Tag Archives: parsley

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash

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.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

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.

Spaghetti Squash

Then I simply shredded it into spaghetti strands with a fork…

Sautéed Lemon Garlic Shrimp

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!

Lemon Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

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

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Makes 4-5 cups Spaghetti Squash and approximately 3 cups of Lemon Garlic Shrimp, serving 2.

This light and healthy dish is made with roasted spaghetti squash topped with sautéed shrimp, garlic, olive oil, chile flakes, lemon and parsley. Super easy and tasty and low on the carbs!


  • Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  • 1 (3-pound) spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (16-20 ct)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of red pepper chile flakes
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)


  1. Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds and inner membranes. Drizzle and rub squash with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the halves, cut side down, in a large baking dish and roast squash for 35-45 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove squash from oven and turn side up, letting it cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. Scrape the inside of the squash with a fork to make spaghetti strands and serve with the Lemon Garlic Shrimp.
  7. Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  8. Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in a skillet until shimmering, then add the sliced garlic and cook while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
  9. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp are slightly cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and parsley; toss to combine.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately over roasted spaghetti squash.
  11. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
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Gutsch’s Linguine and Clams

linguini and clams

As the New Year begins, so do New Years resolutions. Some of them we keep, some of them we don’t, but one of them we universally all decide is to eat healthier and shed a few pounds from all the holiday gatherings and fat-laden food. So, back to reality it is. Starting today. Holiday over. Back to work. Back to the gym. A pledge to living healthier, eating healthier and cooking healthier. A fresh start for the New Year. For my last hoorah, my Mom and I decided to make one last supper before the regimen begins: Gutsch’s Linguine and Clams. Who is Gutsch you might ask? He was a newscaster up in Rochester, New York and his amazing recipe became famous once it was published it in the newspaper about 25 years ago. Since then, it’s been a family favorite and a dish we make every year when I come home to visit the family.

Bacon. Butter. Garlic. Black Olives. Parsley. Clams. Pasta. Delicious melt-in-your-mouth flavor and OMG – so not a diet friendly dish. But you know what? You might as well enjoy your Last Supper and go all out, so that I did. And I enjoyed every last bite of it. Now, back to the New Year’s resolutions.

Gutsch’s Linguine and Clams

Yield: 2-4 servings,


  • 4-5 slices of bacon, cut ¼” strips
  • 1/8 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 - 6.5 ounce can chopped clams (or baby whole clams)
  • ¼ c. sliced black olives
  • 1/8 c. snipped parsley
  • 1/16 teaspoons black pepper
  • 6 ounces linguine pasta


  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp and drain, reserving 1/8 c. drippings in the skillet. Set bacon aside.
  2. Cook onion and garlic in drippings until tender, not brown. Stir in butter until melted**. Drain clams, reserving liquid.
  3. Add clams, bacon, olives, parsley and black pepper and stir together.
  4. Add half of the reserved clam liquid, heat through and keep hot over low heat**. Meanwhile, cook linguine and drain. Mix together with the clam mixture in the pan and place in a warm serving bowl. Top the pasta additional parsley and freshly cracked black pepper for garnish.
  5. Serve this dish with a green salad, crisp white wine and some crusty Italian bread. Delish!!
  6. **You can also throw a little white wine in with the clam liquid and let it simmer down and substitute olive oil for the butter if desired.


linguini and clams 2

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Pie Party GE Potluck & a Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie w/ Shallots, Creme Fraiche & Fresh Herbs

Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie1

I recently got invited to the Annual Pie Party GE Potluck with a group of food professionals from NYC, NJ and PA, and in order to attend you had to be a food professional and of course, bring a unique and delicious pie. Tickets to this awesome event were a hot commodity and sold out as always, so thanks to Harvard Common Press for releasing an extra ticket last minute me! I knew everyone would probably bring an array of sweet, and gooey pies and tarts – enough to make you swoon and pass out from a sugar coma.

Kristen Hess The Artful Gourmet

I’m not really a huge sweets person so I decided to make a savory Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie with Shallots, Creme Fraiche & Fresh Herbs, which is really more like a tart or quiche, just to switch it up and bring something different to the party.

Sweet Pies

The 3 hour party had hundreds of gorgeous sweet and savory pies from food bloggers, writers, and local Chefs in the food industry, and was planned and hosted by Jackie Gordon aka The Diva That Ate New York and Ken Leung aka Hungry Rabbit at the gorgeous GE Monogram Design Center in NYC.

