If you are looking to reduce some of the carbs in your diet, this is a good meal to make. Serve this wintertime dinner with pickles, Giardiniera, pickled peppers or olives on the side.
Italian Burgers With Garlic Lemon Aioli
Since I usually cook just for two, I cut this recipe in half.
1 1/4 lbs ground beef, shaped into four patties
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Sprig of rosemary
1 large clove garlic, crushed
4 slices (1/4 inch thick) sweet onion
4 slices fresh tomato (1/4 inch thick)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 slices 1/2-inch-thick and 4 inches wide of Focaccia bread, toasted
Quick Lemon Garlic Aioli
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Sprinkle of salt
1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Optional: ½ teaspoon anchovy paste
For the aioli
In a small, shallow bowl, combine the garlic and lemon juice. Stir to combine and spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, so the lemon juice can absorb the garlic’s flavor.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over another bowl. Using a silicone or rubber spatula, scoop the contents of the bowl into the strainer, then press on the garlic with the spatula to get as much juice out as possible. Discard the garlic.
Stir the mayo into the garlicky lemon juice until combined. Add the Dijon mustard and anchovy paste. Aioli will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 10 days. It will thicken up more as it chills.
For the burgers
Season the burgers with salt, pepper, and dried Italian seasoning.
Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high to high. Add the olive oil to the pan and tilt the pan to distribute the oil..Add the patties and onion slices. Cook, about 6 minutes for rare or 8 minutes for medium-rare. Turn the patties and onion slices over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the onion slices and place them on the toasted bread. Leave the burgers in the pan.
Add the butter, rosemary, and garlic to the pan. Using a large spoon, baste the patties for about 2 minutes with the garlic-rosemary butter; top each burger with a slice of tomato. Place ¼ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of each tomato. Cover the pan to melt the cheese, about 1 minute.
Serve the burgers on top of the toasted bread with the garlic aioli. I had baked Foccacia that was one-inch thick and I cut the pan into 4-inch square pieces. I then cut one square in half lengthwise to use for the base of the burger.
Red Cabbage Slaw
If you do not have lemon-flavored olive oil, add a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice to the dressing.
1/4 of a head of red cabbage, about 8 oz., shredded
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons lemon-flavored extra virgin olive oil
Cover cranberries with water and let sit for 15 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Drain.
Toss together the cabbage, carrots, parsley, walnuts, and cranberries.
In a serving dish with a cover whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the oil. Toss with the cabbage, carrots, parsley, walnuts, and cranberries.
Taste, adjust seasonings and serve. Alternately, allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour in the refrigerator, then serve.
Hosting a spring party soon for the mother-to-be//bride-to-be or the graduate or for a special birthday/anniversary? Spring celebrations are a great time of year for gathering with family and friends.
The first flowers of the season make perfect centerpieces. Grocery stores and home improvement stores have bulbs, like crocus, tulips and daffodils, in pots and blooming and these can add a feeling of spring to your party area.
Take advantage of the spring produce in the market. Make dishes ahead of time, if you can. Set up the drinks/cocktails in a special area. Small bites are the easiest and most functional way to serve party foods. Even if you are going to serve a main course, keep the appetizers and desserts simple finger foods. Here are some easy recipes to get you started.
- 12 ounces Italian salami, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- One 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- One 14 -ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
- Small wood or bamboo skewers
Thread 1 small or 1/2 of a large basil leaf onto a small wooden skewer. Add a piece of roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, artichoke and salami, arranging them in that order on the skewer so that it can stand up on the salami end. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.The skewers can be assembled ahead and refrigerated until serving time.
Crab Salad Rolls
- 1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
- 2 large celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds lump crab meat, picked over and lightly broken up
- 16 mini brioche or mini hamburger rolls, split
- 16 small Boston lettuce leaves
In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the celery and lemon juice and season with cayenne. Gently fold in the crab meat and season with salt. Fill the buns with the lettuce and the crab salad and arrange on a decorative tray. The crab salad can be refrigerated overnight. Fill the rolls just before serving.
Serve with crostini, flatbread or pita chips.
Makes 3 1/2 cups
- 1 1/2 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and very finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce, (marinara)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Place the diced eggplant in a steamer basket. Set the basket over 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and steam the eggplant until tender, about 12 minutes; drain well.
