Tag Archives: Mozzarella

Keeping things Green and Healthy

I feel healthy this week.

Though after watching Carnival Cravings with Anthony Anderson I am craving a twinkie! Or a chocolate bar…. However I have been making vegetarian meals most of this week! And vegetarian food makes me happy.

Just as I am sure beef is making my parents happy.

You know, as they no longer have their picky non-meat-eating daughter living with them!

So this evening I wanted to make a quiche… well a quiche or a chicken pot pie. But I didn’t feel like thawing my chicken out so quiche it was!

I feel like my quiche lacked some egg though. It was very veggie filled but, but was low on egg.

Spinach, Asparagus, and Feta Quiche prior to Baking

This being odd as I followed the recipe. Which I got from Two Peas & Their Pod, the direct link to the recipe can be found here. If you’ve not visited Two Peas & Their Pod you’d best do so soon! Great site!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 asparagus spears, ends removed and chopped into ¾ an inch
  • ½ cup (285g) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) almond milk
  • ½ cup (50g) feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup (56g) shredded mozzarella
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pie crust

Instructions:

  1. In a medium frying pan sauté asparagus until soft and set aside with thawed spinach.

  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk eggs with milk. Add feta, mozzarella, and salt and pepper until combined.

  3. Remove pie crust from refrigerator and place in a lined 9 x 9 baking dish.

  4. Place vegetables in the pie crust and pour egg mixture over vegetables and place in oven for forty-five minutes. The crust and egg should be golden-brown by then.

  5. Once cooked allow quiche to sit for around five minutes and then enjoy!

I also think I missed out on a bit of salt. Oops.

Asparagus, Spinach, and Feta quiche

It did taste good though. Well quiche tastes fabulous with ketchup so of course it tasted good.

My dad introduced me to ketchup with quiche and now I can’t eat quiche without it. I also love paninis and ketchup. Yum!

So my meal filled me right up and I have enough for breakfast tomorrow too!

I almost feel like sending some quiche over to Angola to treat my dad to some of this puppy. But we all know that wouldn’t make it to him in a quick enough fashion to still be edible. Sorry dad! 

Saved a Slice for Dad

Anyway, if you like quiche for supper (or breakfast) and you want to keep it healthy, go for this beauty and definitely enjoy it!

I would have put some paprika powder and red chili flakes in it if I thought of it, but this was still good!

So please enjoy!

Happy eating!

Advertisements

Quick & Easy Arugula & Penne Pesto Salad

I watch far too many cooking shows. I’ve always watched them though.

I remember way back when I would have sick days as a child, I’d watch cooking shows. And I’d be super relaxed watching them. However at this time in my life was a time where I didn’t even know how to turn on the oven to make corndogs. Keep in mind that I only really learnt how to cook at the age of seventeen.

Shocking right? Well growing up in third world countries and having a housekeeper or your mom always cook for you leaves you uneducated in the kitchen. At least I sure was!

Well in this day of age when I watch cooking programs I also learn from them.

For this evenings meal I decided to apply some of my new found cooking techniques to the meal.

This evening I made a simple salad with roasted pepper in it. Well it’s the pepper that I roasted just like they do on cooking programs!

Roasting a Bell Pepper
Roasting a Bell Pepper

I got the recipe from Gimme Some Oven, the original recipe can be found here. And when I say original it is because I did tweak this recipe some.

Arugula and Penne Pesto Salad
Arugula and Penne Pesto Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (115g) whole wheat penne
  • 2 bell peppers
  • ½ cup (74g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup (150g) fresh mozzarella
  • ¼ cup (62g) coriander pesto
  • 2 cups (80g) arugula/spinach mix salad

Instructions:

  1. Cook penne as directed on packaging.

  2. Meanwhile turn heat on a small burner to low and place bell peppers (one at a time) on the burner. Allow to brown (it may bring up a burnt smell so keep an eye on the pepper), rotate often until brown enough for your likings.

  3. Chop roasted bell peppers and place in large bowl.

  4. Combine roasted peppers with arugula/spinach mix, mozzarella, and tomatoes.

  5. Once penne has cooked, drain and rinse in cold water for twenty minutes until cool.

  6. Add cooled penne with vegetables and mix with coriander pesto.

  7. Enjoy!

As you can tell, I roasted my pepper on the oven burner! I actually know how to do a few things on the burner as my friends once taught me how to cook the “ghetto” way.

This recipe was FANTASTIC, super easy and just great. You may need some salt, but otherwise it was great!

But have any of you heard of coriander pesto? It is divine! You can add this to wraps, salads, sandwiches, the works. It is so tasty!

