Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

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Serves 4

Ingredients

2 rib-eye steaks (about 1 ½ lbs total and 1 inch thick), trimmed of all fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil; more as needed
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3/4 lb Italian frying peppers, seeded and halved
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 ½ cups finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

Directions

Cut each steak into 1-inch strips removing as much fat as possible and pat them dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place on a foil-covered pan that can under the broiler.

In a 12-inch heavy frying pan over medium heat, place the oil, garlic and the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened but not browned, Add the peppers and cook until tender.

Pour the wine into the pan. As it comes to a boil, deglaze the pan juices by scraping the bottom of the pan well with a wooden or silicone spoon. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer.

Set the broiler to low. Place the pan with the steaks under the broiler and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly brown. Remove the pan from the broiler and place the steak strips and meat juices in the skillet with the tomato mixture. Stir in the meat and simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Serve this dish with mashed potatoes and green beans.


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.


Although the granules look like grains, couscous is actually tiny pasta made from a type of wheat called semolina. Unlike other pastas, which are mixed with water and eggs into sheets, couscous is made by rubbing semolina between wet hands until minuscule pieces are formed. The couscous is then dried and later cooked in boiling water.

Israeli couscous
Israeli couscous is also a type of pasta but consists of granules that are much larger – about the size of small pearls. Made from wheat flour and semolina, Israeli couscous has a ball-like shape and is toasted, rather than dried, after the granules are formed. This process gives Israeli couscous a nuttier flavor and chewy bite that adds an unexpected touch to regional recipes.

Mediterranean Scallops Over Couscous

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on the finished dish
Half a sweet onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of crumbled saffron threads
1/2 cup Israeli couscous
13-14 oz container no-salt-added diced Italian tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup vegetable broth
10 ounces bay scallops, tough side muscle removed
1/3 cup frozen peas
Chopped parsley
2 lemon wedges

Directions

Heat oil in a medium covered skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, fennel seeds, salt, pepper, and saffron; cook for 20 seconds. Add couscous and cook over medium-high, stirring constantly, until toasted, about 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and tomatoes, bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat to low. Cover the pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the couscous is tender.

Increase the heat to medium, stir in peas and scallops; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until the scallops are just cooked through. (If the scallops are not all the same size, place the larger scallops in the pan first, wait several seconds and then add the smaller ones).

Drizzle with olive oil, top with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.


Crispy Baby Kale Chips

The kale chips were tasty but small and fragile after baking. I think the next time I make this recipe, I will use regular-sized kale for a hearty chip.

Ingredients

1- 5-ounce package organic prewashed baby kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets or rimmed baking pans with parchment and set aside.

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl until the kale leaves are evenly coated.

Lay the leaves in a single layer on the pans and put them into the oven. Switch and rotate the pans halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. Bake for 30 minutes, until crisp.

Remove the pans from the oven and allow to cool before eating. Leftover chips can be stored in an air-tight container or ziplock bag for 4 days.

Southern Style Air Fryer Chicken

The chicken turned out delicious and crispy. The best thing about making fried chicken in the air fryer is that there is no messy/greasy clean up after cooking.

Ingredients

Chicken

4 skinless bone-in thighs, about 1 ¼ lb
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon paprika

Dry Coating
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup cornstarch

Wet Coating
1 egg room temperature
1/2 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons water
Butter flavored or olive oil cooking spray

Directions

In a bowl combine chicken with olive oil and then add the spices. Rub it in and set aside. In a large shallow dish, mix together flour, cornstarch, and spices. In a medium dish, mix together eggs, hot sauce, milk, and water.
Coat chicken very lightly in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
Place on a plate to allow time for some of the flour to be absorbed; set aside for about 10 minutes
Coat the chicken in the egg mixture; shaking off excess.


Immediately, coat the chicken in the flour mixture making sure all areas are coated, shaking off excess.
Let chicken rest for 15 minutes.


Coat the chicken all over with cooking spray.
Place chicken in greased Air Fryer basket, allowing room for the air to flow all around the chicken.
Cook on 350 F. for about 16 minutes, turning the chicken over halfway through the cooking time.


Remove and serve immediately.

Zucchini Crust Pizza

This recipe is amazing. It tasted like real pizza and you can actually hold the slice of pizza in your hand. Great for a low carb option.

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini about 1 1/2 cups shredded
1/3 cup almond or cassava flour
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
¾ cup pizza sauce
¾ cup mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
¾ cup optional Toppings: olives, mushrooms, peppers, pepperoni, cooked sausage, or whatever you prefer on pizza
Olive oil cooking spray.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Line a pizza pan (14-inch) with parchment paper and spray the paper with cooking spray, set aside. I use a cast iron pizza pan.
Place shredded zucchini on a kitchen towel.


Sprinkle with one teaspoon of salt.
Set aside for 10 minutes.
Squeeze the excess moisture out of the zucchini in the towel. Place the squeezed zucchini on a paper towel until ready to make the dough.

