Today’s dinner is one of our favorites. I don’t often eat lamb, but loin lamb chops are different. After siting in a marinade and then going on the grill, you couldn’t ask for anything more delicious than this. My market sells organic meats and when the lamb chops go on sale, I buy a few and put some extra away in the freezer for another day.
Red potatoes are in season in my area, so they are plentiful and inexpensive at the farmers’ markets. With the green beans, I got lucky. They are also in season but my batch came from a friend’s garden. He has quite a vegetable garden growing in a corner of his yard and he often shares some of his produce with me. Give this dinner a try, if you are in the mood. Delicious.
Grilled Lamb Chops
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
4 lamb loin chops, about 1 inch thick (about 2 3/4 pounds in all)
In a shallow dish, combine 4 tablespoons of the oil with the garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the lamb chops and turn to coat. Refrigerate for several hours before grilling.
Light an outdoor grill or heat the broiler. Oil the grill grates. Place the chops on the grill and reserve any marinade in the dish.
Grill over high heat or broil the lamb chops for 5 minutes, basting with the reserved marinade. Turn and cook until done, about 5 minutes longer.
When grilling quick-cooking items such as chops, turn them only once.
If you leave the meat alone for a few minutes, it will have a chance to form a nice brown crust. If you move it too soon, the meat will stick, and you’ll pull off the incipient crust.
Once that brown edge forms, the meat is easy to move.
Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
2 pounds (about 6 medium) red potatoes, thinly sliced
Half of a medium onion, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place a saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Using a whisk, add the flour and stir briskly to incorporate the flour and butter. Sprinkle in the mustard, salt and pepper.
Continue to cook for one minute over medium heat. Whisk in the milk and continue to stir, until the liquid comes to a full boil.
Constantly stir and scrape the bottom of the pan while the sauce continues to cook and thicken, about 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Spray a 1 ½ quart baking dish with vegetable spray. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the white sauce into the bottom of the dish.
Sprinkle lightly with onions. Arrange a layer of overlapping potatoes in the bottom of the dish.
Sprinkle with salt and half of the onions. Pour 1/2 of the sauce evenly over the potatoes.
Sprinkle with half the cheese and some of the thyme leaves. Repeat with a second layer in the same order.
Place the baking dish onto a rimmed baking sheet. Spray a piece of aluminum foil on one side with vegetable spray and place over the potatoes. Bake for 45 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and remove the foil. Continue to bake for an additional 45 minutes.
Lemon-Ginger Green Beans
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger root, grated
3 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Blanch the green beans in boiling water for two minutes. Drain.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the beans and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
Add lemon juice, cover the pan and steam the beans until they are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
With family visiting for the holidays, I had plenty of leftovers to use up. Leftover vegetable dishes can become salads, such as my Green Bean Salad recipe. Leftover pork and steak can become new entrees. Leftover Tzatziki Sauce needed a new entre dish to accompany, so a middle eastern chicken dish is perfect. Leftover asparagus is always good in an omelet or a quiche. So many new meals from leftovers. Give your leftovers a makeover.
Spicy Shrimp and Fettuccine
Serve this pasta with a Green Bean Salad.
8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound large (16-20) shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups chopped plum tomato
4 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta al dente according to the package directions. Drain.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add red pepper and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute.
Add shrimp; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and salt. Turn the shrimp over once and cook until pink on all sides.
Stir in pasta and Parmesan cheese; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.
Place pasta mixture in individual heated pasta bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese.
Green Bean Radish Salad
You can also use leftover cooked green beans for this salad.
1 pound green beans, trimmed
15 large red radishes, trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Place the radishes and the cooled beans in a serving bowl .
Combine the olive oil, shallots, vinegar and lemon juice in a large measuring cup.
Pour over the radishes and green beans and toss to coat.
Let marinate 1 hour at room temperature, tossing occasionally.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Chicken Shawarma Pitas
Serve with a Greek Salad.
1 cup finely diced peeled and seeded cucumber
1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon za’atar spice mix
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pita breads or lavash
1 small tomato, chopped
Thinly sliced romaine lettuce
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium.