Pie Party GE

We had tons of fun meeting other foodies

Savory Pies

and sampling the goods,

Chef Tagere

watched a cooking demo by  Chef Tagere showing us how to make gorgeous handmade Empanadas,

Sweet Pies 2

and did lots and lots of eating


and drinking and mingling with some of the best foodies on the East Coast!


Our awesome sponsors of this amazing party were: OXO, Jarlsberg, Kerrygold, Dub Pies, Wusthof, Snapware, Woolwich Dairy and Anolon.


Plus we got some great swag bags full of goodies from our generous sponsors to take home with us to enjoy all the leftover pie for the next week.

Dub Pies

Pie pans from Anolon, gorgeous knives from Wusthof, measuring spoons and a strawberry huller from OXO, a take home container by Snapware, a gorgeous Aussie Beef Pie from Dub Pies, mini Jarlsberg cheese and lots of beautiful creamy butter from Kerrygold USA.

KerryGold USA

All hail to the pie makers!

Savory Pies 2

Spaghetti Pie

Now back to my pie. This is one of my favorite recipes ever. It has a delicious buttery crust with a savory filling of thinly sliced potatoes, crispy bacon, Gruyere cheese, sage, shallots and garlic, with a touch of cream and crème fraiche inside to make it extra creamy and give a nice sauce to envelop all those delicious potatoes. It’s then baked into a golden brown and topped with a dollop of crème fraiche, chopped Italian parsley, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for a finishing touch. It’s kind of like a big cheesy potato casserole you’d make for Thanksgiving dinner except it’s a pie. And who doesn’t love a good homemade fresh pie right out of the oven? I advise making two, though, (just double the pie filling recipe below) because this one will get snatched up quicker than you can grab your fork and say “pie”.

Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie2

Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie w/ Shallots, Creme Fraiche & Fresh Herbs

Yield: 4-6

The pie has a delicious buttery crust with a handmade dough and a hearty filling of thinly sliced potatoes, crispy bacon, Gruyere cheese, sage, shallots and garlic, with a touch of cream and crème fraiche inside to make it extra creamy and give a nice sauce to envelop all those delicious potatoes. It’s then baked into a golden brown and topped with a dollop of crème fraiche, chopped Italian parsley, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for a finishing touch.


  • Pie Crust (For two 9-inch crusts):
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter; cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons ice water
  • Potato Pie Filling (For one 9-inch Pie):
  • 6 slices of bacon or pancetta
  • 4 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into 1/16”
  • 2 shallots, peeled and minced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons crème fraiche (for garnish)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  1. For the dough, mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse to mix until a coarse meal forms. Gradually add the ice water in until moist clumps form in the dough. Gather the dough and form into a ball. Divide in half and flatten into disks. Wrap each dough disk in plastic and chill it for at least one to two hours before rolling it out.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Gently roll out the pie dough on a floured surface and place into a lightly greased nine-inch round pie dish. Trim and flute the edges, set aside.
  4. Cook the bacon slices in a large sauté pan over medium heat until crispy and browned. Drain on paper towels, crumble into small pieces and set aside.
  5. For the potato pie filling, peel and slice the potatoes thinly (about 1/16” rounds) with a mandolin or knife; chop shallots, garlic and sage leaves. Whisk two tablespoons of crème fraiche into the half and half in a small bowl.
  6. Toss the sliced potatoes with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes in the dish in a circular overlapping pattern, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the shallots, garlic, sage, Gruyere cheese, half and half/crème fraiche mixture, and crumbled bacon. Repeat 2-3 more layers until all of the potato mixture and fillings are inside the pie shell. Top the pie with a little extra shredded Gruyere cheese and olive oil.
  7. Bake the pie for about 45 minutes until crust is golden brown and the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.
  8. Cool the pie on a baking rack for about 5 minutes and then top with a dollop or two of more crème fraiche, chopped parsley, sea salt and pepper for garnish.


You can also substitute pancetta or ham for the bacon, and mix in some Swiss or Emmenthaler cheese to the Gruyere if you want to make it extra cheesy and melty. Play around with the herbs too – throw in a little rosemary or thyme if you like. This recipe makes two 9-inch piecrusts, so if you want to make two pies, just double the pie filling recipe.


Photo Gallery from the Event (just click the photos to enlarge and see slideshow)



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Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini


Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini
Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini

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!

