Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Healthy Italian Cooking

This recipe can accommodate any type of fresh fruit. Baking times will adjust. See below.

Pear Galette

ingredients

1 crust from 1 box (14.1 oz) refrigerated Pillsbury™ Pie Crusts (2 Count), softened as directed on the box
2 large, firm Bartlett or Anjou pears, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup honey
1teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Directions

Heat oven to 400°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with parchment paper.

Remove pie crust from pouch; place in the parchment paper on the baking sheet. Unroll.

In a mixing bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Add the sliced pears. Mix well.
Mound the pears, about 3 cups, onto the center of the pie crust leaving a one-inch border all around\d. Crimp the edges of the pastry up around the pear mound.

 

For pears or apples

Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 minutes. +
For softer fruit such as peaches or berries, bake for 30 minutes only at 400 degrees F.

Remove the galette from the pan to a serving dish and allow it to cool to room temperature.


Pan-Seared Chilean Sea BassWith Asparagus Tortellini Anr roasted carrots

Pan-Seared Chilean Sea Bass

2 servings

Ingredients

Juice of 1 lemon
2 (8-ounce) wild caught Chilean Sea Bass fillets skin removed
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2teaspoonlemon pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 large garlic clove finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup heavy cream

Directions

Coat fish in flour mixed with salt and lemon pepper. Heat a deep medium skillet and add the oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.

Cook until fish is browned and just opaque in the center, about 6 minutes per side, lowering heat if lemons and fish brown too quickly. Transfer fish to a platter and lemons to a serving plate.

Place the skillet over low heat and add garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice and cook for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and swirl in butter and cream.

Asparagus Tortellini

Ingredients

Half a bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
10 oz frozen mixed spinach and cheese tortellini, cooked al dente

Directions

Cook the asparagus the way you like them. I roasted them for the last 15 minutes during the time the carrots were roasting.

Combine the asparagus and cooked pasta. Add half of the creamy lemon sauce and mix well. Divide in half and place on individual dinner plates. Top with the cooked fish and pour the remaining sauce over the fish.

Roasted Carrots

Ingredients

3 large carrots, peeled
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F
Place the oil in a small baking dish
Cut eh carrots in half and then quarter each half. Place the cut carrots on the dish. Add salt and pepper. Add fresh herbs, if you like them with carrots. I use rosemary. Mix well. Roast for 30 minutes.


Filet Mignon With Mushroom Gravy

I served this dinner entre with mashed potatoes and spinach.

Ingredients

Steak
2 Filet Mignon steaks, each weighing 5-6 oz
Olive oil
Steak seasoning

Mushroom Gravy
1 shallot, diced
2 tablespoons butter
4 oz mushrooms, shiitake, cremini, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon dried thyme1/4 cup flour
2 cups beef broth

Directions

Pound the steaks so they are both one inch thick. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the air-fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
Rub the steaks with olive oil and season with steak seasoning or salt and pepper.
Place the steaks in the air fryer and cook for 3 minutes, turn the steaks over and cook for 4 minutes for medium-rare.

Use an instant-read thermometer to check the doneness. Although this recipe gives suggested times for how long to cook the steaks, it really varies based on the thickness of the steak. The thickest part of the steak should register 125°F for rare, 130 to 135°F for medium-rare and 140°F for medium. If you check the steaks and they’re not at your preferred temp, continue cooking them and check the temperature after two more minutes of air frying.

Remove to serving plates and let rest while you make the mushroom gravy.

For the Mushroom Gravy
Heat the butter in a saucepan until melted. Add the shallot and cook for one minute. Add the sliced mushroom and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Slowly add the broth and bring it to a low boil. Cook until thickened. Pour some over the cooked steaks.


Pizza Pinwheels

Ingredients

Overnight Pizza 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

Pizza Sauce
2 spicy Italian sausage links, cooked and diced
26 oz container of strained Italian tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pinwheels
Overnight pizza dough, divided in half {about 12 oz. each}
Pizza Sausage Sauce
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated parmesan cheese

Directions

One day before making the pizza:

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

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 pinwheels

For the sauce: Combine all the ingredients for the pizza sauce in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Lightly flour a large wooden cutting board. Roll out one piece of dough into a rectangle about 12 by 8 inches.

Sprinkle the dough with 2 cups pf shredded mozzarella chase. Spoon ½ cup of sausage sauce on top of the cheese and spread it out with the back of the spoon. Leave a 1-inch border all around the dough.

Roll pizza width-wise (the longest side) and seal the edges.

Slice the roll into 6 pieces and place them on one of the prepared pans.
With your hand, gently press down each pinwheel. Sprinkle the top with grated parmesan cheese.
Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the pans on the oven shelves after 15 minutes.
Allow thee pinwheels to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Creamy Italian Dip With Cut-Up Vegetables

Ingredients

Dip
3 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
1 tablespoon of dried minced onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup warm water
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup sour cream
½ teaspoon salt

Vegetables Cut Into long strips: Cucumber, bell bells, carrots, celery. Radishes and cherry tomatoes are also good.

