I often see photos of pizza with salad on top and I had been wanting to try something similar. So, keeping with what is in season, my pizza is made with onions, mushrooms and arugula salad. Serve this pizza with marinated olives and sliced tomatoes. And, don’t forget dessert!
1 lb pizza dough, at room temperature
Half a large red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz mozzarella, sliced thin
½ cup feta cheese
1 cup arugula
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Heat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Spread the pizza dough in a greased pizza pan.
Heat the oil in a skillet and add the shallots and garlic. Cook for a minute and add the mushrooms.
Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until all the mushroom liquid is absorbed.
Spread the sliced mozzarella on top of the pizza dough. Spread the mushrooms over the cheese.
Sprinkle the feta on top of the mushrooms.
Bake the pizza until crispy and brown on the edges.
Mix the arugula with the lemon juice.
As soon as the pizza comes out of the oven, top it with the arugula salad and freshly ground black pepper.
Cut and serve.
Italian Almond Carrot Cake (Torta di Carote)
This cake is gluten-free and made with olive oil. It is not your traditional American carrot cake.
You can also buy the carrots shredded from the supermarket.
1/2 cup regular olive oil, not extra-virgin
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups almond meal/flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
1 cup mascarpone
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons rum
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the base of a 9 inch springform pan with a parchment paper cut to fit the bottom. Coat with olive oil spray.
Add the pine nuts to a small dry pan and toast them over low heat.
Grate the carrots in a food processor or with a coarse grater, and put them on a double layer of paper towels. Wrap the towels around the carrots to soak up the excess liquid.
Using the whisk attachment in an electric mixer, combine the sugar and olive oil until creamy.
Whisk in the vanilla and eggs. Fold in the almond meal/flour, nutmeg, grated carrots, toasted pine nuts the lemon zest and lemon juice.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. The batter will be not be very high in the pan.
Bake the cake until the top is risen and golden and a cake tester comes almost clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest on a rack for 10 minutes before removing the sides. Let cool until ready to serve. Transfer the cake to a serving platter.
Combine the mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar and rum in a small bowl. Slice the cake and serve with the mascarpone cream.
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.
You don’t always have to serve meat as a main course in order to make a delicious dinner.
Plant-based recipes consist of fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, but no dairy, eggs or meat. While I would not be happy with a diet devoid of dairy, eggs or cheese, I am very happy to eat whole plant food meals a few times a month. I am not a purist, so I include olive oil in my cooking preparations. We really liked these recipes and did not think they needed the addition of meat.
Try some plant-based recipes every once in a while. They are good for you and the planet.
Serves 6 as an appetizer. This also makes a good spread for bruschetta.
1 1/2 pounds eggplant (1 large)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the baking pan
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely diced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups chopped Italian tomatoes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
8 chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup minced jarred roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Basil leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score once or twice with a knife (not hitting the skin on the bottom.)
Roast face down on foil lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with oil, about 20 minutes or until tender. Let drain on a paper towel for 10 minutes, cut side down.
Scoop the eggplant out of the skin and finely chop.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil (or substitute vegetable broth) over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onion, celery, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the Italian tomatoes, vinegar and agave and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the remaining oil, eggplant, capers, red peppers, olives and parsley and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until thickened.
Cool to room temperature. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and garnish with basil leaves. Serve with your favorite Italian bread.
Serve over cooked pasta, polenta or rice.
2½ pounds fresh mixed mushrooms, small and firm
1/2 ounce dried porcini, soaked in 1 1/4 cups warm water
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary, a tender stem about 4-inches long
1 sprig fresh sage, with 4 big leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable broth
1 cup shallots, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups canned finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
Squeeze out the soaked porcini and slice them into pieces about 1/4-inch wide. Strain the soaking water and set aside
Clean, trim and slice the fresh mushrooms into thin slices, barely 1/4-inch wide.
Tie all the fresh herb sprigs together with piece of kitchen twine or enclose the leaves in cheesecloth.
Put the oil or vegetable broth into a large, deep skillet with a cover or Dutch Oven and place over medium heat. Add the onions and shallots and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and stir well.
Cook for 6 minutes or more-stirring often-until they’re soft without any browning.
Add all the porcini and sliced mushrooms into the pan.. Sprinkle with another 1/4 teaspoon salt and add in the herb bouquet, toss briefly, raise the heat a bit and cover the pan.
Cook, covered, for about 3 minutes-shaking the pan now and then to sweat the mushrooms.
Uncover and continue to cook over fairly high heat, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms shrink and the liquid evaporates, 5 minutes or more.