Chop the parsley

Mince the parsley for the egg, cheese and parsley mix.

Prep the wet and dry ingredients

Prep the wet and dry ingredients to dip the chicken in (flour first, egg-cheese-parsley mixture second).

Saute the chicken in olive oil for approx. 6 minutes on each side until golden brown.

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.

Flip chicken over and saute another 6 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside, covered in a foil tent.

Remove chicken and set aside. Saute minced garlic for 1-2 minutes.

Saute minced garlic for 1-2 minutes.

Add wine, and bring to a boil.

Add wine, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil.

Add broth and lemon juice and turn heat to high, bringing 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, cooking for another 5 minutes to let liquid reduce and infuse flavors in the chicken.

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.

Lemon Broccolini

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.

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.

Garnish with fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Enjoy with a glass of white wine and some crusty Italian bread.

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).

Bon appetit!

Bon appetit!

Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4

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
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 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)
  • 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


  2. Heat oil in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, cheese, salt and pepper, cayenne and fresh parsley in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place flour in another flat bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, then dredge each one in flour first (left hand), then egg mixture (right hand).
  6. 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.
  7. Remove from pan and set aside, covered with a foil tent.
  9. In the same skillet, saute the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn.
  10. Add the wine and bring liquid to a boil over high heat, scraping up the brown bits in the pan.
  11. Pour in the chicken broth and lemon juice and red pepper flakes (if using) and let reduce by half, another 5-7 minutes.
  12. Stir in the butter and whisk until it melts.
  13. Add chicken back into the pan with the sauce and let simmer another 5-10 minutes.
  14. Place chicken on serving plate with the steamed broccolini and spoon lemon butter sauce over the top of both.
  15. Garnish with lemon wedges and additional chopped parsley if desired.
  17. Steam broccolini for about 5 minutes, covered. Remove lid and steam for another 5 minutes until fork tender but still bright green.
  18. Top broccolini with Lemon Butter sauce, additional lemon, salt and pepper to taste.

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Veal Francese

Closet Cooking’s Chicken Piccata

Martha Stewart’s Chicken Paillards in Lemon Butter Sauce

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Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

The temperatures are rising and the sun is shining which means one thing – Spring is finally here. For me, that means lighter flavors, fresh herbs, fruits and veggies from the farmers market, and seafood, seafood, seafood.


I decided to make a lovely Shrimp Scampi Pasta in Lemon Butter Sauce that is fresh, light and fairly simple to make (not to mention absolutely scrumptious!)

Sauteed Shrimp in Lemon Butter Sauce

I found some fresh, succulent jumbo shrimp and sautéed them in butter and olive oil with garlic, making a bright, velvety lemon butter sauce by adding lemon juice, lemon zest, and some white wine. I added a little extra butter into the sauce, threw in a few scallions and fresh garlic, and topped it off with some fresh parsley and a pinch of cayenne and red pepper flakes to give it some extra flavor and kick. If you want to make the sauteed shrimp and skip the pasta for a lighter dish, go for it – it’s totally amazing on it’s own or with a salad and some crusty bread (and a glass of white wine to accompany, of course!) Enjoy.

Shrimp Scampi Pasta in Lemon Butter Sauce

Yield: 4

This is a perfect dish for Summer, featuring sauteed shrimp in a lemon butter sauce, served over fettucine with fresh parsley and garlic.


  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons for sauce
  • 3/4 pound fettucine (or linguine, angel hair, spaghetti)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp (about 12 jumbo or 16 large shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails intact
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 large scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, zest grated for sauce plus extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • pinch of cayenne
  • Garnish: parsley, lemon zest, red pepper, salt and pepper


  1. Drizzle the vegetable oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
  2. Prep all ingredients (chop garlic, parsley, green onions, zest and halve the lemons and squeeze juice, measure out oil, lemon juice, wine, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes).
  3. Melt butter and olive oil in another large pan over medium-low heat and add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Add the shrimp, salt, and pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add parsley, lemon zest, wine, lemon juice, lemon slices, scallions and red pepper flakes; cook for 1-2 additional minutes. Stir and remove from heat.
  5. When the pasta is done, drain the cooked pasta and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve with additional chopped fresh parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste, cayenne and red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve with a glass of white wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc) and a green salad or crusty bread.
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Shrimp Scampi Pasta


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Moussaka + Memories of Greece

Classic Greek Moussaka

Classic Greek Moussaka, (pronounced moos-sah-KAH) is one of the most well known of all Greek dishes and a staple “comfort food” and main course meal in Greece (as is Lasagna in Italy). This tasty Greek delight is a culinary experience to those who sample it for the first time. I first tried it when I worked at a Greek diner in Buffalo, New York during college, and then once again on a trip to the Greek Islands a couple of years ago. Needless to say, the real Greek Moussaka blew the Buffalo diner version to pieces, so I decided to take a stab at making it myself for my Big Fat Greek Birthday dinner party.