Directions

Soak the Italian seasoning, onion, and garlic powder in the warm water for 15 minutes. Sir in the mayonnaise, yogurt, and sour cream. Add the salt and mix well. Cover and chill for several hours or even overnight.

Place the dip in a serving bowl and arrange the vegetables on a serving platter.

 


SAUCE
1teaspoon wasabi powder
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 garlic clove (crushed)
TUNA
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1⁄2teaspoon wasabi powder
2 fresh tuna fillets (5 oz eachand1 inch thick)

Directions

In a bowl mix wasabi and water to make a paste.
Let stand for 10 minutes.
Stir in vinegar, mayonnaise, and garlic.
Set aside.

Prepare a grill or preheat an air-fryer to 380 degrees F

In a cup, mix the soy sauce, oil, and wasabi powder.
Brush on the tuna fillets.

To Grill
Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side for rare tuna. Add 2 minutes more for medium.

To Air-Fry
Cook for 4 minutes[(for medium-rare tuna] then remove from the air fryer and let rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.

AHI TUNA STEAKS IN AIR FRYER TIMES
Rare: 3 minutes
Medium-Rare: 4 minutes
Medium: 4 ½ minutes
Well Done: 5 minutes

Place the fillets on the rice and top with the wasabi sauce.

Crispy Rice

Ingredients

2 cusp cooked rice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Peanut oil

Directions
Place the rice in a bowl and sprinkle with the vinegar using a rice paddle to fold the vinegar into the rice. Add the remaining seasonings. And mix gently.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet. When the oil is hot, add the rice and pan into a circle the size of the bottom of the skillet.
Fry the rice until crispy on the bottom. Turn the rice over with a spatula: hash brown style. Cook until brown. Divide in half and place on two individual dinner plates.


 

Servings: 2

Ingredients

2 (6 ounces) boneless cod fillets
2 ( 6ouncws) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
Half a medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream divided
2 thyme sprigs, chopped, divided
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons salted butter, divided

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in each of two ramekin baking dishes.

Layer one sliced potato on each of the ramekins and top with sliced onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake the potatoes for 30

minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F.

Male a well in the center of each baking dish and place a fillet in the center. Sprinkle with thyme,  salt, and pepper. Pour ¼ cup of cream over each fillet.

Return the baking dishes to the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Serve with sauteed greens.


Chef’s Salad

Ingredients

Any combination of vegetables and deli meats that you like can be used for this salad. The attractive arrangement of the salad ingredients makes it eye-pleasing.

I used the following to make two salad plates.

2 hat boiled eggs, quartered

10 olives

1/4of an onion, sliced thin

1/4 of red bell pepper, sliced thin

1’3 of a cucumber, sliced thin

1 celery stalk, chopped

12 grape tomatoes

1/2 an avocado, sliced

2 slices of deli turkey, cut into thin strips

2 slices deli ham, cut into thin strips

2 slices of Swiss or cheddar cheese

Lettuce

Ranch dressing

Directions

Arrange lettuce leaves over the bottoms of two dinner plates. Add the remaking ingredients in small groups around the plates. See photo. Drizzle each plate with dressing and serve.

Ham and Bean Soup

For this recipe, I used a ham bone I had in the freezer from my Easter ham. If you do not have a ham bone, use two ham hocks

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6 cups water
1 large ham bone
1 pound dried navy beans, soaked overnight (see below}
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

The day before
Soak the beans in cold water for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours) before cooking.

Directions

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add onion, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in broth, water, hocks, and beans. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beans are completely tender and soup is slightly thickened, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the ham bone from the pot to cool, then shred the meat and add to the soup.
Stir in thyme, pepper, and vinegar. Serve for lunch or dinner.

Ham Salad

4 servings

Ingredients

2 cups finely diced baked ham
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Half medium onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
Half a bell pepper, finely diced
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, and pickle relish in a large bowl. Add the ham, vegetables, salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir well and refrigerate until serving time.

This salad is also tasty mixed into cooked elbow macaroni for a ham and macaroni salad or as a sandwich filling.


Lamb Cake

Ingredients

1 pkg store-bought pound cake mix
3/4 to1 cup water (use 1/4 cup less than the package directions-my cake mix calls for 1 1/4 cups of water)
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Whipped Cream Frosting, recipe below
1 lamb mold

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare the lamb mold by coating it with vegetable oil. Let sit for a few minutes then wipe clean with a paper towel.

Then grease (use a solid shortening) and flour the lamb mold, making sure to get all the creases.

Place the front of the mold on a baking sheet.

Prepare the cake batter according to the cake mix directions.

Fill the mold to the top for the front of the cake, do not fill the backside of the mold.