Coriander Pesto

You can use any pesto for this salad though. Actually are there other types of pesto? Besides the original one and this coriander one? Are you curious about what sort of pesto’s there are? If so I just googled it, here is a link including eleven different types of pesto’s!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my mom and I did! It is a great easy and healthy recipe for those nights when you need a quick meal!

Happy eating!

Spinach Lasagna with a “Secret” Ingredient

It is finally a traditional Meatless Monday! Usually I skip the whole meatless thing and end up making something completely different. If I recall, most of my Monday dishes tend to be shrimp dishes at that. At least they were when I would only cook for myself in Holland.

Well this week we are starting off with a good and healthy meal! Lasagna!

Simple. Easy. Healthy. What more could one ask for?!

All a girl needs is a meal with garlic and she is happy! (Well at least this girl is.)

And making a tomato sauce for your lasagna smells amazing. Chopping your garlic and onions, sautéing them in olive oil in a pan, getting it all aromatic – yummmm. That’s like the natural perfume of the kitchen. Best. Smell. EVER.

Until you burn your garlic. That doesn’t smell too good.

Anyway, I got the recipe from Relish though I did tweak it ever so slightly. The direct link to the recipe can be found here. This recipe made a great dinner and it was quick to make! Probably all due to the no-bake lasagna noodles!

Pre-Baking
Pre-Baking

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (400g) whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups (625g) ricotta cheese
  • 2 packages (750g each) frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • ½ package (20g) fresh arugula
  • 1 egg (or 2 small eggs)
  • 9 no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound (453g) mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup (73g) parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

  1. To prepare sauce, heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent.

  2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and spices/herbs and stir well. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. If sauce becomes too dry, pour water in one of the cans of tomatoes and mix into tomato mixture until a sufficient amount of liquid has been added. (I only poured half a can of water.)

  3. Preheat oven to 375ᵒF (190ᵒC).

  4. Meanwhile as sauce is simmering away, begin to prepare spinach ricotta mixture. Combine ricotta cheese, spinach, arugula, and an egg in a large bowl; mix well.

  5. Coat the bottom of baking dish with a third of the tomato sauce. Cover with 3 noodles without overlapping (break noodles to fit well in dish), half the ricotta mixture, and half the mozzarella slices. Add half remaining sauce, 3 noodles, remaining ricotta mixture and remaining mozzarella. Top with remaining 3 noodles, remaining sauce, and Parmesan cheese.

  6. Place on baking sheet and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for about 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

  7. Serve and enjoy!

Can you guess my secret ingredient? Arugula! Or “rocket” as the Dutch call it! My absolute favourite green leafy vegetable would have to be arugula. It has such a lovely taste that I could add it to any sandwich or wrap.

As for the mozzarella, I ended up using two types of mozza. Now I know all of you have heard of buffalo mozzarella, you know that round moist ball of cheese that is incredibly creamy? Well I also used low-moisture mozzarella, this being a normal square of cheese that just so happens to be mozzarella. I have used this same cheese to make tequeños a few months ago as well. Which reminds me, I need to make those again and show you lot what they are and how to make them.

So, how does one photograph lasagna in the best way? I mean once removing it from the pan you made it in? It comes out so sloppy! Anything within a deep dish comes out in the most unattractive way ever! So how do people photograph lasagna in the best way possible? I could only take a photo from within the dish.

Spinach and Arugula LasagnaHow messy is that! Ugh. Nevertheless the meal was great! And super healthy as there was a minimal amount of salt in it! Low sodium meals is a great way to eventually try and lower your high blood pressure. This being something I had most of my childhood due to my heart issue. Honestly, because of that I cannot handle the taste of super salty dishes anyway. I even buy low sodium soy sauce!

Anyhow, I hope you all enjoy this meal as much as we all have!

Happy eating!

Filled Pasta Dish for Summer

I love summer, I truly do. I did however realize that it makes me into one helluva lazy woman. I have put off going to the grocery store for about a week long. When I do go out I end up avoiding the grocery store altogether, but when I stay home I keep getting dressed and ready to leave around twelve, and then I never do because I want to avoid the busyness in the grocery store. How lame am I?!

I’ve even been running out of things to create in my kitchen that I ended up ordering in on what we call Thuisbezorgd (this being an online website to order from). The food wasn’t even all that good! So finally today I went to the grocery store. My body is quite happy having cherry tomatoes, avocado, and bread again.

But for tonight’s dinner I went for something very Summer-festive. I think y’all will like it too!

