Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Good For You Dinner

Salmon Saltimbocca

2 servings

Ingredients

Olive oil
2 salmon fillets about 6 oz each, skin removed
Salt & pepper to taste
2 slices prosciutto
4 sage leaves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels and place in an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the salmon with salt & pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Lay two sage leaves on the non-skin side of the fillets and place a slice of prosciutto on top of each fillet. Tuck the edges of the prosciutto underneath the sides of the salmon. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake the salmon for 10 -12 minutes..

Greek Braised Chickpeas

This lemony chickpea dish can be served at room temperature or as an accompaniment to the main dish.

4 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 cups cooked chickpeas (two 15-ounce cans), drained
1 cup of water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon all-purpose unbleached flour

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat and cook the onion until some pieces are turning brown, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the drained chickpeas and water, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and flour until well blended and smooth. Whisk several tablespoons of the hot liquid from the chickpeas into the lemon-flour mixture until well blended. Pour this mixture back into the chickpeas, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the water is nearly evaporated and the sauce has thickened, 1 to 1-1/4 hours. Turn the heat off and let the chickpeas cool in the skillet. Serve at room temperature or warm.

Sautéed Swiss Chard

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 (about 12 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden
brown, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and half of Swiss chard, season with salt and
pepper, and cook, tossing often, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and remaining
chard and cook, tossing, just until all chard is wilted, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper.r

 

Torta di Ricotta

Italian Cheesecake

serves: 10 to 12

Italian cheesecake is one of the easiest Italian desserts to make and is always a big hit.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup amaretto crumbs from about 5-6 cookies
5 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups drained whole milk ricotta, at room temperature
1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons dark rum
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Powdered sugar and strawberries for optional topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Combine the butter and cookie crumbs together and pour into the baking pan, Press the crumbs over the bottom until firm.

In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and salt at high speed until creamy and doubled in volume for about 5 minutes.

Add ricotta, mascarpone, rum, and lemon and orange zest. Mix on medium until smooth and fluffy, about another 2 minutes.

Put springform pan on a baking sheet and pour batter into the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake until edges are set and lightly golden but the center is still a bit jiggly about 75 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about one hour. With a thin metal spatula, go around the cake in the pan to keep it from sticking to the pan as it cools. Cover the pan and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a serving plate. Cover the top with powdered sugar and strawberries cut in half.

Sicilian Fish Stew For Dinner

Ingredients

4 servings

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
1 28-oz can whole cherry tomatoes
1 cup seafood broth
2 tablespoons capers
2 lb skinless sea bass fillet, about 1 ½-inch thick, cut into 4 pieces
8 large fresh or frozen medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 large sea scallops
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves stems removed
Crusty Italian bread for serving

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet with a cover over medium heat. Add onions, celery/ Cook, stirring regularly until softened (about 4 minutes). Add thyme, red pepper flakes, and garlic and cook briefly until fragrant (about 30 more seconds).
Stir in the white wine. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, salt, pepper, and capers. Cook for 20 minutes over medium heat until flavors combine.


Pat the fish dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. Insert the fish pieces into the cooking liquid, and give everything a gentle stir. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and cover the skillet. Let sit off the heat for another 5 minutes so that the fish will finish cooking. Fish should be flaky when gently pulled apart with a paring knife. Finally, stir in the chopped parsley.
Ladle the hot fish stew into serving bowls. Serve with your favorite crusty bread.

Creamy Cauliflower Pasta For Dinner

For the topping
3 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon black pepper

For the roasted cauliflower sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, cored, cut into florets
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

Pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12-oz box spinach linguine (DeCecco)

Directions

For the cauliflower
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
In a bowl toss together the cauliflower florets, shallots, garlic, seasoning, salt, red pepper, and olive oil. Spread on the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and browned.

For the topping
Cook bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add panko and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until panko is well browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer panko mixture to bowl and stir in cheese.

For the pasta
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water.
Return the pot to low heat and add the cream, roasted cauliflower, pasta water, and cheese. Stir until heated through. Add cooked pasta and mix well. Turn the mixture out into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the bacon panko topping. Serve immediately.

Oven-Baked Fish and Chips

 

Fish and chips are traditionally sold wrapped in paper to soak up all the grease–because they are deep-fried in oil. To cut the calories and reduce the fat, bake the fish along with the potatoes. Serve with coleslaw and malt vinegar or lemon wedges. I included my recipe for Tartar sauce in case you prefer that with the fish.

