Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers with Feta Cheese

Stuffed PeppersThis is a great dish for a weeknight, and will make those in your household that don’t eat meat very happy! Here’s a tip, when selecting bell peppers, choose those with 4 bumps or “legs” on the bottom to cook and select those with 3 or less bumps or “legs” to eat raw. This recipe will serve 6.

Ingredients:

1 cup wild rice blend
6 large bell peppers, tops trimmed off about ½ inch, cored and seeded
1 (341 ml) can of corn niblets
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped*
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped*
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 Kalamata olives, minced (optional)
1 ½ cups of your favourite tomato sauce
2 green onions, sliced*
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garnish with 2 sliced green onions, and remaining warmed tomato sauce, if desired.

* Click here to learn how to properly clean these herbs.

Directions:

Cook the rice according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large pot of water to boiling and par-boil prepared green bell peppers for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pepper. They should be softened but not cooked through. Drain and place in shallow baking dish coated with non-stick spray.

Stir feta cheese, corn, herbs, garlic, olives, green onions and salt and pepper to taste into cooked rice. Divide the mixture among the bell peppers and top with 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. (May take longer according to the size of peppers. Insert a knife into the middle of the rice mixture and leave for a few seconds. Remove the knife and touch to see if it is hot. The knife should be hot to touch if the peppers are completely heated through.)

Garnish with additional sliced green onions and remaining warmed tomato sauce.

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Grilled Salmon Fillets with a Lemon, Dill and Garlic Sauce

Grilled Salmon with Garlic, Lemon Dill SauceThis recipe calls for using a grill. If you do not have one, or wish to not grill the fish altogether, you can prepare it either in the oven under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillet, or you can pan sear it instead. This recipe makes 6 servings.

Ingredients:

6 (4 ounce) salmon fillets
salt and ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¾ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon and 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice ᶲ
1 tablespoon and 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest ᶲ
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill *
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Prepare the grill for high heat by lightly oiling the grill grate, either with some of the olive oil or with a non-stick cooking spray. Note: if you are using a spray, DO NOT spray over a lit grill. This is a good way to lose your eyebrows. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cook the salmon on the grill until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, while the salmon is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, remaining olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, dill, salt and pepper. Set the sauce aside until the salmon has finished cooking. When the salmon is done, place it on a serving plate and top with the prepared sauce. This dish can be served hot, cold or room temperature.

* To learn how to properly clean fresh dill, click here.
ᶲ For tips on zesting and juicing a lemon, click here.

Mini-Smoked Salmon Frittatas

Smoked Salmon FrittatasThis dish is designed to make 6 individual mini frittatas, but you can always just make one large one instead. To do this, instead of dividing the recipe into little ramekins, you can let it cook in the oven in a oven-safe skillet or pan. Just adjust your baking time, as it will take longer for the centre of the dish to set up. This recipe makes 6 servings (serving size: 1 frittata)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup diced onion
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into ¼ -inch pieces
6 large eggs
8 large egg whites
1 tablespoon half-and-half
3 tablespoons 1% milk
3 ounces low-fat cream cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet, and sauté the onion for 2–3 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the salt, pepper, and salmon to the skillet, and toss to combine. Remove the pan from stove top, and let the mixture cool.

Next, combine the eggs, egg whites, half-and-half and milk in a bowl. Stir in the cubes of cream cheese. You are not trying to incorporate this fully with the egg and milk mixture. There will be chunks of cheese in the final frittata. Lightly coat 6 (8-ounce) ramekins with cooking spray. Add 2 tablespoons of salmon mixture to each ramekin. Pour ¾ cup egg mixture into each ramekin. (Do not overfill.)

Place ramekins on baking sheet; bake 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Garnish with green onions, if desired.

Chinese Happy Family

Chinese Happy FamilyThis dish is called a “Happy Family” because it is blend of all different ingredients, coming together to make something delicious, much like how a family is. This recipe can easily be converted into a vegetarian dish by substituting tofu for the chicken. You can also use beef instead of chicken. This recipe makes about 8 servings.

