Broccoli Rabe, Italian Sausage, & Tomato Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella

The toppings for this pizza are based on a classic Italian pasta dish, traditionally made with orecchiette.  The small ‘ear-shaped’ pasta is tossed together with crumbled Italian sausage, red pepper flakes, garlic and cooked broccoli rabe.  Simple yet wildly flavorful, I decided to top a store-bought pizza crust with the same ingredients, plus cherry tomatoes, a touch of balsamic vinegar, and creamy, fresh mozzarella cheese.  Cooking the broccoli rabe down with an anchovy fillet is not a must, but it really does add a depth-of-flavor and inherent saltiness that melds beautifully with all of the other ingredients used.

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

‘Spanish-Style Roasted Potatoes’

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

These are no ordinary roasted potatoes! No siree. These perfectly roasted gems are flavored with a fragrant combination of fresh and dried spices and herbs, as well as plump briny olives.  The spices and herbs in question include smoked paprika, fresh rosemary, fresh oregano, salt, pepper and fresh parsley.  And use a quality olive oil here for a robust added richness–this sort of dish deserves quality ingredients because of its inherent simplicity.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/spanish-style-roasted-potatoes)

Collard Greens Agrodolce

When you see the phrase agrodolce in a recipe, it refers to the Italian words ‘agro’ for sour, and ‘dolce’ for sweet.  So basically you know whatever is involved is going to have sweet yet sour flavor components. Most often times a combination of vinegar and sugar, I have taken this idea and applied it to hearty collard greens for an Italian-inspired side dish.  Shredded collard greens are cooked down with an anchovy fillet, sliced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and a touch of both sherry vinegar and cane sugar.  For added sweetness, I like to finished a dish like this off with plump raisins and for crunch, some sliced almonds.  Collard greens work very well here, but feel free to use chard, kale, spinach or even turnip greens.

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

‘Shortcut Italian Wedding Soup’

Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Magazine

This quick-and-easy version of a traditional Italian Wedding Soup is simply remarkable.  Instead of meatballs, this version of the classic uses store-bought hot Italian sausage; first seared and then cut into pieces and added right back into the warm soup.  The soup base itself starts with onions and fennel, adds in a Parmesan rind for richness, and then everything is cooked in chicken stock with some tender escarole.  Like the traditional version, small pieces of al dente pasta also float throughout the soup; and don’t forget to finish the soup off with a touch of vinegar or lemon juice for brightness.  The entire soup comes together in no time, and is just as impressive as the classic version of the same name.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: https://www.marthastewart.com/1521379/shortcut-italian-wedding-soup)

‘Salmon with Kale, Walnut & White Bean Salad’

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

When a recipe calls for searing salmon fillets, I highly recommend searing fillets that are skin-on.  Searing both sides of the salmon creates a lovely crust and flavor on the fish, but also crisps up the skin…which is completely edible!  This specific salmon recipe starts with seared salmon, and finishes up with a simple salad of baby kale, white beans and chopped walnuts.  Healthy and lovely, this recipe also includes a flavorful red wine vinegar dressing made with Dijon mustard, honey and good-for-you ground turmeric for a rich flavor and yellow hue.  (I had Swiss chard on hand, so I swapped in sauteed chard for the recommended raw baby kale…any greens will do just fine!)

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/salmon-kale-walnut-and-white-bean-salad)

‘Roasted Squash with Green Tahini’

Recipe Courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

Are you a fellow fan of hummus? If so, you probably already have a jar of tahini, or sesame paste, in your fridge.  If you do, then this recipe for ‘Roasted Squash with Green Tahini’ is a must!  The season’s best squash (I used acorn squash here) are coated with ground cumin, olive oil, salt and pepper before being roasted to tender.  The lovely green sauce that accompanies the tender squash is a mixture of tahini, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice and zest, garlic and olive oil.  The sauce is thinned out with a touch of water, and is drizzled on top of the cooked squash for added flavor.  The green tahini sauce recipe alone is a lovely one to dip pita triangles into, pita chips, or even crudités.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/259640/roasted-squash-with-green-tahini/)

‘Super-Moist Carrot Cake’

Recipe Courtesy of www.SallysBakingAddiction.com

Recipe Courtesy of www.SallysBakingAddiction.com

The first two words that come to mind when describing this homemade carrot cake are mmmmmmmm  and oh my.  Aptly  named super-moist carrot cake, every bit of this rich cake is just that– and also perfectly sweet and did I mention easy to make?  Studded with the classic, lovely combo of grated carrots, pecans and golden raisins, the warmth of spices here is remarkable as well.   Simply ground cinnamon and nutmeg, but the combination of all the cake’s ingredients really make it the best carrot cake I’ve ever tasted.  And of course, topped with a creamy, gooey cream cheese frosting flavored with vanilla just makes the cake that much better.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/03/11/super-moist-carrot-cake/)

‘Grilled Potato, Salmon & Lentil Salad with Mustard Cream Sauce’

Recipe Courtesy of Fine Cooking Magazine

Recipe Courtesy of Fine Cooking Magazine

This healthy and hearty main course salad had ‘the south of France’ written all over it!  It involved grilling salmon filets until flaky, along with grilling buttery potatoes rounds; you serve these two lovely and simple ingredients with baby greens (I used watercress) and a helping of French-cooked lentils. This version of lentils is my favorite: it starts with a saute of onion, celery and carrots, then the lentils along with chicken stock and fresh herbs.  The lentils are cooked until tender and the whole salad is finished off with a lovely sauce made with two types of mustard and decadent creme fraiche.  Need I say more?

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/grilled-potato-salmon-lentil-salad.aspx)

‘Kale, Tomato & Pancetta Pasta’

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

Some might gawk at the phrase ‘healthy pasta’, but I am a firm believer in the idea that to be the healthiest, you can and should, eat everything moderation.  Yes, even a lovely bowl of pasta like this one…and even dessert! This pasta would be even better for you if you swapped in a whole wheat pasta variety, but as is, it is hearty and filled with good-for-you kale, garlic and cherry tomatoes. Not to mention buttery pine nuts, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and cubes of crispy pancetta.  You start by cooking the pancetta for this pasta dish, then you add the cherry tomatoes and kale right into the same pan.  Everything cooks down beautifully, with the helpful addition of some of the pasta cooking water.  A colorful dish when made with multi-colored cherry tomatoes, try serving this pasta with your favorite shape of pasta and a glass of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/kale-tomato-and-pancetta-pasta)

Greek Lamb Meatloaf

Greek Lamb Meatloaf

With lamb on the brain I decided to experiment with a Greek-inspired ground lamb meatloaf. (And boy I’m glad I did, the results were super flavorful!)  Into the ground lamb I added some chopped Kalamata olives, some crumbled feta cheese, dried oregano, and minced garlic.  The meatloaf gets its lovely moist texture from the addition of one egg, some Panko breadcrumbs and from the natural fat ratio of the lamb itself.  Lovely when served with a quick-and-easy Greek yogurt-based sauce studded with chopped, fresh dill and the bright flavor of lemon juice, a nice side dish idea for this hearty main dish would be some roasted potatoes and maybe a fresh cucumber and tomato salad.

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