Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ricotta-Spinach Dumplings


I am always looking for recipes to consume less meat and fat. This Ricotta-Spinach Dumplings dish was great. Though the recipes has ricotta cheese in it, I purchased ricotta made with skim milk. It was quite delicious and I didn't miss the pasta. I only omitted the step of boiling the pasta as the first batch of veggie and cheese dumplings fell apart. So I just cooked the second batch in the sauce and they were delicious.
Ricotta-Spinach Dumplings
Serves 6 (serving size: 6 dumplings and about 1/4 cup sauce)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed
1.5 ounces (about 1/3 cup) plus 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese (such as Calabro or Polly-O)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2.25 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce
Total: 50 Minutes
1. Cook spinach in microwave according to package directions; cool slightly. Place spinach in a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze until very dry.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon 1.5 ounces flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, spinach, ricotta, and next 6 ingredients (through 1 egg) in a medium bowl. Stir gently just until combined.
3. Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour on a baking sheet. Drop ricotta mixture by tablespoonfuls onto floured pan to make about 36 dumplings. Sprinkle dumplings with remaining 1 tablespoon flour, and very gently shape each flour. (Dumplings can be shaped ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)
4. Place marinara in a large skillet over medium heat; cover and keep warm.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 9 dumplings to water; cook 5 to 6 minutes (do not boil). Remove dumplings from pan with a slotted spoon, and place in marinara; keep warm. Repeat procedure 3 times with remaining dumplings.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Saucy Hungarian Red Potato Goulash with Smoked Sausage and Savory Caramelized Onions

This was a dish truly for my husband. He loves meat and potatoes so I was pleased to find this recipe for Saucy Hungarian Red Potato Goulash with Smoked Sausage and Savory Caramelized Onions
which incorporated his love of Kielbasa and potatoes. It literally was chopping, searing and slow cooking on a stove top. I served it with roasted Brussel sprouts and sauerkraut.

Saucy Hungarian Red Potato Goulash with Smoked Sausage and Savory Caramelized Onions


1 (14 ounce) smoked sausage, sliced on the bias into thin medallions
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, pressed through garlic press
• Salt
¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
10 medium-size red skin potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½” thick circles (about 2 ¾ lbs)
1 ½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• Olive oil
-Place a large, deep, non-stick pan (or even medium non-stick pot) over medium-high heat, and add in about 1 tablespoon of oil; once the oil is hot, add in the smoked sausage medallions, and caramelize them for a few minutes until they become a deep brown color; remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
-To the same pan or pot, add in the butter, and allow it to melt; add in the sliced onions, and caramelize those in the butter and sausage drippings until a rich, golden-brown, about 5-7 minutes; next, add in the garlic, plus a couple of pinches of salt, the freshly cracked black pepper and the paprika, and stir to combine with the onions; saute just until the garlic becomes aromatic.
-Next, add in the sliced potatoes, and fold them into the caramelized onions/garlic to coat them well; add in the chicken stock and stir to combine, then push the sliced potatoes down into the stock/onion mixture as much as possible to allow them to cook evenly; cover the pan/pot with a lid that is askew to allow some steam to escape, and simmer on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring gently once or twice during this time; then, uncover the pan/pot and allow the potatoes to continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, or until they are tender and the sauce a bit thickened, stirring once or twice during that time. (It’s perfectly fine for some of the potatoes to break up in the sauce as it helps to thicken it, just take care not to break them too much.)
-Finish the Goulash by adding the caramelized smoked sausage back into the pan/pot, as well as the parsley, and gently fold those in to incorporate; add a little drizzle of olive oil in, and add a couple more pinches of salt and pepper, if necessary; serve hot with bread, if desired.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Spinach Artichoke and Pesto Naan with Feta

This Spinach Artichoke and Pesto Naan with Feta was so delicious and easy to make. I highly recommend it! 