In a large skillet, combine the tomatoes with the garlic, oregano and paprika and simmer over moderate heat until thickened, 5 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and the eggplant and simmer, gently stirring a few times, until the eggplant is flavored with the sauce, no more than 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper; add the lemon zest and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The compote can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 24 walnut or pecan halves
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup finely grated zucchini (from 1 medium zucchini)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together butter, sugar, salt and egg until combined. Add vanilla, zucchini and sour cream and stir until incorporated.
Sift flour, baking soda and cocoa powder into another bowl and stir until combined. Stir in chopped chocolate.
Spray two mini muffin pans or one 24 cup mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Fill each cup with 2 tablespoons batter and top with a walnut.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes.
Let muffins cool slightly in pans on wire racks before removing. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup ground toasted almonds
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons water
- One 4-serving-size package (Jello) instant pudding mix (vanilla or cheesecake flavored)
- 1 cup evaporated whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/3 cup strawberry preserves
- Sliced strawberries and toasted sliced almonds for garnish
For the tart shells:
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar and ground almonds. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until pieces are pea-size.
In a small bowl, combine egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Gradually stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until combined.
Gently knead just until smooth and form the dough into a ball. If necessary, cover and chill about 1 hour until dough is easy to handle.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Divide the dough into 24 pieces.
Shape pieces into balls. Press dough evenly into the bottoms and up the sides of 24 ungreased 1-3/4-inch muffin cups.
Bake in the preheated oven about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
For the filling:
In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix, evaporated milk, vanilla and almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed about 2 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
Spoon 2 teaspoons of the filling into each tart shell. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.
Before serving, top each tart with a 1/2 teaspoon of the preserves and a strawberry slice and a few sliced almonds. Makes 24.
Yield: 20 cupcakes.
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups shredded carrots
- 12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil and eggs until well blended. Beat in applesauce and vanilla.
Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in another bowl and gradually beat into the sugar mixture until blended. Stir in carrots.
Fill 20 paper-lined muffin cups half full.
Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
In a small bowl, combine frosting ingredients and beat until smooth.
Frost cooled cupcakes. Refrigerate until serving time.
There are just about as many different types of condiments as there are different types of food, with various cultures having versions that are unique or particularly important to the people of that culture. Common examples of condiments include ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salad dressing, soy sauce, barbecue sauce and relish. Often added to a food to introduce new flavors or enhance existing ones, a condiment is seldom served or eaten by itself and does not typically contribute much nutritional value.
Many condiments are culturally connected to different types of foods. French fries are often eaten in America with ketchup, while in Belgium they are often served with mayonnaise and, in the United Kingdom, they are commonly sprinkled with vinegar. Similarly, certain types of foods are often served with specific condiments, such as soy sauce being commonly served with Asian dishes and grated cheese, such as Parmesan, being a staple condiment of Italian cuisine.
Condiments and spreads add that little kick to many dishes and, whether you’re eating hummus as a dip for vegetables or blue cheese sauce on chicken wings, these additions have become essential accompaniments. Sometimes, though, those little additions aren’t doing you any favors. Most of them aren’t very good for you. Most condiments, like ketchup, have a ton of added sugar and very little nutritional value. Even bottled salad dressing usually has a lot of fat and sugar in it!
Not all condiments are dangerous (especially when they’re made at home), but added ingredients can cause problems. While ’50 percent less sodium’ or ‘less fat’ seems appealing, these labels can get confusing. It’s important to understand how to read labels and not just compare them with other products. Light salad dressings, for example, can get tricky, according to Women’s Health Magazine, since most people assume ‘light’ refers to healthier, they often end up using more. Some lowfat condiments add extra sugar or salt to make up for fat and taste.
Sometimes, condiments may be the reason your meals are unhealthy. As far as nutrition goes, most of us already know that adding a few dabs of ketchup on your burger won’t kill you. Getting rid of condiments and sauces altogether isn’t the answer either, instead, look for healthier options and make homemade recipes as alternatives. Try the recipes below for some healthy homemade versions of your favorite condiments.
Makes about 3 ½ cups
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 28 ounce can of Italian plum tomatoes with juices
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Place the olive oil in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, stir and cook for 3 minutes. Add the spices, stir and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, paste and water to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer until reduced by half. This will take about 20 minutes.
Add the brown sugar and vinegar. Stir and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then run through a food processor until very smooth.
Return to the saucepan. Season to taste with salt. Gently reheat over low heat for 8 minutes.
