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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Sauces

Steak Pizzaiola

I like to use the mini bell peppers for sauces because they are tender and sweet tasting.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 rib-eye steak (about 12 oz. and 1 inch thick), trimmed of excess fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
12 oz. mini bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup Marinara Sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Cut the steak in half crosswise and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of each steak with salt and pepper.
In a large heavy frying pan over medium heat, add the oil, onions, garlic, and peppers. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, 10 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl with a slotted spoon.


Add the butter to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Put the steaks in the pan and sear until deeply browned on both sides and medium rare about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks to individual serving plates.
Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet and add 1/2 cup of the sautéed peppers and onions and stir them into the sauce. Reserve the remaining peppers and onions for another recipe.
Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer just until the vegetables are hot, 1 minute. Divide the mixture in half and pour over each steak. Garnish each serving with chopped parsley.

Sautéed Swiss Chard With Garlic and Lemon

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large bunches Swiss chard, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2”
pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

Wash the chard well in several changes of cold water. Drain in a colander. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and half of the Swiss chard, season with salt and pepper.

Cook, tossing often until wilted. Add the lemon juice and remaining chard and cook, tossing, just until all chard is wilted about 1 minute. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Rosemary Flavored Roasted Rutabaga Wedges

Ingredients

1 medium rutabaga, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the ends off the rutabaga and then cut the rutabaga in half. Cut each half in two. Cut the slices into wedges.


Place the rutabaga wedges in a large ziplock bag with the oil and seasonings and toss to coat. Spread the mixture evenly on a sheet pan and cook for 45-50 minutes until tender and brown. Turn the wedges over half way through the cooking time.

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Easy Overnight Pizza Dough

Makes one 16 inch round pizza. Prepare the dough one day ahead. This process makes the best pizza dough.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 cup lukewarm water

3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Sausage and Peppers Topping

8 oz spicy Italian Sausage, cut into thin slices

1 lb small bell peppers, sliced thin

1 large onion sliced thin

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

Olive oil

Pizza Sauce

26 oz container 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

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 pizza. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.


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 a large sauté pan on medium-high and place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, then add sausage and cook until browned about 6 minutes, stirring until no pink remains. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, peppers and onions and saute until the vegetables are tender.

Let stand 5 minutes to cool.

Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan. Top the crust with slices of mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, peppers, onions, and sausage.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted, and the toppings are thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


Makes 18 rolls

Ingredients

18 large outer savoy cabbage leaves, frozen and thawed
(Freezing makes it easier to roll wilted leaves and eliminates the boiling step.)
Stuffing Ingredients
1 lb lean organic ground pork
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon Italian pork sausage seasoning or use a combination of fennel and Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ cups cooked orzo, rice or cauliflower rice

Marinara Sauce, recipe below
Spaghetti Squash, recipe below

Directions

Combine the filling ingredients (pork through orzo) in a large mixing bowl.
To assemble the cabbage rolls:
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Oil a 9×13 inch baking pan.
Place the cabbage leaves on a kitchen towel. Cut about 1-inch of the hard core on the stem off.

Use about 1/3 cup of filling for large leaves and about 1/4 cup for smaller leaves.
Place the filling on the base of each leaf, fold in the sides and roll the leaf up to make a tight packet.

As you complete them, place each roll, seam side down, into the prepared baking dish. Continue until all the filling is used up.

Pour 2 cups of marinara sauce on top of the rolls and spread the sauce to cover all the cabbage rolls. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake the cabbage rolls for 1 ½ hours or until the rolls are tender.

Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 a large onion finely diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
One 6 oz can tomato paste
6 cups chopped Italian tomatoes

Directions
Heat the oil in a Dutch Oven or large saucepan. Add the onion and seasonings. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and tomato paste. Stir and cook one minute. Fill the tomato paste can with water and pour into the sauce ingredients. Add the tomatoes. Stir. Bring to a soft boil, lower the heat, partially cover the pan and let the sauce simmer until thickened, about an hour.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

The squash can bake in the oven along with the cabbage rolls.

Ingredients

1 medium spaghetti squash, halved and seeds removed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.


Place the squash cut-side-down into an oiled 9×13 inch baking and bake 45 minutes until it is easily pierced with a knife. Don’t overcook the squash. It should be tender but the strands should still have some chew to them so they have the same texture as spaghetti.
When the squash is done, turn the halves so that the cut-side is facing up and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

Run a fork through the flesh to separate the “spaghetti-like” strands. Turn into a serving bowl and toss the strands with olive oil, salt, pepper, sage, and Parmesan cheese.