FISH AND CHIPS

4 servings

Ingredients

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 ½ teaspoons minced thyme
1 large garlic clove, grated on a Microplane or minced
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ pounds skinless wild-caught cod, or other white fish fillets, cut into 1-inch-thick strips
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 ½ pounds russet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick sticks

Prepare the fish and chips:

Arrange 2 oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the lower rack and heat the oven to 500 degrees.

Grease an oven-safe wire rack with oil and place it over another rimmed baking sheet.

In a shallow dish combine 2 tablespoons of oil, panko, thyme, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together mustard and eggs. Place flour in a third bowl.
Season fish with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Dredge each piece of fish in the flour, then the mustard mixture, then the panko mixture, making sure it is well coated with each one before moving to the next. Transfer fish to the pan with the wire rack.

In a large bowl, toss together potatoes, the remaining 4 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Carefully spread potatoes out on the preheated baking sheet and return to the oven’s lower rack. Roast until slightly golden and crispy, tossing after 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and transfer the second pan, with the fish still on the wire rack, to the oven’s top rack. Bake until fish is flaky and golden and potatoes are well browned and tender, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
Salt the fish and potatoes immediately after removing them from the oven. Serve hot, with tartar sauce alongside for dipping, if desired.

Homemade Coleslaw

Ingredients

16 oz package of coleslaw mix

Dressing
1 teaspoon honey or another sweetener
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

In a medium serving bowl with a cover, combine the dressing ingredients using a whisk.
Add the shredded cabbage, carrot, and scallions and stir gently to mix.
Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Homemade Tartar Sauce

3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons dried dill
1 tablespoon minced scallions (white and light green parts only)
2 teaspoons chopped capers
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

For the tartar sauce:

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, relish, dill, scallions, capers, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Orange Pork Stir-Fry

This Chinese dish is from the Mandarin style of cooking and is therefore not spicy. If you like spicy food add hot sauce to taste.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1/2 pound bok choy, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
3 carrots, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 sweet onion, quartered and layers separated
2 celery stalks, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, sliced
Hot cooked Jasmine rice

Sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions

Remove any silverskin from the pork. Cut pork into thin 1-inch-long pieces. Season with pepper and salt.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or wok over high. Add half of the pork; cook, stirring, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from skillet. Repeat with 1 tablespoon of the oil and remaining pork.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Add bok choy, carrots, celery, onion, remaining salt, ginger, and garlic; cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender-crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.

Whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining sauce ingredients in a bowl. Pour the sauce mixture over the vegetable mixture in the skillet; bring to a simmer over medium-high. Add pork and simmer stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Serve with rice.

 

Steak with Mushroom Blue Cheese Sauce

 

Porterhouse Steak

Ingredients

1 Porterhouse or T-Bone Steak, 1-inch thick. at room temperature
Steak seasoning
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Mushroom Blue Cheese Sauce, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat for 5 minutes.
Coat both sides of the steak with steak seasoning. I use Montreal. When the pan is hot, add the steak and sear evenly for about 2 minutes per side.

 


Remove the pan from the heat and top with the butter, then place the pan in the oven. Cook the steak for 8 to 10 minutes to 120 degrees for rare and 125 degrees for medium-rare. Remove the steaks to a platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bone and thinly slice the steak. Pour the mushroom sauce over the steak and serve.

I like to serve this steak recipe with baked potatoes and sauteed spinach.

Mushroom Blue Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

4 oz can of sliced mushrooms, drained
1 large shallot finely diced
1 teaspoon butter
Pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon of crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Directions

Melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the shallot, mushrooms, and pepper. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese, sour cream, and chives and cook until warm.

America’s Culinary Food Stories-Beef Stroganoff

America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland.
True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought its cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.

Stroganoff (or Stroganov) is a simple and comforting Russian dish consisting of sauteed pieces of beef served in a sour cream sauce. It dates back to the mid 19th century and is named for a member of the Stroganov family, who were a group of highly successful Russian merchants and landowners in Tsarist Russia. The first known recipe is found in a mid-1800s Russian cookbook. The dish probably goes back to much earlier peasant fare but is now commonly attributed to the household of Count Pavel Stroganoff (1774-1817). Tolstoy’s War and Peace novel paints a picture of Russian society of that time which was fascinated with French culture and language. The interest in all things French extended to food, with chefs of the great households striving to create dishes in a more elegant and refined style.

