Sheet pan meals are all the rage now in the magazines and on cooking shows. So I created this large quiche which is perfect for a brunch or an extensive buffet. Mushrooms, asparagus, and goat cheese are a familiar combination for my quiches. Next, I added Gruyere cheese, a smoky french cheese that melts beautifully and pairs wonderfully with eggs and goat cheese. Thyme fresh or dried is another go-to ingredient for me. In the summer, I grow all thyme varieties with French thyme, my particular favorite. You can use any combination of veggies and herbs. Experiment and have fun!
1 (14.1-ounce) package Pillsbury refrigerated piecrust, room temperature
8 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1(3.5-ounce) package shiitake mushrooms
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
4 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 stalks asparagus, trimmed and shaved
Position rack in bottom trim of oven, and preheat oven to 375F. Spray a 13×9 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet wit cooking spray.
On lightly floured surface, unroll 1 piecrust. Lightly brush with water, and top with remaining piecrust, pressing gently to seal. Roll into a 15×11-inch rectangle. Transfer to prepared pan. Trim edges as need, and crimp as desired.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and cream. Stir in mushrooms, Gruyere cheese, goat cheese, garlic, sea salt and black pepper. Pour into prepared crust. Top with asparagus, pressing gently into filling.
Bake until filling is set 30-40 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
The virtues and health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are widely proven and accepted. The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. While there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet, it is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. And the inhabitants of the region live a long, healthy life without the modern diseases that plague many in America: Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s.
I love this way of eating because of the flavorful meals I can create that are satisfying and fit a healthy lifestyle.
My quinoa shrimp bowl also is an easy and quick meal that is perfect for a weeknight. I serve this with toasted pita bread and a glass of crisp white wine.
1/2 cup prepared or homemade pesto sauce
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups arugula
2 cups cooked tri-colored quinoa
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, diced
4 ounces cubed feta cheese
Whisk pesto, vinegar oil, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Place 4 tablespoons in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add garlic cooking until translucent. Do not brown. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, until cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Remove shrimp to a plate.
Add arugula and quinoa to the large pesto vinegarette bowl and toss to coat. Divide the quinoa mixture into four bowls. Top with shrimp, tomatoes, avocado, and feta. Drizzle each bowl 1 tablespoon of the reserved pesto mixture.
Healthy eating and an active lifestyle are essential to me. Creating recipes low in fat and salt, high in fiber and nutrients is vital to staying fit and youthful. I believe in cooking good tasting food that is satisfying to the pallet. I’ve wanted to incorporate more tofu into my recipes for the enormous benefits of soy. Putting it on top of kale, butternut squash, and red pepper makes this an extraordinary healthy, fulfilling one-pan meal.
I use William-Sonoma Goldtouch bakeware for even temperature cooking and cleaning up, which is essential to me. And they are last long.
1 bunch kale, cut and stems removed 1 (20 oz package) cut butternut squash 1 red pepper sliced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 shallot, minced 1/4 cup olive oil sea salt pepper 1 container ( 16 oz.) super firm Nasoya Organic Tofu 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon Bragg Coconut Liquid Aminos 1/4 cup cornstarch 2 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoon garlic powder
Pre-heat oven 425F.
Place kale, butternut squash, red pepper, garlic, and shallots in a large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Prepare tofu: Cut tofu into one-inch cubes. In a small bowl combine olive oil and coconut liquid aminos: mix cornstarch, sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Dunk tofu cubes in the liquid mixture, turning to coat, then dredge tofu in cornstarch. Place tofu on top of the vegetables. Bake for 30-35 minutes until tofu is golden.
Cooking at home is fashionable during the pandemic. Cooking is in my blood; I come from a long line of cooks. I love to cook, entertain, and my favorite, large Sunday dinners with family and friends, is on hold until after the pandemic.
The situation necessitated that created tasty one-pan meals for two while my husband and I are social distancing in our home. So easy and no sacrifice on flavor to combine all the ingredients in one roasting pan, and I serve in the same pan!
I add a salad and homemade bread for a simply delicious meal! Dinner for two couldn’t be more perfect!