Serve the cabbage rolls with the spaghetti squash.


Oven Roasted Baby Back Ribs

Serve with a salad or your favorite green vegetable.

6 servings

Ingredients

1 cup homemade BBQ sauce, recipe below
2 slabs baby back ribs

Rub

2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
4 tablespoon brown sugar or brown sugar substitute

Directions

Combine the rub ingredients in a small dish.
Prepare the ribs by removing the silver skin or scoring it between the bones on the underside of the ribs.
Place the ribs in a baking dish and coat the sides of the ribs with the rub.
Allow the ribs to sit for at least 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
Roast the ribs, meat side up, covered, in the oven for 3 hours.
Remove the ribs from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees.


Slather the tops of the ribs with the BBQ sauce..
Return the ribs, uncovered, to the oven and roast for an additional 45 minutes.

Barbecue Baked Black Soybeans

Why I like using black soybeans:

Black soybeans are great substitutes for higher-carb beans, such as black, navy, and pinto beans. They don’t taste as soybean-like as the yellow ones do, but rather more like regular black beans. You can substitute them in dishes that call for black beans, such as baked beans, refried beans, bean soup, chili, and 4-Bean Salad.

Nutritionally, black soybeans are free of fat and a good source of protein. They are low in net carbohydrates (the number of carbohydrates per serving minus the grams of fiber) and high in protein, fiber, vitamin K, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and riboflavin. Half a cup of canned black soybeans has 1 gram net carbs plus 7 grams of fiber (8 grams of total carbohydrate), 11 grams of protein, and 120 calories.

The black variety is higher in some phytonutrients, including antioxidants. The only distinction between white and black soybeans is the color of the hull so any nutritional difference will be found in the black outer shell. Similar to blueberries and raspberries, the dark exterior of the black soybean contains antioxidants that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules.

Cooking Black Soybeans

Ingredients

2 cups dried black soybeans
2 teaspoons salt, divided
Water
1 small onion, halved
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Because of their delicate skin and silken texture, black soybeans need to be cooked a bit differently than regular beans. To avoid their getting mushy, it is best to soak overnight and cook the dried beans in salted water. You will use the same water measurements called for in recipes using regular beans, but you will add salt to the soaking and cooking water. For two cups of dry black soybeans, soak overnight in 8 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of salt.
The next day, drain the beans and place in a large saucepan. Add six cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, the oil, garlic, and onion. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pan and cook the beans until tender about 2 hours.

For the Baked Beans

Ingredients

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups homemade BBQ sauce, recipe below
4 cups cooked black soybeans or canned, rinsed and drained
2 slices of cooked bacon

Directions

Sauté the finely chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add beans and 1 cup of the barbecue sauce. Pour into a baking dish. Top with the bacon. Bake the beans in a 300 degree F oven for 2 hours.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

4 cups low sugar ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar or brown sugar substitute
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle adobo sauce
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 large garlic clove, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and let simmer, uncovered, for about an hour.

Cooking and Serving Tips

If you’d like your sauce on the spicier side, increase the adobo sauce by 1/2 teaspoon increments.
Make sure to stir frequently, about once every 15 minutes, while the BBQ sauce is cooking. This will help better incorporate the flavors and ensure that the sauce is evenly cooked throughout.
Let the sauce cool before transferring to a storage container. A mason jar is a good option. Whatever you use, make sure it’s airtight. You can store your sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze it for several months.


What is Saltimbocca (pronounced [saltimˈbokka]?
Saltimbocca (Italian for jumps in the mouth) is an Italian dish (also popular in Europe) made of veal scallops lined or wrapped with prosciutto and sage; marinated in wine, oil or saltwater depending on the region or one’s own taste.
The original version of this dish is Saltimbocca Alla Romana (saltimbocca, Roman-style), which consists of veal, prosciutto, and sage, rolled-up and cooked in dry white wine and butter. Marsala is sometimes used in place of white wine. Also, in some recipes, the veal and prosciutto are not rolled-up but left flat. An American twist replaces the veal with chicken or pork
The ancient recipe for “saltimbocca” is said to have originated in Brescia. While it is much older than a century, the first written recipe can be found in an influential book published towards the end of the 19th century, by Pellegrino Artusi, a celebrated Italian chef: “Saltimbocca Alla Romana” is recipe No. 222, and Artusi claims to have enjoyed the dish in Rome, at the Trattoria “Le Venete”.
While there are many variations of this Italian classic dish, I have given my version a slightly southern Italian flavor.

