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Mushroom Turkey Swiss Chard Whole Wheat Lasagna

May 11, 2014

This is a great, delicious recipe I came up with. No one could tell it was super healthy. I bought whole wheat pasta sheets and layered them with mushrooms and ground turkey. I bought a big bunch of Swiss chard which I sautéed it up and added the greens to the ricotta filling. The lasagna was yummy and it was gone in no time…

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, greens and stalks separated and chopped
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup shitaki mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ pound dark meat ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • Salt

Heat a large frying pan with the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for a minute on medium heat. Add the Swiss chard whites and sauté for a minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on high heat. Add ground turkey and separate with the back of wooden spoon. Stir and cook for a minute or two. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings and let the mixture cool off.

  •  1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Heat a medium frying pan with the olive oil and add the greens from the Swiss chard. Saute on high heat, stirring consistently till the greens have wilted. Add salt and let the mixture cool off.

Ricotta Filling

  •  1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • ½ cup Mozzarella, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten

 

Transfer the ricotta cheese, garlic, Parmigiano, mozzarella, salt and the egg to a medium bowl. Add the Swiss chard greens and mix well.

 

  • 6 to 8 whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked

 

Start to layer the lasagna by starting with a small ladle of the turkey mixture at the bottom. Add the noodles on top and spread a third of the turkey mixture on top. Add half of the ricotta filling. Repeat the process and top with noodles and then the last third of the turkey mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Cinco de Mayo: Pomegranate Mojito

May 5, 2014

Pomegranate Mojitos

Another one for you…

Here is another delicious drink recipe courtesy of my dear husband. As I have mentioned before he is a great mixologist and our friends and family are very grateful recipients of his creative talent.

He made this drink for the barbecue we were having. I was making the lamb burgers paired with the carrot and potato salads.

The delicious drink is made with the usual white rum but in this one citrus white rum is used- it imparts a great lemony flavor. The other important flavor of course is the pomegranate liquor- the star ingredient. The tangy pomegranate flavor goes perfectly well in this delicious drink. It provides the right amount of sweetness.

Some ice and lots of fresh mint make this drink perfect. It is ideal for the summer months- especially for the upcoming long weekend.

Make this delicious drink and your guests may never leave the backyard…

  • 1 oz pomegranate liquor
  • 1 oz citrus white rum
  • ½ oz limejuice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint
  • 2 oz club soda
  • Ice

In a drink mixer, add the fresh mint and simple syrup. Muddle the mint with the back of a spatula. Add the pomegranate liquor, rum and limejuice. Shake well and pour into a glass full of ice. Add the club soda on top and serve.

Passion Fruit Sangria

May 4, 2014

DSC_1583_012

I posted this a couple of years ago .. and it is perfect for Cinco de Mayo!!

Did I mention I was obsessed with Latin cuisine? Well, I guess it is easy to see if you browse through my recent recipes on the blog. Every time I try to come up with a new recipe or something different for dinner, the only thing that comes to mind are Latin flavors.

The other thing I am loving right now are passion fruits. This Brazilian native fruit is the best tasting fruit ever! It is by far the most flavorful thing I have ever tasted. I wait for them to show up at Whole Foods or Eden Gourmet. They are quite expensive but SO worth the taste.

I recently found delicious passion fruit juice without any high fructose corn syrup. It is the Goya variety and it amazing! My husband came up with this sangria recipe and it is absolutely delicious. It is a perfect summer drink to serve at a barbecue. Try it and it will be part of your repertoire…

  • 3 to 4 apricots, sliced thin
  • 1 large nectarine, sliced thin
  • 1 large lime, sliced thin

Place the sliced fruits into a large glass pitcher.

  • 1 bottle sauvignon blanc
  • 1 cup lemonade
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups passion fruit juice

Add the wine, lemonade, orange and passion fruit juice in the pitcher.

Let the liquid sit in the pitcher in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

Achari Chicken Tikkas (Chicken Cooked In Pickling Spices)

April 30, 2014

I am always looking for different ways to cook chicken- I guess so is everyone else. It is easy to pick it up while doing your weekly shop- or in my case- daily shop. I have to admit- I prefer chicken thighs to any other part of the bird. I find it very versatile, forgiving and full of flavor. I especially use it when making ethnic dishes.

I love making chicken tikkas- my daughter loves them- and I feel good about giving her delicious, organic meat with some veggies on the side.

I felt like eating tikkas but I wanted to prepare them a little differently than my usual. The cooking method is the same- it is the marinade that is completely different- sky is the limit when it comes to flavoring the yogurt. I made a spice mix which is similar to pickling spices used in Indian pickles. It is a classic mixture of fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds with onion seeds, etc. It gives the chicken a delicious sweet, savory and liquorice flavor.

These are best if marinated over night- if you didn’t plan ahead, no worries- a couple of hours will be fine as well. Keep this recipe in mind as you start thinking of grilling outside- enjoy!!

Achari Mix

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon onion seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Roast the seeds on stovetop until aromatic on medium heat- about 2 to 3 minutes. Cool and grind to a powder. Keep aside.

  • 1½ pounds chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • ¾ cups non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • ½ red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges

Marinate the chicken in the garlic, ginger, yogurt, half and half, lemon juice, salt and the spice powder. Let it sit in the fridge over night or at least 2 to 3 hours.
Skewer the chicken pieces and cook under a broiler or on an outdoor grill. Cook till golden brown. Serve on a platter with sliced onions and lemon wedges.