One of the most delicious versions of Moussaka I tasted was in Santorini, Greece. It was served in a glazed clay pot, and had a perfect mixture of spicy meat at the bottom, layered with potatoes and tender eggplant, and tons of béchamel and gooey cheese on top. The vegetables were steaming as I dug into this gorgeous meat and vegetable pie – my mouth watered at the sight and smell of it.

Moussaka can be made in many variations, but the classic recipe uses layers of eggplant, potatoes, a spicy meat and tomato sauce with a touch of cinnamon and a rich and delicious béchamel sauce and bubbly kefalotyri cheese on top. Other variations are Moussaka with zucchini or artichokes instead of eggplant, ground lamb instead of ground beef, or vegetarian-style with zucchini, eggplant and ootatoes without the meat. Either way you make it, with its warm and rich flavors and gooey cheese you’ll be hooked.

I made this recipe with zucchini and potatoes, and combined ground lamb with ground beef together. The combination of all the spices from the meat and seasonings soak into the vegetables and once you layer some creamy béchamel and gooey cheese on top, you’ve got yourself a delicious heartwarming dish. Be careful to pat dry the vegetables though before layering in the baking dish, as you don’t want the liquids to make the Moussaka too watery as they are cooked down in the oven.

You’ll need a lot of time and kitchen space to make this dish, and if you’re cooking for a crowd, you’ll be safe to double the recipe and make two large rectangular baking dishes of it, as it won’t last long. The flavors in this dish really improve if you 
make it a day ahead. It’s also a very filling dish, so you may want to serve it as the main course, and accompany it with a Greek Salad, some Stuffed Grape Leaves and Tzaziki for a light side dish along with some Garlic Lemon Hummus and grilled pita. Serve with a red Greek wine and a shot of Ouzo as an aperitif.


3 large zucchini (or eggplants)

3 large potatoes

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 lg onions, chopped fine

1 lb ground lamb

1 lb ground beef

3 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup red Greek wine

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

1/4 lb butter

6 tbsp all purpose flour

1 quart of milk

4 eggs; beaten until frothy

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese

1 cup fine bread crumbs

1 cup grated parmesan cheese


Cut the zucchini and potatoes into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
 If using eggplant instead of zucchini, peel the eggplant first. Brown the zucchini slices quickly in 1/4 cup of the oil. Set aside.

Heat the 
remaining oil in the same skillet and cook the onions until they are
 golden brown. Add the ground meat and cook 10 minutes. Pour off excess fat.

Combine the tomato paste with the wine, parsley, cinnamon, salt and 
pepper. Stir this mixture into the meat and simmer over low heat,
stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the
 mixture from heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Make a white sauce by melting the butter
 and blending in the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. Meanwhile,
 bring the milk to a boil and add it gradually to the butter-flour mixture,
 stirring constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, remove 
it from the heat. Cook slightly and stir in the beaten eggs, nutmeg and 

Grease an 11×16-inch pan and sprinkle the bottom lightly with
 crumbs. Arrange alternate layers of the zucchini and potatoes and meat sauce 
in the pan, sprinkling each layer with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Pour 
the ricotta cheese bechamel sauce over the top and bake 1 hour, or until top is golden.
 Remove from the oven and cool 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Cut 
into squares and serve.

Serves 6-8.

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Whipping Up Some Goodness w/ KitchenAid: Mixed Olive Tapenade & Parsley Toasted Nut Pesto

Parsley Pesto and Olive Tapenade
Parsley Pesto and Olive Tapenade

There’s something exciting about getting a new, shiny toy that makes you feel like a kid again. There’s something even more exciting about making something super delicious with that new toy and sharing it with the world. In this case, it’s my new KitchenAid 13-cup Food Processor – a powerhouse culinary machine that demystifies and simplifies big, scary food processors into a joyful thing, and makes slicing, dicing and pureeing the easiest thing ever. Not to say that all my knife skills I learned in culinary school have gone to waste, but this certainly makes my life easier, especially when I have a lot of ingredients to prepare and want perfectly blended, sliced and diced food in an instant.That “something super delicious” I decided to make is some dee-lish Mediterranean-inspired recipes – a Mixed Olive Tapenade and a Parsley & Pistachio-Walnut-Cashew Pesto, which turned out pretty impressive, if I must say so myself.

