Showing posts with label side dish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label side dish. Show all posts

Monday, January 16, 2017

Easy Vegetarian Pie Recipe and Veggie "Rose" Appetizers

I have an easy vegetarian recipe to share with you today that is super delicious and eye catching at the same time so this is a great recipe to make for any occasion, be it special or not. I made something similar for New Years Eve and I'll show you later in this post a cute appetizer idea using the same ingredients. 


 - one sheet shortcrust pastry (any ready made pie crust will do)
 - 250 gr ricotta cheese
 - 1 egg
 - 80 gr grated Parmesan cheese
 - 500 gr frozen spinach
 - 3 medium sized carrots
 - 2 medium sized zucchini
 - olive oil for coating
 - salt and pepper to taste

First step is to cook your spinach making sure to drain any excess water and set aside to cool. 

Prepare your veggies by washing them, trimming off the ends and slicing them into very thin rounds. You could also use a mandolin slicer if you have one to make things easier. 

Set these aside and prepare the filling. 

To make the filling mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended. 

Add the spinach to the mix that you previously set aside to cool off. 

This is what you should have at this point. 

Now all your ingredients are ready and you can assemble the pie. Line your pan with parchment paper and add the pastry dough.

Trim off the edges and set aside....I'll show you how to make little veggie roses with them later :-)
Add the spinach and cheese filling. 

Go around the pie layering the rounds of carrots then zucchini until you reach the center standing the rounds upright into the spinach cheese filling. 

Once you are done coat the top layer with some olive oil and add another dash of salt and pepper. 

Now bake in a preheated over at 180°c (355° f) for one hour. 

and you're done!

Here is another version of the recipe that allows you to make cute little appetizers using the same ingredients. 

I used the extra dough that I previously trimmed off  but you can take a sheet of savory pastry dough and cut into strips. 

Spread a layer of ricotta cheese (you can  also substitute with cream cheese here - I recommend Philadelphia herb and garlic cream cheese for this recipe) and add the carrot and zucchini making sure that the veggies stick out a bit from the top. 

Roll them up forming little "roses".

Close the bottoms and add them to muffin liners brushing some olive oil on top and adding a dash of salt and pepper.

Bake at the same temperature as the pie and for the same amount of time. 

Aren't they the cutest?! And they are so tasty.

Hope you enjoyed the recipe!



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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Smoked Bacon and Provolone Chicken Wraps with New Potatoes

Good morning friends! Last night I made a delicious and very easy second course with a side of new potatoes which was out of this world. New potatoes are the small freshly harvested young potatoes with very thin skin and lots of moisture inside. They are my favorite type of potato by far. 

I also had some thinly sliced chicken breast, speck (Italian smoked bacon) and provolone cheese in my fridge that I needed to use up. 

So I decided to make chicken wraps differently than how I usually make them. I usually make them breaded, add a slice of prosciutto inside and a slice of cheese and bake them. This time I eliminated the bread crumbs and wrapped the bacon on the outside of the chicken breast. This was so much better because the bacon formed a crispy crust and kept the chicken breast moist on the inside. 

The potatoes were able to absorb the flavors of the provolone and smoked bacon and the whole dish was just heavenly!

All I did was wrap a slice of bacon and provolone around the chicken breast. It really doesn't get much easier than that. 

I drizzled some olive oil on top and added some Ariosto spices.

I love these meat seasonings because they add just the right amount of flavor. 

After I prepared the chicken wraps, I washed the new potatoes well and cut them up coating them in olive oil, salt and pepper.  

I debated on whether or not to cook them whole but in the end I decided to cut them in four sections to shorten the cooking time. 

I put everything together in a baking dish and baked at 215°C for about 20 - 25 minutes. Everything was cooked through to perfection. The potatoes were done and so was the chicken. 

I added some freshly cut parsley and served. Just looking at this is making me hungry again! 

I will continue making chicken wraps like this because I found that, in this way the chicken really retains moisture which is so important to me. Dry chicken is the worst, don't you agree?! 

Hope you're having a wonderful week. 

Buon appetito!! 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Baked Salmon Fillet with Veggies

Good morning my friends! How's the first week of the new year going for you? Mine is turning out to be pretty good. I'm sticking to my healthy eating plan and have been pretty productive. I've been quite the busy bee (as my grandmother used to call me when I was little hehe).