1 package Earthly Choice Farro, Microwaveable in 90 minutes 1/2 pound Sea Scallops 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, about half lemon 1/4 cup dry white wine 2 cloves garlic, crushed 4 lemon slices, halved 1/4 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives, sliced I like Mezzetta olives 2 teaspoons capers 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 425F.
Place farro in baking pan and top with scallops.
Combine in a small bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice, wine, and garlic. Pour evenly over farro and scallops: place lemon slices, olives, and caper on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Living in New England, I am fortunate to have access to the freshest seafood. Hard to believe in 2021, an old fashion fish monger truck sells fish and seafood straight off the dock at our seasonal summer market. And this winter, after the market closed, the company is delivering weekly to our town. I just place the order on Monday, for a Wednesday delivery!
I don’t have time most weeknights to prepare elaborate meals. Instead, I serve meals prepared in under thirty minutes, or I defrost and reheat something I made ahead on a leisurely weekend.
One of my favorite easy dinners for two is Spaghetti and Clams in a light white wine sauce. I like to use meaty count neck clams, married with wine and herbs for a lusciously delightful taste.
Dinner in under thirty minutes!
2 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 shallot, minced 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped 1 cup dry white wine pinch of saffron 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 pound count neck clams, well-scrubbed 4 ounces thin spaghetti, cook according to package
In a saute pan, add olive oil, garlic, shallot, and thyme. Saute on medium heat for 8-10 minutes; garlic and shallots should be translucent, not browned. Add wine, saffron, salt, and pepper simmering for 5 minutes. Add clams, cover, continue to cook for 5-10 minutes. All the clams should be open; discard any that aren’t. Pour over cooked pasta. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
Winters in New England are cold and harsh. When snow blankets my home and the wind rattles the windows, I crave comfort food that tastes delicious and is hearty. I don’t want excessive fat and calories, so I create recipes that fit my eating requirement! Soups, stews, and casseroles for healthy eating are a satisfying experience, and you won’t feel deprived. You can have a glass of wine with dinner or a small dessert if you cut unnecessary calories—no need to feel deprived. That will sabotage your new year diet or healthy eating intention.
Simply replacing meat with veggie crumbles in chili makes a significant difference without sacrificing taste. I also added butternut squash to this recipe as it pairs well with the beans and tomatoes. Additional I added baking cocoa for richness in taste and color.
If you like five-alarm chili, add additional hot sauces. I freeze the chili in individual for a quick lunch or supper.
2 tbsp. olive oil 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 cloves minced garlic 1 package (20 oz.) cut butternut squash 1 can (14 1/2 oz. ) no salt added diced tomatoes 1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed 2 cans (15.5 oz) cannellini beans 1 can (15.5 oz.) garbanzos beans, drained and rinsed 1 box (32 oz.) unsalted vegetable stock 3 tbsp. tomato paste 2 tsp chili powder 2 tsp baking cocoa 1 teaspoon oregano leaves 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 package (12 oz) Morning Star Farms Veggie Crumbles
Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add butternut squash and cook for additional ten minutes.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Cooking for me, is fun and creative; I derive enormous pleasure from preparing a delicious recipe. I inherited my passion for cooking from my mother. I loved to return home from school and sit on the countertop, sharing my day with her as I watched her cook. My time spent cooking with my mother motivated me to start my blog and share her cooking philosophy; I am amazed when I hear people say they can’t cook or don’t like cooking. I say if you love to eat, there is every reason to cook.
On my blog, my goal is to make cooking easy and fun. I’m not interested in being intimidated by an overly pretentious recipe with expensive or hard-to-locate ingredients. And my personal dislike too many waisted steps. I don’t show off on my blog; I want you to easily make my recipes to enjoy with family and friends. I love to entertain, and when I do, I want to enjoy my guests, not hibernating in the kitchen.
During the winter months, I make large vats of soups and stews to freeze for consumption later that provides quick and easy dinners when you are short on time. My life is like yours, with an endless to-do list, so when I am short on time, I can open my freezer and discover an array of made ahead meals.
