Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Sauces

While this post is about dinner for two, I am posting my traditional meatball recipe because when I make the entire recipe. That way I can freeze them in small batches for the future. Add a Garden Salad to round out the menu.

Italian Meatballs

Makes 18 to 20 meatballs. Make the meatball mixture early in the day.

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs
1 cup freshly grated parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3cups stale Italian bread, crumbled
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
Olive oil

Directions

Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Blend bread crumbs into the meat mixture. Slowly add the water 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture should be very moist but still, hold its shape. Refrigerate for several hours.
Shape the meat mixture into 3-inch balls.

Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet. Fry meatballs in batches.

When the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp, remove it from the heat and drain on a paper towel. (If your mixture is too wet, cover the meatballs while they are cooking so that they hold their shape better.)
For dinner for two;
Place a ladle of sauce in a small baking dish. Place 4 meatballs in the dish. Cover with sauce. Cover the dish and bake in the oven with the ravioli.


Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper (optional)
Two 26 oz containers can of finely chopped Italian tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir until well mixed. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook partially covered for 1 hour.

Ravioli Bake

I love that ravioli; i can be cooked this. No more breaking apart in boiling water. If you double the recipe use two baking dishes that can go into the dishwasher. The ravioli need to be in a single layer to cook properly.

Ingredients

2 cups marinara sauce
Half a package of frozen cheese-filled ravioli (25 to 27 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Defrost the ravioli on a plate in a single layer covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of rectangular baking dish 13x9x2-inches, with cooking spray.

Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce in a baking dish. Arrange the ravioli in a single layer over the sauce; top with half of the remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered 15 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in center.


Salmon

2 servings
Ingredients

2 salmon filets (6-7 oz. each), skin om
2 thin pats of butter
2 teaspoons honey

Topping
1/2cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Sp Coat an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray
Place the pats of butter in the baking dish and place the salmon fillets on top skin side down. Brush each fillet with a teaspoon of honey.


Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Divide the mixture in half and press onto the salmon fillets.
Bake the salmon for 15-19 minutes.

Boils Potatoes With Herb Butter

Ingredients

2 lbs new potatoes
1 teaspoon salts
Sauce
¼ cup butter
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Wash the potatoes well. Cut each in half. Cover with cold water, add the salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes in a colander. In the same cooking pot add the sauce ingredients and simmer over low heat until the butter melts, Add the potatoes, stir well and let heat for a minute or two.

Dilled Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

2 large cucumbers, peeled
2 large green onions, diced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar

Directions
Halve cucumbers lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out and discard seeds. Slice crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Place in a colander set over a bowl, and toss with 2 teaspoons of salt; let stand for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, dill, vinegar, green onions, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Remove cucumbers from the colander, and pat dry with paper towels. Add to bowl with t dressing; toss to combine.


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.


Beef Tenderloin Tips

Ingredients

1 lb tenderloin tips
1 teaspoon steak seasoning {Montreal}
½ cup finely diced onion
4 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1-6oz package brown gravy mix
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups water

Directions

Mix the steak tips with the steak seasoning.
Heat a large skillet over medium to high heat. Add the butter and oil. Brown tenderloin tips on one side, turn them over, and add the diced onion. Finish browning the steak.. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, and the gravy mix.. Bring to a boil, while continually stirring. Reduce heat and simmer over low to medium heat until meat is cooked and gravy has thickened about 2-3 minutes.,.

Serve with Baked Potato or Mashed Potatoes.

Peas With Onion

Ingredients

1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1 package (16 ounces) frozen peas
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Add peas and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until peas are tender. Season with salt and pepper.


Greek-Style Stuffed Collard Greens

Young collard greens remind me of grape leaves. Serve with grilled lamb chops.

Ingredients

Lemon Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus a sprig for garnish
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for drizzling

For the lemon yogurt sauce: Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, dill, coriander and a pinch of salt and pepper to a bowl. Mix together, then drizzle some olive oil on top and garnish with a sprig of dill.

Collards:

12 medium collard leaves (from 1 to 2 bunches), bottom stems removed
1 ½ cup s cooked basmati or long-grain white rice
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup chopped fresh dill
⅓ cup finely chopped mint
½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon zest from one lemon

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you carefully stem the collard greens, trying to keep the leaves intact. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the collard leaves, in batches. Blanch for 2 minutes and transfer to the ice water. Drain. Layout the leaves one at a time on a paper towel to blot, and use a sharp knife to cut out the thick center stems, cutting about three-quarters of the way to the top and making sure to leave 2 to 3 inches uncut at the top. Set the trimmed leaves aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the rice and pine nuts. Cook, stirring, until the rice is well coated about 1 minute. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and remove from the heat. Stir in the dill, parsley, mint, and lemon zest.

Layout one collard leaf with the trimmed stem end pointing away. Spoon 2 level tablespoons of the rice filling in the center of the leaf. Fold the sides of the leaf over the filling, then roll the leaf up tightly away from you like a burrito, starting from the bottom and finishing seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining leaves and rice filling.

Add a splash of the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to a deep, wide skillet. Arrange the collard rolls in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Top with enough water to just cover the rolls, then drizzle in the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice.

Cover the rolls with a luncheon plate. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a low simmer and cook, covered with a lid, for 11/2 to 2 hours. Add more water if the liquid evaporates.

Serve with the lemon yogurt sauce.

