So we are well into the New Year, and it’s definitely time to up my game and start smashing my fitness and healthy cooking and eating goals for this year.
I’ve joined a new gym, hired a Personal Trainer and committing to doing Yoga, Pilates, Barre and weight training plus lots of walking at least 4 times a week from now on. I’m also focusing on lower carb eating for a while – cutting out sugar, processed foods, carb loaded foods. And drinking more water, getting more rest and taking my vitamins. The list goes on! Gosh, getting healthy and in shape is not easy.
I decided to make a lighter version of Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti that’s normally loaded. I swapped out healthy spaghetti squash roasted with olive oil, sea salt and pepper instead of pasta to lighten up the carbs and calories.
Then I simply shredded it into spaghetti strands with a fork…
and sautéed some sliced fresh garlic and shrimp in olive oil, butter, red chile pepper, fresh parsley and a big splash of fresh lemon juice. YUM!
It’s so light and delicious i don’t even miss the pasta or bread (truly!) This lovely dish is also low in calories and high in protein – two staples to losing weight. Not to mention staying full and energized without the sugar highs and lows from eating all those heavy carbs.
You can also add more veggies to the dish if you like..try sautéing some mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes or bell peppers and adding them to the mix. I absolutely love the possibilities of this dish! Who needs pasta when you have delicious buttery strands of squash instead? Please add your comments below on how you would make or alter the dish – creativity is good!
Hope you enjoy the recipe and here’s to happy and healthy New Year to all of you. xx
Ah, it’s almost the end of Summer and I keep thinking, where has it gone? Along with Summer comes lots of fresh veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and yellow squash that I just can’t get enough of!
I recently received a lovely care package from my client Colavita, who sent me some delicious pasta, sauces, olive oils and vinegars to sample, which inspired me to make this Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies.
I used their Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed in to the pasta and veggies along with fresh oregano and basil. AND it has three (3!!) cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy – all baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness.
Look. At. This. Cheesy Baked Pasta Goodness. YUM.
It’s the perfect dish for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner – and is great served with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread (dipped in Colavita olive oil and vinegar of course!) Enjoy!
This is a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Rotini pasta with Italian Sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions and garlic! It also features Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed with three cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner served with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.
1 pound Colavita Fusilli pasta, uncooked
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, ground
2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar
1 cup yellow squash, chopped
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-16 ounce jar Colavita Tomato Basil sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Parmesan/Asiago cheese, grated
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Cook pasta according to package directions (about 9 minutes for al dente), drain.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Cook sausage until no longer pink, drain fat and set aside.
Add additional tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and add squash, zucchini, mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute or two. Add the cooked sausage back into the pan.
Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan/Asiago cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, add the ricotta cheese to a mixing bowl and stir in beaten egg, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Place the cooked pasta in a large pot and add the sausage-veggie-tomato sauce mixture, stirring well. Fold in the ricotta-egg-herbs mixture until thoroughly combined.
Spoon the pasta mixture into an 8x8 square glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan/Asiago cheese evenly over the top.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browned.
Let cool for a few minutes, serve hot with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.
You can also substitute Colavita penne, shells, farfalle or ziti for the fusilli pasta.
Note: I received complimentary products from Colavita but was not compensated for this post. All photos, copy, recipes and opinions are my own. Please do not share, distribute or use any content without my permission.
I love making savory tarts and pies, but unfortunately I don’t love the carbs and calories that come along with them. It’s also Summertime, and I’m trying to cook and eat lighter than usual…and the Fall season will come soon enough with all that yummy comfort food!
I’ve been experimenting lately with alternatives to pasta and dough – things like zucchini, cauliflower, almond flour, and quinoa. Not only are they lighter, but also , gluten-free and less carbs than traditional flours and equally as satisfying and tasty!
I found a recipe on Cooking Light for a savory Fall tart made in a toasted quinoa crust and decided to experiment a little with the crust, fillings and flavors. MISSION ON.
I love the flavor of the nutty toasted quinoa, which is done in the oven and gives a nice depth of flavor and crunch to the tart crust.
I mixed in some Bob’s Red Mill almond flour, corn starch, Parmesan cheese and an egg for binding the quinoa, then added a little garlic salt and olive oil to bring it all together for the crust. Then I pressed the quinoa mixture into four small tart pans and baked for about 10 minutes before filling them and baking again.
While the tart crusts were baking, I made a savory filling with mascarpone and cheddar cheese and spooned in this delightful cheesy goodness on to the par-baked crusts.
I also cooked up some crispy gorgeous bacon in the oven while the tarts were baking..(for about 20 minutes or so)..
then chopped it to pieces and layered it on top of the cheeses. HELLO PRETTIES. Come to me.