Stir cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine garlic, za’atar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another medium bowl.
Slice chicken breast crosswise into 1/4-inch strips; toss with the spice mixture to coat.
Add 1 tablespoon oil and toss to combine.
Grill the chicken on a stove top grill, turning once, until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
Spread 1/4 cup of the cucumber-yogurt sauce on a pita (or lavash) and top with one-half of the chicken, tomato and lettuce.
Fold like a taco (or roll closed, if using lavash). Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Serve with Homemade Tomato Soup
1/2 cup leftover grilled pork tenderloin; thinly sliced
1 loaf Cuban or Italian bread or rolls
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 oz ham; thinly sliced
Yellow ballpark mustard
2 slices Swiss cheese
2 slices Provolone cheese
Dill pickle rounds
1/4 cup diced jarred banana peppers
Slice bread in half lengthwise and then in half horizontally. Butter the outside of the bread.
Spread mustard on the insides of the bread and layer each sandwich with 1/2 of remaining ingredients. Set tops of rolls in place and press down to flatten sandwiches.
Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, heat large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat for 4 minutes.
Brush the tops of the sandwiches with melted butter and place them in the skillet buttered side down.
Brush the bottoms of the rolls with butter and use the preheated pot to compress the sandwiches for 15 to 20 seconds.
Cook (keeping the pot on the sandwiches but no longer pressing down) until the first side is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the pot, turn the sandwiches over, replace the pot on top of the sandwiches, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes more. Serve immediately.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large leek, light green and white portions
1 large shallot, sliced thin
1/2 lb leftover cooked asparagus, cut into one inch lengths
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 8-ounce tube refrigerated reduced fat crescent rolls
3 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin and drained on paper towels
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften,4- 5 minutes.
Add the shallots and saute for another 3 minutes.
Add the Italian seasoning, asparagus, a large pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper.
Stir and remove the pan from the heat and let cool. When the mixture is cool, add the beaten eggs.
Pat the crescent roll dough into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange the sliced, drained tomatoes over the dough.
Spread the asparagus mixture over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
Steak Quesadilla with Homemade Salsa
4 (10 inch) flour tortillas
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ cup minced red onion
¼ cup diced pickled jalapeno peppers
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
4 ounces cooked steak, sliced thin
Homemade salsa, recipe below
Sour cream, optional
Brush a large frying pan with olive oil and heat the pan. Lay a tortilla on the bottom of the pan.
Cover evenly with one half of the steak, onion, jalapenos and cheese. Top with another tortilla shell.
Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the bottom tortilla begins to lightly brown and then use a wide spatula to turn the quesadilla over and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
Repeat with the remaining quesadillas. Cut the quesadillas into quarters and serve with salsa and sour cream.
One 26 oz container Pomi chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon agave
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon lime juice
A few dashes chipotle Tabasco sauce
Mix together and chill.
Sometimes you don’t want to spend several hours in the kitchen fixing dinner but you want something really good. This dinner fits that description – quick to make and great taste all together.
Swordfish In Pesto Cream
1 swordfish fillet, about 12 oz
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup rice cooked according to package directions
Season both sides of the swordfish with salt and black pepper. Cut the fish into two equal pieces.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook 5 minutes per side, until golden brown.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, pesto and lemon zest. Add mixture to the pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
Transfer the cooked rice to a serving platter. Top the rice with the fish and spoon the sauce over the top.
Green Beans With Tomato
½ pound fresh green beans, trimmed
¼ cup water
1 small shallot, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 fresh plum tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until the shallot softens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Add the green beans, tomatoes, oregano and water. Cook until the beans are crisp-tender, stirring and tossing occasionally, about 10 minutes.
It is a gray and rainy day here – just perfect for a soup dinner. I also know I have a turkey carcass in the freezer that was leftover from the holidays and it is time to put it to good use.
I also save small amounts of leftover vegetables in the freezer in little ziplock bags. These little bags are perfect for adding to soup recipes and they don’t require additional cooking.