 


Chicken Broccoli And Gnocchi

Ingredients

17.5 oz {500 gr} package shelf-stable potato gnocchi {DeCecco}
1 1/2 lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless (about 2), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups medium broccoli florets
1 recipe alfredo sauce, see below
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese for serving
Basil leaves

Directions

Cook gnocchi per instructions.As they rise to the top of the water, scoop them out with a large spider or slotted spoon onto a large mixing bowl. Add the broccoli florets and bring the water back to a boil. Cook for 6 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Season chicken on both sides with garlic powder, salt, and pepper

In a skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Once hot, add the seasoned chicken and sear 2 minutes per side, until crispy. Turn down heat to low, cover the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked and tender.
Prepare the alfredo sauce recipe in the pasta pot.
Add the drained gnocchi and broccoli to the sauce. Toss until well combined. Gently fold in the chicken. Warm over low heat.

Pour into a serving bowl.
Top with fresh parmesan cheese and basil leaves.

Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients

1 stick butter {8 tablespoons}
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted and the ingredients are combined.


There are many versions of this recipe in Italian cuisine. Some call for the addition of peas or meat. I like to keep them simple and I like to use leftover risotto instead of plain rice because risotto has more flavor, especially the Lemon flavored Risotto I shared with you last week.

This recipe makes 10 rice balls

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chili tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
14 oz box or can of finely chopped Italian tomatoes

For the Arancini {Rice Balls}
4 cups leftover risotto or cooked white rice
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
2 eggs
10 ½-inch pieces of mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup flour
½ cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

For the tomato sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes.

For the arancini

Beat one egg in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped parsley and risotto. Mix well.


Using a ¼ cup muffin scoop form 10 rice balls and place them on a waxed paper-covered plate. Push a piece of mozzarella into each rice ball and with floured hands form them into smooth balls. Beat the second egg with a few tablespoons of water in a deep bowl, In a second deep bowl place the flour, and in a third deep bowl place the panko crumbs.


Roll one rice ball in flour, then in the egg, and then in the panko crumbs. Return the ball to the paper-lined plate. Repeat the process with all the rice balls. Refrigerate for several hours.

 

In a deep dutch Oven heat several inches of oil to 350 degrees F. Fry the ball in the oil until they are brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.

To serve
Place several tablespoons of tomato sauce on a serving plate. Place 2 or 3 arancini on top of the sauce and serve.


Filet Mignon In Mushroom Sauce

2 servings

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 beef tenderloin steaks 5-6 ounces each)
Fresh thyme sprig
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms or a 4oz can, drained
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
2/3 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions

With a meat mallet flatten the steaks between sheets of plastic wrap to ½ inch thickness.
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter and oil over medium-high heat; Add the thyme, garlic, and steaks. cook steaks to medium-rare, a thermometer should read 125°F, 4 minutes per side. Remove the steaks from the pan to a plate and cover with foil. Discard the garlic and thyme.


In the same pan, heat drippings and remaining butter over medium-high heat; saute mushrooms and shallot until tender. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper until blended; gradually stir in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Return steaks to the pan and simmer in the sauce for 2 minutes, turning them over after 1 minute.

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bunches asparagus
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove. chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Break off the woody bottoms of the asparagus and wash in cold water.
Arrange trimmed asparagus in a 13 X 9-inch dish. Drizzle with the oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes.

Twice-Baked Potatoes

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large russet potato, 12 ounces
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 slice bacon cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork. Brush lightly with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet tray covered with foil until tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

While still hot, slice a thin layer off the top of the potato and scoop the potato flesh into a medium bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch shell all around on the potato shell. Season the insides of the potato shell lightly with salt and pepper.

To the bowl with the potato flesh, add the sour cream and butter. Use an electric hand mixer or potato masher and mix until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mound into the potato shell and bake for 15-20 minutes until hot. Sprinkle with bacon and chives. Cut in half and serve.


Easy Knockwurst and Sauerkraut

Ingredients

1 cup sauerkraut, drained
2 large beef knackwurst
¼ of a large onion, sliced
2 tablespoons butter

Directions

Melt butter in a skillet and add the knockwurst. Cook until lightly brown on all sides,Add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Spread the sauerkraut over the knockwurst. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

Crispy Zucchini Cakes

For the zucchini:
1 1/2 pounds of zucchini (about 3 cups coarsely grated}
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the dipping sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream (can substitute plain Greek yogurt)
1 clove garlic, minced, about 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt

For the fritters:
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 green onions, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil or canola oil

Directions

Sprinkle grated zucchini with about 1 teaspoon of salt. Place in a sieve or colander over a bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Press down with a wooden spoon to push out more of the water. Wrap the shredded zucchini in paper towels and try to squeeze out more liquid.

Make the dipping sauce:
Whisk together the sour cream, minced garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Make the fritter batter:
Whisk the egg in a large bowl. Add the grated zucchini, flour, minced green onions, thyme, basil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine well.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmery and hot. Test the oil by flicking a little flour into it. If the flour sizzles, it’s ready.

Working in batches, drop ¼ cup of the batter into the skillet. Flatten slightly with the back end of a spoon or spatula. Cook, turning once, until browned, 4-6 minutes on each side.

Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining batter.. Serve with the dipping sauce.


The traditional pizzaiola sauce is made with just tomatoes but I like to add peppers and onions.

4 Servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
One 14-ounce container of chopped Italian tomatoes
6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 lb cod fillets, cut into 3-inch pieces

Directions:

Warm the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the dried seasoning. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the cod fillets and ladle some of the sauce over the fillets. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until just cooked through.

Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large zucchini
1 egg
1/3 cup AP flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 °F.

Cut zucchini into fry size pieces about 2 1/2 inches long.
Beat egg with a splash of water.
Season the flour with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper.
Dust zucchini with flour.
Dip in beaten egg.
Coat with Panko bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese.
Place on a greased cookie sheet, careful not to crowd, and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the zucchini sticks and bake for another 10 minutes or until crispy and lightly browned. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese before serving. if desired.



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