Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Sauces

Beef Marinade
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shao Hsing rice wine
11 ∕2 teaspoons cornstarch
1∕2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 pound boneless steak, all fat removed and cut diagonally across the grain into thin slices

Stir-fry Sauce
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup lower-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Stir-fry
8 dried Shiitake Mushrooms
4 cups chopped broccoli florets (3 stalks)
Water
3 sliced green onions
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil

Directions

In a medium bowl combine the beef, ginger, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice wine, cornstarch, salt, and sesame oil. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Pour boiling water to cover over the shiitake mushrooms and let them sit for 30 minutes. Drain and slice into thin strips. Set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the broccoli. Blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl combine the stir-fry sauce ingredients.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil and carefully add the beef, and spread it evenly in one layer in the pan. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the beef begin to sear. Then stir-fry 1 minute, or until the beef is lightly browned but not cooked through. Transfer the beef to a plate.

 

Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil into the wok, add the green onions and broccoli and stir-fry 15 seconds or until just combined.

Return the beef with any juices that have accumulated to the pan. Add the mushrooms and swirl in the stir-fry sauce mixture into the pan. Cook until the beef is just cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Stir in walnuts.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with rice or cauliflower rice, if desired.


Most people know Rick Bayless from Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, his Public Television series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time and his many cookbooks. He is also the owner of multiple restaurants, including the outstanding Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, where my family ate numerous times when we lived in Chicago. I recently discovered that he developed a line of Mexican cooking sauces that are sold in most supermarkets. While the sauces have been available for a while, I just recently discovered them and find them to be delicious, authentic and so very convenient. I especially like these sauces because they are made from fresh ingredients with no preservatives, are gluten-free, and low in carbohydrates. They also come in convenient, easy to use pouches.
These sauces are so convenient when you are busy and want a good tasting dinner fast. I used one of the taco sauces for my recipe below. There are quite a few made by his company, Frontera Foods, and you can check out the rest with this link.

Key Lime Shrimp Tacos

Serves 4. Since I only wanted two servings, I made half the recipe. I also used half of the sauce and froze the unused portion for another occasion. I also changed the directions from the one listed on the package in making this dish.

Serve this entree with a salad and ranch dressing.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon avocado or vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 Poblano pepper, diced
1 pound peeled, deveined medium shrimp;
1 pouch Frontera Key Lime Shrimp Taco Skillet Sauce
8 tortillas (crispy or soft), warmed
Toppings: cheese, jalapenos, shredded cabbage or lettuce, tomato, avocado, etc

Directions

Heat the oil in a nonstick 10 or 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add the onion and poblano pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender, about 4 minutes. Add the sauce and let it sizzle for a minute or two and then add the shrimp. Cook and stir over medium heat until the shrimp turn pink and are just cooked through about 4 minutes.


Serve in warm tortillas with your choice of toppings.
Variations: Substitute 1 pound sea scallops or cubed firm fish for the shrimp.


Roasted Cauliflower With Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

1 large head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Pull all the leaves off of the cauliflower and use a paring knife to remove enough of the core to let the cauliflower sit flat. Don’t take out too much though. You don’t want the head to break into florets but you want it to stay in one piece.

Put 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into a deep baking dish and rub it around. Add the head of cauliflower, cut side down. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Rub it in a bit. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes or until a skewer pokes into it very very easily.

Make cheese sauce according to directions below. Pour cheese sauce over the cauliflower and serve.

Cheese Sauce For Vegetables

ingredients
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
Stir over medium-low heat until all the cheese is melted. Remove pan from the heat immediately.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pinch of cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Wash and dry the potatoes. Poke about 3-4 holes on each side with a fork. Rub the skin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake 50 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Allow potatoes to rest for 5 minutes before cutting open.

Combine the melted butter, maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon. Drizzle over the cut portions of the sweet potatoes and serve.

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

6 servings

Ingredients

4-12 oz packages frozen pureed butternut squash
32 oz container vegetable broth
4 oz container unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
Herbs for garnish, such as sage

Directions

Put all the ingredients in a Dutch Oven except the cream. Bring to a boil, stir well, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the cream and serve garnished with fresh herbs.

Apple Rosemary Tart

Ingredients

One 9-inch refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds baking apples, such as Granny Smith or Golden Delicious
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (do not substitute dried instead use 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl, combine the flour with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar; reserve.

Peel and core the apples. Slice them into ¼ inch-thick slices. (You should have about 3 cups.)

Place the apples in a bowl and toss them with the lemon juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar and the rosemary or cinnamon.

Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle the reserved flour/sugar mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border uncovered.

Arrange the apples evenly over the flour mixture. Fold the edges of the dough over the apples. Moisten your fingers lightly with water and gently press the creases so that they hold together.

Dot the apples with the butter.

Bake the tart for about 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, the apples are tender and the juices syrupy.

Cover the tart with foil halfway through the cooking time, if the crust is browning too rapidly.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then slide the tart onto a serving platter. Just before serving, sift the confectioners’ sugar evenly over the crust.


Most of the ingredients in this pie are leftovers from my roast chicken dinner that I shared last week.  Here is a link to the post: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2019/11/13/mediterranean-style-roast-chicken/

Roasting a whole chicken is a delicious and economical way to give you several meals over the next week. Here is the recipe for one of them. Later in the week, I will share the Chicken Enchilada recipe I made with the remainder of the chicken.