In a medium bowl, mix the shredded zucchini, flour, egg, cheese, Italian spices, and garlic powder with a spoon until combined; then by hand form the dough into a ball.

Transfer the mixture on to the greased parchment paper on the pizza pan.
Press the dough into a 12-inch round on the greased parchment paper.


Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust looks set and is starting to brown.


Remove the pizza crust from the oven.
Add the sauce, followed by the toppings and scatter the cheese on top.
Return the pan to oven and bake for another 8 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted. Let rest a few minutes and then cut into serving pieces.


Steak In Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 pound ribeye steak
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
Half a sweet onion thinly sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons sour cream

Directions

Slice the steak into very thin slices, about 2 inches long. Salt and pepper the steak slices.
Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a skillet on high heat and add the steak slices.
Sear the slices on high heat for 2 minutes on each side. Remove the slices to a plate.
Lower heat to medium turn the steak over and cook an additional two minutes on each side
Add one tablespoon of butter to the skillet.
Add the mushrooms and onions, and brown for 4-5 minutes before stirring.
Stir and cook another 2-3 minutes.
Whisk in the flour, cooking the flour for 30 seconds.
Add the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and whisk until smooth.
Cook for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Stir the sour cream into the sauce and then add the steak slices. Heat for a minute or two before serving.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Each pound of uncooked potatoes yields about 2 cups mashed potatoes

Ingredients

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
Coldwater, for cooking, enough to cover plus 1-inch
1 teaspoon table salt
¼to 1/2 cup heavy cream (depending on how thin you like mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste

Directions

Scrub the potatoes well and peel. Cut potatoes into pieces of similar size. Drop the potato pieces into cold water as they’re prepped, then drain before cooking. Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, then stir in table salt. Cover and bring to a boil on high, reduce the heat to maintain a steady low boil until the potatoes are tender and a knife moves easily through the center, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes.

While the potatoes cook, in a small pan, gently heat the butter and cream together, keep warm.
Return the drained potato to the hot pot, turn the heat to medium and let the excess water cook off for a minute or two, stirring occasionally.

Mash the potatoes until smooth. With a spatula, slowly turn the hot cream-butter mixture into the potatoes. Taste and adjust the salt to taste and serve immediately.

Skillet Green Beans

Serves 4

1 pound green beans, washed, ends removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed flat with the side of a knife
1/4 cup water stirred with 1/4 teaspoon honey
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the skillet on medium-high and oil until shimmery.
Add garlic, sprinkle with salt. Cook 30 seconds or until lightly golden, stirring.
Add the beans, turn a few times to coat well with the oil.
Stir in the water/honey mixture. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Cover and cook 2 – 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are slightly wilted but still crunchy.
Uncover and increase heat to high. Cook 2 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the beans are cooked but still bright green.
Taste and adjust the salt as needed.
Transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle with the syrupy liquid from the skillet.


When broccoli rabe shows up in my supermarket, I know spring is not far behind in my area.

Sausage, Mozzarella, and Broccoli Rabe Pasta

Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Half of a large sweet onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 container (26-28 ounces) chopped Italian tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
8 ounces short pasta
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into two-inch lengths
8 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


In a large skillet or saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is golden brown, 15 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).
Add garlic and sausage. Cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Cook sauce until slightly thickened, 10 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes less than package instructions and add the broccoli rabe to the pot with the pasta. Cook for the remaining time. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to the pot. Stir in tomato sausage sauce.

Transfer to an oiled 3-quart baking dish Top with diced mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbling about 15 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving.


Crispy Oven Baked Shrimp

Servings: 2. Double for 4 servings.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 lb large peeled (about 12), deveined raw shrimp (16-20 count), tail-on
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 medium finely chopped garlic clove
2 tablespoons Italian flavored panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Coat the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil.

Pat shrimp dry and place them in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the shrimp evenly with pepper and salt.

Whisk butter, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl; pour the mixture evenly over the shrimp.

In a mixing bowl combine the Panko, Parmesan cheese, chives, and the remaining oil; stir to combine.

Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

Roasted Zucchini

2 servings. Double for 4 servings.

Ingredients

Olive oil cooking spray
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
6 grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon garlic-flavored olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Coat a baking dish with the cooking spray.
Arrange zucchini halves, flesh side up, in the prepared baking dish. Arrange the grape tomatoes on the sides of the squash.

Drizzle olive oil over zucchini. Season the flesh with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle thyme, Herbes de Provence and garlic powder over the top. Roast 8 to 10 minutes, until tender and golden brown.

Rice Pilaf

4 servings

Ingredients

Rice

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup Lundberg wild rice blend
Salt to taste

Pilaf

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Half a red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
1 chopped celery stalk
2 tablespoons toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Bring the broth, rice, oil, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. When the liquid returns to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer 40 -50 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet, and add the onion, garlic, celery, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until tender, and the mushrooms have softened about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and the remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring until the sherry has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasonings.



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