Tag Archives: feta cheese

Mediterranean style chicken and artichoke whole wheat pasta

Mediterranean style chicken and artichoke whole wheat pasta

Sometimes the best dishes are those that I’ve cooked quickly.  I came home kind of late last night and needed to make a fast and healthy meal.  I was pretty much throwing ingredients together that I thought would make tasty combinations.  It came together in less than 30 minutes and the whole family along with a friend who happened to be hanging out all enjoyed dinner together.  I love that.  There’s nothing like eating a meal together and chatting and talking on a cool summer evening when the sun takes a long time to set.   The tangy taste of the feta and artichokes with the hint of rosemary really makes this dish taste like summer….all bright and sunny!

Saute the boneless, skinless chicken thighs with some fresh garlic

Added in marinated artichoke hearts, tomatoes, flat leafed parsley and fresh dill to the chicken

Add some dried rosemary and feta cheese to the sauce

Few handfuls of fresh spinach tossed in at the very end

Add whole wheat pasta and serve

Mediterranean style chicken and artichoke whole wheat pasta

3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces

3 tbsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 bunch flat leafed parsley, coarsely chopped

1 cup of marinated artichokes, rough chopped

1/2 cup feta cheese

1 tbsp fresh dill

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp salt

1 can italian style stewed tomatoes or 2 Roma tomatoes chopped

2 big handfuls of fresh baby spinach

1/2 pound of whole wheat pasta (linguine, fettuccine or egg noodles)

Cook whole wheat pasta to al dente.  In a large skillet or wok heat olive oil, add chicken,salt and garlic and saute for a few minutes until chicken is no longer pink.  Add in tomatoes, artichoke hearts, dill and parsley.  Let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add in dried rosemary and feta cheese and cook for about 1 minute.  Add in spinach and let it wilt into the sauce.  Turn off heat.  Toss in cooked pasta and serve immediately.

Grilled “Sausage” Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Grilled “Sausage” Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Grilled Portobello mushrooms are a wonderful delight.  They are smokey, meaty and juicy.  Almost like a burger.  They are stupendous when stuffed with other delicious things.  I wanted to have a tasty and filling meal without a lot of fat and plenty of proteins.  I had some extra lean ground beef on hand but you can easily use ground turkey or chicken.   I added caraway and sage to make it taste like sausage then added some low-fat goat cheese and fat-free feta cheese to the mix.  I also added fresh baby spinach leaves which was great as a “filler”.  These turned out wonderful. They were cheesy, melty and bursting with flavor. We felt like we were treated to a restaurant quality meal and we even had left overs for lunch the next day.

Mix together the ingredients for the “sausage”

Saute the meat mixture until everything is cooked

Add all the other ingredients to the home made sausage before filling the mushroom caps

Grill covered for 12-15 minutes

Wonderful served with fresh fruit and a salad

Grilled “Sausage” Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms 

4 Portobello mushroom caps

1/2 pound extra lean ground beef or turkey

3 scallions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1/2 tsp caraway seeds

1 tbsp chopped fresh sage

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup fat-free feta cheese

1/4 cup goat cheese

1 cup chopped fresh baby spinach

1 tsp dried basil

Wipe the mushroom caps with a damp paper towel and salt and pepper them on both sides, set them aside on a cookie sheet.  In a small bowl mix together the ground beef/turkey, caraway seeds, sage, garlic, salt, scallions.  Mix well together and cook over medium high heat until meat is nicely browned and all the flavors are “married”, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix to the cooked “sausage” mixture the feta and goat cheese, basil and baby spinach.  Top each of the four mushroom caps equally and place on a heated grill, covered, for about 12-15 minutes.  Serve as a main dish along with some fruit or a nice crunchy salad.