When the mushrooms begin to brown, clear a spot and add the wine and stir constantly until the wine thickens and evaporates. Pour in the porcini water, vegetable broth and Italian tomatoes.
Bring to a boil, stirring and then lower the heat to keep the sauce bubbling gently and cover the pan. Cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.
If after one hour the mushrooms are thoroughly tender and the saucy liquid has thickened, remove the herb bouquet. If you want the sauce thicker, cook for another 30 minutes.
Taste and add salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper.
Use the sauce immediately or let it cool. Store it in the refrigerator for a week or freeze, for use within several months.
Italian Vegetable Stew
Vegetables that will hold up to long cooking times are the best choices for stews. If you use more delicate vegetables, they should be added toward the end of cooking. Good veggie choices for stews are sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, root vegetables such as carrots, turnips and parsnips, green beans, pumpkin, winter squash and cauliflower. Cutting the vegetables into uniform pieces helps them cook evenly.
I used purple and red potatoes in this recipe to give the stew some added color.
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable broth or water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 fennel bulb, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/4 lbs mixed small purple and red potatoes, cut in half
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
One 26 oz container strained Italian tomatoes (Pomi) or tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups frozen Italian or regular green beans, partially defrosted
Heat the oil (or water) in a Dutch Oven and add the garlic and onions. Saute over low heat for a few minutes until the onion softens.
Add all the remaining vegetables, except the Italian green beans, and stir until coated with the onions. Add the red wine and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.
Add the seasonings, strained tomatoes and tomato paste. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the sauce starts to bubble.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the stew for 30 minutes. Add the green beans, cover and cook for 10 or 15 minutes more.
Don’t forget the crusty Italian bread to dunk in the sauce.
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.
I am sure you have heard of Chicken Cacciatore but how about Beef Cacciatore? I came up with this recipe when I had several beef round roasts in the freezer and did not want to make a traditional pot roast. This is a great dish to make at this time of year. Assemble it and put in the oven and then you can go on with your holiday preparations. Cook some pasta or mashed potatoes and you have dinner.
A typical bottom round roast that weighs 3 to 4 pounds should be slow roasted in a Dutch Oven for about 4 hours for a tender roast with an internal temperature of 165 to 170 F(74 to 77 °C) . Preheat the oven to 300 °F (149 °C) and slow roast the meat for 3 to 4 hours, depending on the weight.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 lb boneless bottom round roast (also called rump)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 large onion, cut into large dice
1 (28 ounce) container finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced thickly
1 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
8 oz Pappardelle Pasta
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Brown the roast on all sides in the oil in an ovenproof Dutch Oven. Season the roast with salt and pepper.
Add the wine, tomatoes, seasoning and some additional salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
Cover the pan and place it in the oven. Cook for about four hours or until very tender. Turn the roast over several times during cooking.
Remove the roast to a large plate and let rest for ten minutes. Slice thin.
Bring the sauce to a boil in the Dutch Oven and reduce the heat to low. Add the drained pasta and let heat for a minute or two.
Pour into a large pasta serving bowl and place the sliced beef on top.
Serve this meal with a green salad.
All summer long, I save the bones from grilled steak and keep them in a plastic bag in the freezer. Come the fall I have plenty of bones to make a rich homemade beef stock.
The stock can be used for soup or freeze it in smaller containers to use over several months, whenever you need beef broth for a recipe.
Rich Brown Beef Stock
- 4-6 pounds beef bones
- Beef seasoning ( I use Penzey’s)
- Half a sweet onion
- Handful of celery tops
- 1 whole large carrots, halved
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 large garlic clove, unpeeled and halved
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bones in a baking dish and sprinkle them with beef seasoning. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
If using uncooked bones increase the baking time to an hour. The bones should be nicely browned.
Place the browned bones in a large Dutch Oven. Add the remaining ingredients and cover all with water. Bring to a boil and simmer partially covered for 3-4 hours.
Strain the broth in a colander lined with cheesecloth. Reserve some of the broth for the soup and discard the bones and vegetables.
Beef, Mushroom and Barley Soup
Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 ½ lbs beef stew meat, trimmed and diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups chopped leeks
- 2 cups chopped carrot
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 8 cups beef stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 cup uncooked pearl barley
- 1 cup diced mushrooms
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and add the diced beef; cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
Add the leek, carrot and garlic. Saute 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add broth, water, thyme, pepper and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Add the mushrooms and barley; cook another 45 minutes or until the beef and barley are tender.
Discard the bay leaf. Add the parsley.