Pour into a sterilized jar and place in the refrigerator until needed. Use extra ketchup to make some of the sauces below.
Seafood Cocktail Sauce
- 1 cup homemade ketchup (recipe above)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (or more if you want it hotter)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, recipe below
- Large pinch of Kosher salt
Mix all ingredients together. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, hot sauce or horseradish to taste.
Chill until ready to use – for best results allow sauce to chill at least 1 hour before serving.
Peach Barbecue Sauce
About 4 cups
- 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon onion salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 2 cups homemade ketchup (recipe above)
- 1 cup peach purée (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon butter, cubed and well chilled
In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the butter. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
(You may want to have a lid handy to protect yourself and your kitchen from any sputtering.)
Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. With a whisk, blend in the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated.
This sauce freezes well.
Makes 1 cup, enough for the recipe above.
- 1 cup peeled and chopped fresh peaches or 1 cup frozen
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
Process peaches, sugar and water in a blender 1 minute or until smooth.
Herbed Honey Mustard
- 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
- 3 tablespoons dry yellow mustard
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup tarragon vinegar (or any herb vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Put the seeds, dry mustard, and water in a bowl. Let this mixture stand 2 hours or until the seeds become soft. Stir the mixture every 15 minutes.
When the seeds are soft, put the mixture in the food processor and run until the mixture is smooth. This takes about 5 minutes.
Add the vinegar, honey, salt and herbs. Place in a lidded jar and allow to stand at room temperature to mellow (about 1 1/2 hours).
Store the jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for several months.
Olive Oil Mayonnaise
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup plus 1 cup light olive oil (Not extra virgin.)
Place the egg and lemon juice in a blender or food processor bowl. Let them come to room temperature together, about 30-60 minutes.
Add the dry mustard, salt and 1/4 cup of the oil. Blend until well mixed – about 20 to 30 seconds.
Incorporate the remaining 1 cup oil into the mixture. To do this, you must pour very slowly… the skinniest drizzle you can manage and still have movement in the oil. This takes about three minutes.
If you’re using a blender, you’ll hear the pitch change as the liquid starts to form the emulsion. Eventually, the substance inside the blender will start to look like regular mayonnaise.
Store in the refrigerator.
Homemade Tartar Sauce
- 1/2 cup homemade olive oil mayonnaise (recipe above)
- 1/4 cup pickle relish, see recipe below
- 1/2 teaspoon capers, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallots
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce or more to taste (recipe below)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Chill
Makes about ¾ cup of tartar sauce.
Sweet Pickle Relish
Great sandwich spread.
Makes 3 cups
- 3/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Pinch crushed red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 medium or 4 small cucumbers (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled, seeded and finely diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, chili flakes and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add cucumbers, bell pepper and onion. Return to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Transfer to jars and refrigerate at least 2 hours to let the flavors blend. This mixture will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
Easy Refrigerator Pickles
Use these pickles to top your burger.
Makes 3 cups
- 3 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
- 1 cups thinly sliced sweet onions
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Place cucumbers and onions in a large bowl; set aside.
Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook and stir just until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over cucumber mixture in the bowl; cool.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. You can, then, transfer the mixture to jars with tight fitting lids and store them in the refrigerator.
Homemade Hot Sauce
Makes 2 cups
- 12 ounces red jalapenos, stems removed but not the seeds and sliced
- 7 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
Wear gloves to clean the peppers and don’t touch your eyes.
In a large jar, combine the sliced chiles (and seeds), garlic, kosher salt and cider vinegar. Screw the lid on and give it a few little shakes to mix. Leave the mixture on the counter overnight.
The next day, pour the contents of the jar into a medium saucepan and add the honey. Bring the mixture to a boil, stir a few times, then lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the stove and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
When cool, pour the mixture into a blender and puree until very smooth (this will take a few minutes). Stop and scrape the sides down a couple of times.
Pour into a jar and store it into the refrigerator for up to one month.
Blue Cheese “Hot Wing” Dip
Makes about 1/1/2 cups
- 4 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened and cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons homemade olive oil mayonnaise (recipe above)
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove (or half a large), minced
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (recipe above)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
- 2 oz good quality crumbled blue cheese
Pulse the first the 10 ingredients in a food processor 4 times or just until blended. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and gently stir in blue cheese.
Cover and chill 1 to 2 hours before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
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