Of course, almost any ingredient that you like can go into a soup pot, but I usually try to vary them, so that it doesn’t seem like the same old soup. In this soup recipe, I used farro instead of rice or pasta. Farro is hulled wheat that has been used in the Mediterranean countries since ancient times. It is often used as a substitute for pasta or rice in Italian recipes.
Hearty Italian Turkey Soup
For the stock
1 roasted turkey carcass, broken in pieces, plus any additional bones
1 medium onion, cut in half
4 celery stalk tops
3 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Place the turkey carcass in a very large soup pot. Add the other ingredients and add enough water to just cover the turkey bones.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a bubbling simmer, partially cover the pot and let the stock cook for two hours.
Remove the pot from the heat. With tongs take the turkey bones out of the stock and place them in a wide bowl to cool. Strain the stock in a colander covered with cheesecloth.
This recipe makes about 12 cups of stock. I also had about 2 cups of meat from the bones that I chopped and set aside.
For the soup
12 cups turkey stock
4 cups water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes or 2 cups canned
3 large carrots, diced
1 cup farro
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup pearl onions (frozen are great-no peeling)
1 cup cooked, diced asparagus
2 cups cooked, diced green beans
2 cups cooked baby lima beans
2 cups cooked peas
2 cups diced, cooked turkey meat
Rinse the soup pot out and pour the strained stock into the pot. Add the water, salt, carrots, tomatoes and farro.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook the ingredients for about 15 minutes or until the farro is tender. Taste one of the grains to be sure.
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste the soup and add more salt, if needed.
Chilly weather makes you think comfort food. Meatloaf sure fits that description. I like to make meatloaf interesting by incorporating lots of different ingredients. In this meatloaf I added mushrooms, onions, mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce.
Cheese Filled Meatloaf
I have a double meatloaf pan that allows for the fat to drip through and, therefore, the meatloaf doesn’t sit in fat while it cooks.
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dried breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black cracked pepper
1 teaspoon Italian dried seasoning
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
¼ cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves minced
3/4 cup homemade marinara sauce or store-bought, divided
½ lb small mozzarella balls, also called pearl mozzarella
In a skillet sauté the onion, mushroom and garlic in the olive oil until fully cooked about 10 minutes. And allow to cool.
Fold the vegetables into the meat along with the breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce. Mix well.
Place 1/2 of the meatloaf mixture into a loaf pan, Then scatter the cheese balls over the meat and cover with the remaining meatloaf mixture.
Spread the remaining marinara sauce over the top of the meatloaf.
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 90 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
After the meatloaf has roasted for 30 minutes put the potatoes in the oven to cook alongside the meatloaf.
10-12 fingerling potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Place the oil, garlic and oregano in a small baking dish. Add the potatoes and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Turn the potatoes so they are coated in oil and herbs.
Bake in a moderate oven for about an hour or cook them in the oven with whatever meat or poultry you are roasting.
Sautéed Green Beans with Parmesan Cheese
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound green beans, stem ends snapped off, beans cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the beans, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add water, cover, and cook until beans are bright green and still crisp, about 2 minutes more. Remove cover, increase heat to high and cook until the water evaporates, about 1 minute.
Transfer green beans to a serving bowl, toss with lemon juice and cheese and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Tonight’s dinner is swordfish on the grill. I live in an area where grilling is an option all year round and many readers who live in the north can still grill through most of the fall. If an outdoor grill is not an option, certainly an indoor one would work well for swordfish. Meaty type fish, like swordfish and tuna, take well to grilling.
The recipe I use for swordfish is an old Italian style recipe for cooking fish over a fire and lots of flavor is added by marinating and topping the grilled fish with a fresh tasting sauce. I like to make the cooking easy by placing the fish on a sheet of heavy-duty foil. This prevents the fish from falling apart and protects the topping I like to add.
Grilled Swordfish with Lemon Sauce
For 2 servings (recipe is easily doubled and tripled)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Swordfish Steak, at Least 1/2 inch thick and about 10 oz
- 1 large clove garlic, sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup Panko crumbs
- ¼ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- Lemon Sauce, recipe below
Place swordfish in a glass dish, scatter garlic over the fish and pour the olive oil over all. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
When ready to grill:
Remove the garlic from the fish.