Next I started filling the tarts with my blanched cauliflower and baby peas,
more Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil,
popped them back in the oven..
and baked these cuties for another 5-10 minutes and let them cool on a wire rack for a few…
the anticipation of these delicious things in my mouth is MOUNTING.
Once the tarts were cooled a bit, I garnished them with some fresh chopped basil, chives and freshly cracked black pepper and a few red pepper flakes. Mini Green Goddesses!
And Oh Holy Delicious.
This is a great base recipe for any savory tart really – feel free to substitute different fillings for the tarts depending on the season..butternut squash and spinach in the Fall… corn, tomatoes and zucchini in the Summer… roasted carrots, potatoes and Gruyere in the Winter..asparagus and leeks in the Spring…oh, the ideas are endless!
Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: Makes four 4 5/7-inch tarts
Serving Size: 1 tart
This is a gluten-free tart recipe made with a toasted quinoa crust, filled with a savory filling of mascarpone and cheddar cheese, bacon, cauliflower, peas topped with Parmesan, and fresh basil and chives.
Toasted Quinoa Tart Crust:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup almond meal flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup baby green peas, frozen
4-5 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar, Jack, or Gouda)
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, for garnish
1 tablespoon finely minced chives, for garnish
Make the Toasted Quinoa Tart Crusts:
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place quinoa on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown; cool.
Place half of quinoa in a food processor; pulse 30 seconds.
Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining toasted quinoa, almond meal, cornstarch, and salt to bowl; stir to combine.
Add oil and egg; stir until mixture is crumbly but holds together when pressed.
Press into bottom and up sides of four 4 5/7-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pans coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden, but not completely cooked (you will put them back in the oven later after you fill them with the veggies, bacon and cheese.)
Prep the Tart fillings:
While the tart crusts are baking, chop the cauliflower into small florets and measure out the baby peas.
Blanch the veggies in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, then drain and rinse them in very cold water or shock them in an ice bath, set aside.
Cook the bacon and drain, chop into small chunks, set aside.
Measure out the mascarpone, Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, and chop basil and chives, set aside.
Fill the Tart Crusts:
Spread the mascarpone cheese evenly in bottom of each tart crust.
Top each tart with shredded cheese, then crumbled bacon.
Arrange cauliflower and peas evenly over cheese and bacon mixture on the tarts and drizzle with some olive oil, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
Bake tarts for another 5-7 minutes in the oven.
Remove tarts from the pans; cool completely on a wire rack.
Garnish with fresh chopped basil and chives, serve warm.
Hello Summer! And hello to the season for lighter food and flavors and quality time at the beach and the pool (READ: also time for shorts and sundresses and to lose a few to fit into the bathing suit!)
I’ve been craving pasta lately because i’ve been cutting down on carbs a bit, but I’ve had this cool Veggettinoodle tool in my pantry for a few months and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make some Zucchini Noodles (AKA “zoodles”), and tie in some fresh ingredients from the season such as shrimp and corn and basil.
This dish screams creamy comfort food, but is balanced out with a clean, citrus-y brightness with a Meyer Lemon cream sauce made with mascarpone cheese, Meyer lemon juice and zest, lemongrasschicken broth, whitewine, sweet basil olive oil and garlic. The lightness of these zucchini noodles are also totally amazing, rather than a heavy pasta that will put you to sleep in .02 seconds.
I love Meyer lemons because they are delicate and less sour than regular lemons and almost mimic the flavor of lemon and orange juice mixed together, which you can absolutely do if you can’t find Meyer lemons or they aren’t in season. I ordered mine on Fresh Direct which always has everything in stock and delivers on top of that!
Prep your zucchini noodles with a Veggetti or Spiralizer on a cutting board or over a large mixing bowl. I suggest squeezing out any excess water from them before sauteing (you can let them sit in a colander to extract water for about 15 minutes or so). You might also want to cut the strand piles in half to make them easier to manage and eat. Sauté the noodles in some olive oil with red pepper flakes and garlic for a few minutes and set aside.
Zest and juice one Meyer lemon to add to the cream sauce. Look at that vivid color! LOVE.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the shrimp and sauté in some olive oil for couple minutes until they are pink and set aside. Don’t overcook them though because you will add them back in to the sauce later on and you don’t want tough rubbery shrimp.
Prep ingredients for the Meyer Lemon Cream sauce and add the white wine, chicken broth, Meyer lemon juice and zest to the saute pan with leftover juices from the shrimp. Stir and simmer over medium heat for until the liquid reduces by half.
Add the corn, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until heated through. I used frozen sweet corn but you can use fresh corn too which might take a little longer to cook (or you can precook the fresh corn and add the kernels into the sauce).
Stir in the mascarpone cheese and blend together until it turns into a gorgeous, silky and creamy sauce. Toss in the shrimp and basil. Isn’t that pretty?
Serve over the zucchini noodles with additional basil and lemon zest and get ready to DEVOUR.
