Ricotta and Spinach Frittata; Black Bean, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

By Ira,

This frittata is very creamy and easy to make. You first cook the onion, then add spinach, pour the eggs on top, add the ricotta in dollops and finish cooking it in the oven. You can put together the salad while the frittata is cooking.

Ricotta and Spinach Frittata 

Serves 4 – adapted from Clean Eating magazine

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, grapeseed oil, or coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bag baby spinach (about 4 cups)
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set it aside.

In a 10-inch nonstick oven proof skillet over medium heat, add the oil, then the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes.

Add the garlic, and stir for 30 seconds.

Add the spinach in batches, and stir until each batch wilts down. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the spinach and onion mixture evenly across the skillet,

then pour the egg mixture evenly on top.

Add the ricotta in tablespoon dollops across the frittata. Let it set on the bottom for about 3 minutes, then transfer it to the oven and

cook for about 8 to 12 minutes or until eggs are firm.

Black Bean, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large cucumber, or 2 small ones, diced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • salt

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients together and stir gently. Taste for salt and add accordingly.

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Buffalo Chicken Salad

By Ira,

If you think salads are boring, you should try this one. It’s delicious and light. The chicken is seasoned with smoked paprika and chile powder, then tossed with blue cheese and all the other vegetables. And don’t feel guilty about adding too much dressing: it’s just yogurt, buttermilk, onion, and hot sauce. You will notice that you’re eating all the colors of the rainbow in the one salad.

Serves 4 – Adapted from Clean Eating magazine

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 medium breasts)
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons coconut oil, or grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped into big chunks (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup low fat plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 5 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 or 1 1/2 tablespoon hot sauce (or buffalo)
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, left whole or halved
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, julienned or shredded
  • 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • salt

Note: don’t substitute plain paprika for the smoked one. The smoked paprika gives it an amazingly deep flavor. If you can’t find red leaf lettuce, just substitute it with the romaine lettuce like I did. But by using the red leaf lettuce, you will have all the colors of the rainbow.

Place the chicken on a cutting board, cover it with cling wrap and pound the pieces so they become thinner (you can even cut the chicken in half so each chicken breast turns into 2). Sprinkle the pieces evenly on both sides with smoked paprika, chile powder, and salt.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon oil, then the chicken pieces, and cook on each side for 5-7 minutes depending on its thickness.

When done, set it aside on a clean cutting board for a few minutes before slicing it into strips. If your skillet is too small, then cook two chicken breasts at a time and keep the cooked ones warm under foil.

Meanwhile, in a blender, add the yogurt, buttermilk, onion, and 1 tablespoon hot sauce.

Blend until smooth. Taste to see if you’d like to add the additional 1/2 tablespoon hot sauce (I did because the buttermilk and the yogurt mellow the spiciness of the hot sauce).

Divide the lettuce between 4 plates, then top it with the bell pepper, tomatoes, carrots, and cheese.

Drizzle the dressing on the salad.

Top with the chicken, then drizzle more dressing on top if you wish.

Angel Hair Pasta with No-cook Tomato and Basil Sauce

By Ira,

I make this every summer when the tomatoes are at their peak. It’s very important to use the best tomatoes you can find and a good quality salt. With so few ingredients, it makes a big difference to the overall taste of the dish. All you need to do is combine the chopped tomatoes with basil, garlic, and olive oil, then stir in the angel hair pasta and top it with Parmesan cheese. Very easy and delicious.

Serves 4-6

  • 5 large tomatoes or 7 medium ones
  • 2 handfuls sliced basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt or Himalayan salt preferably, or sea salt
  • freshly grounded black pepper
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • Parmesan cheese to serve

Note that I like to have a generous amount of tomatoes with my pasta. If you prefer less sauce, use 4 large tomatoes.

Start by boiling the water for the pasta. Add 1 tablespoon salt before adding the pasta.  Note that it only takes 2 minutes for the angel hair pasta to cook, so add the pasta to the water when your sauce is ready.

In a large bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Be generous with the salt. Taste and add more accordingly. Stir and set aside until pasta cooks.

Add the angel hair pasta to the tomato mixture and mix well. Serve with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Swiss Chard with Cannellini Beans, Saffron and Tomatoes

by Jennifer

Serve this recipe, adapted from one in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, with garlic toast on the side.  The chard seems to melt into the other ingredients for a homey and delicious meal.  Serves 3 – 4.

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced, divided
  • large pinch saffron
  • 2 bunches swiss chard, leaves and some of stems, sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • freshly grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add onions, basil, and saffron, and cook, stirring occasionally,

until onions are tender and golden, about 5 – 7 minutes.

Add swiss chard and cook, covered, over medium-low heat, tossing mixture occasionally,

until both chard leaves and stems are tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in beans and tomatoes to warm them, then sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Caprese Salad with Homemade Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

by Jennifer

One of the best ways I can think of to eat tomatoes and basil is with fresh mozzarella, good bread, and a glass (or two) of wine.  Making your own fresh mozzarella only takes 30 minutes (with a little multi-tasking time, too) and is really easy, and the end result is so delicious, especially if you’re lucky enough to live near a dairy farm as we are.  The mozzarella is just so creamy and tastes grassy, like spring.