Parmesan Perline Pasta Dish

I saw a photo online and thought it looked grand so I had to make it myself. There was no recipe so I created one on my own.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup (250g) perline purse pasta filled with Parmesan cheese (you can also use ravioli or another filled pasta)
  • ½ cup (50g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ball (125g) mozzarella, chopped
  • 6 leaves basil
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Fill a pan with water and set to boil, once boiling cook perline pasta as directed on packages

  2. On a chopping board, halve tomatoes, chop mozzarella, and slice 3 leaves of basil.

  3. Once pasta is cooked, drain and replace in pan. Once cool, add tomatoes, mozza, and basil to pasta and mix.

  4. Sprinkle dried parsley and oregano onto pasta mixture and mix with vinegar and olive oil.

  5. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and serve immediately.

  6. Enjoy!

First, I apologize for neither knowing what perline pasta is in English, nor being able to find it online. If you know what it is, please leave a message to let me know!

The amount of color on this dish makes it the perfect summer meal. Although the actual ingredients and taste make it more summer-worthy than the look of the meal itself.

Parmesan Perline Pasta Dish

Be sure that your pasta is cooled or the mozzarella will harden and take on a more solid-like cheese than the soft almost solid that it is.

Besides the fact that my mozzarella is kind of a rock-hard solid, my meal was fantastic! And so easy! I don’t know about y’all, but I love easy meals to go with the summer fun. Or as it seems to me (my summer laziness).

Oh well, I have food again! Hope you all have had a lovely Canada Day and have a fabulous American Independence Day (AKA, 4th of July) tomorrow!

Buen provecho!

Portobello Stuffed with a Tomato and Mozzarella Salad for Dinner

If I were to say I am addicted to mushrooms, what would you think I was speaking of? If you were thinking of those types of mushrooms you were very wrong.

Have you ever seen a mushroom farm? Where all the little caps of mushrooms are made in a dark wooden shelf with soil imbedded in it? If not you should really look it up. If so, just picture me supposedly meant to take the mushrooms out and clean them to then sell them… but instead of doing that I take the mushrooms from the soil, brush them off of the dirt, and eat them. Just like most little kids do when they feed ducks in the winter time. “One piece of bread for the duckies, one piece of bread for me…” except we are obviously talking about dirt covered mushrooms.

That is most definitely my addiction. The wonderful fungus of mushrooms.

I love sautéing them with garlic and spinach, I love grilling them and then adding them to a ratatouille, frying them with other vegetables before baking them then mixing them with quinoa, etc. Mushrooms are a heavenly fungus.

So tonight’s meal of choice was a Portobello mushroom stuffed with a tomato and mozzarella salad with a side of grilled eggplant and zucchini on a bed of spinach.

Image

The mushroom didn’t end up looking like a bowl for the tomato salad, but it did the trick nevertheless. Below is the recipe I followed for the Portobello stuffed with the Tomato and Mozza salad:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing grill pan
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms (about 5 inches in diameter), stemmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 small to medium sized vine ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions

  1. Prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat).
  2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil over both sides of the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle olive oil on grill pan to prevent mushrooms from sticking. Grill until the mushrooms are heated through and tender, about 5 minutes per side.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil and garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Add the tomatoes, cheese, and basil and toss to coat. Season the tomato salad, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  5. Place 1 hot grilled mushroom gill side up on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato salad atop the mushrooms, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to finish, about 1 tablespoon and serve.

This recipe serves for 4 portions. I bring it down to one, so I use one tomato, one small clove of garlic, dried basil, and one mushroom.Image

The rest is pretty straight forward.

As for the grilled vegetables on the side, I just oiled up a pan with olive oil and put a few slices of eggplant and zucchini in the oil and fried until they suited my liking.

This is definitely one of the best dinners I’ve had. Best part: I followed the recipe perfectly. And I was doing it all by memory!

If you end up trying this out, please let me know how it turns out!

Green Grilled Cheese Lunch

Grilled cheese sandwiches to me are a memory from my childhood. Mom would make them as an after school snack when we were itsy-bitsy in size. They were always perfectly cooked, not a single sign of a burn on either side of the sandwich. She was a miracle worker when it came to grilling those puppies.

Now though, as I am now an adult I can make grilled cheese sandwiches that are much more sophisticated. Why use just a slice or two of cheddar cheese or those Kraft cheese slices (which are SO bad for you)? I came across a recipe on Pinterest that really intrigued me. Green grilled cheese sandwiches. How amazing does that sound? I honestly love anything that does not look normal. I fell in love with Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham book because of the thought of eating green eggs and ham. Now that I am older, I won’t be eating ham at any point, but if you have green eggs on hand, send them my way! That is if they are green from being made with spinach or artificial food coloring, I do not think I can handle truly green eggs due to their being rotten or something. Yuck!