Place the back of the mold on the front and place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the cake tests are done. (Test with a toothpick through a vent hole in the mold.)

Remove the mold from the oven, wait 10 minutes and remove the back of the body mold.

Stand the cake up and gently remove the front of the mold. Have clean towels rolled up and ready to support the head of the cake, while placing a rolled-up towel in the back of the cake to support that part also.

Place a dab of icing on a plate and stand the cake in an upright position. Frost and decorate with jelly beans, raisins, cherries, or chocolate chips for the eyes and nose.

(Best results cool cake in the refrigerator before frosting, this makes a firmer surface for the icing.) Place green-tinted coconut around the base of the lamb; add jelly beans and a colorful bow at the neck, if desired.

Whipped Cream Frosting

This is a great whipped cream recipe because it does not weep after it sits on the cake.

Ingredients

1 (8 ounces) package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream

Decorations: jelly beans, coconut, raisins, chocolate chips, food coloring

Directions

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth.

While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

12 buns

Ingredients

1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 cups bread flour or 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons.wheat gluten
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sourdough starter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
Powdered sugar icing, recipe below

Directions

Combine the flour, wheat gluten, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix with a paddle attachment to thoroughly combine the ingredients.

Add the sourdough starter, milk, butter, and vanilla. Mix together until a dough forms. Add the raisins, and mix them into the dough.

Switch to the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth — about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat the top. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double — about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place in a greased 13×9 inch baking dish.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until double — about 30 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for 20 minutes or cooked in the center and golden brown in color.

Cool on wire rack. Be sure the buns are completely cool before adding the frosting or the frosting will melt over the buns.

Powdered Sugar Icing

Combine the following ingredients to make a thick frosting.

1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

With a spoon, drizzle icing in a cross pattern over each bun.


 

Have you tried Sea Bream?

The ancient Greeks and Romans liked sea bream cooked with seasoned sauces and accompanied by fruit. They are most often found in coastal areas but have been caught at depths of up to 150m. Spawning occurs between November and December. Solitary fish, eat worms and crustaceans as well as smaller fish and have impressive teeth when you see them up close.

 

Interestingly, these fish start life as males and change sex at about three years of age.

With dense, moist white flesh, sea bream are usually sold whole or in fillets. With a satisfying meaty texture, a clean taste, and a delicate flavor they’re a good choice for dinner. Whole or filleted, sea bream can be baked, pan-fried, grilled, steamed, or roasted.

A good rule of thumb is not to overcook sea bream. In fact, it’s always better to undercook sea bream than let it spend too long in the pan or the oven.

Cook sea bream fillets with herbs and spices to enhance the fish. Cooking sea bream fillets only takes a few minutes on each side and they’re ready to eat for a quick dinner.

Here is how I like to cook these fillets.

Ingredients

Olive oil
2 sea bream fillets, about 6 oz each

Side Dish
20 cherry tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
A small bunch of basil, chopped
1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Potato Cakes
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 onion, diced
1 egg
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Directions

For the side dish
Place a small saucepan over gentle heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cut the tomatoes in half and add to the oil. Add the zucchini and season with salt and pepper and stir over low heat for 1–2 minutes.
Add the coriander, garlic powder, basil, and lemon juice of one-half to the pan stir, and set aside to allow the flavors to infuse.

For the potato cakes

Mix mashed potatoes, flour, onion, egg, black pepper, and salt together in a bowl until batter consistency.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop 4-inch circles of batter into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining batter.

To cook the bream
Heat a heavy-based frying pan over high heat. Slash the skin of the fillets in 3 places. Add a dash of oil to the pan and, when really hot, add the bream fillets skin side down. Season and cook for 2 minutes. (The flesh should be opaque two-thirds of the way up the fillet.)

Turn the fillets and cook on the other side for 1 minute until just cooked through.

To serve
Pace a potato cake on a dinner plate. Top with a fillet and spoon some of the zucchini mixtures around the fish.

 


 

I like this sauce for ravioli because it is thick and adheres to the pasta.

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
3 tablespoons (about 6-8 cloves) garlic, peeled and minced
2 28-ounce cans of whole Italian tomatoes
1-14 oz container of finely diced or crushed Italian tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
teaspoon chili flavored tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
20 basil leaves, chiffonade
Ravioli
Parmesan cheese

Directions

Pour the oil into a large pot over medium heat.
Stir in the onion and continue cooking, stirring often, until the onion is soft. This takes about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for another 1 minute.
Pour in the cans and use a wooden spoon to break the tomatoes into pieces.
Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat down to keep it at a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 11/2 hours.

Cook ravioli according to package instructions.
Tip: to drain the ravioli, set a colander in a large serving bowl. Gently scoop the cooked ravioli out of the water with a spider. Set the colander aside and drain the water from the serving bowl The bowl is now warm. Add a layer of ravioli, spread a layer of sauce, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.



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