I wanted to share with you the dinner I made last night that was a real hit. I don't consider myself an expert cook and I don't think I'm any better than the next person that likes to cook but I do like to eat with good quality ingredients and I like to make sure I don't put (too much) crappy food in my body. So as I said in my last post I'm trying to eat better and eliminate most carbs. 

Usually when I come home from work I would break out the cheese and crackers and snack on them while preparing dinner. It was just becoming a really bad habit for me and once I started tracking my calories on my Fitness Pal app I realized just how many extra calories I was adding to my daily intake. I don't want to become a slave when it comes to counting calories either but I realized that I didn't NEED those extra calories so now what I do is either have a glass of cranberry juice that really curbs my cravings or a hot tea when I get home from work. 

Last night I had a salmon fillet in my fridge along with some fresh veggies that I had stocked up on. So I decided to oven bake everything just because I love the crispiness of oven baked veggies. 

The first thing I did was marinate the salmon for about 30 minutes in olive oil, apple cider vinegar and some Ariosto spices for fish. 

I let this marinate covered in the fridge. Then I washed and cut 3 medium sized zucchini, about a cup and a half of squash, and a cup of champignon mushrooms. I coated everything in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and let bake at 200° C for about 15 minutes.

I baked the veggies first because they take longer than the fish then I made room for the salmon fillet and continued baking for another 20 minutes. 

After the 20 minutes baking time, I broiled for about another 10 minutes making everything nice and crispy which is how I love it!

This meal (for two) left us feeling full and satisfied. It was a low calorie dinner that didn't leave me feeling hungry. I was quite pleased!

Do you like salmon? How do you prepare it? 

I hope you all have a fantabulous weekend :-)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Fresh Start

Well, break is officially over for me as of today and this is my first post of 2016. I am back at work and back in the rhythm of things. This holiday season wasn't the greatest for me. Usually I go to the States for the holidays because I want to be with my sister who I don't get to see very often and I know that when she sees me she is happy and the world is right again. This year however we were apart. We were all apart actually. My father was in the south, my brother was east and my mom was in the west and I was in Italy...  

Strangely I'm very happy to be back to normal life.  Knowing that your family is far away can be quite sad and the holidays are great but if you don't get to spend them with those you love they can suck pretty bad. 

Apart from that...I decided I wanted to start the year off right and hopefully it will be a positive auspice for the rest of the year. I decided not to drink a lot on New Years Eve as I usually go out and celebrate but this year I wanted to feel good on New Years Day and not hung over so that's what I did and it felt great. 

I stocked up on fresh veggies and am making an effort to eliminate dairy from my diet and cut down on the carbs that I have been eating too much of. I also have been on the tread mill almost every day for about 45 minutes. Even if I don't run for the whole 45 minutes I'll power walk with light weights. I'm making sure to take my daily multivitamin and I'm just getting back on track with my overall health. I'm feeling much better than I have in a long time and I have found that a healthier lifestyle is good for the mind as well. 

This is what I had last night for dinner. I made a stir fry with zucchini, onions and mushrooms. I felt so full afterwards, but a healthy full, you know what I mean?

When I eat better, I'm in a better mood.  I'm calmer and less irritable. It might be all in my head but I just feel better all around. Don't ask me how long this will last because I have no idea.  I'm hopeful that it will last through the year and that I can make it a lifestyle change rather than a temporary "new years resolution". I really don't like that seems like when I call something a new years resolution it's bound to fail sooner or later so I don't want to call it that. I want to call it a fresh start. I like that better :-)

So what's new in my home....let's see. I bought some new art work for my living room that I LOVE! I kept eyeing this piece but it cost too much so when I saw it on sale I snatched it up and hung it in my living room. I just love it! What do you think? I know I know, there's a hole in the wall that needs patching up...I'll get around to it eventually. 

Then I bought some new lamps for the night stands in the bedroom which were on sale as well.  I really like these and I was able to get them at 80% off!! 

We had a little New Years Eve party at my house with just a small group of people. It was a nice New Years Eve with lots of good food and good people. What more can you ask for right?

This was our table setting. 