KitchenAid 13-Cup
KitchenAid 13-Cup

The machine comes with two different metal chopping blades (1 multi-purpose and 1 mini-blade with a bowl insert), a dough blade and a shredding disc and a slicing disc. I used the multi-purpose blade to chop the herbs and olives, and then slowly streamed in the liquids to the dry spices and herb ingredients to whip up some delicious goodness. This machine is so awesome that you can really just throw all the ingredients in the mixing bowl all at once, and the best part about it is that you can adjust the thinness and thickness of your slices (for slicing veggies) with one slide of a button on the front so you don’t have to keep changing the blades every time you need a different-sized slice. (Which also means less cleanup time for  me – bonus!). It also has a 3-in-1 Ultra Wide mouth feed so you can fit sliced or whole ingredients through it depending on what you’re making.

I hope you’ll enjoy these delicious dip recipes I’ve created – serve them with some cut up fresh veggies, crackers, pita bread, crostini or whatever you feel like using to dip into them with. The pesto is also delicious as a pasta sauce or as a topping for grilled or baked fish and chicken, or as a garnish on minestrone or vegetable soups. You can substitute basil for the parsley and pine nuts for the mixed toasted nuts in the recipe below for a traditional Basil Pesto, or try using Artichokes and Walnuts, Peppers and Cashews…get creative! And if you haven’t tried making your own tapenade and pestos at home, you’ll love how easy they are to make with this fun, easy machine (and you’ll never buy store-bought stuff again!) Oh, and stay tuned for my next recipe for Baked Falafel with Roasted Garlic Lemon Hummus and Tahini Salad! The possibilities are endless with this cool toy – my new best friend.

Mixed Olive Tapenade
Mixed Olive Tapenade

Mixed Olive Tapenade

½ c Kalamata olives
2/3 c oil-cured black Italian olives, pitted
2 tsp capers, drained
3 scallions, trimmed and chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
¼ c extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1/3 c flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper (more or less to taste)

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor with a metal fitting blade and puree into a medium-fine paste. Mix the ingredients in the bowl with a spatula and sprinkle some fresh black pepper in and puree on low for another minute or so.

Pureed Olive Ingredients

Scoop out the olive tapenade into a serving bowl and garnish with additional chopped parsley. Serve with crackers, breadsticks, veggies for dipping or spread the tapenade on toasted Italian bread (1/2 inch slices) for crostini.

Makes about 2 cups.

Parsley & Toasted Nut Pesto
Parsley & Toasted Nut Pesto

Parsley & Toasted Nut Pesto

1 c pistachios, walnuts and cashews, toasted
2 c flat-leaf Italian parsley (leaves only, no stems)
3/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus 2 tsp grated lemon zest

Heat a medium saute pan over medium-low heat. Toast the nuts in the pan until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. (You can also toast them in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet for about 5-10 mins).

Parsley & Toasted Nuts Pesto Ingredients

Place parsley, toasted nuts, cheese, garlic and salt in the food processor bowl with a metal blade fitting, and pulse into a medium-fine texture.

In a small mixing bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice and zest and combine.

Pureed Parsley & Mixed Nuts

Slowly steam in the oil and lemon mixture to the parsley and nut mixture through the top opening of the food processor, pulsing every few seconds to combine ingredients.

Serve over pasta, as a dip with crackers or breadsticks, or as a garnish to vegetable or cream-based soups.

Makes about 2 cups.

KitchenAid 13-Cup Food Processor

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Spicy Seafood Risotto

Spicy Seafood Risotto
Spicy Seafood Risotto

In the spirit of Mardi Gras, I was in the mood to make something spicy with seafood and rice and thought I would do something different than make the typical Jambalaya or Shrimp Etoufee dish. In one of my Italian Cooking classes at The Institute of Culinary Education, we made a Shrimp Risotto which is a typical Italian-style rice dish. Delicious as it is, I wanted to make it with a twist, by adding some Creole seasoning, lemon, red pepper and mussels steamed in white wine to the recipe. It’s super creamy and flavorful, and takes a little bit of time and patience to make. But one taste of the savory shrimp mixed with mussels, lemon and wine with a spicy kick of Creole makes it all worth the effort.

