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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: mushrooms

Pork
2 boneless loin pork chops, about 1 inch thick, all fat removed
2-3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Vegetables
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large white mushrooms, quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Noodles, 3-4 oz uncooked

Directions
Pat the chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Mix the flour with the Italian seasoning. Coat the pork chops in the flour mixture.
Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to serving platter and tent with foil.


Cook the noodles according to package instructions.


Add mushrooms and zucchini to the skillet and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic, cream, roasted peppers, and Parmesan cheese and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened about 5 minutes. Add the pork chops back to the skillet and heat.


Serve over cooked noodles.

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Italian Mushroom Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
One 26-28 ounce container Italian diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon snipped fresh oregano
Salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan.
Add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the skillet. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Then, stir in the broth and undrained tomatoes, bay leaves, herbs, salt to taste and red pepper. Cover with the lid ajar and simmer about 1 1/2 hours or until the sauce is very thick, stirring occasionally. Keep warm.

Chicken Fontina

Ingredients

2 large boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
All-Purpose or low carb flour
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, made from regular or low carb bread
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large slices Italian Fontina cheese
Italian Tomato Mushroom Sauce, recipe above.

Directions

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the pounded chicken breasts in flour. Dip in the beaten egg white and then into the bread crumbs. Press the crumbs onto the breasts. Place the breaded cutlets on a plate and refrigerate for several hours.


In a large skillet with a cover heat the butter and oil. Add the cutlets and brown on both sides.

Cover each breast with tomato mushroom sauce and a 1 1/2 slices of cheese. Cover the skillet and heat until the cheese begins to melt.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Serves 4

1 pound medium asparagus, woody stalks removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
l garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the asparagus with oil in a large baking dish.
Roast for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the minced garlic and lemon zest on the asparagus and roast an additional 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt & pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


As of January 2018, the largest population of French American people live in the state of Maine. French Americans also live in Louisiana where the largest French-speaking population in the U.S. is found in St. Martin Parish. Country-wide, there are about 10.4 million U.S. residents that declare French ancestry or French Canadian descent, and about 1.32 million speak French at home as of the 2010 census. An additional 750,000 U.S. residents speak a French-based creole language.

Maine Farmers

Creole Musicians

While Americans of French descent make up a substantial percentage of the American population, French Americans are less visible than other similarly sized ethnic groups. This is due in part to a tendency of French American groups to identify more closely with “New World” regional identities such as Acadian, Brayon, Cajun, or Louisiana Creole. Unlike other immigrants who came to the United States from other countries, some French Americans arrived prior to the founding of the United States. In many parts of the country, like the Midwest and Louisiana, they were the founders of some of the villages and cities and were often the state’s first inhabitants.

New Orleans French Quarter

French immigrants introduced a wide range of interesting foods to America. For example, French Americans made the first yeast bread and brought technical farming skills that vastly improved American rice and wine. Huguenots grew and prepared the first okra, artichokes, and tomatoes. The popularity of French cuisine took off in the 1780s, following the alliance between France and the United States during the American Revolution. Many respected French chefs, such as Arthur Goussé in Los Angeles, immigrated to the United States and established restaurants. A number of French culinary terms remain prominent in modern times, including bouillon, purée, fricassée, mayonnaise, pâté, hors d’oeuvres, bisque, filet, sauté, casserole, au gratin, and à la mode.

Extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes form the basis of Provencal cuisine. This trio appears in sauces, soups, and salads, and as companions for dozens of fish, pasta and meat courses. The combo is often enhanced with fresh herbs, including parsley, oregano, fennel, basil and rosemary, as well as black Nicoise olives, capers, shallots or leeks. The stew below is classic French cuisine where beef and vegetables are simmered in red wine.

Slow-Cooked Provençal Beef Stew

Serve the stew with homemade biscuits.

Bouquet Garni
2 scallion tops (about 6 inches long)
1 bay leaf
1 medium celery stalk
2 sprigs fresh parsley, with stems
3 sprigs fresh thyme
One 2-inch-long strip orange peel

Stew
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 ounces bacon
2 pounds beef stew meat, such as chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 large, red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 large carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 pound mixed mushrooms (I used portabella and cremini), halved if small, quartered if large
1/2 bottle (375 ml) full-bodied red wine, such as Burgundy or Pinot Noir
2 cups of water
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Freshly grated zest of 1/2 orange

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250°F.

