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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: peppers

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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Stuffed Peppers

This past weekend I grilled a whole chicken and, of course, there were leftovers. The leftovers made a delicious filling for the peppers. Here is the link to the grilled chicken and my recipe for Ranch Salad Dressing.

Ingredients

2 large bell peppers
1/2 cup water

Filling
1 cup of shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup leftover rice or cauliflower rice
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 scallions, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning

Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the tops off the peppers and reserve them. Remove the pepper seeds, wash and dry the peppers.
Combine the filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. You need about 1 cup of filling for each pepper.

Fill the hollowed out pepper cups and place them in a baking dish where they can stand upright. Put the tops on the peppers and pour the water in the baking dish around the bottom of the peppers.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

Corn and Black Bean Saute

Ingredients

2 cups corn kernels
1 seeded and minced jalapeno
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups canned or homemade black beans, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Saute the corn, jalapeno, and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until corn is just tender. Stir in the black beans and cilantro. Season and heat.

Sliced Cucumbers With Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

1 English cucumber
Ranch Dressing (your favorite or my recipe in the link at the top of this post.)

Directions

Cut the cucumber into thin slices. Place on a serving plate and drizzle with ranch dressing.


The pronunciation is PAH-nay and the name indicates cutlets that are breaded and fried. The term “panne” comes from the French word for bread, “pain” and/or the Spanish term “pan” for the same. This is a common recipe made in New Orleans cuisine and served with a Creole Sauce. The sauce definitely elevates these simple cutlets. I used turkey cutlets in today’s recipe but any cutlet works well. Serve the cutlets New Orleans style with cooked greens and rice on the side.

If you are following a low carb or gluten-free diet use arrowroot powder for the flour and low carb or gluten-free bread for the crumbs.

Creole Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 chopped garlic clove
1 large ripe tomato, seeds removed, diced
1 cup chicken stock
3 green onions, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 small sprig fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Cutlets

4 cutlets, pounded thin (chicken, veal, pork or turkey)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon salt-free Creole seasoning (store-bought or homemade, recipe below)
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup freshly grated bread crumbs
Olive oil
Fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

For the Creole Sauce

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan and sauté the onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic until just tender, but not browned–about five minutes.

Add the fresh tomatoes to the pot, along with the chicken stock. Bring to a light boil.

Add all the remaining sauce ingredients and cook over medium heat for five minutes.

Lower to a simmer and cook until the sauce becomes very thick. Adjust salt and pepper seasoning if needed, and keep warm until time to serve.

For the cutlets

Tip – I like to prepare the cutlets earlier in the day and refrigerate them uncovered until ready to cook because the breading stays in place better when frying.

Pound the cutlets between two pieces of waxed paper (or inside a large food-storage bag) until they are evenly thick and about twice their original size.

Mix the salt and Creole seasoning into the flour, and lightly coat the cutlets.

Place the cutlets in the beaten egg and then dredge in the bread crumbs.

Heat a coating of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high and cook the cutlets for about a minute and a half per side, or until the exterior is golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of the Creole sauce on each cutlet and serve garnished with chopped parsley.

Creole Seasoning

Ingredients

2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons paprika

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl or jar and stir so that all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Store in an airtight container or zip lock bag.


Cajun or “les Acadians” was used to describe French colonists who lived in the Acadia region of Canada (present-day New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia). With the British Conquest of Acadia in the early 1700s, the Acadians were forcibly driven from their home and eventually settled in the swampy regions of Louisiana. Those distinct areas are the levees and bayous (Lafourche and Teche), prairies (Attakapas Indian land), swamplands (Atchafalaya Basin), and coastal marshes (New Orleans area and Houma).

The Acadians were an extremely resourceful people who combined the resources of the flatlands, bayous, and the wild game of South Louisiana with its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico to create a truly unique local cuisine. While many Acadiana residents today have Native American, German, French, or Italian roots, their way of life is strongly influenced by the Cajun culture. Along with its food, this rural area of Louisiana is famous for its Cajun French music and language.

Seasoning is one of the most important parts of Cajun cooking, and that comes from much more than a heavy helping of cayenne pepper. Most dishes begin with a medley of vegetables based on the French mirepoix. “The holy trinity of Cajun cuisine” utilizes onion, celery, and bell pepper to provide a flavor base for many dishes. Garlic, paprika, thyme, file (ground sassafras leaves) are also very common ingredients in Cajun kitchens.

The term “Creole” describes the population of people who were born to settlers in French colonial Louisiana, specifically in New Orleans. In the 18th century, Creoles consisted of the descendants of the French and Spanish upper class that ruled the city. Over the years the term Creole grew to include native-born slaves of African descent as well as free people of color. Typically, the term “French Creole” described someone of European ancestry born in the colony and the term “Louisiana Creole” described someone of mixed racial ancestry.

Like the people, Creole food is a blend of the various cultures of New Orleans including Italian, Spanish, African, German, Caribbean, Native American, and Portuguese, to name a few. The dishes consist of an array of spices from various areas, for example, remoulade sauce. Creole cuisine had more variety because of the easier access Creoles had to exotic ingredients and the wide mix of cultures that contributed to the cuisine. That’s why you find tomatoes in Creole jambalaya and not in Cajun jambalaya or why a lot of times you find a Creole roux made with butter and flour while the  Cajun roux is made with oil and flour.