After the fall of Tsarist Russia, the dish found popularity in China. Then, during WWII, Russian and Chinese immigrants, as well as US servicemen, brought the dish to the US. The first English language recipe for Beef Stroganoff appeared in a cookbook in 1932, but its popularity didn’t blossom until after World War II. Servicemen who’d served overseas were open to new tastes and flavors. Some went on to become the food editors, writers, and chefs who redefined American cuisine. At the same time, families moved to the suburbs, and dinner parties became more fashionable than ever. Beef Stroganoff, luxurious yet easy to prepare, became a signature dish with countless hostesses, and a headline entrée in upscale restaurants. New York’s Russian Tea Room, founded by former members of the Imperial Ballet, was famous for this dish.

In the 50s and 60s, Stroganoff saw quite a bit of popularity in the US, but overtime its image was marred by canned cream of mushroom soup and poor cuts of meat that were poured over noodles or rice and served in cafeterias. Unfortunately, it was this cafeteria version that everyone in the States came to associate with the name. Beef Stroganoff is so much more than the 50s and 60s made it out to be. Authentic Russian Beef Stroganoff combines tender beef and flavorful mushrooms in a creamy sauce for an elegant, yet quick dish.

The best beef to use in beef stroganoff is a cut that works well with quick-cooking. That means you need something that is tender in its own rights, such as beef tenderloin or ribeye steak. The important thing is to cut the steak into thin slices by cutting across the grain. This shortens the fibers of the meat, making it more tender with less cooking.

In Russia, you will most often find traditional beef stroganoff served over fried shoestring potatoes (French fries). It can also be found served over mashed potatoes or rice. Here in the States, egg noodles are the most common accompaniment to beef stroganoff.

TRADITIONAL BEEF STROGANOFF

Ingredients

2 tablespoons salted butter
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 lb beef tenderloin, sliced thinly, against the grain
2 tablespoons instant Wondra flour or all-purpose
1 cup beef broth
½ teaspoon ground mustard seed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 oz egg noodles, cooked

Directions

In a large skillet, heat the butter. Add the beef to the saute pan. Cook until lightly browned, 2 minutes. Add the onion and mushrooms, cook until the mushrooms are tender. Stir the flour into the beef broth and mix well.
Add the beef broth, salt, pepper, mustard powder, and tomato paste to the saute pan scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any stuck bits.
Simmer the mixture over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Place the sour cream into a small bowl and mix a little of the broth from the skillet with the sour cream to warm it. Pour the warmed sour cream mixture into the saucepan and mix to combine. Warm over very low heat,
Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Serve the stroganoff over the cooked noodles.

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Pizza

Pizza Dough

A chewy pizza crust that can be made quickly with just basic pantry ingredients for when you are in a hurry. Makes 1 lb of pizza dough.

Ingredients

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in flour, salt, and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Place the dough in an oiled pizza pan and press and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan.

Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

Place an oven rack on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

After the dough has rested, add the toppings as indicated below.

Sausage and Peppers Topping

ingredients

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

Ingredients

26 oz container strained or chopped 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

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 remaining ingredients and saute until the vegetables are tender.

Let stand 5 minutes to cool.

Top the rested dough 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.

Roasted Lamb Chops & Mixed Vegetables

While I only wanted 2 servings of the lamb, I made extra vegetables so there would be leftovers for another meal. The vegetables are a great addition to a salad.

Ingredients

1 lb green beans trimmed
6 rainbow carrots trimmed and sliced in half
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin slices
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6–8 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped from stems and coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, grated
1/4 cup lemon juice, divided
Salt and pepper
2 lamb chops (about 6 1/2 oz each)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons seasoned panko crumbs
2 tablespoons capers

Directions

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 475°F.

In a large bowl, toss the green beans, carrots, and peppers with 3 tablespoons olive oil, half the rosemary, 2 garlic, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.

Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a foiled lined baking sheet. Roast 12 to 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the mustard, 1 tablespoon olive oil, the remaining rosemary, the remaining garlic, and the lemon juice; spread the mixture all over the lamb chops.

Sprinkle with panko crumbs,

Place the lamb chops on the baking sheet with the vegetables and roast for 15 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter, add the lamb and sprinkle all with the capers. Serve immediately.


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