Ingredients:

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes/strips
1 tablespoon oil

Marinade:
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Vegetables:
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, sliced thin
1 carrot, julienned
2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and julienned
1 ½ cups sugar-snap peas
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup water chestnuts
1 ¾ cups baby corn
1 ½ cups bamboo shoots, sliced

Stir-fry Sauce:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons water/chicken broth

½ cup sliced green onions*

Directions:

Combine the ingredients for the marinade and pour them into a large freezer bag or a bowl that you can marinate the chicken in. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, or even overnight.

In a wok or large skillet, on medium-high heat, add the tablespoon of oil and sauté the chicken pieces until they are cooked through. Remove them from the pan. DO NOT put them back into the bag or bowl that you were marinating in. That is a good way to get food poisoning! Just set the chicken (and any juices) aside on a clean plate or bowl.

Next, add the ¼ cup of oil (or less) to the wok/skillet and add the onions and carrot. Toss to coat and let cook for about 2 minutes. Next add the peppers, tossing and allowing to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Next add the peas and mushrooms, then the water chestnuts, corn and bamboo shoots. Allow everything to cook together for another 2-4 minutes. Add the chicken back to wok/skillet.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce. Make sure you have fully incorporated the cornstarch, so that it is not too lumpy. Pour the sauce over the stir-fry/chicken mixture. Allow the sauce to come up to temperature and you will notice it begins to thicken. Once it has done this, toss the stir-fry to cover everything in the sauce. Serve hot garnished with the green onions. This dish goes really well with rice or noodles.

* To learn how to properly clean green onions, click here.

Mains: One Meat & One Dairy – And Everyone Is Happy!

Moussaka

Mousakas Latheros (Vegetarian Mousaka)

Ingredients:

4 medium eggplants
1 cup oil
3 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 cup milk
3 large eggs, beaten
8 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the stems from the eggplants and cut lengthwise into thin slices. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside to drain in a colander. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Lightly sauté the potato slices over medium heat until they start turning golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same pan, sauté the onions until they are soft and golden, then remove from the oil and set aside. Add the eggplant to the skillet and sauté until soft and lightly coloured. Remove from the skillet and layer the vegetables in a medium baking pan, beginning with the eggplant, then potatoes, then the onions, until all of the ingredients are used. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper, and spread the mixture over the vegetables. In another bowl, thoroughly mix the milk, eggs and feta cheese. Pour this mixture over the tomatoes. Rock the baking dish gently to distribute the cheese mixture evenly. Bake for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and crusty.

Greek Lemon Chicken 1

Greek Chicken

Ingredients:

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 lemons
4 large cloves of garlic, mashed
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4-5 pepperoncini, sliced, plus liquid from jar
½ cup olive oil

Directions:

In a large container or freezer bag, place the chicken, the salt, pepper, sliced pepperoncini, and the mashed garlic. Rub the oregano in your hands to bring out the essential oils and add that to the mix. Zest the lemons, then quarter and squeeze the juice from the lemons into the mixture and add the lemons and zest as well. Lastly add the olive oil and about ¼ to ½ cup of juice from the pepperoncini to the mixture. Seal the bag or cover the container and toss the chicken around to make sure every bit is covered. Let marinate for 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge. Do not let it go overnight, as the acids in the salt and lemons will start to cook the chicken, and it will become rubbery. In a large skillet, sauté the chicken, (along with the bits of lemon, peppers and garlic) in the oil from the marinade. The chicken will brown up nicely. Sauté until cooked through. Serve over rice, couscous or orzo.

