sealed side down, and cook until golden brown on all sides including the ends, turning frequently until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Or
Follow the same method for preparing the herb butter and chicken as above. Place the chicken rolls in a lightly oiled baking dish and dot the chicken with additional butter and bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Lemon Parmesan Orzo

ingredients

1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil. Add in 1 cup of orzo, simmer for 7-8 minutes, test for al dente, drain; drizzle with oil. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Heat over low just until hot and serve.

Green Beans With Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients

1/2 lb green beans, tips removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the beans and cook just until they are tender-crisp. The time may vary depending on the size of your beans or how fresh they are but generally for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Heat the oil in the pan and add the chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon of water, and salt and pepper. Return the beans to the pan and toss in the tomato oil mixture and cook for a minute or two so the beans absorb the flavor of the oil. Remove from the heat and serve warm or at room temperature.


Pork Piccata

Ingredients

1/3 cup flour
Salt & pepper
1 lb boneless center-cut loin pork chops, trimmed of all fat (about 3 pork chops-1/2 inch thick)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons capers
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions
Cut each pork chop in half lengthwise to make 6 cutlets. Pound the cutlets thin between plastic wrap.


Place the flour in a shallow dish and add salt and pepper to taste. Dredge pork in the flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the pork for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove pork from the pan. Reduce heat to medium.
Add shallots and garlic to the pan; cook 30 seconds. Stir in broth and lemon juice, scraping pan to loosen the browned bits. Stir in parsley, capers, and pepper; simmer 1 minute. Return pork to pan; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve pork in the sauce.

Quinoa Pilaf

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed several times
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown, 2 minutes
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Directions
Bring quinoa and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover; simmer until quinoa absorbs the liquid, about 15 minutes.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to brown, about 6 minutes.
When the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl. Stir in onion, pine nuts, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tomato Salad With Burrata Cheese

For 2 servings

1 (8 to 10-ounce) ball of fresh burrata cheese
1 large tomato, preferably heirloom
Extra virgin olive oil
3 Fresh oregano stems with leaves removed
Sea salt or fleur de sel

Directions
Thinly slice the tomatoes and cut the cheese into pies. Place the tomatoes on a serving plate and top with the oregano leaves. Distribute the burrata over the tomatoes. Drizzle the tomatoes and burrata generously with olive oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel.


I served the grilled swordfish with a green bean salad and a Caprese salad.

For two servings

Ingredients

Dressing
1 lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Fish
Olive oil
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and halved
One – 12-ounce skinless swordfish fillet (sustainable)

Directions

For the dressing
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Whisk in the olive oil, basil, garlic powder, and salt. Set aside.

For the fish
Brush the fish with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Press the panko crumbs onto one side of the fish.

Outdoor grill
Heat an outdoor grill to medium. Place a piece of foil on the outdoor grill or use a grill mat. Place the swordfish panko side up on the foil or mat. Close the lid of the grill and cook the swordfish for 8-10 minutes. The fish will turn white and the crumbs will toast..

Grill pan
Heat a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat
Grill the fish until golden brown and the fish releases easily from the pan, 3 to 4 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the fish. When turning the swordfish over, use a wide spatula and try to keep the crumbs intact.

Remove the swordfish to a serving platter. Spoon the dressing and olives over the swordfish and serve.


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.



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