Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

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Roasting a turkey breast is a very economical dinner choice. There is little waste and a 5 lb roast will give you several meals later in the week. I was able to use the meat from this roast to make Turkey Tetrazzini, Pot Pie, Turkey Salad and sandwiches. I also made turkey broth from the breast bones.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

Ingredients

1 bone-in turkey breast (4½ to 5 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the turkey breast on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture evenly all over the skin of the turkey breast. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest and meatiest area of the breast. If the skin is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

When the turkey is done, remove the pan from the oven and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Let the turkey rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve warm with the pan juices.

Corn Cakes

Fresh corn is ideal but frozen and canned works well in this recipe.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for greasing the griddle
3 cups freshly shucked corn kernels, from about 4 ears
1 small jalapeño chile, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely diced scallions

Directions

Stir together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and mix briefly with a wooden spoon or whisk to obtain a thick batter. Add corn kernels, jalapeño, and scallions and stir to combine.

Place a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. When the griddle is hot, grease lightly with butter, using a folded paper towel or pastry brush. Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle. Adjust heat as necessary to keep griddle cakes from browning too quickly. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, then carefully flip with a spatula and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes.
Serve immediately or keep warm in a low oven until all the batter is used.

To serve with the roasted turkey, put 2 griddle cakes on an individual plate, top with sliced turkey and pan juices.

Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
4 oz sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour ( I use Wondra)
1 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 head fresh broccoli cut into small pieces

Directions

Steam or boil the broccoli for 3 minutes and set aside in a colander to drain.
Melt butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat until bubbling.
Place sliced mushrooms in the pan with the salt and white pepper. Saute until browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the flour and stir until dissolved. Slowly add milk and cook until thickened.
Stir in drained broccoli and heat for a few minutes.
Pour into a serving dish.


Swiss Steak is named Swiss Steak because the meat has undergone a process called “Swissing” in order to make it tender. Beef Steaks for Swissing are generally steaks that are not very tender unless they are cooked slowly in moist heat. It is made either on a stove or in the oven and does not get its name from Switzerland, as the name suggests, but the technique of tenderizing by pounding or rolling called “swissing”. In England and in some parts of the United States such as the Deep South, it is also called a smothered steak. Using round steak in this recipe makes for an economical dinner.

Swiss Steak

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
1 onion, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 pounds boneless round steak, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
1 1/2 cups beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter.
Cut round steak into serving-size portions. Pound the steak until1/2 inch thick with a meat mallet. Flour the steak pieces, pressing the flour into the meat; transfer to the skillet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; brown the round steak thoroughly, turning to brown the other side, Remove to a plate. Save the remaining flour.


Saute the onions and sliced mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir in the remaining flour and cook for a minute or two.


Add the beef broth, stirring well. Return the browned meat to the pan, cover, and simmer on low heat for at least 1 ½ hours or until the meat is very tender.

Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with mashed potatoes.

 

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1 large garlic clove, peeled
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water by 2 inches and add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Add the garlic clove. Bring to a boil; cook until the potatoes are very tender and easily pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes and garlic to the saucepan. Heat over very low heat for a minute or two to dry the potatoes.
Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes and garlic with olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients

Half a head of broccoli
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 lemon, squeezed
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Oil a baking dish.
Trim the ends of the broccoli and peel the stalks.
Place the broccoli stalks in the baking dish and top with the remaining ingredients.
Roast the broccoli until tender 15-20 minutes.


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.


Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients

8 cups Italian bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large onion, diced
2 large ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped sage
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth

Directions

Place the bread cubes into a very large bowl and set aside. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil and the sausage.

Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon or spatula, cook until light brown, about 5 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to the bowl of cubed bread.

In the fat left in the pan, sauté the onions, celery, and garlic until the onions are soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the thyme, sage, salt, and peppers, cook 1 minute and, then, add the mixture to the cubed bread.

Add the broth to the bread mixture; stir until well combined.

Place the stuffing in a large baking dish and bake in the oven for the last hour that the turkey cooks.

Pumpkin Pie

Pat-in-the-Pan Pie Crust

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water

Directions

Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a 9-inch pie plate. Whisk together the oil and water, then pour over the dry ingredients.

Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides.

A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the top.

Chill in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Filling Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add all the pie filling ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Pour the filling into the chilled pie crust and bake for about 60 minutes.

The crust should be light golden brown and the filling should be set.

Remove the pie from the oven and let cool completely before loosely covering and transferring to the refrigerator to fully set overnight.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Directions for preparing the squash:

Cut a thin slice off from the top & bottom of one acorn squash (just enough to leave a flat edge, so the squash can stand up on both ends).

Cut the squash in half, horizontally, so you have two bowl shapes. Scoop out the membranes and seeds and discard them.

Place the squash in a greased baking dish cut-side up. Brush the inside with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast the squash halves for 30 minutes.

Squash Filling

Combine the following:

2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons diced celery
1/4 cup diced, peeled pear
1/4 cup diced, peeled apple
2 tablespoons fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup cooked brown rice

Place the filling mixture in the partially cooked squash halves. Place the filled squash in the oven and bake 30 minutes.

Cipollini Onions

Cipollini means little onion in Italian.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
16 cipollini onions, trimmed and peeled
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add onions, stem side down, and cook until lightly browned 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and continue browning on the opposite side, about 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

Add vinegar and honey; cook, until slightly syrupy, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, thyme, and garlic; bring to a boil. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until onions are easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 15 to 20 minutes.