I make my own soups and stews because I find the commercial and restaurant prepared versions are seasoned with too much salt. If you use the right seasonings, salt is a minimal ingredient for a good soup or stew. Limiting salt improves the taste of food and is a healthier option.
I hope I have given you a few reasons to be adventurous if you have never made your own soup or stew! Oh, did I mention I’d love to hear your successes!
If you want to make this a vegan or vegetarian stew, substitute plant-based sausage for chicken sausage.
White Bean and Sausage Soup
2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2medium carrots, finely diced
2celery stalks, finely diced
2garlic cloves, finely chopped
1tablespoon tomato paste
½teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (15.5 oz.) Cannellini beans, rinsed, I like Goya Organics, low salt
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
2teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1large rosemary sprig
2teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1pound sweet Italian chicken sausage or veggie sausage, cooked and sliced 3/4-inch thick*
½teaspoon black pepper
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot. Cook, stirring, until dark golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the beans, vegetable stock, salt, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
Add the sausage to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and pepper. Remove the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.
Roast the sausage on a sheet pan at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Cooking should be fun! I am amazed when I hear people say they hate to cook! Why would you dislike something essential to survival and can be so creative? I like everyone who cooks has experienced disasters in the kitchen. I once made a cake that, when I frosted, slid off the plate and onto the floor.
Every misshape has made me the cook I am today, and I am grateful for all my cooking experiences.
If you are tackling a new recipe, my first suggestion is to read the recipe in total. Then gather all the tools you need and the ingredients and arrange them on your countertop in order of their use. This makes it so easy to follow the recipe for a novice. Even though I am an experienced cook, I take out my tools and ingredients before cooking.
Cooking is like any other skill; the more you practice, the better you become.
Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables. And so delicious with kale in a vegetarian lasagna. I roast both to bring out the flavor; instead of a traditional tomato, I used bechamel sauce. No-boil noodles cut the preparation time.
Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna
1 package (20 ounces) butternut squash
4 cups kale, cut into 2-inch pieces and stems removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 sage leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Unsalted butter, for the baking dish1 cup grated fontina cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
15 ounces ricotta cheese (can be part-skim)
2 eggs, beaten
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
Make the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the squash and kale with 2 tablespoons olive oil on a baking sheet; season with salt.
Roast, rotating the baking sheets once until the vegetables are tender, 18 to 20 minutes; set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Meanwhile, make the bechamel. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour until smooth; cook, whisking, until the flour is lightly golden but not brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, occasionally stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add parmesan cheese. Stir in the nutmeg.
Assemble the lasagna. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Toss the cheeses and the flour in a bowl; set aside 1/2 cup for topping. Evenly coat the bottom of the dish with 1/2 cup of the bechamel.
Lay 3 noodles side by side on top. Cover with one-third of the remaining bechamel. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese mixture, half of the ricotta cheese, and top with half of the vegetable mixture. Arrange 3 more noodles on top and repeat the layers (bechamel, cheese, ricotta, vegetables). Top with the remaining 3 noodles, then cover with the remaining bechamel; sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup cheese.
Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 additional minutes until browned and bubbling. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
To make ahead, cover the unbaked lasagna with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To bake, remove the plastic wrap and follow baking instructions.
To freeze, cover lasagna tightly with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Freeze up to 3 months. To bake, remove the plastic wrap, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 90 minutes. Uncover, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
A first-generation American, my mother, embraced Thanksgiving and cooking a turkey with a passion. Now that my mother is no longer with me, I wish I would have asked her how she learned to cook the perfect turkey. My grandparents, both exceptional cooks, immigrated from Italy and cooked the best Italian dishes. I recall them making chicken, never turkey.
My mother was particular about her turkey preparation. Local, farm-fresh turkey, the biggest they had was what she purchased. We anxiously waited for her return from the farm. I can still see her walking up the driveway, weighted down by a twenty-nine or thirty-pound turkey, and we rushed to the door to help her. Then she began cleaning the turkey before cooking. She soaked her turkey overnight in a salt bath in the kitchen sink. Now we are cautioned about leaving the turkey out for an extended time; this was not an issue during my mother’s day. I believe that the salt protected from bacterial growth, and she thoroughly rinsed dried the bird before she stuffed the turkey.