Spinach Artichoke and Pesto Naan with Feta

Serving Size: makes 2 naan pizzas


2 pieces Naan bread
1/2 cup of your favorite pesto
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts, jarred or canned, drained
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Nikos Tomato-Basil Feta cheese


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.Spread each naan evenly with pesto. Top with chopped spinach, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, and Nikos cheese.
Place flatbread on a baking sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted. Allow to cool before serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Eggplant Balls

These eggplant balls were so flavorful and easy to make I would totally use them as an alternate to meatballs. Packed with flavor. Plus for extra health I baked mine at 350 till brown instead of frying them. It would go great with the Zoodles recipe I made in the spring. 
Eggplant Balls

1 large eggplant, unpeeled
salt, to taste
1 cup + ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs, divided
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp minced parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
extra virgin olive oil, for frying

Monday, August 03, 2015

Italian Wedding Soup with Veggie Balls

For the soup
For the veggie balls

This was such a delicious soup. It took a while to make but anything difficult in cooking is usually worth the effort. Perfect for when the weather gets a bit warmer, but light enough with the eggplant balls(not sure why they are called veggie balls) instead of meatballs. And you could even omit the pasta if you wanted to.

Italian Wedding Soup with Veggie Balls

1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 small carrot, cut into chunks
4 clove garlic, peeled
2 oz fresh basil
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
3½ quarts cold water
1 head escarole, cut into ½-inch shred
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and leaves cut into ½-inch shreds
1 lb zucchini, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 parmesan rinds
2 tbsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1½ lb cheese tortellini

1 large eggplant, unpeeled
salt, to taste
1 cup + ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs, divided
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp minced parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
extra virgin olive oil, for frying(I baked mine)

First, start the soup. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the onion, carrot, garlic, and basil. Pulse until it forms a smooth paste, called a pestata.
Heat the olive oil in the soup pot over high heat and scrape the pestata into the pot. Cook, stirring until the pestata has released liquid and started to dry out a bit, about 5 minutes. Pour the cold water into the pot, scraping up the pestata from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the broth, covered, for about 15 minutes. Stir in the greens, zucchini, parmesan rinds, and salt. Return to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 minutes, and uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the tortellini in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
While the soup simmers, prepare the veggie balls. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Bring 2 quarts of water with 1 tbsp of salt mixed in to a boil over high heat. Add the eggplant and boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until eggplant is cooked, pressing them down into the water regularly. Drain in a colander and push out as much water from them as you can using the back of a spoon. Finely chop eggplant.
In a bowl, combine the eggplant, 1 cup of panko, cheese, parsley, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Mix in the egg.
Roll the eggplant mixture into small balls that are about 1-inch in diameter and set them on a platter. Put the remaining panko in a small bowl and roll each ball in the breadcrumbs to coat evenly. Set the coatedballs on a clean tray.
Pour the olive oil into a 10-inch skillet to a depth of ½ inch. Turn the heat to medium and when the oil begins to shimmer, put a test ball in the skillet. If it sizzles immediately, then the oil is hot enough. When the oil is ready, carefully put the balls in the skillet in a single layer.
Fry, turning gently with a spoon, until browned all over, about 3 minutes total. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining balls until all of them have been cooked.
Divide the soup evenly among 8-10 bowls and serve topped with the veggie balls.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Cheesy Cauliflower Biscuits

I felt like this was a good starter recipe but I think next time I would add more cheese or even corn in there, or spinach. It just felt like it needed a bit more. But I wouldn't toss it out at all.

Cheesy Cauliflower Biscuits

1 cauliflower head, leaves removed
Step 1: Make Mashed Cauliflower
Step 2: Mix
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Then, slowly fold the egg whites into the cauliflower mixture.
Step 3: Bake
Remove from the pan, and set on a cooling rack.

3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Steam cauliflower for about 10-12 minutes or until very tender, then transfer to a food processor. Add minced garlic and pulse several times until smooth and creamy.