Roasted Broccoli Florets

Ingredients

1 large head of broccoli
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash the broccoli and cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalk, leaving some of the stalk attached. Pull the florets apart. You don’t want the pieces too small.

Place the broccoli florets in a single layer in an oiled baking pan. Toss the garlic and broccoli together and drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes.

Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese. Toss and serve.


Roast Lamb Chops With Potatoes and Broccoli Florets  – the Italian Way

2 servings

Ingredients

4 loin lamb chops
2 unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, about 12 oz total
2 large garlic cloves, sliced and divided
1 lemon zested and cut into quarters
1 cup white wine
2 chopped sprigs fresh sage leaves and 2 sprigs fresh oregano, divided
2 chopped fresh rosemary sprigs, divided
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse Sea Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
10 oz pkg frozen broccoli florets, defrosted

Directions

Place the lamb chops in a plastic ziplock bag, add some salt, the lemon zest, 1 sliced garlic clove, 1 sprig of rosemary, 1 sprig of sage, 1 sprig of oregano, a sprinkle of black pepper, the white wine and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Marinate for about 2 hours turning them occasionally.

Cut the potatoes into long wedges and put them in a bowl or bag with cold water and let rest while the lamb marinates. (This helps remove the starch and creates a potato that does not get mushy).

Using a slotted spoon, drain the potatoes, transfer them to a roasting pan, large enough to also hold the lamb and broccoli; add salt to taste, 1 sliced garlic clove, the remaining chopped rosemary, sage, and oregano sprigs, a pinch of black pepper and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Toss well and roast for 20 minutes at 400 F.

Remove the pan from the oven, tuck the chops in among the potatoes reserving the marinade, and scatter the broccoli florets around the outside of the potato/lamb mixture.

Sprinkle with the lamb marinade and roast another 15-20 minutes, depending on how you like lamb cooked. Serve with lemon wedges.


This method I learned for cooking thick pork chops and put into practice makes delicious tender and juicy thick cut pork chops.

Make a simple brine:
I adapted a recipe from The Great Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells.
The recipe makes enough for 4 regular pork chops or 2 thick ribeye chops.

Ingredients

4 cups ice-cold water
1/4 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Directions

Stir together the water, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Place pork chops in a zipper-lock bag. Pour in the brine and seal the bag. Place the bag in a bowl in case it leaks and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours, depending on the thickness of the chops. Remove the chops, discard the brine, and pat the chops dry. Proceed with the recipe, or wrap the chops in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 2 days.

Ribeye Pork Chops

4 servings: One 16 oz chop was enough for my husband and me for one dinner. I made both with the recipe below and saved the other for a second dinner. See below.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 thick bone-in pork ribeye chops (2 ribs on each chop; 16 oz ounces each), brined
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground pepper
8 sprigs sage
2 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high. Season pork chops all over (including the fat cap) with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until the bottom sides are golden brown, about 1 minute. Turn and cook on the other side about 1 minute before turning again. Don’t forget the sides of the chops.

Repeat this process, turning every minute until chops are deep golden brown on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 138°F, about 8–10 minutes (total cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chops).

Remove the pan from the heat and add the sage, garlic, and butter, smashing garlic into butter. Return pan to the heat, tilt skillet and spoon foaming butter and drippings over the pork chops several rimes, making sure to baste the fat cap as well as the rib. Transfer pork chops to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes (or until the pork registers 145°F).

Thinly slice the meat and transfer to a serving platter or cut the pork between the ribs and serve whole with any juices from the cutting board spooned over the top.

Serve with your favorite sides. The first night I cut one pork rib in half and served Eggplant Parmesan and Sauteed Spinach with the chop. I wrapped the second chop in foil and refrigerated it for later in the week.

Later in the week, I cut the second rib chop in half and brushed it with Chili-Ginger Sauce/Marinade. I placed the cut chop under the broiler to glaze the pork on both sides. Use storebought of my recipe below:

Chili-Ginger Sauce

Ingredients

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce or hot pepper sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil, stirring, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

I served the glazed pork over my recipe for Asian Stir Fry Vegetables and Noodles. See recipe. 

 


Whole Oven Roasted Broccoli With Cheese Sauce

For 2 servings

Ingredients

Roasted Broccoli
2 whole broccoli stalks
Olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cheese Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the broccoli stalks and trim off the bottom of the stalks. Spray a baking dish with olive oil spray. Add the broccoli stalks. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast until the stalks are fork-tender, 25-30 minutes. Pour cheese sauce over roasted broccoli and serve.

To make the cheese sauce
Combine the ingredients in a glass dish and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Whisk. Heat again for 30 seconds more until all the cheese melts. Let sit a few minutes to thicken.

Sauteed Cabbage And Franks

For a heartier meal, add a side of mashed potatoes.

For 2 Servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup sliced onions
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
8 oz all-beef hot dogs, knockwurst or kielbasa, cut into 3-inch lengths
8 oz or ¼ head of green cabbage, cored and sliced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Sauté until the onion is tender.
Add red wine vinegar to the pan and mix.
Add the hot dogs and saute for a minute or two.
Add remaining butter, cabbage, paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss to mix all the ingredients together and coat the cabbage with butter and seasonings.
Saute on low heat until cabbage is wilted and very tender.
Top with fresh parsley and crushed red pepper flakes before serving.



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