Alternatively you can toss the zucchini noodles in to the pan with the sauce and shrimp and corn and mix it all together to serve as a one pot dish. I prefer keeping the noodles separate from the sauce so they don’t get too mushy, personally.
Garnish with some extra basil and lemon zest and serve with a glass of white wine (I particularly like McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay who were kind enough to send me a sample which I LOVED), and some crusty bread to mop up that yum sauce, if you wish. Light, bright, healthy and delicious!
This is a super healthy and totally delicious low carb option to pasta. It features sautéed zucchini noodles smothered in a Meyer Lemon cream sauce with shrimp, corn and fresh basil. It's light and bright and the perfect dish for Summer with a glass of white wine and some toasty bread to mop up the sauce.
1/2-3/4 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Garlic salt and Pepper, to taste
Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Zest and juice of 1 Meyer Lemon
1/2 cup white wine (Truvee Chardonnay)
1/2 cup chicken broth (Pacific Foods Lemongrass Bone Both)
2/3 cup Mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup sweet corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Fresh Basil, for garnish
Additional lemon zest, for garnish
Make the Zucchini Noodles:
Using a Veggeti or Spiralizer vegetable cutter, cut both zucchini into medium large noodles over a cutting board or large bowl.
Form the vegetable pasta into two piles and cut each in half to create shorter, easy to manage strands.
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic for a minute or so, being careful not to burn.
Add the zucchini noodles, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes to your desired consistency.
Remove noodles from the heat into a medium bowl and set aside while you cook the shrimp.
Prepare the Shrimp:
In the same sauce pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
Sprinkle some garlic salt and pepper on to the shrimp, and add shrimp to the pan cooking for about 3 minutes, stirring often so they cook evenly.
Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer to a small bowl while you make the Meyer Lemon cream sauce.
Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the same large sauce pan over medium heat.
Add the additional garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, zest, chicken broth and wine and let simmer down until reduced, about 3 minutes.
Add the corn kernels, salt and pepper and heat through another minute or two, then stir in the Mascarpone cheese until you get a silky, creamy sauce.
Add the cooked shrimp, zucchini noodles and basil; toss to coat. (You can also keep the zucchini noodles separate from the shrimp, corn and basil with Meyer Lemon sauce and spoon it over the noodles in bowls which keeps the noodles from getting mushy in the sauce which is how i prefer serving them.)
Serve with additional basil and lemon zest, and a glass of Chardonnay or dry Italian wine and some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.
This would also be a delicious sauce over any pasta, and if you're a vegetarian you could substitute the shrimp for another vegetable or legumes for some protein.
If you can't find Meyer lemons or they aren't in season, simply mix some orange juice into the lemon juice to give it a similar flavor.
Note: I received a sample of McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay for tasting which inspired me to create this recipe and share with my readers. All opinions of the product are my own and I was not compensated for this post.
Once the holidays are over, it’s time for a break from all the super rich food and cocktails and detox with some healthy recipes made with some of my favorite superfoods for a fresh start to a healthy New Year!
What’s all the fuss over superfoods about? They help step up your immunity, boost energy, slow down aging, lift your spirits, improve circulation, detox, improve sleep, and they have healing benefits too. And they just make you feel better and healthier all around. Colorful fruits and vegetables possess tons of vitamins and minerals – start ‘eating the rainbow’, and you’re off to a healthy start.
The best way to get your fix of Superfoods is to make a big pot of veggie soup in the middle of winter, not only for it’s warming properties, but also because soup gives a big dose of healthy vegetables that boost the immune system, as well as detox and cleanse the body with its healthy ingredients, antibacterial properties, vitamins and minerals.
I’ve created a super healthy soup recipe that I made with my KitchenAid 11-cup Food Processor, that is so convenient to chop, grate and shred all those lovely veggies. Then I just threw them all in my KitchenAid 8-Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot (part of the Stainless Steel 8-piece set that I just got!) to make a delicious and heartwarming Vegetable and Bean Soup. The Stockpot is great because it heats up fast on the stovetop to sauté all the veggies and seasonings and it has etched measurement markings inside the pot that make it easy to measure all the liquids for the soup.
My soup is full of onions, garlic and chicken stock, which all help build the immunity system and keep the colds away. It also has tons of fresh veggies including zucchini, kale, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and northern white beans topped with grated Parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil and some crusty whole wheat bread for dipping.
The New Year is also a great time to cleanse and detox by eating lots of healthy Superfood fruits! I love all berries that are full of antioxidants, with plenty of vitamins for a super boost in the morning.
I’ve created a delicious KiwiAppleBerry Blast Smoothie recipe made with kiwi, apples, vanilla greek yogurt, almond milk, blueberries, acai berry puree, honey, lemon zest, flax seed and raw almonds.