Cajun Steak

Servings: 4

Ingredients
:
1 lb steak bites (cut into 2-inch cubes) (Sirloin, New York Strip or Ribeye)
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, purchased or use the homemade recipe below
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic finely chopped

Directions

Place the Cajun seasoning and 1 tablespoon oil in a shallow bowl or a plastic ziplock bag. Add the steak bites and toss to evenly coat. Refrigerate for several hours.


Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
Sear the steak bites for 2-3 minutes on each side until the edges are crispy and browned and remove to a serving bowl. Set aside.


Reduce heat to medium. Add butter to the skillet and heat until melted. Sauté the chopped garlic for 30 seconds, while scraping the bottom of the pan.
Take the pan off the heat. Place the steak bites back in and toss through the garlic butter to evenly coat. Pour onto a serving plate.

Cajun Seasoning

Ingredients

2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon onion powder

Directions
Combine the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine. Store covered at room temperature.

Cajun Rice Saute

You may also substitute frozen and defrosted cauliflower rice for the regular rice in this recipe

4 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 small bell pepper (baby bell), diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 1⁄2 cups cooked rice (¾ cup uncooked)
1 ½ cups chicken broth
Chopped parsley

Directions

Cook the rice in chicken broth. Set aside
In a skillet heat the oil and saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper until tender.


Add garlic, Cajun seasoning and thyme. Saute for 1 minute. Add the cooked rice and heat until hot stirring frequently until combined with the other ingredients. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with chopped parsley.

Southern Style Greens

Bacon fat is often used in this recipe but I use olive oil instead.

Ingredients

2 pounds greens (collards, mustard, chard), washed and drained
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Salt and pepper

Directions

Use a knife to cut on either side of the large rib running up each green leaf. Remove it and discard it. Stack about 4 to 5 leaves, roll them up and cut into 1/2-inch strips. Repeat with remaining leaves.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened.
Add broth, vinegar, sugar and hot sauce to pot. Stir to combine.

Add greens and use tongs to turn and mix them until they reduce in size some. Cover, turn heat to low and cook until tender (30-60 minutes depending on the type of greens used), stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp In Spanish Sauce

2 servings

Ingredients

12 large shrimp (16-20), peeled, deveined and tails removed
6 slices Prosciutto di Parma, cut in half lengthwise
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

Pat shrimp dry and toss with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl.
Wrap 1 prosciutto slice around the center of each shrimp.

Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and paprika to the skillet and cook until bell pepper is soft about 3 minutes.

Increase heat to high, add shrimp and cook until the edges turn pink about 1 minute. Turn shrimp over, add sherry and simmer until the shrimp are just cooked through about 1 minute. Using tongs, transfer the shrimp to a serving platter.

Add garlic, thyme, butter, and lemon juice to the skillet with the peppers and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the shrimp on the serving platter. Serve this dish with sautéed spinach and rice or cauliflower rice.


Steak Pizzaiola

I like to use the mini bell peppers for sauces because they are tender and sweet tasting.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 rib-eye steak (about 12 oz. and 1 inch thick), trimmed of excess fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
12 oz. mini bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup Marinara Sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Cut the steak in half crosswise and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of each steak with salt and pepper.
In a large heavy frying pan over medium heat, add the oil, onions, garlic, and peppers. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, 10 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl with a slotted spoon.


Add the butter to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Put the steaks in the pan and sear until deeply browned on both sides and medium rare about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks to individual serving plates.
Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet and add 1/2 cup of the sautéed peppers and onions and stir them into the sauce. Reserve the remaining peppers and onions for another recipe.
Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer just until the vegetables are hot, 1 minute. Divide the mixture in half and pour over each steak. Garnish each serving with chopped parsley.

Sautéed Swiss Chard With Garlic and Lemon

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large bunches Swiss chard, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2”
pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

Wash the chard well in several changes of cold water. Drain in a colander. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and half of the Swiss chard, season with salt and pepper.

Cook, tossing often until wilted. Add the lemon juice and remaining chard and cook, tossing, just until all chard is wilted about 1 minute. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Rosemary Flavored Roasted Rutabaga Wedges

Ingredients

1 medium rutabaga, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the ends off the rutabaga and then cut the rutabaga in half. Cut each half in two. Cut the slices into wedges.


Place the rutabaga wedges in a large ziplock bag with the oil and seasonings and toss to coat. Spread the mixture evenly on a sheet pan and cook for 45-50 minutes until tender and brown. Turn the wedges over half way through the cooking time.


Easy Overnight Pizza Dough

Makes one 16 inch round pizza. Prepare the dough one day ahead. This process makes the best pizza dough.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 cup lukewarm water

3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Sausage and Peppers Topping

8 oz spicy Italian Sausage, cut into thin slices

1 lb small bell peppers, sliced thin

1 large onion sliced thin

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

Olive oil

Pizza Sauce

26 oz container strained Italian tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

One day before making the pizza:

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.


Combine all the ingredients for the pizza sauce in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

Preheat a large sauté pan on medium-high and place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, then add sausage and cook until browned about 6 minutes, stirring until no pink remains. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, peppers and onions and saute until the vegetables are tender.

Let stand 5 minutes to cool.

Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan. Top the crust with slices of mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, peppers, onions, and sausage.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted, and the toppings are thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.



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