It was a seafood dinner and I made lobster linguine, European sea bass and stuffed mussels. The lobster was alive when my Mr. brought it home....I almost passed out when I saw it because I knew I would have had to kill it. Oh was not easy at all. I was watching YouTube videos for about an hour watching all of the "how to humanly kill a lobster" tutorials.... Basically you have to jam a knife in the head to kill it humanely....yeah....I'll let you imagine. It was not fun. But I did it and this is the lobster after it was done cooking. 

Cute little guy, huh? 

This is the lobster linguine that we had as a first course meal. It was fantastic! It was my fist time cooking a lobster. This linguine was soooo good!

Then we made oven baked stuffed mussels with bread crumbs, herbs and spices.  These were our appetizers and they were so yummy!!

As our second course I prepared three big European Sea Basses cooked in the oven with cherry tomatoes, olives and white wine. A very light second course that didn't leave us feeling too full. 

That was pretty much our meal. I didn't take other pictures because I didn't want to be the antisocial one that was always on the phone but we had lentil soup as a starter as well as pig's trotter (which I really don't like) but these are the "Italian good luck foods" that you must at least taste on new years eve or else it's bad luck for the whole year. Sooo I had a little taste. 

What did you guys do on New Years? Whatever you did I want to wish you all a year of Peace and Serenity. Because I truly think that if there is peace and tranquillity in one's heart, that means that all the other stuff is where it should be... The other stuff being Love, Health, Prosperity and so forth.... so on that note...

I wish you a Happy 2016 dear friends. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hand Written Love Letters and Easy Gluten Free Zucchini Bake

There's a thing about hand written love letters that is so special. So much more so than a text message or an email. Now there are Hallmark greeting cards with pretty images and glittered pages that have the most beautiful phrases printed on them and all you need to do at the bottom of the card is write "Love, your name."...

This might seem romantic but in reality it's so cold and distant to me. My mother used to recycle my father's Valentines day card over and over again through the years and he never even noticed... Romantic, huh? 

I love to write letters to the person I love. For my sweetheart's birthday, Christmas or Valentines day, I don't go buy a greeting card but I make my own and write something special that comes from my heart. 

The other day I was cleaning out his closet and I found a card that I had made him for his birthday. He kept them all... They mean so much more than an over priced greeting card. When my mom came over from the States to visit this summer she gave me a heapful of greeting cards from friends and family that she kept over the years. I guess she wanted to get rid of them but felt guilty about throwing them away so she gave them to me...

I will confess to you that the majority went in the trash and I kept only the ones that were made by hand, like old mothers day or fathers day cards that my brother and I had made. They were just more special to me than the signed "Love, xxx" cards. 

My sweetheart wrote me the most beautiful poem when we first started dating. He wrote it on a wrinkled piece of paper with words crossed out and then re written and ink blotches on the page with tea stains on it and I cried and cried and cried when I read that poem....(he got teary eyed as well but I'm not supposed to say that...oops). I will treasure that wrinkled piece of paper for as long as I live. I keep it in my nightstand and I had a poster made with the poem written on it and had it framed. Now it's hanging in our bedroom.  Then he wrote 3 promises on a piece of paper that he wanted me to make him and I did the same. These are little things that hold so much meaning. The promises? Very simple but meaningful: To love always, cherish forever and be loyal... 

You don't have to be a good writer, it doesn't have to be a poem, you don't need fancy stationary... It's the act of writing down the words that are in your heart that mean the most. A simple I Love You will do just fine.

If there are any guys that read my blog...write your lady a hand written love letter. You have no idea how much she will appreciate it! You can thank me later :-)

This is a letter written by Ludwig Beethoven. It is not addressed to anyone , so it is impossible to know who he was writing to. Historians think it was written to a married woman who he loved very much, and who was leaving the city at the time of these letters. This is my favorite love letter of all time....

If you enjoy reading love letters like I do, here is a book that I recommend.  There are so many beautiful poems from important men like Beethoven, Napoleon Bonaparte, John Adams, Winston Churchill and Mozart just to name a few. 

And now to the recipe:

Easy Peasy Gluten Free Zucchini Bake

Just layer zucchini slices prosciutto or thinly sliced  ham and cheese in a baking dish and top with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until top browns. Extraordinarily good I promise...

Happy Thursday :-)

Weekend's almost here...yay!!