Summertime Spinach and Turkey Cutlet Salad

This salad is a lovely and light “one platter” meal for those hot summer days. The warmth of the cutlets over the chilled baby spinach, cooks the leaves slightly, allowing you to bite into a refreshing combination of textures — soft and crunchy. I first served this on a hot day in Italy, and was taken by not only the beauty of the fabulous colors on the platter, but also the lemony and nutty flavors of the greens. Arugula can be substituted for the spinach, which will give it a more “peppery” flavor. Accompanied by a freshly made basket of rolls, you now have an elegant lunch. Andiamo Mangiare!

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Summertime Spinach and Turkey Cutlet Salad
SERVINGS
6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
1hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Make your coating for the cutlets according to instructions above
  2. Salad Dressing: Mix all ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. Coating for Cutlets: Combine all of the above in a blender until fine crumbs are made – adjust seasonings to taste If cutlets are thick, pound with meat hammer until the cutlets are about ¼” thick. Put coating mixture in a small pan and coat both sides of the cutlets well with the crumbs.
  4. Coat the bottom of a cast iron or other heavy duty skillet with olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter (to prevent burning) and heat. Once sizzling, reduce the heat to medium, add the cutlets and brown on both sides. Tip: don’t turn the cutlets over until they are ready to “release” from the pan or else all the coating will come off the cutlet!
  5. Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables and fruit for the salad (slicing etc)
  6. Fill the bottom of your serving platter w/ the baby spinach and toss lightly with the dressing and then a sprinkling of onion salt and fresh parmesan cheese (or dress in a bowl and transfer to platter afterwards).
  7. Once the cutlets are cooked and while they are still warm, lay them over the bed of baby spinach, overlapping slightly to create some height in the center of your platter. Your baby spinach is going to cook slightly from the heat of the warm cutlets.
  8. Creatively, arrange your fruit and vegetables on top of the meat, and finish with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese and red onion.
  9. Serve while the cutlets are still warm.

Meat and Spinach Pot Pies

The current revival of iconic American diners stirs my teenage memories, when I spent as much time as possible in my father’s restaurant which had its beginning as a small diner. A local landmark in our town, it grew into a large upscale dining establishment complete with banquet facilities, catering to many special events.

As a diner his menu consisted mainly of American favorites with a sprinkling of Greek and Mediterranean dishes. One of the most popular luncheon specials was a phyllo crusted meat,spinach,feta cheese pie similar to spanikopita, baked and served in an oblong dish. This is a revision of that dish which includes eggplant, fresh tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. The filling can be made and frozen in advance for a time when a quick emergency meal may be needed.

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Meat and Spinach Pot Pies
SERVINGS
6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
35mins
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
50mins

Ingredients

Instructions

For the filling
  1. Brown and crumble meat in olive oil. Add onions, eggplant, seasonings and cook till tender 12 to 15 min. Then add spinach, garlic, tomatoes and fresh herbs, simmer for 5 min. Pour in sauce, simmer until all ingredients are well blended.
For the puff pastry topper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Flour a work surface and lightly roll out the puff pastry. Cut the size and shape of 1 large casserole or up to 6 individual bowls or large ramekins, using sharp paring knife. Place the dough on a nonstick baking sheet and wash with egg. Place the hot filling into selected baking dishes sprinkle cheeses over all- top with crust and bake til golden...

Pumpkin stuffed with Vegetables and Cheese

I love fall — just the smells hanging in the air fills me with a sense of adventure.  Woody smoke, apples, root vegetables, leaves burning…it is all there beckoning us to pay attention.  The other day, the Sisters were given a very generous donation of pumpkins from a local nursery.   It was a beautiful sight seeing them lining our walk in all different shapes and sizes.  Being the thrifty sort and hating to see anything go to waste, I knew we must use these not just to beautify our property, but to eat before they went bad.  When I got the call that a lunch was needed to feed our community of 200 people, I knew just the thing – homemade pumpkin soup –  Delightful!  We set about cutting the pumpkins into large chunks, roasting them in the oven, and then transferring them to our skillet where we turned it all into a yummy creamy pumpkin soup.  When we were all done, we still had pumpkins left over!  (It felt a bit like the feeding of the 5000!).  I remembered that a friend, returning from Italy, had brought me a wonderful recipe of a whole, roasted pumpkin layered with ham, sautéed vegetables and cheese.  It’s a perfect recipe to try at this time of year, especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner.

