Meatless Monday Gourmet- Feta and Asparagus

This gourmet meatless Monday recipe, (which we actually ate on Thursday) was a total and wonderful concoction. I often think of things that I like to eat and imagine them paired up with other ingredients that I like to eat; I think to myself how it is possible that you can only have 1 of the ingredients that you love on a dish paired up with a not so favorite ingredient?! And so I think of what I loved of the dish I just ate and how I would make it at home or how I would’ve liked to eat it or what ingredients I would pair it up with to make that perfect plate.

Feta is one of those cheeses that I think that only paired up with the right ingredients you can actually enjoy. I have had it on several occasions and have to admit that I haven’t always enjoyed, sometimes it tastes fantastic and other times I wish it wouldn’t of been on the plate. My husband and I were thinking that we hadn’t had feta in a very longtime and that we should buy some, I instantly thought of pairing it up with green tomatoes and asparagus; given that he doesn’t like green tomatoes I figured that I would make his with grape tomatoes instead and so this is how this recipe came about, it was simple and delicious and after we finished my husband said that this would have to be made atleast once a week. I hope that you enjoy it. I include both pictures one with the green tomatoes and one with the grape tomatoes I just layered them differently, the one with the green tomatoes I put the green tomatoes at the bottom and the one with the grape tomatoes I put the grape tomatoes on top. Here are the ingredients.

Ingredients:

2 Green Tomatoes (or 5 Grape Tomatoes)

1/2 a pound of Asparagus, steamed

1/5 pound of Feta, thinly sliced

Handful of Parsley, chopped

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sal and pepper to taste

Slice your green tomatoes thinly and lay at the bottom of the plate, layer your asparagus evenly, drizzle on tbsp. of olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Layer the sliced feta and sprinkle chopped parsley finish with remaining olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper if needed and serve. Enjoy.

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NewYork Style Yogurt Cheesecake

This one is dedicated to my beautiful little sister, which just so happens like many of us to love cheesecake. She has never been to New York or to the USA for that matter but she just loves cheesecake, now of course the Italian style cheesecake is very different from the traditional and delicious New York style cheesecake and although the Italian one is pretty darn good, nothing beats the New York Cheesecake.

My sister being a huge sweet tooth, something that you (mythinreaders) know that I am not, requested a cheesecake for her birthday so I decided anyways that I would go on a huge endeavor and try to replicate this delicious American dessert (which by the way I do love myself). It was her birthday this past week so I made her the Cheesecake, she loves the crust so I made the crust as high as the cake with fresh strawberries as the topping. I made my own strawberry sauce from scratch and it was simple, delicious and fast. I am sure that you will love it. I also found here in Italy Philadelphia cream cheese made of yogurt so I decided to use that but you can use the regular version I am sure it will taste just as good. Just make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.

This is an always welcome dessert in my household, it is also my husband’s favorite; his Mom always makes sure that during the holidays he finds the mini versions. Those are perfect because they keep you from eating too much of it, it’s fantastic for portion control, also because cheesecake is so good that you could honestly just continue eating it.
I think Cheesecake is most everyone’s favorite however; and a fantastic treat. So why not share it with everyone out there. I hope that you enjoy if and don’t be afraid of making it; it’s not as hard as it seems and really is worth it. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

3 cups of crushed graham crackers

½ cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Filling:

4-8oz. pkg. Philadelphia cream cheese

8oz. Sour cream

4 eggs

½ tbsp. Lemon zest

1 cup Sugar

1 tbsp. Vanilla

2 tbsp. Flour

For the Sauce:

1 cup Strawberries, Fresh pureed

2 tbsp Sugar

2 tbsp powdered Sugar

2 tbsp. Cointreau, optional

Top off with fresh cut Strawberries

 

Preheat oven at 550° F.  In a bowl mix together all the ingredients for the crust well and pour in a medium spring-form pan, press the cookie crust down evenly on to the bottom and up the sides of the pan. When it is all set put in the oven and allow to bake for about 8 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove and allow to cool completely.

