Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My First Shower: Mediterranean Menu

Greek Appetizer Skewers from

Greek Salad Bites from

Marinated Mushrooms from

Penne with Chicken Sausage from For the Love of Cooking

Pasta Salad in Vinaigrette from For the Love of Cooking

Tomato & Fresh Basil Crostini with feta and roasted garlic cheese spread from For the Love of Cooking

Herbed Greek Chicken Salad Pitas from

Pitas + Hummus from Trader Joe’s (1 bag of mini pitas and 4 flavors of hummus)

Baklava + Chocolate cover Pretzels from Trader Joe’s


Greek Appetizer Skewers

1 block feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch squares
30 pear or small cherry tomatoes
1/2 cucumber, sliced & then slice slices in half (need 30)
1/4 red onion, cut into small strips (about 1 inch x 1/2-inch)

Thread red onion onto toothpick with purple showing on top, then tomato, then cucumber. Use feta cube as a base for the appetizer- skewer the feta on the bottom; place on your platter.

Optional: Just before serving, whisk together about 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, salt & pepper to taste. Drizzle over skewers (try not to get too much dressing on the tops of the toothpicks, where people will pick them up to eat them).

Tips: Don’t attach feta until the end as it may break. And don’t use colored toothpicks – it dyes the cheese!

Yield: 20 to 30 appetizers.

Greek Salad Bites

1 oz. fat-free feta cheese crumbles
½ cup fat-free sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp cracked black pepper
¼ cup finely shredded fresh basil
¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives, finely diced

1½ medium English cucumbers

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. Slice cucumbers on a slight diagonal into ¼-inch slices. Spoon ½ tbsp of the cheese mixture onto each cucumber slice. Arrange on serving platter. Serve immediately.

Yield: 20 to 30 appetizers

Marinated mushrooms

2 lbs fresh white button mushrooms
½ cup olive oil
½ cup white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed oregano
½ tsp chili pepper flakes, crushed

Trim mushrooms by cutting off a thin slice of the stem of each mushroom. Drop the mushrooms into boiling water and reduce the heat. Simmer for 5 minutes; do not boil. Drain the mushrooms and cover with cold water. Let stand until cool. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.Whisk olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, oregano and chili pepper flakes in a bowl. Add mushrooms to the olive oil mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until well coated. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or longer, stirring occasionally.

Tips: These mushrooms are best when they have marinated for a long time. Take them out of the refrigerator in time for them to return to room temperature before serving. Serve sliced baguette when you display your mushrooms. Baguette slices dipped in the drippings can be considered another appetizer.

Penne with Chicken Sausage

1 tbsp olive oil, divided

4 tbsp yellow onions, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

5 garlic and herb chicken sausages, chopped into ½” pieces

2 tbsp yellow baby bell peppers, diced
2 tbsp red bell peppers, diced

10 grape tomatoes, cut in half
6 oz. penne, cooked per instructions (in boiled water for 12 minutes)

Salt and pepper to taste

Spray large, deep pan with olive oil flavored cooking spray, and set a pot of water to boil. Drop in 1 teaspoon of olive oil in pan over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Season with salt and set aside on a plate. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the same skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add minced garlic, stirring constantly for 60 seconds. Set aside on same plate as onions. Add dry pasta to boiling water for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. While pasta cooks, add sausage to skillet over medium heat and cook until brown, about 6-7 minutes then add onion, tomatoes, bell peppers and spinach to pan. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over mixture. Cook over medium heat until tomatoes are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Stir, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well for 1-2 minutes then serve.

Pasta Salad in Vinaigrette (For the Love of Cooking)

6 oz. rotini (or pasta of choice), cooked per instructions

  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 large cucumber, seeded & diced
  • 1/4 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • Feta cheese
  • Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta per instructions, drain and cool. Once the pasta has cooled, add the cherry tomato halves, cucumber, onion, bell pepper, feta cheese and basil then mix thoroughly. Slowly add the vinaigrette, salt and pepper. Taste and add more dressing as needed.


½ cup canola oil

3 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp sugar

Salt and pepper

Combine ingredients with a whisk. Let it sit overnight so flavors marinate together.

Tomato and Fresh Basil Crostini with Feta and Roasted Garlic Cheese Spread

1/2 cup fat free feta cheese
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 head of roasted garlic, chopped
(recipe below)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 vine ripened tomato, sliced thinly
5-6 fresh basil leaves, chopped finely into ribbons
Fresh cracked pepper and sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine feta cheese, sour cream, 1/2 head of roasted garlic, salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and spray tops with cooking spray. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside. Lay the basil leaves on top of each other and roll into a tube, cut into thin slices. Spread the feta mixture evenly onto the crostini then top with a slice of tomato, sprinkle with sea salt & fresh cracked pepper and top with basil ribbons.

Roasted Garlic

1 head of garlic
1 tsp olive oil
Dash of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the top of the head off so every clove of garlic is exposed. Place on a small square of tinfoil.Drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste. Fold edges of tinfoil together and twist to make a sealed bundle.
Place in oven and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the garlic. Let cool before serving. Squeeze to remove the roasted cloves.

Herbed Greek Chicken Salad Pitas

½ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp black pepper, divided

¼ tsp salt, divided

Cooking spray

8 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

2.5 tsp fresh lemon juice, divided

½ cup plain fat-free yogurt (Fage 0%)

1 tsp tahini

½ tsp minced garlic

6 cups chopped romaine lettuce

8 grape tomatoes, halved

44 grams fat-free feta cheese

Combine oregano, garlic powder, ¼ tsp pepper and 1/8 tsp salt in a bowl. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken and spice mixture; sauté until chicken is done. Drizzle with 1.5 tsp lemon juice; stir. Remove from pan. Combine remaining tsp of lemon juice, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, yogurt, tahini and garlic in a small bowl; stir well. Combine lettuce and tomatoes. Top with chicken mixture and cheese. Add yogurt mixture and stir. Stuff ¼ to ½ a cup in 8” pitas (cut in half).

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