I simply threw all the ingredients into my powerhouse KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender with 5 different settings that does all the stirring, mixing, blending, pureeing and heavy lifting for me.And the smoothie is a healthy breakfast or snack, giving a big boost of protein and energy from the yogurt, almond milk, flax seeds and almonds; antioxidants from the berries and honey; and betacarotene, vitamin E and C from the kiwi fruit and lemon zest.
Pizza is probably one of my most favorite things on the planet. Seriously. Who can resist that crispy crunchy crust topped with melted gooey cheese and fresh, savory baked toppings? A pizza is a creative endeavor that is only limited to your imagination. The pizza dough is like a blank canvas just waiting for the artist to paint a masterpiece on.
Speaking of dough, you can certainly take a stab at making your own – here is a basic pizza dough recipe that’s easy enough to make. If you don’t want to bother making your own and want to save time, you can use pre-made refrigerated pizza dough from the grocery store (I get mine from Fairway stores, or you can try Pillsbury pizza dough which is inexpensive and easy to use. They even have Artisan, thin and gluten-free crusts now which is kinda cool.)
I made these rustic pizzas the other day in an attempt to use up some fresh veggies, pizza dough and ingredients from my kids cooking show I taped last week – we made all kinds of fun pizza on set but i couldn’t bear to waste the leftovers!
So here’s how easy these babies are to make…I divided the pizza dough and patted out the dough on to pizza pans to make four rustic pizzas – one of them topped with sauteed garlic, spinach, olive oil, savory chicken, sun dried tomatoes and plenty of mozzarella gooey cheese. The other one I made with sauteed bell peppers in different colors, broccoli, pepperoni, ham, tomato sauce and two gooey cheeses – mozzarella and muenster, great for melting. The trick to a great pizza in my experience is to saute your veggies in some olive oil and garlic BEFORE you put them on the pizza (the chicken too!). This gives them a deeper flavor and keeps them from drying out in the oven when you bake the pizzas. Throw them in a preheated oven on 400 degrees for about 15-17 minutes, let them cool on a baking rack for about 5 minutes, and then top them with some fresh torn basil, some extra parmesan cheese and pepper flakes and you’ve got some serious deliciousness going on.
This is a quick and healthy weeknight dish I whipped up the other day with some fresh ingredients I had on hand in the fridge. It’s got some savory and slightly spicy sauteed chicken made with olive oil, garlic and cajun seasonings (I use Tony Chacere’s Creole seasoning which is awesome). I also added a secret ingredient that I absolutely love which gives it a boost of flavor – Sazon seasoning – a type of seasoned salt found in Spanish and Latin markets (you can also find it online or in the international food section of your grocery store.) The seasoning is used on meats, fish, poultry and to add savory flavor to soups and stews. Typical ingredients include coriander, cumin, paprika, cilantro, achiote, garlic, salt. Try the Sazon by Goya Foods or you can make your own seasoning following this recipe.
Now back to my recipe. I cut up some red, yellow and green peppers and broccoli, (you could also add some corn, peas and carrots into the mix if you like), which I then sauteed with minced garlic and olive oil and tossed into the chicken and garlic mixture, served over cooked rice. For leftovers, I heated up some more garlic infused oil back in the pan and reheated the rice, then added the chicken and veggies into the pan and stirred it all together to mix all the savory flavors together into one big yummy rice bowl. It’s healthy, full of flavor and color and has a little kick to it too. Who said cooking tasty food had to be difficult? This dish absolutely ROCKS. x
This is a quick and easy and healthy weeknight dish made with sauteed chicken and veggies with Cajun seasonings served over cooked rice.
For the sauteed veggies:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red pepper, diced
1 small yellow pepper, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic salt
For the sauteed chicken:
2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil
2 lbs thin chicken cutlets, cut into strips or chunks
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 packet Sazon season
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
White or saffron/yellow cooked rice, for serving
extra red yellow and green diced peppers for garnish
Cook the white or yellow rice in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions and drain, set aside.
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium and add minced garlic, cook for 1 minute.
Raise heat to medium high and add bell peppers, broccoli and garlic salt; saute for about 5-7 minutes until soft. Remove from heat and set aside in a mixing bowl.
Add an additional 2 tablespoons of garlic-infused olive oil and heat in same saute pan for another minute.
Add chicken (make sure to pat dry after rinsing to remove excess water or the chicken will steam instead of saute) to the pan, add Cajun and Sazon seasonings and saute for about 8 minutes until it starts to brown. Sprinkle with some freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Return sauteed veggies to the pan and turn the heat down to medium-low and saute the ingredients together for another few minutes.
Place rice into individual serving bowls and serve chicken and veggie mixture on top of the rice.
Add additional cajun seasoning or salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional red, yellow and green diced peppers if you wish (makes it prettier and more colorful!)