The recipe comes directly from Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll, and you can get what you need (mainly, a thermometer, rennet – you can even get organic vegetable rennet!, citric acid and cheese salt) from her website (www.cheesemaking.com) pretty inexpensively.  On the side we had a simple salad of Boston lettuce and cucumber, both from our CSA, dressed with good extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • Fresh mozzarella cheese (see below)
  • Ripe tomatoes, ideally from a local farm
  • Fresh basil, ideally from a pot on your patio, in whole leaf form
  • Really good extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • Good, crusty bread

Layer, in an attractive way, slices of cheese, tomato and basil leaves.  Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Serve with bread, and wine, and call it a day.

30-Minute Mozzarella – makes 3/4 – 1 lb.

  • 1 1/2 tsp citric acid dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
  • 1 gallon whole milk (you can use 2% milk instead, though you may get a little less cheese in the end)
  • 1/4 tsp rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
  • 1 tsp cheese salt

Pour milk into a large pot (with a dairy thermometer hooked on the rim), and stir in the dissolved citric acid.

Over medium-low heat, bring the milk to 90 degrees, stirring occasionally (the milk may begin to look curdled).

Stir in the dissolved rennet and cook, stirring gently and constantly, until the temperature reaches 100 – 105 degrees, and curds should be clumping together.  Turn off heat and continue to stir gently for another 3 – 5 minutes,

until whey is almost clear and the curds are in big clumps.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer curds to a microwave-safe bowl and drain off liquid.  Heat curds in the microwave on HI for 1 minute.

Using a spoon, drain off any liquid and knead the cheese with the back of the spoon until it begins to look smooth and shiny.

Heat cheese two more times in the microwave, on HI, for 35 seconds each,

kneading well with the back of the spoon until very smooth and shiny.  Add the salt after the last microwave cook-time, kneading it in.

Fill a bowl with ice water, and continue kneading and stretching the cheese like taffy until it cools enough so you can handle it.

Roll the cheese into balls and

submerge in the ice water bath for about 30 minutes, which will cool the inside of the cheese quickly and help keep a smooth consistency throughout (you can also eat it immediately if you’d rather).

Wrap in waxed paper and store in a plastic container until ready to use.  Wonderful on pizza or cubed in pasta dishes, too.

Chickpea and Potato Hash with Cucumber, Tomato and Yogurt Salad

by Jennifer

This dinner was quick and tasty;  I adapted the hash from Eating Well.  Serve with warm pita bread or whole grain flatbread, if desired.

Chickpea and Potato Hash – Serves 4 – 6.

  • 6 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 5 oz. fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 TBS fresh chopped ginger
  • 1 1/2 TBS curry powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 6 large eggs

In a large bowl toss together the frozen hash browns, spinach, onion, ginger, curry powder and salt.

Heat the oil in a 12” skillet over medium-high heat;  add the potato mixture and let cook, in one layer, for 5 minutes.

Stir in chickpeas through the top layers, then make 6 indentations for the eggs.

Crack eggs into the indentations, lower heat to medium and cover the skillet;

cook for 5 – 10 minutes, or until whites are set and yolks are the way you like them.

Cucumber, Tomato and Yogurt Salad – Serves 4.

  • 1 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise, then chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped (slice in half crosswise, squeeze out seeds, then chop)
  • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped mint
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl;  chill until ready to serve.

Broccoli and Cheddar Skillet Flan, Broiled Red Peppers and Tomatoes with Caper Vinaigrette

by Jennifer

Broccoli and Cheddar Skillet Flan – adapted from Gourmet magazine

Serves 6.

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • freshly ground black pepper, salt to taste
  • rounded 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 lb. shredded frozen hash browns
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, pepper, salt, nutmeg, Cheddar cheese and 3 TBS of the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

In an oven-safe 10” skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden.  Swirl the oil around the sides of the pan,

then add the frozen hash browns and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the potatoes over the bottom and sides of the pan,

then arrange the broccoli on top.

Pour over the egg mixture, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the filling is set.  Turn the oven to broil and broil until the top is puffed and golden brown.

Broiled Red Peppers and Tomatoes with Caper Vinaigrette – from Gourmet magazine

Serves 4.

  • 2 large red peppers (should equal 1 lb.)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 large tomatoes (should equal 1 lb.)
  • 2 TBS drained and rinsed capers
  • 1 TBS red-wine vinegar

Slice each pepper lengthwise into 8 pieces;  toss all pieces together with the oil in an oven-proof, shallow dish.  Broil the peppers 4 – 5 inches from the heat for 25 minutes, stirring 2 – 3 times.

Meanwhile, gently combine the tomatoes, capers and red-wine vinegar.

When the peppers are tender, add the tomato mixture and gently toss to combine.

Broil for another 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are warm and a little soft.  Serve warm or at room temperature.