The mussels take about 10-15 minutes to make, so you’ll want to get started on these when you have about 10-15 minutes left to cook the rice in the broth (or you can make them ahead of time and keep them on the burner on low to keep them warm so you can add the mussels to the risotto at the end). If you want to just eat the Shrimp Risotto with the Mussels in wine sauce on the side, you can do that too! Just add some crusty bread, a green salad and a glass of white wine and you’ve got yourself a big, fat, happy meal to celebrate Mardi Gras. Enjoy =)

Spicy Seafood Risotto


1/2 lb medium shrimp
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 parsley stems
2 tbsp parsley leaves, minced fine
6 cups of water
juice of 1/2 of a lemon, plus 1 tsp lemon zest
Pinch of saffron
1 cup canned San Marzano tomatoes, drained and pureed
Red pepper flakes
1 tsp Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s Creole Seasoning or Emeril’s Essence is great)
1/2 c onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 c Italian short-grain rice (Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
1/2 c white wine

Steamed Mussels (see recipe following)


Shell and devein the shrimp (reserve the shells). Cut each shrimp into thirds. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.

In a medium saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add half of the garlic and the shrimp shells and saute until the garlic is fragrant and the shells turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley sprigs and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 6 cups of water, lemon juice and zest and the saffron; bring to a boil, reduce to heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Strain the broth and return it to the pan. Add the pureed tomatoes and season with red pepper flakes, Creole seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes. Strain and reserve over low heat.

In a large casserole or skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the onion and remaining garlic and cook until it begins to get golden, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook until it’s slightly translucent.

Add the wine and cook until absorbed. Add a 4 ounce ladle of the shrimp stock and cook, stirring until the liquid is almost absorbed.

Continue adding broth and cooking until the rice is on the firm side of al dente, 25 to 30 minutes.

Add the shrimp and cook until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Shell the steamed mussels (see recipe following) and add to the risotto. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Steamed Mussels

To prepare the mussels for cooking, sort through them and throw out any that are open or don’t close when tapped. Be sure to rinse and swirl mussels in a basin of cold water to rinse out any dirt or debris trapped inside them, but don’t let them soak too long or you’ll lose the natural sea flavor. With a brush, scrub the outsides well under running water, and pry off any barnacles with the back of a knife. Twist or cut off any beards or hair-like tufts and rinse again, keeping the mussels cold until ready to use.


2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine
1 c chicken stock
lemon juice from 1 lemon
Pinch of saffron threads
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 lbs fresh mussels


In a large saucepan or pasta pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the wine, chicken stock and lemon juice, and season with saffron, salt and black pepper. Add the red pepper flakes to taste, depending on desired heat (if using). Add the mussels to the pot and cover with a lid; increase the heat to medium-high. Steam the mussels, until they open, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Remove mussels from the shell (or add them whole) to the shrimp risotto. You can also serve them in a big bowl in the wine sauce separately as an accompaniment to the risotto. Serve the with some crusty garlic bread and a green salad, along with a glass of crisp white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc is great!)

Makes 6 servings.

Recipes adapted from The Institute of Culinary Education, Techniques of Italian Cooking 


Other Risotto Recipes you may enjoy:

CD Kitchen’s Cajun Risotto

Smoky Mountain Cafe Cajun Risotto

Jamie Oliver’s Seafood Risotto (Risotto ai Frutti di Mare)

Emeril Lagasse’s Seafood Risotto

Anthony Bourdain – Seafood Risotto in Venice Video

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Wine-Braised Chicken with Shallots, Fennel, Carrots and Pancetta


This lovely braised dish is the perfect remedy for a cold Winter evening, slow cooked and full of goodness. The recipe calls for chicken thighs which are braised in white wine, and chock full of healthy veggies such as fennel, shallots, carrots, garlic and thyme. Add some crunchy fried pancetta to the mix and you’ve got an amazing twist on the classic Coq au Vin recipe, which is normally made with the addition of mushrooms, red wine or brandy. Top off the dish with the savory pan sauce, lemon zest and some fresh parsley and fines herbes and you’ve got yourself a hearty dinner that is sure to please a crowd for a dinner party or just you and your significant other when you’re tucked away from the cold. Serve with a crisp white wine (such as Dry Reisling, which is used in this recipe) and some crusty garlic bread. YUM!