Chef's Note: this tastes better the next day and is awesome if you saute the chicken and veggies in a pan with the rice. Simply add a few tablespoon of oil and start reheating the rice over medium heat and then add the leftover chicken and veggie mixture, stir together and cover with a lid. Let it reheat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and serve. YUM.
On a recent trip up to Rochester, I had the pleasure of discovering a lovely little Italian place called the Mona Lisa Café. My mother and I stopped in there on a whim one afternoon for a cappuccino, but after entering the café and seeing all the delicious pastries and gelato and enticing smells of amazing food, we decided to stay for lunch instead.
We sat at a table by a large window and enjoyed a glass of wine while perusing the menu. At first we thought we would just split an appetizer, but there were just too many tasty choices on the menu to settle for just one item. We opted for a delicious Italian Panini and their amazing Greens and Beans appetizer made with escarole and cannelloni beans sautéed with heaps of garlic, savory Italian sausage, white wine, olive oil and bread crumbs topped with Parmesan cheese. WOW. Best thing I’ve ever tasted! I loved this dish so much I was inspired to recreate it at home, and my own version of Garlicky Greens and Beans with Sausage I now present to you. Delicioso!
2 cups Fingerling potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters or chunks
1 1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage (may use chicken or turkey sausage if you prefer)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, sliced or chopped fine
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 large bunch of greens (I used collards, but you can use spinach, kale, escarole, or mustard/turnip greens)
1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
Crusty bread or garlic bread, for dipping
Rinse and drain potatoes, cut into quarters or chunks, depending on the size.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook potatoes for about 10-12 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
At the same time, add 1/2 inch of water to a large saute pan over medium heat. Add sausages to and cover with a lid, simmering for 10 minutes (without turning). Remove the lid, turn sausages over, and cook for another 5 minutes until almost cooked through.
Meanwhile, measure out your liquids and dry seasonings and set aside.
Chop the garlic.
Wash the greens well and drain. Remove and discard the veins and stems, cutting leafy green parts off on either side into 1-inch strips.
Remove sausages from pan and cut into coin-sized chunks. Drain fat from pan and wipe down.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil into the same pan and return to medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute while stirring often, for about 1 minute being careful not to burn garlic.
Add additional 3 tablespoons of oil and start sauteing greens by the handful until they are just starting to wilt.
Add cannellini beans, sausage, potatoes, broth, water and minced onion; bring ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Remove lid, add 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and let simmer for another 5 minutes or so until the liquid reduces a little (you can simmer it down longer if you like a thicker stew or add more broth/water if you like a thinner stew).
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the Greens and Beans in large bowls topped with shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and crusty bread for dipping in the broth.
Substitute sweet Italian sausage with chicken or turkey sausage or omit all together and adjust water/broth down to 2 cups if you prefer a vegetarian dish.
Mona Lisa Cafe uses breadcrumbs and white wine in their dish which I omitted in my version because of the starch from the potatoes and adding a splash of white wine vinegar which gives it a nice tangy flavor to the broth. Feel free to experiment by topping it with toasted breadcrumbs and using some wine in place of the water in my recipe, but you'll need to adjust the amount of liquids down if you omit the potatoes from the dish so it's not too watery/brothy. The consistency should be of a nice light stew with a balance between the meat and vegetables and the broth.
Serve with a dry white Italian wine such as Pinot Grigio and crusty bread for dipping up the broth.
This is an amazing dish that is popular in my hometown in Upstate Rochester, NY. The Italian-American immigrants first introduced this dish in NYC and then migrated Upstate. The recipe stems from the French Veal Francaise or Chicken Francaise dish, which uses lightly-floured thin veal or chicken cutlets, which are then coated with a parsley-parmesan cheese-egg mixture and sauteed until golden brown. The luscious sauce is made with garlic, butter, lemon, white wine or sherry, and parsley which is served over the top of the golden brown chicken. I decided to serve this with steamed broccolini, a Chinese broccoli that is similar to Broccoli Rabe, and topped it with the lemon butter sauce and an extra splash of fresh lemon juice for a light and healthy dinner.
This dish has a lovely tangy and buttery flavor with the lemon, wine and garlic, and the flour coating is super light as I made it with an ultra-fine flour (Wegman’s Pan-Searing Flour) or you could use Wondra, then seasoned it with salt and pepper and a hint of cayenne. If you want to use sherry instead of a white wine, this will give you a sweeter flavor to the sauce. I made my sauce with a Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which is light and fruity and gives it a nice semi-sweet tangy flavor.
Serve the chicken and broccolini with some crusty french bread or some pasta (with more lemon-butter sauce, parmesan cheese and parsley over the top!) and a glass of white wine. Enjoy!
Mince the parsley for the egg, cheese and parsley mix.