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Pasta

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Pasta

My friend Diane Hubbard told me that she was inspired to make Preserved Lemons  http://kolpona.com/2012/03/08/preserved-lemons/ and now she wanted more recipes that used Preserved Lemons besides North African or Middle Eastern dishes.  I took that as a challenge and decided that for tonight’s dinner I was going to make a dish with Preserved Lemons and anything else I had on hand in the kitchen, WITHOUT going to the grocery store.  It felt like a pasta kind of night.  A few minutes after cooking dinner, our friends Tasi and Soloa dropped by.

They ate all the pasta, Banana bread from this morning, Onion Dill bread from yesterday, Double Chocolate Chili cookies and took home some Lentil soup I’d made. I love feeding people who like to eat.  Let me tell you, when two big Samoans come over from the gym, they can eat some stuff.  So, Diane here’s a recipe inspired by you. Tasi and Soloa seem to think it’s pretty darn good and I think it’s a keeper.  By the way, it serves  a family of 6 or two hungry Samoans.

Ingredients at a glance.

Saute shrimp in olive oil with a little salt, garlic and ginger.  Take it out as soon it barely turns light pink.

In the remaining oil add tablespoon of butter.

Finished pasta dish.

Here’s the recipe:

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Pasta

1 lb of pasta (Linguine, Spaghetti, Fettucine – I only had Spaghetti on hand so I used that, next time I think I will use Linguine)

8-10 Large Shrimp,  cleaned with tail on

3 whole garlic cloves minced

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 tomato, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 pound young Asparagus, trimmed

4 oz jar of marinated Artichoke hearts

1/2 preserved lemon, rinsed and chopped

1 tsp Rosemary, chopped

1/4 cup chopped flat leafed Parsley

1/2 tsp salt

fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup crumbled Feta

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

In a 5 quart stock pot boil water with 5 tablespoons of salt (should be like sea water salty) for the pasta and cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large skillet heat olive oil and saute shrimp, salt, garlic and ginger until the Shrimp turn into a light pink shade, about 1 minute or so.  Take Shrimp out of the pan and set aside.  In the same oil add tablespoon of butter.  Add chopped onion, preserved lemon and tomato along with Rosemary and fresh cracked pepper and saute 2-3 minutes until flavors are released and onions are translucent.  Add roughly chopped artichoke hearts and asparagus tips and the tender parts of the stem cut into 1 inch pieces and saute another 2-3 minutes.  Add the Shrimp back into the mixture and saute an additional minute or until the Shrimp is cooked through.  Toss in Feta Cheese and stir then add the pasta,  Parmigiano Reggiano and Parsley and toss to coat.  Take off heat and serve immediately.

North African Style Couscous

North African Style Couscous

Couscous is a semolina pasta made out of durum wheat.  It is a staple food in pretty much most of North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya).  It’s cooked plain or in a wonderful salad type dish and usually eaten with meat stews that are slow cooked.  This dish goes wonderfully with the Tajine style Moroccan Chicken or just by itself as a refreshing salad or side dish.

Start by boiling

2 cups chicken stock (because it gives it such a depth of flavor but if you’re trying to make it a completely vegetarian dish then use vegetable stock or plain water) and ½ tsp kosher salt together.

Add  1 1/4 cup of couscous and  take off the heat.  Cover and let sit for 5-6 minutes.  Fluff with fork.

In a large skillet heat  ¼ cup olive oil and add 1 small chopped onion and 2 cloves of garlic minced into small pieces.

Saute  for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the garlic is very fragrant then add the couscous and toast for 8 minutes or so, couscous should get slightly brown.

Take it off the heat and pour into a large bowl and while still warm:

Add to couscous:

½ cup feta cheese

Chopped bell peppers

Chopped avocado

½ cup flat leafed parsley

Cucumber

Toasted almonds

Flat leaf Parsley, Curly leaf parsley and Cilantro

Dressing:

¼ cup oil

1 large lemon, zested

¼ tsp salt

Pepper (fresh cracked if you can)

Juice from lemon

Whisk to make dressing.  It will become a delicious opaque golden colored dressing. Pour over couscous and toss together.  Enjoy right away as a side dish or with any Moroccan style stew!