To assemble the bouquet garni: Place one scallion top on the counter. Top with bay leaf, celery stalk, parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and orange peel. Place the second scallion leaf on top and tie the bundle together in four spots with kitchen string. Set aside.

To prepare the stew: Place the bacon in an ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook until barely brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving any drippings in the pot. When cool break into small pieces.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add half the beef cubes (do not crowd the pot) and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to a large bowl and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Repeat with the second batch of meat, salt, and pepper.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Season with the remaining salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture with a slotted spoon to the bowl with the beef.

Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.

Pour wine and water into the pot and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Return the browned beef, the carrot mixture and the reserved bacon to the pot. Press down on the beef and vegetables, making sure to submerge them completely in the liquid; if necessary, add just enough hot water to make sure they are covered. Place the bouquet garni on top.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the pot and press it directly on top of the stew, covering it completely. Transfer the stew to the oven and cook, with the lid off, until the beef is tender enough to cut with a fork, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Check every hour to be sure the ingredients stay submerged in liquid during the entire cooking time. If too much wine evaporates, add a little hot water to make up for the loss. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, stir in the reserved mushrooms.
Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Combine chopped parsley and orange zest in a small bowl and scatter on top of the stew just before serving.


Looking to make more healthy meals that incorporate more vegetables, then here is a great recipe for you to try.
Most firm vegetables can be turned into rice and the technique is ideal for keeping meals lower in calories and carbs and high in nutrition. So for this new take on Scallop Risotto, I adapted the classic recipe by using riced butternut squash instead of rice.

To make it even easier, Green Giant and Alexia sell frozen riced butternut squash. I defrost it first and drain it well. I think that if cooked in the frozen stage too much water is retained, so I don’t follow the directions on the package.

Butternut Squash “Risotto”

2 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large shallot, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken or fish broth
10 oz riced frozen butternut squash, defrosted and drained
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and salt. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally.


Add the squash to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes.

Then add the broth. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is completely tender and the liquid has evaporated. Add the sage and cheese. Stir well.

Creamy Scallops

2 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 large sea scallops
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons dry white wine or broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until hot and sizzling. Add the scallops in a single layer in the pan.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and fry for 2 minutes on one side, then turn them over and fry again for 2 minutes. Remove the scallops from the skillet and transfer them to a plate.

Melt the butter in the same pan and add in the garlic; cook 1 minute.

Pour in the wine (or broth) and bring to a simmer. Let cook for 2 minutes. Add cream and allow to simmer until slightly thickened.

Remove the skillet from the heat; stir in lemon juice and add the scallops back into the pan to warm through.

Place a serving of the butternut squash risotto on each dinner plate. Top with the scallops and cream sauce. Garnish with parsley.

Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms

4 servings

Ingredients

1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a medium baking dish.
Add the green beans, mushrooms and olive oil. Mix well and then season with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Place into the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Stir the vegetables. Continue to roast for 10-15 minutes, until the green beans are just tender. Don’t overcook. Remove the dish from the oven and serve.

 


I recently watched an episode of The Kitchen on the Food Network where they prepared Reverse Seared Ribeye. The technique seemed to make sense so I decided to give it a try.
While this method does take longer to prepare than just grilling the steak, the outcome ensures the meat is cooked to your likeness. The steaks also tasted very good.

Reverse Seared Ribeye Steaks

Ingredients

Two 1 inch thick bone-in ribeye steaks, at room temperature
Coarse sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F.
Season all sides of the rib-eyes liberally with salt and pepper. Place on a wire rack-lined baking sheet. Bake until the desired internal temperature is reached, 105 degrees F for rare, 115 for medium rare and 125 for medium, 45-60 minutes. When the ribeyes come out of the oven, tent loosely with aluminum foil while preheating the skillet.


Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then sear the steaks on the first side for about a minute. Turn the steaks over and add the butter to the skillet. Once the butter has melted, continue to cook the steaks, continuously basting with the melted butter, until seared on the second side, about 30 seconds. Sear the fat cap on the sides of the steaks 30 seconds more.