Prep the wet and dry ingredients to dip the chicken in (flour first, egg-cheese-parsley mixture second).
Saute the chicken in olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat for approx. 6 minutes on one side.
Flip chicken over and saute another 6 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside, covered in a foil tent.
Saute minced garlic for 1-2 minutes.
Add wine, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil.
Add broth and lemon juice and let cook for approx. 5-7 minutes to reduce liquid by half. Stir in cold butter and red pepper flakes.
Return chicken to the pan and bring to a boil, simmering for another 5-10 minutes to let liquid reduce further and infuse flavors in the chicken. Throw in some extra chopped parsley. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Insert steamer basket with broccolini and steam covered for about 5 minutes.
Remove cover and let cook over boiling water for another 5 minutes or so, until broccolini is fork tender but still bright green.
Plate the chicken and broccolini and spoon the lemon-wine-garlic butter sauce over the top of both. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley.
Enjoy with a glass of white wine and some crusty Italian bread or pasta (with some of that luscious buttery-lemon-wine sauce over the top).
This is an amazing dish that is popular in my hometown in Upstate Rochester, NY. The Italian-American immigrants first introduced this dish in NYC and then migrated Upstate. The recipe stems from the French Veal Francaise or Chicken Francaise dish, which uses lightly-floured thin veal or chicken cutlets, which are then coated with a parsley-parmesan cheese-egg mixture and sauteed until golden brown.
The luscious sauce is made with garlic, butter, lemon, white wine or sherry, and parsley which is served over the top of the golden brown chicken. I decided to serve this with steamed broccolini, a Chinese broccoli that is similar to Broccoli Rabe, and then topped it with the lemon butter sauce for a fresh and healthy Sunday dinner. It has a lovely tangy and buttery flavor with the lemon, wine and garlic, and the coating is super light as I made it with an ultra-fine flour (Wegman's Pan-Searing Flour) or you could use Wondra, or a regular flour then season it with salt and pepper and a hint of cayenne.
If you want to use sherry instead of a white wine, this will also give you a sweeter flavor to the sauce. I made this with a Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which is light and fruity and gives it a nice semi-sweet tangy flavor.
1/4 cup olive oil/canola oil blend for sauteing (I used Colavita Garlic Oil Blend)
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup of superfine flour (Pan Searing flour or Wondra)
LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup white wine or sherry
1 cup chicken broth
Juice from 1 1/2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
Lemon wedges, for garnish
1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
Lemon Butter sauce (see above)
lemon, S&P for garnish
Heat oil in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat.
Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, cheese, salt and pepper, cayenne and fresh parsley in a large mixing bowl.
Place flour in another flat bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, then dredge each one in flour first (left hand), then egg mixture (right hand).
Place chicken into the heated saute pan and cook for 6 minutes on one side. Flip chicken over and saute for another 6 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from pan and set aside, covered with a foil tent.
LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:
In the same skillet, saute the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn.
Add the wine and bring liquid to a boil over high heat, scraping up the brown bits in the pan.
Pour in the chicken broth and lemon juice and red pepper flakes (if using) and let reduce by half, another 5-7 minutes.
Stir in the butter and whisk until it melts.
Add chicken back into the pan with the sauce and let simmer another 5-10 minutes.
Place chicken on serving plate with the steamed broccolini and spoon lemon butter sauce over the top of both.
Garnish with lemon wedges and additional chopped parsley if desired.
Steam broccolini for about 5 minutes, covered. Remove lid and steam for another 5 minutes until fork tender but still bright green.
Top broccolini with Lemon Butter sauce, additional lemon, salt and pepper to taste.
The holidays are here, and what better way to celebrate by throwing a holiday cocktail party with friends and family? I’ve teamed up with Colavita this season to celebrate with all of you, by creating some delicious Holiday Appetizer recipes using their World Selection andPrivate SelectionExtra Virgin Olive Oils and Flavored Cooking Oil blends.
Colavita Olive Oil Giveaway!
*THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED – Congratulations to Manda Kay, the winner of our Colavita holiday giveaway! Hope you cook up lots of goodies with your EVOO & Balsamic Glace! Happy Holidays 🙂
I’ve teamed up with Colavita this holiday season and giving away some of their delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars so you can celebrate the season by cooking up some holiday goodies of your own! The winner will receive: one (1) 3/4 liter of Colavita Private Selection Fruttato EVOO, one (1) 32 oz Roasted Garlic EVOO plus one (1) 29.5 oz bottle of their Balsamic Glace.
All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave me a comment at the end of this post telling me what your favorite Holiday Appetizer to make with olive oil is.
*For extra entries, just follow me on twitter, facebook, pinterest, google+, tumblr or sign up for my newsletter (at the top right hand side of this page) and tell me you did so in the comments section. **As an added bonus, Colavita is also offering a 25% discount to all of my readers on any purchase in their online store. Simply enter the code ‘AG25’ to receive the discount upon checkout!
