Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: peppers

Tuna Coating
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground fennel
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon flour

Tuna
2 tuna fillets about 1 lb total
1 tablespoon olive oil

Peppers and Onions
1 cup sliced Italian Frying Peppers
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 garlic glove, smashed
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
Coarse sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Beans
One 15 ounce can cannellini or navy beans, drained, rinsed or ½ cup dried beans soaked overnight and cooked. (See recipe below)
1/2 cup jarred baby artichoke hearts, cut in half
1/2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

For the peppers and onions
Heat oil in a large deep skillet and add the garlic clove. Add the peppers and onions. Saute until tender about 5-6 minutes. Add the mint and season with coarse salt and pepper. Remove from the skillet and place on a serving platter.

For the tuna
Combine the coating mixture in a shallow dish.
Rinse the fillets in cold water, letting the water drip off but don’t dry the fish.
Coat the tuna fillets in the coating mixture.

Add the 1 tablespoon oil and heat. Carefully place the tuna fillets into the skillet. A spice crust should form within 1 minute. Using a wide spatula, turn the tuna fillets over, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 2-5 minutes to the desired doneness. Place the cooked tuna on the bed of onions and peppers.

For the beans
Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Heat over low just until hot. Serve with the tuna fillets.

How To Cook Dried Beans

Ingredients

8 ounces (1 cup) dried beans
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled, lightly smashed
Half a serrano or jalapeño pepper seeded, or 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 to 4 fresh thyme sprigs or ½ teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Place the beans in a large saucepan, add enough cool water to cover by 1½ inches, and soak overnight at room temperature. Drain.
Place the soaked beans in a large saucepan with water to cover by 1½ inches. Add the onion, garlic, chili, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a low boil over moderate heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cook the beans at a bare simmer until they are just tender but not mushy, about 30-45 minutes. If necessary, replenish the water, so that it stays 1 inch above the top of the beans. Halfway through the cooking time, stir in the salt.

Remove from the heat. If you are using them right away, drain the beans. Remove and discard the onion, garlic, chili, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. If you are not using the beans immediately, allow the beans to cool in their cooking liquid before draining. (Keep the cooking liquid to reheat the beans or to use in many of the recipes that follow.) You can keep beans, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.


This entire meal may be baked in the oven together at the same temperature. Just stagger placing the dishes in the oven according to their baking times.

Baked Stuffed Shrimp

2-3 servings. This recipe is easily doubled.

Ingredients

12 jumbo raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail-on
1 large scallion, minced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 celery stalk, minced
Half a jalapeno pepper, minced
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 slice finely chopped cooked bacon
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Lemon wedges for serving

Directions

Preheat to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Using a paring knife, cut along the outside curve of each shrimp, from the bottom of the neck to tail, almost all the way through. Arrange the shrimp on the prepared pan, laying them open, cut-sides down, pressing gently to flatten.

For the stuffing
Combine scallions, mayonnaise, celery, jalapeno, breadcrumbs, bacon, salt and cayenne in a small bowl.
Spoon 1 teaspoon of stuffing onto each shrimp. Fold the tail over the filling and press gently.

Bake until the shrimp turn pink and the stuffing is warmed through, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with lemon wedges.

Zucchini Au Gratin

Bechamel Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Au gratin
2 cups. shredded cheddar cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 medium zucchini, about 2 lbs, sliced crosswise into 1/4” circles
1 shallot, minced
Bechamel sauce, recipe above

Directions

To make the Bechamel sauce

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Whisk in flour and cook the roux, whisking, 2 minutes. Add the milk in a stream, whisking, and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly (sauce will thicken). Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 2 minutes, then whisk in the salt and pepper Remove from heat and cover the pan.

For the zucchini

Toss the zucchini slices with 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl or plastic bag. Pour into a large colander and let sit for at least 30 minutes. This will pull moisture from the zucchini so your casserole will not be watery. Dry the zucchini in a kitchen towel.

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter a medium casserole dish. Add a layer of zucchini to the baking dish, overlapping the zucchini slices. Season with pepper and pour about one-half of the cream mixture over the zucchini. Scatter the minced shallot over the zucchini and sprinkle with half the cheese.
Make another layer with the remaining zucchini slices and top with the sauce and cheese. Bake until bubbly and golden on top, 40 to 45 minutes.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

If you don’t have garlic-flavored oil, add two minced garlic cloves.

Ingredients

1 (10 oz) container cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons garlic-flavored olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.


In a medium baking dish, toss together tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Top with thyme sprigs.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and very fragrant.


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

Directions

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 450 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.

Pizza Ingredients

8 oz Italian fontina cheese, sliced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Topping Ingredients

¾ cup green Italian olives pitted and chopped
½ cup pitted and sliced Kalamata olives
½ sliced roasted red peppers
½ cup baby artichoke hearts, sliced in half
3 tablespoon capers

Directions

Combine the topping ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.
Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan.

Top the crust with the sliced fontina followed by the shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle the topping ingredients evenly over the cheese.
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.


Texas Chili

This style of chili does not contain beans.

Ingredients

2 pounds beef chuck roast or stew meat
1 lb ground beef
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
4 fresh green jalapeños or 2 poblano peppers, diced
2 tablespoons ground chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 whole dried large Mexican chiles
Chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Cut beef into 1/2-inch cubes and sprinkle with salt.
In a large, heavy pot over high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, brown the meat cubes, turning occasionally. Adjust heat to prevent scorching. As it is cooked, remove the meat to a bowl. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Remove to the bowl with the beef cubes. Add more oil as needed for browning and do not clean out the pot when finished browning.