Transfer mashed cauliflower into a large mixing bowl. Add in two whole eggs, cheddar cheese, Nonfat Greek yogurt, salt and pepper and mix together.

Coat a mini muffin pan with cooking spray of your choice. Then fill the cups to the top with the cauliflower mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Roasted portabello, artichoke marinated in olive oil infused with pesto and garlic with burrata

I can't find the link to this recipe but it was fantastic.

I marinated the portabello in garlic, olive oil and pesto for a bit before I added jarred artichokes(drain the water), roasted them in the oven for twenty five minutes at 375 and then added burrata cheese. This makes a fabulous appetizer.

Monday, July 27, 2015

There are a variety of toppings I like to add on toast. Try it instead of adding just adding butter, peanut butter or jam to your toast.

Toast with butter and olives. Any olives.

Toast with feta and tarragon. Or butter and tarragon.

Toast with Sardines

Toast with Anchovies

Toast with feta and tomatoes.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with sautéed Asparagus

I tried the new line of simmering sauces from Marketplace(Target Brand). It was too ad onto roast chicken and potatoes. It was peppery and delicious. I threw in some asparagus as well as I love that vegetable.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sicilian Baked Eggs with Artichokes, Burrata, Spinach, and Spicy Tomato Sauce

I love recipes that you wonder to yourself why didn't I think of this? Because they are that simple yet so simple. And most of the ingredients would be available in one's pantry or refrigerator. I love finding variations of eggs in purgatory. They are delicious.

Sicilian Baked Eggs with Artichokes, Burrata, Spinach, and Spicy Tomato Sauce

For the spinach
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5 oz baby spinach
For the eggs
8 large eggs
2 cups artichoke hearts, chopped
8 oz burrata
24 oz tomato sauce
½ tsp red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 350F.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the spinach to the pan and saute until wilted. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
In a large cast iron skillet, spread half of the tomato sauce. Top with half of the spinach, half of the artichokes, and half of the burrata. Crack four eggs over the top. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and half of the pepper flakes. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the whites are cooked and yolks have reached desired doneness. Serve with toast for dunking. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Monday, July 20, 2015


These tasty min pepper with pesto and goat cheese treats will be the hit of the next party you throw or attend. Super quick to make and packed with flavor. ROASTED RED PEPPERS WITH PESTO AND GOAT CHEESE


8 baby red bell peppers
2 heaping tablespoons prepared pesto
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 ounces goat cheese
fresh oregano (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice mini bell peppers in half and remove stem and seeds. Place in a large bowl (or large ziplock bag) and toss with pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar until peppers are completely covered.
Line up peppers on a baking sheet and place into oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
Take peppers out and carefully add crumbled goat cheese to insides of pepper halves.
Place back into oven and bake for another 3-5 minutes or until goat cheese is melted.

Optional: sprinkle chopped fresh oregano over peppers before serving.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Grilled Veggie Sandwich

The summer has been hot and although I want to eat I don't necessarily want to cook in a hot and small kitchen, so I love finding simple, healthy and quick recipes that I can more throw together then follow instructions. This was can spend time with the family in a room that has an air conditioner.

Grilled Veggie Sandwich

Quick Hummus:
1 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons tahini
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Salt to taste
Grilled Vegetables:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 zucchini, sliced horizontally
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch rounds
1 yellow squash, sliced horizontally
8 slices of bread, toasted

In a blender, add the garbanzo beans, olive oil, tahini, juice from 1/2 lemon and a pinch of salt. Pulse until smooth, adding a splash of water, if needed. Adjust the salt to taste. Set aside.
Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Spray the grill or grill pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl. whisk together the olive oil, ground cumin, ground coriander and salt. Transfer the vegetables to the grill, cooking on each side for 1 to 2 minutes, taking in mind that the red bell pepper will take longer to cook than the other vegetables. Remove the vegetables and immediately brush them with the olive oil spice mixture.
To assemble the sandwiches, smear a tablespoon of hummus to each bread slice. Arrange a few zucchini slices, red bell pepper, onion and yellow squash to each half of bread; top with opposite slice of bread. Repeat the sandwich-making process with the remaining bread and vegetables.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Northern Indian Style Baked Eggs with Green Harissa & Naan