In the meantime in a bowl or mixer bowl add your cream cheese, sugar, zest and vanilla, beat until softened and then add your sour cream and flour and do the same. Now add your eggs in one by one and mix well, don’t overbeat. Once all your ingredients are perfectly incorporated pour in the prepared crust and bake at 550° for 10 minutes, then lower immediately to 200° and bake for 40 minutes or when the center is only slightly wobbly when shaken.

Remove from the over and allow to cool for at least 3 hours outside of fridge and then allowing to chill in the fridge for about 6-8 hours or even overnight.

Put all your ingredients for the sauce in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil set aside and let cool.

Pour over the cake evenly, layer your strawberries sliced in half over the cake and serve. Delicious!!!

2 Ingredient Italian Deliciousness- Prosciutto e Melone

This is the most simple and easy meal ever. My Husband just loves this dish, he could literally eat this about 2-3 times a week during the summer. I have to say it’s an all Italian favorite.

You can find this during the summer pretty much anywhere you go during the summer, it’s such a simple and refreshing dish.
Melon is fantastic, it’s an excellent source of Vitamin A, Potassium, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Vitamin C and minerals like manganese. It is also rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene. And 100 grams of Melon has only about 34 calories. During the summer it’s a great way to re-hydrate as it’s full of water and allows you to feel light and full all at the same time.

The combination of the Prosciutto and Melon provides that perfect subtlety between the sweet and salty, the Prosciutto helps to calm down the sweetness of the melon while all the time creating a perfect balance of a perfect meal for anytime of the day! If you haven’t tried this dish ever, well now would be a great time. Only two ingredients and about 2 minutes to put together.

Ingredients:

1 Melon (2 melons if small like in pictures)

1/4 lb. of Prosciutto di Parma

Slice your Melon in half, remove the seeds and slice each half into 4; peel and lay 4 pieces on each plate. Get your prosciutto and lay on top and serve. Enjoy!

 

Finally Here it is: Ragù Bolognese

A lot of you have been asking me to post the recipe on how to make the real Ragù Bolognese, I had posted about Italian lunch with my family (in the link below) and you all wanted the recipe so here it is…Finally!

https://mythineats.com/2012/01/30/to-eat-or-not-to-eat-a-classic-italian-sunday-lunch/

I love a good Tagliatelle al Ragù and I have to admit, my Husband goes crazy for it anytime my Mom asks him what he would like to eat or for her to make him 8 times out of 10 it’s “Tagliatelle al Ragù”. To me it’s a perfect winter dish, or for those days that it’s cold and rainy outside and you want to make something really delicious and special. Keep in mind that everyone here in Italy has their version of making it some make it with 3 different types of meats, some make it with red wine, some white wine, some use fresh tomatoes, some swear by the naturally canned ones, some do this and some do that…well, no matter what it is always delicious. This is my recipe. Enjoy.

Also one more thing to keep in mind the way the foods are stored here and the way the meats are here is way different than in the USA, when I was there for some reason it never quite turned out the way that it was supposed to turn out (although still delicious) there was always that something missing. Anyhow, I’m sure that it will turn out fantastic and that you will enjoy it.
I recommend using this sauce on top of tagliatelle, for you lasagna and stuffed cannelloni.

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

300 gr. Ground Beef

150 gr. Pancetta

50 gr. Carrot

50 gr. Celery

50 gr. Onion

5 tbsp. of Tomato sauce or (20 gr. Tomato paste)

1 cup of homemade Beef Stock

1/2 cup White Wine

200 gr. Milk

Salt and Pepper to taste

Clean the vegetables and cut finely
Cut the bacon into cubes of about 20 cm in diameter and let it melt at the bottom of you sauce pan.

When the bacon has that melted see through look, add the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Let them cook and soften for about 10 minutes to allow them to absorb the full flavor.

Combine the ground beef to the vegetables and let it brown over medium-high heat, for about 7-8 minutes. When the meat starts to “brown and sizzle” pure in the wine and let it evaporate completely.