Shepherd’s Pie

2 servings

Ingredients

2 carrots, diced
2 cups cubed leftover roasted chicken
2 cups diced leftover green beans with mushrooms and onions
11/2 cups leftover sauce from roasting the chicken
2 cups leftover olive oil mashed potatoes
Butter-flavored cooking spray

Directions

Partially cook the carrots either in the microwave or by boiling. Set aside.
Reduce the chicken sauce down to 1 cup in a small saucepan.
In each of 2 individual ovenproof casserole dishes, place half the carrots, half the chicken, half the green beans and ½ cup chicken sauce. Mix well.
Spread 1 cup of mashed potatoes over the top of each pie bringing the potatoes to the edges of each dish.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly spray the mashed potato topping with butter-flavored cooking spray.
Bake for 45 minutes. Turn the broiler on for a minute or two to brown the topping if it doesn’t brown during the baking.


Turkey Scallopini with Capers and Lemon

Ingredients

4 turkey cutlets ( pounded to 1/4-inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fresh sage leaves, for garnish, optional

Directions

Pat turkey cutlets dry and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the turkey in flour, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook the turkey until browned on both sides and just cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a platter and keep warm, covered. Repeat with remaining cutlets and oil and place them on the platter with the previously cooked cutlets.

Add garlic, stirring, 30 seconds. Add broth and deglaze the pan over moderately high heat, scraping up brown bits. Boil until broth is reduced to about 3/4 cup. Stir in lemon juice, capers, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add butter and swirl with a whisk until a smooth sauce is formed. Return the turkey cutlets to the skillet with any juices from the platter and simmer until heated through about 1 minute. Garnish with sage and serve.

Kale and Mashed Potato Mix

Ingredients

Half the recipe of sauteed kale

Link https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2019/11/04/meatloaf-parmigiana-dinner/

Half the recipe of olive oil mashed potatoes

Directions

Thoroughly mix together the kale and mashed potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl. Reheat the mixture until hot., stirring twice, about 3-4 minutes.

Broiled Tomatoes

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large vine ripe tomato
2 tablespoons Italian seasoned panko crumbs
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Slice the tomato in half. Place tomato halves on a small pan lined with foil. Brush olive oil over the cut sides of the tomato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper

In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over tomatoes. Broil 4 minutes or until crumbs are lightly browned. Serve immediately.


I used pappardelle pasta for this recipe because I wanted a lighter dish. Pappardelle noodles are very wide but lighter than lasagna. If you want a lower carb dish, I would recommend a low carb pasta I found made by Al Dente. It is a delicious egg/semolina pasta, that tastes like pasta but has half the carbs of regular pappardelle pasta. I like to serve a mixed green salad with Italian dressing with the casserole.

Ingredients

1 lb Pappardelle pasta
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound Italian pork sausage
3-14 to 15 oz cans diced Italian tomatoes, undrained
One 6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
Salt and pepper

Ricotta Filling
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix well and set aside
32 oz container ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley or ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions.

Cut the sausage into ¼ inch slices.

In a large saucepan or Dutch Oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Add sausage; cook until the sausage is browned and cooked through, stirring frequently. Add the tomato paste, one tomato paste can of water, and the dried seasoning. Cook and stir for one minute. Add tomatoes salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the sauce until thickened, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Cook pasta two minutes less than the package directions. Drain.

Arrange a double layer of pappardelle (about a third of the pasta) in a 3-quart casserole dish sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Cover the pasta with 1/3 of the sauce and add half of the ricotta cheese. Spread the cheese to cover the layer underneath. Repeat the process for a second layer. Spread the remaining pasta for a third layer and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella.

Spray a sheet of foil with olive oil cooking spray. Place the coated side down on the baking dish. Bake at 375*F for 40-45 minutes or until heated through. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.


Italian Meatloaf

12 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium sweet onions, diced
2 jarred roasted red peppers cut in small dice
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
2 pounds ground beef
1 lb spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup marinara sauce, warmed
Fresh mozzarella cheese slices, about 6
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into wedges
Olive oil
Dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat and add the garlic. Saute 1 minute and then add the onions and saute until just soft. Let cool.

Place the rutabaga wedges in cold water. This helps them stay crisp during roasting.

Whisk together the basil, parsley, and eggs in a small bowl, and then add the salt and black pepper. Combine the Parmesan and breadcrumbs in another small bowl. Thoroughly combine the beef and sausage, egg mixture, breadcrumb mixture, the Worcestershire, vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil together in a large bowl using your hands, making sure not to overmix.

Shape the mixture into a loaf on an oiled oven tray or baking dish. Place the rutabaga wedges around the meatloaf. Sprinkle them with oregano, salt, pepper. and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for approximately 60-70 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F in the middle of the meatloaf. Top the meatloaf with the marinara sauce making sure to spread it evenly over the top and place the mozzarella slices on top of the sauce. Return to the oven until the cheese melts. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve the rutabaga wedges and kale in the side.

Sauteed Tuscan Kale

Lacinato kale or, in Italian and often in English, cavolo nero is a variety of kale with a long tradition in Italian cuisine, especially that of Tuscany. This kale has longer spear-like leaves with a pebbled appearance and a dark, mottled green color. Its flavor is earthy and less bitter than regular kale.

Ingredients

2 large bunches Tuscan kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 small lemon

Directions

Use your hands to pull the kale leaves from their stems. Coarsely chop the leaves. Rinse them, but do not dry.
Heat the oil in large, wide, high-sided sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute (do not let the garlic brown).

Add the kale a few handfuls at a time, stirring after each addition until all of the kale is added. Stir in the salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and serve.



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