Place the steaks on a serving platter and spoon the pan juices over the steaks, Slice the meat and serve.

Creamed Spinach

Save 1 cup of the creamed spinach for stuffed chicken breasts. Recipe next week.

Ingredients

Two 10 ounces frozen spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Defrost frozen spinach overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave until warmed through, usually about 6-7 minutes.
Heat a saucepan on the stove to medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the spinach and let some of the water evaporate. Season the spinach with salt and pepper to taste and mix together.


Add cream cheese and stir together until cream cheese is melted.
Add sour cream and mix together. Turn the heat to low. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until the creamed spinach thickens. Serve immediately.

Homemade Onion Rings

Cornflakes and a hot sheet pan are the secrets to the crispness of these onion rings.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, sliced crosswise and broken into rings (discard small center rings)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In a food processor, pulse the cornflakes and breadcrumbs until fine crumbs form, then transfer to a medium bowl.
In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, flour, and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper.
Dip onion rings in egg mixture (letting excess drip off) and dredge in cornflake mixture; place on a large plate.
Pour oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and heat 2 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and tilt to coat evenly with oil.
Arrange onion rings on the baking sheet. Bake, turning once until onion rings are golden brown, about 16 minutes. Season with salt.

Sautéed Mushroom Caps With Herbs

Servings: 2 as a side dish

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lb cremini mushroom
1 clove garlic grated
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

Directions

Remove the mushroom stems and save for another use. In a skillet over medium heat, add butter and oil. Once the oil is hot, add mushrooms in a single layer, cut-side-down. Sprinkle with garlic, salt, and pepper. Saute until bottoms are browned (4-5 min), then turn them over and cook until browned on the second side.
Add the lemon juice and herbs. Stir mushrooms and cook another 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve.


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.


One of the fastest developing trends in cooking this year has been the use of spiralized veggies. Regardless of the season or the recipe, the spiralizer has given cooks a way to substitute pasta or carb-heavy noodles with fresh squash, beets, and other root vegetables. Green Giant has launched an entire line of frozen spiralized veggies with four different varieties—zucchini, butternut squash, beets, and carrots without any additives—only the vegetable itself. Supermarkets also sell spiralized vegetables in their produce sections.


I find the frozen variety very useful because they are readily available and unlike the fresh veggies, they don’t spoil quickly. I experimented with these frozen veggies and learned not to follow the package directions for microwaving or boiling. Instead, I defrost the veggies, dry them on a kitchen towel and saute them or add them to a sauce. They turn out great – not at all soggy and they retain a fresh taste. Try the recipe below and you will be surprised.

Butternut Squash Pasta

Ingredients

1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1 vegetable bouillon cube or ¼ teaspoon vegetable bouillon
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Two 12 oz packages frozen butternut squash spirals
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, chopped and parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

Defrost the frozen butternut squash in a colander early in the day you plan to cook. Transfer the squash to a kitchen towel to dry.

In a saucepan, saute the onion, mushrooms, fresh oregano and garlic in the olive oil. Add tomatoes, bouillon, and stir. Simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the cream and butternut squash spirals and simmer for a few minutes until the squash and cream are hot.
Top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese and serve with the grilled sausage.

Grilled Italian Sausage

Ingredients

1 ½ lbs. Italian Rope Sausage
Olive oil

Directions

Brush the sausage with olive oil.

Heat the outdoor grill on high and then turn the burners off on one side of the grill or place coals on one side of a charcoal grill.
Lower heat is better and will prevent the meat from drying out. Oil the grill grates.
Keep the entire link whole – don’t cut it up or poke holes in it.

Coil the link over the indirect heat side of the grill and close the grill lid. After 15 minutes turn the sausage link over.
Use tongs to turn the links. Don’t pierce the link’s skin or the juices will flow out and cause the sausage to be dry. Cook for 15 minutes more.

Check with a meat thermometer for 160 degrees F internal temperature to be sure the sausage is cooked all the way through. If not, continue to cook until the temperature is reached.

Note: to cook on a stovetop grill, heat the pan, lower the heat to low and oil the pan. Cook the sausage for about the same time as above or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees.



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