Next, add the tomato with the broth; mix well cover the saucepan and allow simmer at very low heat, for about 2 to 3 hours.  During cooking, add the milk little by little.

Almost at the end of cooking, adjust salt and pepper, remove the lid and allow to thicken a bit more.

And there you have it. Buon Appetito!

 

Grapefruit Yogurt Pound Cake

As you (mythinreaders) may know I love home-baked cakes all natural with no frosting whatsoever of any sort. I don’t know why; but there is just something about frosting on my cakes or dessert that completely turns me off. I love to have a delicious moist cake and that’s it.

I am no big sweet tooth; the thing that I crave regarding sweets (if ever) is a good homemade cake (no frosting) or a plain cheesecake with strawberries. Oh let’s not forget a cinnamon roll is great too!!

However, when I do have dessert I like it as healthy as possible. You can substitute just about anything and still have a delicious dessert, I have never had a healthier version of a dessert that I thought tasted nasty or wasn’t worth eating. Then again maybe I’ve just been lucky. HA!

In this recipe I use non-fat natural yogurt, I love grapefruit so I used that for zest instead of lemon (although you can use lemon because it tastes just as good). I used extra virgin olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil, and last but not least I used kosher salt.  I also always in everything I bake if eggs are needed I use cage-free natural eggs.

I made this cake accompanied by fresh cut strawberries and powdered sugar for Easter, seeing that this is the season of strawberries. This was a great and fresh end to a wonderful Easter lunch. I hope that you all had a wonderful day and please enjoy!!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of Flour

2 tsp. Baking powder

1/2 tsp. Sea salt

1 cup Non-fat plain yogurt

1 cup Sugar

3 Cage-free Eggs

Grapefruit zest, of 1 grapefruit

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 cup Olive oil

Preheat the oven at 350°. Butter and flour a loaf pan.

Mix all dry ingredients flour, baking powder, salt. In another bowl mix together yogurt, sugar, eggs, grapefruit zest, olive oil and vanilla.

Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour into the pan evenly and bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.

Sift powdered sugar on top and serve with strawberries.

 

 

Definitely A Low Fat Meal – Roasted Asparagus and Shrimp

My husband and I love both asparagus and shrimp. When we lived in the USA it was easy to find asparagus all the time, I don’t recall ever going to the grocery store and there not being asparagus, so it pretty much was a staple in our meals. However, since we’ve moved to Italy it has been tough to find asparagus, the grocery stores here only carry fruits and veggies that are in season, so you can’t find asparagus year round as you can in the USA.

Asparagus 101: Spring is the best season for fresh asparagus. Crops are harvested from late February to June, with April being the prime month. High in vitamins B6 and C, plus fiber, folate and glutathione, an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant, asparagus is an excellent nutritional choice. It comes in three colors: white, green or purple, although the green variety is the most common. White asparagus is popular in much of Europe and is produced by keeping the growing shoots hidden from light under soil.

All this to say that we finally went to the market this weekend and found asparagus, my heart skipped a beat I was so happy to finally be able to buy some asparagus (that wasn’t over priced like $10 for a quarter lb.) so we bought the asparagus and decided we would make one of our favorite simple delicious dishes we used to make in the USA ‘Roasted Asparagus and Shrimp”. It turned out delicious as always and we wanted to share it with you.

This dish doesn’t take long at all, it’s very simple and yes you can make it in 20 minutes, so if you are running home late for work don’t give into something on the go, make this dish and feel like a million bucks. Trust me it’s worth it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. Asparagus

1/2 lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven at 350°.  Grab a large roasting pan, line it up with parchment paper lay out your asparagus evenly on one side and then on the other side pour your shrimp evenly. (I used the big black oven roasting pan, or you could use 2 separate baking trays, it’s up to you)

Slice your garlic and pour some over the asparagus and some over the shrimp, now pour the olive oil evenly over both as well and then season with the salt and pepper.
Put in the oven and roast for 20 minutes and then serve. Buon apettito!