Chicken Saltimbocca Over Tomato Sauce

Ingredients for 2

1 cup marinara sauce heated
Salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
6 fresh sage leaves
2 slices Prosciutto
2 slices Provolone Cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

Directions

Lightly sprinkle the chicken breasts slices with salt and pepper. Wrap each breast in a slice of prosciutto. Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet with a cover. Completely brown the chicken on both sides.


Top each chicken breast with 3 sage leaves. Place a slice of provolone cheese on top of each breast. Cover the pan and heat over low until the cheese begins to melt.


Place ½ cup of tomato sauce on a serving plate and place a chicken breast on top of the sauce. Repeat with the second breast. Serve immediately.

Green Beans With Sauteed Mushrooms

4 servings

Ingredients

1 lb fresh green beans trimmed and cut into thirds
1 lb mushrooms, sliced thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Salt
Pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add in the green beans and stir. Cook for 3 – 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Remove from the heat, drain thoroughly then pat dry with a clean linen tea towel and keep warm while the mushrooms cook. Place a skillet over medium-high to high heat with the butter and olive oil. As soon as the butter melts, spread the mushrooms out evenly over the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes. Mushrooms should be lightly brown. Add the green beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat on low until the beans are hot.


Shrimp

4 servings

Ingredients

1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons butter
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium shallot, finely minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
½ cup parsley leaves, chopped
10 oz fettuccine

Directions

Boil a large pot of salted water, add the pasta and cook just until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In the same pot melt the butter and add the shallot and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and saute just until the shrimp turn pink on both sides. Over low heat add the cream and heat for a minute. Add the cheese and stir. Add the drained fettuccine and mix well. Add the parsley, stir and serve immediately.

Sautéed Winter Greens

4 servings

Ingredients

4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 cups (packed) stemmed and roughly chopped swiss chard or other greens
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Heat the garlic and oil in large, deep skillet over medium-low heat until the garlic begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and reserve.

Add the Swiss chard, red pepper flakes, and salt to the empty skillet. Using tongs, turn greens until wilted enough to fit in the pan.

Raise the heat to medium, cover, and cook 7 to 10 minutes, tossing a few times during the cooking process. Transfer the greens to a colander to drain.

Return the drained greens to the pan, turn the heat to low and toss with the reserved garlic and oil mixture. When hot, transfer to a serving bowl to serve.

Very Easy Focaccia

Ingredients

1 pound pizza dough
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 garlic clove minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or other herbs you like, minced
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll the pizza dough into a rectangle or oval on a sheet of parchment paper. Place the parchment with the dough on it on a baking sheet.
Using a pastry brush, cover the top of the dough with olive oil. Sprinkle the dough with coarse sea salt, garlic, cheese, and rosemary. Bake the focaccia until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

 


Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Oil 3 baking dishes, each just large enough to accommodate the fish, the broccoli and the rutabaga cubes.

 

Oven Roasted Salmon

Ingredients

2 salmon fillets, about 12 oz total

Topping
1/2 cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions

Combine the breadcrumbs with the oil and the seasoning ingredients.
Press the breadcrumb mixture evenly on the salmon.
Place in the preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Oven Roasted Rutabaga Wedges

Rutabagas are in season now, so they make a good choice for a vegetable side. If you are not a fan of rutabaga, use Yukon Gold potatoes in this recipe.

French Seasoning

I use a blend that comes prepared and contains the following herbs:  shallots, chives, green peppercorns, dill weed, basil, tarragon, chervil, and bay leaf.

1 rutabaga, about 1 ½ lb
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon French seasoning or seasoning of choice

Directions

Peel the rutabagas and cut them into 2″ chunks and place them in the prepared baking dish.
Add the rest of the ingredients and toss with a spoon until all the pieces are evenly coated.
Spread the rutabaga in a single layer in the baking pan, making sure there is plenty of room between the pieces of rutabaga to allow them to brown.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove the foil, lower the heat and continue baking, stirring 2 or 3 times during the process, until the rutabaga is fork tender and starts to caramelize around the edges, about 15-20 minutes.

Oven Roasted Broccoli Florets

Ingredients

12 oz bag of fresh broccoli florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Place the broccoli in the prepared baking dish and drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss well and roast for 15 -20 minutes in the preheated oven until crisp-tender and the edges are starting to brown, tossing occasionally.

Pour the cheese sauce over the broccoli or serve it on the side.

Really Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce

ingredients

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

Combine all the ingredients in a glass dish and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir well. If all the cheese is not melted, repeat the process.



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