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Pumpkin stuffed with Vegetables and Cheese
SERVINGS
6-8people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
1 hr30 min
PREP TIME
30min
READY IN
2hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Wash the pumpkin
  2. Preheat oven to 375°
  3. Cut the head of the pumpkin, making an incision horizontally about 2 inches down from the stem
  4. Place the top back on the pumpkin, wrap it in tin foil and place in a preheated oven for about one hour or until the pumpkin is almost fork tender.
  5. Remove from oven, let it cool slightly and remove the seeds. With the spoon, gently remove some of the flesh from inside the pumpkin and reserve.
  6. Generously salt and pepper the interior of the pumpkin.
  7. In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil and add the butternut squash and parsnips. Sprinkle with kosher or onion salt and pepper.
  8. When they are partially cooked, remove from the skillet
  9. Add onions and peppers to the same skillet, again sprinkling with salt and pepper.
  10. Once they have cooked a few minutes, add the mushrooms, followed by the zucchini, a few minutes later. Sautéing slightly.
  11. While the vegetables are cooking, grate your cheese and set aside and slice your ham into thin strips.
  12. Once the vegetables are prepared, in the cavity of your pumpkin, start layering in this order: ham, baby spinach, assorted vegetables, the reserved pumpkin, swiss cheese, parmesan cheese and repeat – two or three times, ending with cheese.
  13. Place the top on the pumpkin, place the pumpkin in a casserole dish or cast iron skillet, and return to the oven for about 45 min. or until heated through and cheese is bubbly. Let rest a few minutes and slice when ready to serve.

Andiamo Mangiare!
For a meal, serve this with homemade bread or rolls and a salad.

Zucchini Stuffed Tomatoes

I cannot remember another year when our tomato crop has ever been more bountiful than it has been this summer… absolutely beautiful pickings of the healthiest and tastiest fruits each day, and we enjoyed them in so many different ways. My favorite way being sun warmed straight off the vine.

One of the ways in which they are most often requested at the convent is stuffed with a zucchini, onion, breadcrumbs and cheese mixture. I started making these years and years ago and they have never lost their appeal. They are beautiful to serve and a most flavorful addition to any meal. You must be sure to make some before the season comes to a close.

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Zucchini Stuffed Tomatoes
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
10-15mins
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN
40-45mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut tops off tomatoes, scoop out pulp, and drain upside down on paper towel or a rack.
  2. Grate squash and onion. Mix in salt. Let sit ½ hour; squeeze out liquid and sauté in small amount of olive oil until soft. Set aside 4 teaspoons each of Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Add remaining cheese, bread crumbs and white pepper.
  3. Cook squash mixture in frying pan until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Fill tomatoes. Sprinkle tops with reserved Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes or until hot and golden brown on top. Do not overcook.

Cheese Soufflé

For years I thought of making a soufflé as something too difficult to tackle except by the experts, so I put off making them. After finally trying one, I was amazed to discover how simple and straightforward it really is…and how very satisfying! The sight of your creation as it begins to rise before your eyes in the oven and then finally puffs up into all its glory… is reward enough to say nothing of the delight in tasting it.

In case you have been intimidated as I was, this may be the perfect time for you to overcome that fear and tackle one, because these light fluffy wonders are perfect for hot weather meals when you want to serve something other than cold food, and you don’t want anything cooked that’s too heavy. Guests in our retreat house are always thrilled when served a soufflé.  They say it makes them feel so special!

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Cheese Soufflé
SERVINGS
4people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
35-40minutes
PREP TIME
25minutes
READY IN
30minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Allow the egg yolks and egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. For cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter; stir in flour, dry mustard, onion salt, Worcestershire and cayenne pepper.
  3. Add milk all at once.
  4. Cook and stir cheese sauce over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
  5. Turn heat to low. Add cheese, a little at a time, stirring until melted.
  6. In a medium bowl beat egg yolks with a fork until combined.
  7. Slowly add cheese sauce to egg yolks, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.
  8. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).
  9. Gently fold about 1 cup of the stiffly beaten egg whites into cheese sauce.
  10. Gradually pour cheese sauce over remaining stiffly beaten egg whites, folding to combine.
  11. Grease with butter and coat with grated Parmesan a 2-quart soufflé dish.
  12. Pour batter into dish.
  13. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.
  14. In the last 10 minutes of baking sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 tablespoons) for a nice crust on top.
  15. Serve immediately.

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Pepperoni Parmesan Croutons

This is the season for salad lovers, and we have been enjoying lots of salads at the convent with the daily fresh picked lettuce, herbs, and cucumbers from our gardens.

To add interest to them I’ve come up with my own croutons. If you like crisp and crunch, and you savor the flavor of Parmesan and pepperoni you’re sure to like these.

They are simple, quick and easy to make, add great taste to your salads, and served as snacks, they disappear in no time.

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Pepperoni Parmesan Croutons
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
10minutes
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Tear bread into bite sized pieces to equal about 4 cups.
  2. Toss with seasonings.
  3. Spread out on 9 x 13 pan.
  4. Sprinkle with cheese and torn pepperoni.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until golden all over.
  6. Cool and break into pieces.