**This giveaway begins on Sunday, Dec 9th and ends Sunday Dec 23rd at midnight EST, where one person will be selected by random from the comments section below.**
Colavita World Selection Olive Oils are a new collection of extra virgin olive oils exploring the tradition in countries outside of italy from estates and farms in Australia, Argentina, California, Greece, Spain and Portugal as well as other prime olive oil growing nations. Read more about a few of my favorites that I used in my recipes below!
Colavita 100% Californian EVOO
The warm climate in the “Golden State” of California fosters both grape and olive cultivation perfect for wines and olive oils. The Colavita 100% Californian EVOO is pressed from olives grown in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys of California. The mild flavor makes this oil perfect for all culinary applications. Enrich your favorite meal with a drizzle of EVOO and a glass of wine.
Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO is a product originally created exclusively for BJ’s Wholesale Stores. To many it has become the “gateway product” that exposes customers to the entire Colavita family of products. It is raved about on their online store so we wanted to share it with all of you! It’s the perfect finishing oil and wonderful for enhancing garlic already present in your dish. Try it on Garlic Bread or my Homemade Pita Chips (recipe below).
The Argentina EVOO was a hands-down favorite at this year’s New York Wine and Food Festival. Arbequino, Coratina and Manzanilla olive cultivars grown in the Catamarca and Mendoza regions of Argentina give this EVOO and intense, fruity aroma and taste. Pair this EVOO with soups, roasted fish, grilled vegetables and red meat for an unbeatable duo.
Colavita’s Fruttato Oil has recently been inducted into the Colavita “Private Selection” line. This line was created to highlight the products which have received the honor of being marked a Colavita family favorite. It is made by cold pressing new harvest olives just before their peak ripeness. The result is a full bodied EVOO which is slightly pungent with peppery flavor notes.
This Colavita Premium Blend is an all-purpose cooking, frying, and salad dressing oil which combines the delicate hint of roasted garlic in a light Canola Oil and Virgin Olive Oil Blend. It is a versatile oil that is naturally low in saturated fats and has no trans fats.
This is a lovely tart recipe that combines sweet and savory flavors. The caramelized onions give it a sweet flavor with a hint of fig balsamic vinegar, balanced out by creamy ricotta, nutty Gruyere cheese, fresh herbs and crispy pancetta.
1 package pancetta (8 thin slices)
3 tablespoons Colavita Fruttato EVOO
2 sweet Vidalia onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Fresh ground black pepper
1-1 1/2 tablespoons Fig balsamic vinegar (Tavern Direct brand)
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoons dried Fines Herbes (or 2 tablespoons fresh herbs)
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 frozen pie shell, defrosted, or homemade tart dough
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat and cook pancetta until browned but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain fat from pan and place pancetta on paper towels to drain to the side. Once cooled, chop pancetta into small pieces.
Peel onions, remove top and bottom stems and cut in half lengthwise.
Slice onions thin (about 1/8" thick or desired thickness).
In the same saute pan, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium high heat.
Add onions and cook over medium high for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle brown sugar, salt and pepper over onions and stir well, cook another 10-20 minutes, reducing heat to medium low if onions start to brown too quickly.
Continue cooking and stirring onions over medium low for another 15 minutes, add a few teaspoons of water if desired.
Add the fig balsamic vinegar to the onions, turn heat down to low and let cook until they are caramelized, soft and sweet, up to an hour total.
Combine the ricotta, egg yolk and Fines Herbes together in small mixing bowl.
Spread the ricotta mixture over the pie shell in a 9" tart pan with removeable bottom.
Sprinkle Gruyere cheese over ricotta.
Top with caramelized onions and pancetta.
Bake the tart in the oven for approximately 30-45 minutes until pastry and filling are golden brown, and pancetta is crispy.
Let tart cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serve tart cut into wedges.
If you prefer to make your own tart dough rather than using a frozen pie crust, Martha Stewart has a great recipe for Flaky Tart Dough on her website at http://www.marthastewart.com/319448/flaky-tart-dough
Hot Artichoke dip is one of my all time favorite holiday dip recipes, and this one is extra special, using Colavita's California EVOO, lemon zest and minced garlic with lots of gooey cheese. Instead of using mayonnaise, I substitute a light sour cream to cut some of the fat and calories. Serve with my homemade baked pita chips or crackers.
2 tablespoons Colavita California extra virgin olive oil
1 package frozen artichokes, defrosted
1 tablespoon minced garlic
zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
Garlic salt with parsley (to taste)
Fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded light monterey jack cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping
1/2 cup light sour cream
dash of cayenne (optional)
dash of paprika (for garnish)
1 green onion, sliced thin (for garnish)
Heat oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add artichokes and minced garlic, saute about 5-7 minutes until heated through.