Place a sheet of heavy foil on a baking sheet and poke a few holes in the foil.
Combine the panko crumbs and Italian seasoning.
Place the swordfish on the foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Press half the panko crumbs onto the fish. Turn the fish over and press on the remaining panko.
Heat an outdoor grill to high. Slide the foil with the fish still on it onto the grill grates. Lower heat to medium.
Cook about 8-10 minutes until the crumbs begin to brown the and the fish is cooked through. Do not turn fish. Remove the fish to a serving plate and pour the lemon sauce over fish.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
Whisk thoroughly. If made ahead, warm in the microwave when ready to serve.
Roasted Potato Wedges
- 2 large baking potatoes, unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Scrub the potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise, then cut each half in thirds lengthwise. You’ll have 6 long wedges from each potato.
Place the potatoes in a baking pan with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and oregano. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together, making sure the potatoes are covered with oil.
Spread the potatoes in a single layer with 1 cut-side down.
Bake the potatoes for 30 to 35 minutes, turning to the other cut side after 20 minutes. Bake until they are lightly browned, crisp outside, and tender inside. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
Romano Green Beans Sautéed with Tomato
During the summer, when these Italian beans are plentiful, I froze several pounds to use later in the year.
- 1 ½ cups Romano beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Half a large fresh tomato, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Rinse the beans under cold running water. Drain, leaving any water clinging to the beans. Trim the ends and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil.
Once the oil is hot, add the beans, garlic, shallots, oregano leaves, salt and pepper to taste.
Sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently until the beans are tender but retain some crispness, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat and let the beans cool slightly. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and tomato. Allow the dish to cool to room temperature.
Looking for some new ideas for sides for dinner? Here are a few recipes that my family likes.
Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
- 6 cups broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1 cup Italian fontina cheese, diced
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- White pepper, to taste
Steam or stir fry the broccoli until crisp tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour, mustard powder and salt to taste.
Gradually stir in milk, whisking over medium low heat until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until completely melted. Season to taste with white pepper.
Pour over steamed broccoli and serve at once.
Oven Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower
- 1 whole cauliflower head
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a rimmed baking sheet.
Cut the cauliflower into large florets.
Beat the eggs with the milk in a shallow dish.
Place the grated cheese in a shallow dish.
Place the flour in a plastic bag and add the salt and pepper.
Add the florets to the flour filled bag and give them a shake, rotating the bag until the florets are dusted with flour.
Dip each floret in egg and then in cheese and place on the prepared pan.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 23-30 minutes.
Spaghetti with Cheese and Black Pepper
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 8 oz.spaghetti
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
- Chopped parsley for garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente, 8–10 minutes; reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta.
Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pepper; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Ladle 3⁄4 cup pasta water into skillet; bring to a boil.
Using tongs, transfer pasta to skillet; spread it evenly.
Sprinkle the Pecorino Romano cheese over pasta; toss vigorously to combine until sauce is creamy and clings to the pasta without clumping, about 2 minutes, adding some pasta water if necessary.
Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Green Bean Salad
- 1 lb green beans, trimmed and halved
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 of a red onion, diced
- 1 celery stick, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Sea salt to taste
- 1/3 cup feta cheese
- 1 cup tomatoes, sliced
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- ½ cup sliced radishes
Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt, pepper and green beans. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans until they are tender but very firm, 3-4 minutes. Drain.
Add the salad ingredients and any of the additional optional ingredients that you may wish to add. Toss well and chill before serving.
Italian Stuffed Baked Potato
- 2 russet potatoes
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon plus one tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons sliced basil plus extra for garnish
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Rub the potatoes with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, place on a baking sheet and bake until they are tender when pierced with a knife, about one hour. Do not turn off the oven.
Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a grinding of black pepper.
Cut the baked potatoes in half and remove most of the potato flesh from the shells. Mash the potato pulp and add the tomatoes, basil and ricotta. Mix well.
Add the mixture to the potato shells and return the stuffed potatoes to the oven and heat until the potato mixture is hot. Garnish with additional basil.