Warm Spinach Salad with Pancetta and Feta

April 29, 2014

This recipe is a play on the popular warm spinach salad. It is typically made with bacon. You start off by cooking some bacon down; taking the bits out and using the warm fat for salad dressing.

I used pancetta instead of bacon; rendered it and kept it aside. A mixture of dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and apple cider make a delicious dressing. To make it interesting, I added crumbles of salty feta cheese. I am a big fan of this cheese- I love salty cheese, and this one is as salty as they come. It provides an amazing punch of flavor. The good thing is you don’t need a whole lot of it and it is naturally lower in fat than other cheeses.

The salad turned out delicious- it was a great start to the meal, especially since it continued with the yummy meatballs…

  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Place the spinach and cheese into a medium salad bowl. Keep aside.

  • ¼ cup chopped pancetta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Heat a small frying pan and add the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook on medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly till the pancetta bits are crispy. With a slotted spoon, take out the pancetta and keep aside. Keep the flame to medium and add the shallot. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and apple cider. Whisk in the mustard and add salt and pepper if needed.
Pour over the baby spinach, toss and serve.

Good Bye South Of France!

April 28, 2014

It is 6 am, Marseille time and midnight New York time and we are getting ready to go to the airport to head home! I love going back home… no matter how exotic and fun the vacation destination has been..I think that is one of the reasons I love to travel- I get to come home!! One really appreciates ones home when one is away… for me, I am usually ready to come home after about 10 days.. after which, no matter how good the food is, I miss cooking in my kitchen… I miss just simple, home cooked food….

That being said, I really enjoyed this vacation. My husband works such long hours, we don’t really get to spend much time together as a family. A vacation is a great way to spend quality time together. I always love going to Paris- it is a great city to just walk around and look for interesting places to eat- so I will definitely be back! As for the rest, it was beautiful and the people were friendly and food was quite good- but I think next time I will do either the Burgundy or Bordeaux region- in face it may have to be an adult only trip… even though my daughter is a pretty good eater and not too picky.. eating around France was a bit of a challenge for her.. she wasn’t as open as she is normally to try different foods … but that will surely change as she gets older. I loved Nice, Monaco and Aix-en-Provence. I find myself having a soft corner for Marseille as it is the forgotten city in France and it reminds me of Rome.. well, kind of.. Speaking of which, my husband thinks I am biased but my heart remains in Italy… nothing like going to there and experiencing the most delicious food, wine and the friendly people. I love the way they speak and how the language sounds… In my head I am already planning next spring- Southern Italy!! I can’t wait. For me, the best part of a vacation is planning it way in advance and anticipating it… but for now I get to look forward to Greece in June, stay tuned!!

Bonjour, Aix-en-Provence!

April 27, 2014

After having another yummy breakfast of crusty bread, butter, jam, cheese, egg and sausage.. and two cups of Espresso, we were ready to make our way to Aix-en-Provence.. a charming town about half an hour from Marseille. Before we knew it, we were in the middle of this little town facing a big fountain and behind it a big market filled with clothes and shoes. We walked around and soon they were ready to close it up as it was lunch time and all the restaurants were setting up chairs outside as the weather was sunny and glorious. Aix is a very old, charming and lined with cafes and honestly the most number of bakeries I have ever seen- who has so much dessert?? Well, it was yummy to look at.. we stopped somewhere to have a quick macaroon as we didn’t want to spoil our appetite for lunch. Speaking of lunch, we started to look around.. there were so many choices.. a bit overwhelming, really… We finally decided we wanted something Italian- loads of Italian places here… we sat down and ordered a bottle of Rose- I would like to know why we can’t order half and three quarter bottles in the US?? They are so much more convenient to drink between two people than a whole, huge bottle!!.. although twist my arm and I will oblige!!

While I was in Rome last summer I had my fill of spaghetti with clams (my favorite) and have been looking for a yummy substitute in my area- have not been able to find any. I didn’t realize I would have to come to Provence to have something as good.

Spaghetti with Clams

Spaghetti with Clams

I was so excited to see it on the menu.. I had to have it… and I was not disappointed! It was garlicky and yummy .. and the clams were delicious! Of course sipping the Rose helped my taste buds! My husband ordered a risotto marinara which was laced with all sorts of seafood and was yum!

Risotto Marinara

Risotto Marinara

One thing is for certain- if one wants to enjoy the French way of living in Provence, one can not be in a rush. I think our food must have taken at least an hour to arrive- but it was okay… we were slowly sipping our wine and enjoying the glorious day….

Afterwards we walked on to other areas and looked for a highly rated cafe, called coffee to go AS opened by a young guy two years ago who trained in Australia. We had a delicious cappuccino as we chatted with him. He told us French people are not into coffee at all- just espresso… but they don’t like to sip and enjoy their coffee… that was new to me! I assumed, like the Italians, the French love their coffee… With the cappuccino we enjoyed a cronut. What is a cronut you ask?? It is a mix of a donut and a croissant and it is a craze in NYC where people apparently stand in line for hours to get this sweet delight- only a few hundred are made everyday and once they are sold out- thats it!

Well, this guy was selling them and we had one. It was good- not too sweet and it had the yummy layers of pastry like a croissant.

Cappuccino and Cronut

Cappuccino and Cronut

We walked around a bit more and made our way back to Marseilles. It was a lovely visit!