A Greek Chorus of Appetizers

Stacked Greek Salads

Stacked Greek

Ingredients:

4-6 large tomatoes, hothouse, beefsteak or even romas, sliced ¼” thick
8oz. feta cheese, sliced ¼” thick
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 cup olives, green or kalamata, sliced
1-2 english cucumbers, sliced ¼” thick
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
salt and pepper

Directions:

On individual plates or a large serving platter, arrange 6 slices of tomato, then layer on top cheese, onions, cucumbers, some olives and sprinkle with some oregano and pepper. Then if possible (depending on your stacking skills), create another layer of the ingredients and finish off with a drizzling of olive oil and lemon juice. If needed, you can skewer the stacks with bamboo sticks to help balance everything.

Greek Dip

Greek Mediterranean Dip
Original recipe makes 10 servings

Ingredients:

1 (10 ounce) container red pepper hummus
1 (10 ounce) container of tzatziki
½ cup finely chopped Kalamata olives
½ cup finely chopped artichoke hearts
½ cup diced fresh tomato
¾ cup peeled and diced cucumber
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup finely diced red onion
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

This dish is great if you can serve it either in a glass pie dish that is wide and shallow OR a trifle dish that lets you see all the beautiful layers. It’s also really easy in that it’s just a “dump” recipe, where you can add a bunch of pre-made things together to make them look incredible. Start by spreading out the layer of the hummus, then the tzatziki. Then layer on the rest of the vegetables and then top with the cheese and onions. Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle on the oregano. Serve with toasted pita chips or tortilla chips and enjoy!

Spanakopita

Spanakopita

Ingredients:

½ cup olive oil, divided
2 large onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach – thawed, drained and squeezed dry
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 (4 ounce) packages feta cheese, crumbled
4 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1 (16 ounce) packages fyllo dough

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Heat half of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Slowly cook and stir onions until softened. Mix in spinach, dill and flour. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until most of the moisture has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Mix in feta cheese, eggs, salt and pepper. With a pastry brush, coat a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with some of the remaining oil. Lay a sheet of fyllo dough in the pan, brushing it with olive oil. Lay 4 more sheets of fyllo in the pan, brushing each with oil. Spread half the spinach mixture over the fyllo. Cover this with 3 more sheets of fyllo, brushing oil on each sheet. Spread the rest of the mixture over this and layer 5 more sheets, again brushing each sheet with oil. With a sharp knife, score the pie. Bake for 40 minutes.

Kitchen Sink Vegetarian Chili

Chili

The great thing about this chili is that you don’t like one of the ingredients? Leave it out! Add something else! Play around with it! Want it spicier? Up the chili powder or hit it with some Tabasco sauce. This really acts as more of a guide to let your inner cook out to experiment and see what happens. You can always add meat if you wish. If you do, brown off the meat first, then follow the rest of the directions as listed below. Serve this chili up over rice or on top of baked potatoes for a great filling meal. This recipe makes 6-8 servings.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup onions, diced small
¾ cup carrots, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
¾ cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 ½ cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 (796 ml) can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
1 (540 ml) can kidney beans, drained
1 (540 ml) can black beans, drained
1 (341 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, and garlic until tender. Stir in green pepper, red pepper, celery, and chili powder. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, and cook 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and corn. Season with paprika, salt, cumin, oregano, and basil. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium. Cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once all the vegetables are tender and cooked through, and remove lid and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes to reduce the liquid in the chili as needed. Serve over rice or baked potato.

To make this into Cincinnati Chili, serve the chili on top of cooked spaghetti and top with shredded cheese and raw diced onions. To make this into a Frito Pie, line a pie or casserole dish with corn-chips, then top with the chili. Top the chili with shredded cheese, raw diced onions and a few slices of jalapeno and bake in the oven at 350 for 5-10 minutes, until the top is browned and melted.