She buttered and seasoned the bird, and then she cut a paper bag to fit over the turkey and the top of the roaster. Twine tied around the edge of the roasting pan secured the covering. When I was young, I was amazed that the bag didn’t catch on fire in the oven. My mother’s turkey was always browned to perfection and never dry.
When I cook a turkey, I soak mine in a tub in the refrigerator or if you don’t have room, place the tub in a cooler packed with ice. I’ve tried various turkey brines, home-made or store-bought; my favorite is still my mother’s simple kosher salt turkey bath. The basic ratio I use is two cups of kosher salt to two gallons of water
And as I prepare for Thanksgiving, getting the turkey ready, I pay tribute to my mother, my guide and inspiration throughout my life!
1 (18 pounds) whole turkey 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 lemon, zested and juiced 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves 2 tablespoon kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 large bunch of fresh thyme 1 whole lemon, halved 1 shallot, quartered 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set aside.
Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Place 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Let the turkey sit for 30 minutes, and then rinse again. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan.
Fill the cavity with thyme, halved lemon, halved shallot, and garlic, and brush the turkey outside with the butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh’s meaty parts registers 165 degrees F (75 degrees C), about 4 hours. If Turkey browns too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.
Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, and let it stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Make gravy.
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Defatted turkey drippings plus chicken stock to make 2 cups*
1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy
Heat the turkey drippings and chicken stock in a pan. Simmer on low. In a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan, melt butter. Sprinkle the flour into the pan, whisk in, then add the salt and pepper—Cook mixture for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock mixture and Cognac, and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes until thickened.
Mediterranean Stuffed Pepper with Turkey, Orzo and Feta Cheese
Some foods shout out comfort and remind me of my mother. Stuffed peppers was a staple in our home when I was growing up. My mother, a creative cook, never made anything with the same ingredients, doctoring up, her words, any recipe she cut and saved from ‘Woman’s Magazine.’ She never wrote down any of her adjustments or changes to a recipe. She liked the freedom from structure and routine when cooking and living her life. On her bookshelf, she stacked her collection of recipes in a pile that she skimmed through for ideas before she fashioned a delicious meal from scratch.
I share so many of my mother’s passions, cooking, gardening, entertaining, and family. One area that we are total opposites is the organization and structure of life. I am an organization geek and live by having a set place for everything.
When my mother would come for a visit, she would marvel at how organized I was and how my life flow systematically. I think she found it amusing that I gravitated to the direct opposite of her raising my family. My children had chores each day, which they completed without being asked and helped in many ways at home. Although she admired my skills, they were not for her. She told me that I was like my grandmother, organized and structured, something she hated growing up. And when she had her own family, she wanted nothing to do with my grandmother’s rules and tasks.
Now that my mother and grandmother are no longer with me, I am grateful that I inherited the best traits from both women.
Mediterranean Stuffed Pepper with Turkey, Orzo and Feta Cheese
2 red, 2 yellow, and 2 orange peppers
1 cup orzo, cook according to package instructions, cooled
1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon mint
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon zest of lemon
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon olive oi
l2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 can(14.5 oz) petite chopped tomatoes, I use Hunt’s no salt added
2 tablespoon parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut off the top of each bell pepper and reserve the tops; discard the seeds and white membranes. Put the turkey in a large bowl; add 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup feta, orzo, oregano, mint, dill, allspice, cinnamon garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Gently mix with your hands. Stuff each bell pepper evenly with the turkey-rice mixture; cover with the pepper tops. Place in baking dish.
Make the sauce: Heat oil in a deep and wide saucepan. Add garlic cooking until translucent, don’t brown. Add oregano, pepper, and salt until combined. Slowly pour in tomatoes cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Top peppers with tomato sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cover with lid or aluminum foil and bake her for 60 minutes