I love eggs and omelets. Partly because my mother made a variety of omelets growing up. But the tomato based ones was a standard. I'll be trying out North Indian Style, Sicilian and Greek. Probably except for the naan most of these ingredients would be in the kitchen. This is so easy to put together when you are too tired to make a meal. It is bursting with flavor. 

Northern Indian Style Baked Eggs with Green Harissa & Naan


1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, diced

1-2 jalapenos, seeded + chopped (I used 1 large)

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes

1/3 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, oil drained (or 2 tablespoons tomato paste)

1/2 cup canned coconut milk (I used full fat)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

4-6 eggs

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

1/2 cup green or red harissa

chopped almonds, fresh dill and limes, for garnish

fresh naan, for serving


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a large oven safe skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until soft. Add the jalapeños, garlic and ginger. Cook another 2 minutes and then stir in the cumin, garam masala, chili powder and smoked paprika. Continue cooking for another minute.

Add the tomatoes, crushing them with your hand as you add them. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, coconut milk and crushed red pepper. Bring the sauce to a low boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro

Create small wells for the eggs and carefully crack the eggs into the wells. Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper. Place the whole skillet in the oven and bake until the whites are just set but yolks are still runny, about 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh dill, lime and almonds. Serve with a side of fresh hot naan.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Zesty garlic & basil chickpea burgers with a creamy avocado pesto

These veggie balls reminded me very much of falafel. They were so easy and flavorful to make. This is a great meal or appetizer. The next day I put the extra balls in a salad.

Zesty garlic & basil chickpea burgers with a creamy avocado pesto

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic
8 large basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, if you like a tiny bit of heat
1/8 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, plus more if needed (see notes below recipe for alternatives)
Optional: 1/4 cup diced bell pepper or shredded carrot
1 teaspoon olive oil, for cooking the burgers
1/2 cup Avocado Basil Pesto

Toppings: Sliced Avocado, spinach, sliced tomato, red onion
Whole grain or gluten free buns or lettuce wraps
In the bowl of a food processor, add in chickpeas, garlic, basil, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne pepper, tumeric and salt and pepper and process until coarsely chopped but not completely liquid-like. Transfer to bowl and fold in egg, onion and breadcrumbs. You can also add in 1/2 cup of diced bell pepper or shredded carrots if you'd like. Mold into four patties, add more breadcrumb if the patties are too wet. I found that 1/2 cup was perfect for me, but it may be different for you.
Place patties on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Next make your pesto by adding all of the pesto ingredients besides the water to the bowl of a food processor. Process a few times the slowly add in water until pesto reaches a thick but spreadable consistency. Transfer to a container and refrigerate for optimal storage. You can find the pesto recipe here.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add patties and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve on a bun or in a lettuce wrap and add two tablespoons of pesto on top. I also suggest topping yours with avocado, onion and spinach if you'd like! Makes 4 patties.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Open-Faced Spinach, Artichoke and White Bean Grilled Cheese

You probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen for this super easy and delicious sandwich. Great for lunch or as an appetizer.

 Open-Faced Spinach, Artichoke and White Bean Grilled Cheese

 ¼ cup parmesan cheese
 ¼ cup creme fraiche
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
15 oz canned white beans, drained and rinsed
14 oz canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese 5 bagels

Preheat the oven to 400. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the parmesan cheese, creme fraiche, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic, and white beans. Pulse until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the artichoke hearts and spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the dip over your carbohydrate of choice. Top with shredded cheese, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melty and starting to brown. Serve warm.