To the empty pot, add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, jalapeños or poblanos, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and oregano. Cook, stirring, until the onion softens, 5 to 10 minutes. Add browned meat, beer, tomatoes, whole dried chiles, and 1-quart water. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer about 3-4 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender and the liquid has reduced. Remove the dried chiles. Taste and add salt if necessary. Stir in cilantro to taste.

Serve immediately or let cool and refrigerate. The chili tastes best one or two days after it is made.
To serve, sprinkle with chopped onion and shredded cheddar cheese.

Cornbread

Feel free to substitute fresh buttermilk if you have it.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups water
5 tablespoons buttermilk powder
1 stick unsalted butter
1 large egg

Directions

Melt butter in a baking dish (use 7×11 or an 8-inch square glass dish) in the microwave for 60 seconds.
Pour into a mixing bowl to cool. Spread residual butter around the edge of the baking dish to coat.
Add water and egg; stir. Add sugar, buttermilk powder, cornmeal, flour, and baking soda. Stir just until combined.

Pour into the prepared baking dish and even out. Bake 375 for 20 minutes.


Most people know Rick Bayless from Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, his Public Television series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time and his many cookbooks. He is also the owner of multiple restaurants, including the outstanding Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, where my family ate numerous times when we lived in Chicago. I recently discovered that he developed a line of Mexican cooking sauces that are sold in most supermarkets. While the sauces have been available for a while, I just recently discovered them and find them to be delicious, authentic and so very convenient. I especially like these sauces because they are made from fresh ingredients with no preservatives, are gluten-free, and low in carbohydrates. They also come in convenient, easy to use pouches.
These sauces are so convenient when you are busy and want a good tasting dinner fast. I used one of the taco sauces for my recipe below. There are quite a few made by his company, Frontera Foods, and you can check out the rest with this link.

Key Lime Shrimp Tacos

Serves 4. Since I only wanted two servings, I made half the recipe. I also used half of the sauce and froze the unused portion for another occasion. I also changed the directions from the one listed on the package in making this dish.

Serve this entree with a salad and ranch dressing.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon avocado or vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 Poblano pepper, diced
1 pound peeled, deveined medium shrimp;
1 pouch Frontera Key Lime Shrimp Taco Skillet Sauce
8 tortillas (crispy or soft), warmed
Toppings: cheese, jalapenos, shredded cabbage or lettuce, tomato, avocado, etc

Directions

Heat the oil in a nonstick 10 or 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add the onion and poblano pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender, about 4 minutes. Add the sauce and let it sizzle for a minute or two and then add the shrimp. Cook and stir over medium heat until the shrimp turn pink and are just cooked through about 4 minutes.


Serve in warm tortillas with your choice of toppings.
Variations: Substitute 1 pound sea scallops or cubed firm fish for the shrimp.


Speedy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

I used the last of my roasted chicken in this recipe. Here is a link to the post:

https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2019/11/13/mediterranean-style-roast-chicken/

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
One (8 oz) container enchilada sauce (I use Frontera brand), divided
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces)
1 ½ cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
8 tortillas
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, onion, and bell pepper; sauté 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add 1/4cup of the enchilada sauce, chili powder, and the chicken. Hest over low heat until warm. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Wrap tortillas in paper towels; microwave at high 30 seconds or until warm. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla; roll up tightly and place tortillas, seam side down, in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas, and sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream mixed with the cilantro.


‘Scarpariello” literally means shoemaker-style.”Shoemaker-style chicken” may refer to Neapolitan shoemakers making delicious food in the little time they had at the end of the day. Chicken scarpariello is sometimes attributed to Sicily and Calabria and is made by sauteeing chicken pieces in oil and adding white wine, lemon, garlic, and parsley. However, it is not a traditional dish from Italy. It is probably more of a “Little Italy” dish, born of southern Italian roots somewhere in our Italian American neighborhoods here in the United States. In any case, it is delicious and very easy to make. Some recipes are made with a whole chicken or chicken thighs. I prefer the chicken strips for this dish. I also add potatoes but you can leave them out and serve the dish with pasta.

Chicken Scarpariello

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 lb chicken tenders
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil- divided
1/2 lb of spicy Italian sausage
12 oz new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch thick slices
4 pickled sweet cherry peppers, quartered
1 sweet bell pepper sliced (red, yellow, or orange)
1/4 red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon cherry pepper pickle liquid
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon black ground pepper
¼ cup each chopped fresh basil and fresh parsley for garnish

Directions

Sprinkle the chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour.
In a 10- to 12-inch heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the chicken pieces, working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan, and brown on both sides, turning once.

Transfer to a plate and set aside. In the same pan, cook the sausage slices and potatoes until brown; remove them and set aside with the chicken.

Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers and cherry peppers to the pan. Saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, broth, vinegar, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper and bring to a boil, then return the chicken, sausage, and potatoes to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a bubbling simmer until cooked through 20 minutes; add more wine or water if necessary to keep the pan from getting dry.

Transfer the chicken to serving plates. Stir the basil and parsley into the sauce remaining in the pan and spoon over the chicken.

Caprese Salad

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large vine-ripened tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced1/4 inch thick
Fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

On a serving platter arrange tomato and mozzarella slices and basil leaves, alternating and overlapping them. Season salad with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil.



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