1/4 cup olive oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 lbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
7 oz. pancetta, diced (1 heaping cup)
8 medium shallots, lobes separated and halved
4 medium carrots, cut into 3/4 inch thick slices
1 small bulb fennel, cored, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch dice
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 springs fresh flat leaf parsley
4 springs fresh thyme
1-2 bay leaves
2 cups dry fruity wine, Alsatian or German dry Reisling
2 cups chicken broth (low-sodium)
1 cup water mixed with 1 tbsp Knorr’s Chicken Flavor Base
2 tbsp thickening flour
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest, for pan sauce
dash of fennel fronds, for pan sauce
dash of chopped thyme, for pan sauce
1 tbsp dried fines herbes (tarragon, chives, parsley, chervil)
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and place rack in bottom third of oven, tall enough to fit a large Dutch oven.

Browned Chicken

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a 7-8 quart Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season the chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Arrange the chicken slices skin side down in the pot in a single layer and sear, flipping once until golden brown all over, about 10-13 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.


Meanwhile, chop the pancetta into a dice and the vegetables for browning.


Cook the pancetta in the pot until well browned all over, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off and discard the fat, reserving 1 tablespoon.


Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Cook the shallots, carrots, and fennel, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until its aroma subsides, about 1 to 2 minutes.


Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaves together in a small cheesecloth sachet and add the herb bundle to the pot, along with the wine.


Simmer briskly, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen the brown bits.


Add the chicken broth to the pot and stir for a few minutes, allowing the herb essence to infuse the broth.


Return the chicken and pancetta to the pot, arranging the chicken in a single layer. Bring to a simmer and cover, transfer to the oven.


Braise the chicken until the meat is fork-tender and just starting to come away from the bone, 30-45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter or large dish with a slotted spoon and tent with foil.


Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the sauce in the pot, whisking to dissolve, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce sauce to approximately 2 cups about 15 minutes, until thickened.


Stir in the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Throw in a few fennel fronds and chopped thyme leaves and stir. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley and fines herbes. Serve with a glass of crisp, dry white wine and some crusty garlic bread to mop up the sauce. ENJOY.

Serves 4.

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking One-Pot Meals, Fall 2011.


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Braised Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs are one of our family traditions for the holiday dinner table – not only are they easy to make but a great dish for a buffet dinner or cocktail party. There are many variations to the recipe you can make: a white sauce with dill and sour cream, a red wine or tomato sauce, or a brown beef gravy sauce with allspice and sour cream which is my Grandmother’s recipe that my Mom always used to make.

You can also substitute frozen or pre-made meatballs (Swedish meatballs or plain, not Italian-style) if you don’t feel like making your own, but either way they are delicious and a surefire hit at the dinner table.

The meatballs are great served over hot buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes with a side of Lingonberry or Cloudberry sauce, which you can find online at Swedish and Finnish grocery sites and Amazon.com. Saute some julienned veggies such as carrots and zucchini and squash to serve on the side along with a glass of crisp white wine or Glogg, a Swedish mulled wine that is a traditional drink served at Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

Braised Swedish Meatballs

Yield: Makes approx. 50 meatballs. 


  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb lean ground pork
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley, plus 1 tbsp for garnish
  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • dash of celery salt
  • dash of allspice or nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 jar beef gravy (or homemade gravy if you prefer)
  • 1-2 tbsp sherry (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp allspice or nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • hot buttered noodles or mashed potatoes
  • Lingonberry sauce or Cloudberry sauce


  1. Combine first eleven ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and shape into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown meatballs in 2 tbsp oil; pour off fat. Alternatively, you can bake the meatballs on a cookie sheet for 15 mins on 350 degrees F., drain grease and then bake another 10 mins. and pour into a large dutch oven or casserole on the stovetop.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients (gravy, sherry, allspice or nutmeg) except for the sour cream; pour over meatballs. Simmer 20 minutes. If the gravy seems too thick, you can thin it with a bit of water to the desired consistency. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream; continue cooking until heated through. Do not boil. Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes, garnish with additional parsley and a side of Lingonberry or Cloudberry sauce. Goes great with a crisp, Alsatian white wine such as Riesling or Gerwurstraminer, and a side of sauteed veggies.
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