Friday, May 11, 2018

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta
Recipe from the book, "Eating the Greek Way"

This is a great dish for entertaining, because the shrimp are cooked with their shells on. It's fun to peel the shrimp at the dinner table while conversing with friends and family.


1 pound shell-on large shrimp
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 large shallots, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 3/4 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Salt and pepper
9 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons cold-pressed flaxseed oil (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saute pan over low heat, add the shallots and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add 1 of the garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of the thyme, the bay leaves, and cinnamon. Add the tomatoes, stir briefly, then cover, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, to allow the flavors to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the tomato sauce to a large, shallow ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the feta cheese on top and place in the oven for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and the remaining 3 garlic cloves, and 1 tablespoon thyme and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and fennel seeds and cook, turning frequently, until the shrimp are opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp to the dish with the tomatoes and feta and return the dish to the oven for 10 minutes so the flavors can develop fully.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top, together with the flaxseed oil, if using. Leave to cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Rosemary and Olive Hummus

Rosemary and Olive Hummus

This is a great tasting hummus. Your friends and family will be impressed.


1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoon tahini
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil


Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Makes about 2 cups

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Original recipe by Food Network Kitchen

This is a great manicotti recipe from the Food Network. However, I use a meat sauce, verses a marinara sauce. When I say meat sauce, I mean I use sausage and ground beef in this sauce. Yes, together. It is delicious! All you have to do is brown about a pound of sausage and about a pound of ground beef and then add it to the "All Time Favorite Tomato Sauce". It's that easy and you'll taste the difference. See below for the "All Time Favorite Tomato Sauce" recipe.

All Time Favorite Tomato Sauce


1 pound fresh spinach, stems trimmed and well washed or a 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
Kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
12 manicotti shells
3 cups marinara sauce, recipe follows
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (about 1 pound)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or a mixture of half Pecorino and Parmesan
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, diced

Marinara Sauce:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes in puree, (one 28-ounce can), rough chopped
Sprig of fresh thyme
Sprig of fresh basil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, and season generously with salt. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and season with salt, as well. Boil the spinach, uncovered, until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, (do not drain), and immediately plunge the spinach into the ice water. Drain and squeeze the excess water from the spinach, and finely chop. Alternatively, if using thawed spinach, simply squeeze, and finely chop.

In the same pot of boiling water, cook the pasta shells until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cover the bottom of a 9- x 13-inch ovenproof baking dish with 1 cup of the marinara sauce. In a medium mixing bowl, evenly combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, the eggs, and the spinach. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Spoon the cheese mixture into the manicotti shell and line them up in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining sauce. Scatter the remaining cheese on top and dot with the butter. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Marinara Sauce:

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper to taste. Use now, or stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Insalata Caprese

Insalata Caprese
Original recipe by David Rocco


2 large tomatoes, thickly sliced
2 (1 pound) mozzarella balls, thickly sliced
4 fresh basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


On a plate, arrange the slices of tomato and mozzarella, alternation one after the other and fanning out. Tear the fresh basil over the salad, salt and drizzle with the best extra-virgin olive oil available.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Italian Goulash

Italian Goulash
Original recipe by


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
3 - 4 baby bell peppers (red & orange), diced
8 - 10 ounce mushrooms, sliced
4 - 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups "All Time Favorite Tomato Sauce" ( See recipe link below )
12 ounce elbow macaroni, cooked per directions
Fresh basil, chiffonade
Parmesan cheese, grated

All Time Favorite Tomato Sauce Recipe


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook for 3 - 4 minutes. Add the ground beef, bell peppers, chopped garlic and season with salt and pepper; cook until ground beef has browned. Drain any excess grease from the pan. Add the tomato sauce and stir until mixed thoroughly. Simmer for 1 - 2 hours so that the flavors combine.

Cook the elbow macaroni per instructions and drain completely. Combine the macaroni with the sauce mixture and add the fresh basil and mix well. Simmer for 15 minutes, so that the sauce has time to flavor the noodles. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Caprese Zucchini Noodle Salad

Caprese Zucchini Noodle Salad
Original recipe by KitchenAid Recipes

If you have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer buy the KitchenAid Spiralizer Attachment with Peel, Core & Slice. It will make the job of spiraling fast and easy. If you do not have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer don't worry, because your grocery store should sale zucchini noodles. This is a great salad and everyone will love it!


1- 2 large zucchini, at least 1 1/2 inches thick, spiral cut into noodles
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 - inch cubes
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil


Bring 3 to 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot over high heat. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons salt. Fill separate large bowl with ice water and set aside. Cook zucchini noodles in salted water, 45 seconds. Drain and place in ice water to stop cooking. When chilled, drain zucchini noodles.

Combine zucchini, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine vinegar, salt, pepper and then whisk in olive oil. Add dressing to salad and toss to coat.

Divide evenly onto 4 salad plates and serve.

New York Style Cheesecake

New York Style Cheesecake
Original recipe by Emeril Lagasse (adapted by Frank Hays)


1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
8 tablespoons ( 1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sour cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. In a mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar and mix well. Press onto bottom of springform pan and bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, zests and vanilla and beat until light and creamy.

Add the flour, then the eggs and yolks 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add sour cream and mix until smooth.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 12 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and bake for 1 hour more.

Transfer cake to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Refrigerate cake overnight before serving.

To serve, slice with a knife dipped in hot water and wiped with a clean cloth, and serve.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings