Cuisine…Savor the flavors of the Mediterranean

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Mediterranean cuisine, featuring abundant fruits and vegetables, and richly flavored with herbs and spices, is hailed by chefs, nutritionists and health-minded Americans as the “gold standard” of healthy eating. The Mediterranean lifestyle blends wholesome, naturally good-for-you foods with a liberal dose of exercise and eagerness to enjoy the pleasures of life with friends and family around the table.

Recently, the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid was updated to showcase the role of herbs and spices, placing them at the heart of every meal for the flavorful and health-promoting antioxidants they provide.

 

“To help Americans incorporate the foods of the Mediterranean into their daily meals, we recently updated the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid to emphasize herbs and spices, since they are such an integral part of the flavor of Mediterranean cuisines,” notes K. Dun Gifford, President of Oldways, a nonprofit food issues think tank. “Plus, there is a growing body of research linking herbs and spices with an array of promising health benefits due to their high levels of antioxidants.”

It’s easy to add vibrant Mediterranean-style flavors—with a liberal helping of antioxidants—to family favorites using the herbs and spices already in the pantry, such as rosemary, oregano, thyme and red pepper/paprika. Find more simple, flavorful ideas for spicing up meals the Mediterranean way at http://www.spicesforhealth.com.

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b4cuisine2.24.10

Italian-Style Soup With Turkey Sausage

Makes 8 (1-cup) servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces sweet or hot Italian-style turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (32 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon McCormick Oregano Leaves
1 teaspoon McCormick Rosemary Leaves, finely crushed
1 teaspoon McCormick Thyme Leaves
1 package (6 ounces) baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup uncooked small pasta, such as mini bowties or elbows

Heat oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add sausage; cook and stir

3 minutes. Add onion; cook and stir 3 minutes longer or until onion is tender and sausage is browned.

Pour chicken broth, beans and tomatoes into saucepan. Stir in oregano, rosemary and thyme. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in spinach and pasta. Return to boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is tender.

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Mediterranean-Spiced Artichoke Bake

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Makes 8 (2-tablespoon) servings
1 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon McCormick Oregano Leaves
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Rosemary Leaves, finely crushed
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Thyme Leaves, crushed
1 package (8 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, coarsely chopped
3 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, 1/3 less fat than cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons sliced green onion (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped tomato (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix garlic powder, oregano, rosemary and thyme in small bowl. Set aside.

Place artichoke hearts in food processor; cover. Process until finely chopped. Add cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and herb mixture; cover. Process until well mixed. Spread mixture evenly in 9-inch pie plate.

Bake 15 minutes or until mixture is heated through and edges are golden brown. Sprinkle with green onion and tomato, if desired. Serve with pita wedges or assorted crackers, as desired.

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Mediterranean-Style Stuffed Peppers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 1/4 hours
Makes 8 servings
2 teaspoons McCormick Rosemary Leaves, finely crushed
1 teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon McCormick Oregano Leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt from McCormick Sea Salt Grinder
1 pound lean ground beef
1 can (14 ounces) no salt added tomato sauce 1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 egg, beaten
4 medium green bell peppers, halved lengthwise, stem and seeds removed
1/2 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese

Mix rosemary, cinnamon, oregano and sea salt in small bowl. Set aside. Cook ground beef in large skillet on medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally to break up meat. Drain fat. Add spice mixture; cook and stir 1 minute.

Stir in tomato sauce, raisins and almonds. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add rice and egg; mix well. Arrange bell pepper halves, cut-side up, in 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Spoon beef mixture evenly into bell pepper halves. Pour 1/4 cup water into dish.

Cover with foil.

Bake in preheated 375°F oven 45 minutes or until bell peppers are tender. Sprinkle filling with feta cheese. Bake, uncovered, 12 to 15 minutes longer or until cheese is lightly browned.

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