Butternut Squash and Orzo with Fresh Sage

Butternut

This milchig side dish is delicious enough to be a main when served with a big salad and some crusty bread. Fresh sage really makes this dish, and I would not recommend using dried. Refer to the produce checking page to learn how to check sage for insects. You can sometimes find frozen diced squash in the freezer section at the grocer. If so, this is a huge time saver; not only in the prep but in cooking time as well.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter/margarine
1 cup onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups butternut squash, cubed
4 cups vegetable stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup orzo
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add squash cubes and stir to coat. Add ½ cup broth and wine. Cover and simmer until squash is just tender and liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Bring remaining 3 ½ cups of broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo. Boil uncovered until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain if necessary. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in squash mixture, then cheese and sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Crisp n’ Crunchy Stir-Fry

Stir Fry

Serve this with short grain brown rice which has a really nice nutty flavour and pleasantly chewy texture. Add tofu or shredded chicken if you like, though it will no longer be vegetarian if you do. Some tips regarding the ingredients listed: If you do not have rice wine, you can always use Gin or Dry White Wine instead. If you do not have Coconut Oil, you can use Vegetable, Canola or Olive; just as long as it doesn’t have a strong flavour. With regards to the broccoli, I do not recommend using fresh, as it is close to impossible to check for insects. Instead, frozen florets are available with reliable hechshers at your local grocery store.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup stock or water
½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 tablespoon coconut oil
½ cup raw cashews
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon chili flakes (more if you like it spicy)
1 cup finely sliced carrots (1-2 medium sized carrots)
2 cups broccoli small florets
1 stalk of celery, finely sliced
1½ cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
½ bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

Directions:

Remember the number one stir-fry rule: prepare everything before you start cooking. Wash, dry and trim all of the vegetables and then slice and chop them as described above, keeping them in neat separate piles, perhaps in small bowls. Portion out the cashews and chili flakes.

Make the sauce by combining all of the ingredients but the cornstarch. Mix a little liquid with the cornstarch to make a smooth paste before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. Set aside.

In a wide skillet or wok, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cashews and toss and stir until browned; remove pan from heat and cashews to a kitchen towel. Return the pan to the heat add the other tablespoon of coconut oil, when hot, add the garlic, ginger and chili; cook quickly for not even a minute, briskly stirring. Add the carrots, broccoli and celery, stir several times. Add the mushrooms and pepper; stir fry for a minute or two and then pour in the sauce; bring to a bubble and cover. Cook for about 3 – 5 minutes, until the liquid has thickened and coated everything well. Add the cashews back in, stir to combine and serve on rice.

Cheese, Red Pepper & Mushroom Strata

Strata

This strata (a fancy term for a layered bread casserole) makes a wonderful brunch dish or great for a milchig dinner. Serve with a nice salad and you’ve got a great meal. You can even prepare this dish the night before and let it sit covered in the fridge then bake off the night you wish to serve it. This tends to make an even better dish because it gives the bread more time to soak up all of the flavours! If you don’t have Shiitake mushrooms, any kind will do. If you don’t have your own roasted red peppers (though you should, see my recipe for them!) you can use jarred.

Ingredients:

¼ cup of butter
1 lbs. Shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
1 roasted red pepper, sliced into thin strips
12 slices of challah – cut into 1 inch dice
2 ¼ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups cream
5 large eggs
¾ cup fresh chives, chopped (same quantity dried)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped (2 teaspoons if using dried)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ cups goat cheese (soft)
1 ½ cups parmesan, grated
1 cup fontina, grated

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and set aside.

Melt butter in a medium sized skillet. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Add sliced red pepper to the mushrooms. Submerge challah cubs in a large bowl of the milk. The bread should absorb all of the milk.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, eggs, chives, thyme and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and add the crumbled goat cheese, and whisk together until fully incorporated.

In the buttered glass dish, lay half of the bread mixture down and don’t worry if it does not fill the entire base. Top with a layer of mushroom/pepper mixture. Add grated fontina and parmesan, then the cream/egg mixture. Repeat the layering process using the remaining ingredients. Bake strata uncovered for 1 hour or until golden brown and firm in the middle.