So today for lunch I made those interesting sandwiches and boy were they amazing? It was a complete mix of flavours in my mouth. Possibly a bit on the strong side (I overdo the whole flavour thing a lot), but that was clearly my fault. Anyway, here is the photo of the masterpiece and the recipe to follow:

This photo does not do justice to how it tasted.
This photo does not do justice to how it tasted.

2 slices bread
2-3 tablespoons pesto
2 slices goat cheese slices
handful fresh baby spinach
¼ avocado, sliced
2 tablespoons mozzarella, crumbled
olive oil (and butter if you’re so inclined)

Directions

1) Spread about 1 tablespoon of pesto onto each slice of bread (2 tablespoons total, watch out pesto is strong so you may need to put on less)

2) On one slice of bread, add 1 slice of goat cheese, sliced avocado, crumbled mozzarella, spinach, second slice of cheese, then top it with second slice of bread. Press together gently.

3) Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over medium low heat. (If you want to use butter, add it to the oil and let it melt). Add the sandwich to the oil and cook until bread is golden brown. Press down on the sandwich lightly, then flip the sandwich over and cook until second side is golden brown.

Now as you may have guessed, I tweaked the recipe some. So if you are interested in the real recipe, just look here. And below will be a collection of photos from the recipe above in which someone else also blogged about:Green Grilled Cheese Collage

Venezuelan Lunch

It has been twelve years since I last was in Venezuela, meaning it has been twelve years of longing for true authentic Venezuelan cuisine. Luckily, since realizing I can in fact cook real food in the kitchen, I have tried giving Venezuelan food a shot! Early in September, I decided I wanted to make some pollo mechado (and for those of you who do not speak Spanish that is shredded chicken), now one cannot just make pollo mechado without something to put it in. So I went about making arepas to stuff with this delicious chicken dish. Arepas are a typical Venezuelan corncake made with corn flour. This corncake is known all through Latin America, but is most common in Venezuela and Colombia. Not only are arepas eaten with a meat product, but they are most commonly had with queso blanco (white cheese). It is just unfortunate that queso blanco cannot be found in the Netherlands which I then use mozzarella as my substitute of choice.

Below you can see the photo from the first meal that I made:

For today’s lunch though, I used a different recipe for the arepas which I had been craving for all week long. Also, instead of making pollo mechado with them, I just served the corn cakes with mozzarella slices. My mother was lucky enough to have had a chili soup with beef and pork to enjoy with the arepas balancing out her meal. She is lucky to have a friend who will feed her red meat products, because I will not dare touch that stuff. So, like I said: lucky her.

Honestly, for today’s recipe I just went to the popular website of about.com and found Venezuelan-Style arepas. It was just a normal lowscale recipe that I made pretty quickly. However when I made the recipe I had to tweak it some. I don’t think any of the recipes that I follow tend to be done perfectly to a T. Oh well. This is the recipe that I followed:

  • 3 cups corn flour
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF or 176ºC.

  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients well, until smooth. Don’t worry if the mixture appears wet. Let mixture rest for about 5-10 minutes, to give the cornmeal time to absorb some of the liquid.

  3. The dough should be smooth and easy to handle, without sticking to your hands. If the dough seems dry, you can add a little bit more water. Knead the dough for several minutes and let rest again for 5 minutes. Or if the dough is too wet to handle, add a small amount of corn flour, knead, and let the dough rest for 5 minutes more.

  4. Take pieces of the dough and shape them with your hands into round disks, about 2 cm thick, and 3 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter. When shaping the arepas, repair any cracks along the edges with your fingers.

  5. Lightly grease the surface of a heavy skillet (cast iron works well) with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. Place the arepas into the skillet in batches. Cook until the arepas are lightly browned on each side. Place arepas in the oven for about 8-10 minutes to finish cooking the inside of the arepas without burning them).

  6. Serve warm.

If you are to put slices of mozzarella inside of your arepas, I would suggest you wait some time for the arepas to cool down because as you know mozza is a very liquidy cheese, so once melting in heat a lot of liquid is produced.  Unless you want your arepa to be on the soggy side, waiting a couple minutes for the corn cake to cool is a good idea.

This is the end product for today’s lunch:

Arepas con Mozza

I placed the arepas on such a weird plate that we own. Don’t mind the set of legs you see beneath the misshaped circular cakes.

If any of you decide to try out my favourite Venezuelan dish, please let me know how you do. I am always interested in hearing about others experiences with foods that I was raised on!