‘Roasted Salmon & Broccoli Rabe with Piccata Butter’

Recipe Courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

This recipe was written for either swordfish or halibut, but truthfully it works very well with any fish you desire.  A healthy and quick one-pan dish that roasts not only the fish of your choice, but broccoli rabe as well. The greens get a bit crunchy from the high heat and olive oil, and the fish perfectly flaky and delicious.  The real draw to the dish, however is the finishing touch–a homemade piccata butter made with capers, lemon zest, and garlic.  The butter is drizzled on both the cooked greens and the fish. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/256502/roasted-swordfish-broccoli-rabe-with-piccata-butter/)

Hoppin’ John-Stuffed Yellow Peppers

Hoppin’ John, the beloved Southern dish of fluffy rice and black-eyed peas, is a staple in my kitchen on New Year’s Day.  But truthfully, not just then–it is just as much of a Cajun classic in my kitchen year-round as red beans and rice, etouffee,  jambalaya and gumbo.  For this colorful side I stuffed roasted sweet peppers with a simple version of Hoppin’ John.  This is great as a side dish, but also a nice vegetarian entree as well.  And be prepared to have leftover beans and rice! But that is never a problem, am I right?

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Capicola-Wrapped Cod with Sage & Parsley Pesto

Two great ways to add extra flavor to a mild piece of white fish like cod, are to 1) wrap it in a thin slice of either prosciutto, pancetta, or bacon and 2) serve the fish with a flavorful sauce.  The meat I chose to wrap around these thick cod filets was sweet Capicola ham, and the sauce—a homemade sage and parsley pesto sauce.  The strong, unique flavor of sage pairs well with the fresh taste of Italian parsley and lemon juice, buttery pine nuts and a touch of salty Pecorino cheese. All of those pesto flavors work really well with the salty ham—but feel free to mix-and-match each component of this dish to your liking.  Choose your favorite fish, then your favorite meat and finally, a simple sauce to really make everything ‘pop!’

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Swiss Chard with Pears, Raisins & Candied Garlic’

If I had to choose a green that I loved the most, I might waver towards Swiss chard.  Tender leafy greens that are slightly sweet and super easy to cook, these greens (and their lovely colorful stems!) are popular in a variety of Mediterranean dishes.  Sauteing them is the quickest way to enjoy them, but they are also a lovely, large green leaf that you can stuff (like in a stuffed cabbage dish), or chop and steam and put into a quiche or nice frittata.

For this saute of rainbow Swiss chard you actually start the cooking process with making candied garlic cloves. They are sauteed in a touch of olive oil, then sprinkled with sugar and cooked in dry red wine.  Next come the stems and greens, then diced sweet pears, buttery pine nuts and sweet, golden raisins. The combination of velvety greens, candied garlic in red wine, the fruit and the nuts just screams Mediterranean cooking at its best!

(To view this recipe from Hillary Davis’  Cuisine Niçoise, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Dijon & Herb-Roasted Pork Tenderloin

This delicious pork tenderloin gets its flavorings from a mixture of fresh herbs, garlic and a coating of Dijon mustard.  I not only coated the top of the tenderloin with a combination of chopped rosemary, sage and thyme, but I laid fresh stems of each herb underneath the roast as well.  That way, the herbs infused the pork as it baked in the oven.  To ensure that the pork was super tender, I also marinated the tenderloin in apple juice for about 2 hours before popping it in the oven.  Surrounded by wedges of sweet yellow onion and a splash of dry white wine, this baked Dijon & Herb-Roasted Pork Tenderloin turned out just as I expected–moist, juicy, and full of complementary flavors.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Pissaladière

Another nod to a French classic.  A pissaladière is a Provençal onion tart that is typically flavored with black olives, fresh thyme and salty anchovies.  Think of it as the south of France’s version of a pizza.  Traditionally, the tart’s base is covered with caramelized sweet onions like I did here, but for my version I decided to melt the anchovies into the cooked onions instead of arranging them on top like in the classic version. I did still arrange the briny olives and fresh thyme on top of everything however.  A perfect first course, or even an accompaniment to a simple green salad and a cup of soup for a rustic dinner.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Carrot Slaw with Lemon-Honey Dressing’

Recipe Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma.com

I know exactly what you are thinking…’is this one of those mayo-coated old-fashioned carrot and raisin salads that were popular in the fifties?’ And the answer is absolutely not!  Don’t be fooled here—although this side dish does contain both golden raisins and grated carrots, it is quite the opposite from that salad that we all know and (quite possibly don’t) love.  Making slaw is popular these days from veggies other than green cabbage; broccoli stems are a good one and even thinly sliced Brussels sprouts.  This healthy salad contains good-for-your fresh carrots, fresh parsley, nuts, golden raisins for a touch of sweetness and a homemade lemony, honey vinaigrette.  It is light and a wonderful accompaniment to whatever protein you have on the menu for tonight.  (The recipe here calls for chopped Marcona almonds, but I decided to go the roasted pistachio route instead.)

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/carrot-slaw-with-lemon-honey-dressing.html?cm_src=RECIPESEARCH)

‘Stir-Fried Chicken with Walnuts and Basil’

Recipe Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma.com

A colorful stir-fry like this one is the perfect idea for a busy weeknight dinner.  With minimal prep, a stir-fry comes together in no time and can contain all the fresh, healthy ingredients your family loves!  This flavorful chicken stir-fry contains shallots, sweet bell peppers and the flavor of fresh basil, lime juice and a touch of soy sauce. (I added in some asparagus tips for a bit of added color and crunch, but feel free to add broccoli, snap peas or even green beans if you prefer.) To add a nutrient-rich boost to the stir fry, this recipe also calls for chopped, toasted walnuts. I like serving this dish over fluffy white or brown rice, but it would also be grand over cooked noodles or even cooked barley or farro.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/stir-fried-chicken-with-walnuts-and-basil.html?cm_src=RECIPESEARCH)

Classic Lasagna Bolognese

My husband made a special dinner request this week which I was thrilled to go along with!  He was craving a classic meat lasagna—the ultimate of Italian comfort foods.  Layers of al dente lasagna noodles slathered with a creamy mixture of ricotta cheese, grated Pecorino cheese and fresh basil, along with a hearty ground beef and marinara sauce (also known as a traditional Bolognese sauce).  The top of the lasagna is covered in fresh mozzarella cheese before being baked until bubbly and the cheese ooey-gooey melted.  The sauce can also be made with ground turkey, chicken or even ground veal if you prefer.  All you need to accompany this decadent main dish is a simple green salad and a velvety glass of your favorite Italian red wine.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Watercress & Grapefruit Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

I adore using a variety of citrus fruits in my cooking this time of year.  When it is chilly and grey outside, it is nice to have fresh, bright, juicy citrus fruits to work with–this is their peak season after all!  Sliced ruby red grapefruits are a lovely addition to not only breakfast time dishes, but salads and braised proteins as well. For this simple salad, I paired slices of juicy grapefruit with peppery watercress leaves and a savory walnut vinaigrette.  The buttery crunch of walnuts is a nice combination with the peppery greens and sweet-tart fruit; the vinaigrette is made with not only chopped walnuts, but walnut oil and a drizzle of white balsamic vinegar.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)