Add lemon juice, zest, garlic salt and pepper, mix well and cook another few minutes, set aside.
Meanwhile, add shredded cheeses and sour cream together in a mixing bowl.
Add sauteed artichokes, garlic and lemon to cheese and sour cream.
Sprinkle with a dash of cayenne (if desired), mix well and transfer to a casserole dish.
Sprinkle additional monterey jack cheese over the top and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted on top.
Let cool a few minutes, sprinkle with paprika and green onions. Serve with homemade baked pita chips (recipe follows), crackers or crudites.
Making homemade pita chips is super easy and way better than buying the storebought kind for your holiday party. Mine are made with whole wheat pita bread, drizzled with EVOO, and sprinkled with garlic salt and cumin for some extra flavor. So delicious and crispy straight out of the oven and so addicting you'll never buy them again! Serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip or any of your other favorite party dips.
6 whole wheat pita rounds
2 tablespoons Colavita California EVOO
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 tablespoon cumin
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut pita rounds into triangles (6 wedges per pita).
Lay out pita wedges on a baking sheet and brush each wedge with olive oil.
Sprinkle garlic salt and cumin on top.
Flip over pita wedges, repeat coating with oil, salt and cumin.
Place baking sheet(s) in oven and cook pita wedges for about 15 minutes (checking to make sure they don't burn!)
Let cool, and serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip.
Everyone loves cocktail meatballs at holiday parties! These lovelies have a hint of lemon and sage and are light and fluffy, made with ground pork or chicken. They are first browned on the stovetop and then finished in the oven until golden brown. They're delicious alone, or dipped in a hot pepper jelly (Williams-Sonoma brand is great), balsamic pear jam (there's one by Academia Barilla that is to die for) or simply dipped in balsamic vinegar glace.
Red Pepper jelly, for dipping (Williams Sonoma brand)
Balsamic Pear jam, for dipping (Academia Barilla brand)
Colavita Balsamic Glace, for dipping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove crusts from bread and tear into small pieces in a large mixing bowl, add milk and let soak for 10-15 minutes.
Mix in ground pork or chicken, sage, garlic, onion, lemon juice and zest, cheese, pepper flakes, egg, salt and pepper with soaked bread crumbs with your hands in a claw-like motion to keep meatballs light and fluffy.
Roll meat mixture into small to medium size meatballs (small makes approximately 36, medium makes approximately 18).
Heat olive oils in a large saute pan over medium heat (if not using cooking oil blend, mix EVOO with a tablespoon of butter to avoid temperature from getting too high and splattering).
Cook meatballs in batches in the oil for about 5 minutes each batch until meatballs are browned on all sides, drain on paper towels.
Once all meatballs are browned, place them on a large rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray to avoid sticking.
Bake in the oven for approximately another 15 minutes until cooked through and to keep warm.
Top with additional garlic salt (if desired), fresh chopped sage, and serve with red pepper jelly and balsamic pear jam, and Colavita Balsamic Glace for dipping.
These zucchini sticks are a great appetizer for any holiday party. They have a light crunchy coating of Japanese Panko seasoned bread crumbs and are finished with a splash of lemon and sprinkling of sea salt. They go perfect with the cool and creamy yogurt dill sauce or even a ranch dressing for dipping.
CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
Colavita Roasted Garlic Cooking Oil Blend
4 medium zucchini, cut into half, into long strips
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cups Panko Japanese-style seasoned breadcrumbs
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 large eggs
Sea salt, for sprinkling, to taste
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Fresh minced dill, for garnish
YOGURT DILL SAUCE
1 cup of Greek yogurt
2-3 tablespoon minced dill
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large deep saute pan, about 2 inches high.
Trim ends off zucchini, cut in half and then in half again lengthwise.
Cut zucchini into large strips about 1/2 an inch thick.
Pour the flour and Panko breadcrumbs into one large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
Dip zucchini sticks in egg, shaking off excess, then dip in bowl to coat with flour and breadcrumbs.
Place coated zucchini on a baking sheet.
Fry in batches until golden brown, draining excess oil on another baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of zucchini and sprinkle with fresh dill and additional sea salt to taste.
YOGURT DILL SAUCE
In a medium bowl, mix together greek yogurt, dill, salt and pepper to taste.
*This is a sponsored post by Colavita, but as usual, all opinions expressed are my own. I received 5 bottles of Colavita olive oil samples to create the recipes for this article and holiday promotion. Winners of the giveaway will receive the prizes directly from Colavita by mail and should expect 2-3 weeks delivery time due to the holidays.
**All photographs, recipes and copy are copyrighted by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet 2012 and cannot be republished without my permission or credit on the reposted original material from this article or website.