Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Sundried Tomato Kabobs

Sun dried tomatoes, fresh oregano, garlic, lemons, and  virgin olive oil all remind me of the Mediterranean summers.  When I make this grilled chicken dish, I am transported to the  Sicilian Countryside at a outdoor bbq.  These kabobs are fast and easy to make, have lots of flavor and are great for your  summertime grilling.  Let’s cook!

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes Kabobs

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A flavorful Chicken recipe for summertime grilling

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Ingredients

1 1/2 lb skinless chicken breast

1/2-3/4 lb sun dried tomatoes ( in olive oil)

the juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons

1/2 tsp lemon peel

2 tbls fresh oregano

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

Sea salt course grain and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Cut the chicken into 2′ cubes add to a bowl

-add the olive oil, lemon juice, pressed garlic, oregano leaves, lemon peel, sea salt and pepper mix well and let rest for at least 1/2 hour

-alternate the sun dried tomatoes with the chicken on bbq skewers

-heat the gas grill, direct heat low, cook the chicken until golden brown on all sides

*you will notice I like my chicken well done!!

Serve

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

 

 

 

 

 

Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino and Peppers, Oh My!

A classic pasta dish in Italy, loved by all, quick, easy and made with few ingredients, Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino (Garlic, Olive oil and Hot Pepper).   It is hard to believe a plate so simple can be so full of flavor. For a different twist,  I added sweet peppers to the original recipe.  Nothing could be better to serve on a quiet Saturday night, open a bottle of red wine and your all set!  Lets cook!!

Linguini with Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino and Sweet Peppers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Simple yet flavorful,  this pasta dish is always a big hit

Ingredients

1 lb imported linguine or spaghetti

3 cups of mixed sweet peppers, red and yellow finely diced

6 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed

6 tbls extra virgin olive oil

1 hot pepper chopped *heat index as you prefer, note this is a spicy, snappy dish

2 tbls fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped

3/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

    -Fill a pasta pot with water and bring to a boil while you prepare the sauce

    -Add the olive oil, garlic and hot pepper in a wok style skillet large enough to finish off your linguine, on low heat lightly brown the garlic

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  • When the garlic is lightly brown, add the sweet peppers, stirring on a medium heat until the peppers start to break down and soften, add salt and freshly ground pepper
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    -Add the parsley, at this point you can take the sauce off the heat while you wait for your linguine

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    -Add sea salt to the boiling water then add your package of linguine

    -Cook your linguine 1 minute less than package indicates, you will finish it off with the pepper sauce

    -With a spaghetti fork, lift the linguine out of its water, draining as you lift, and mix into the pepper sauce, on a lively heat continue mixing.  Once the linguine is in the pan, add the parmesan cheese, mix well, then serve

Buon Appetito

Mickey

 

 

Thyme lemon simply grilled shrimp

Here is another great alternative for a meatless meal.   This thyme, lemon  grilled shrimp , is easy to make, healthy and light.   Great for appetizer, lunch or dinner , on top of a big mixed green salad or as a stand alone main course this dish takes no time at all and is well worth it.  If you don’t have a grill use a grill pan on your stove, you will get the same results.

Thyme lemon simply grilled Shrimp

  • Servings: 3 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
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Easy, healthy appetizer or entree, light and fresh

Ingredients

-3 dozen fresh or frozen whole shrimp (note-I prefer the medium size for their tenderness)

-the juice of 2 fresh lemons

-3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

-3 garlic cloves crushed

-sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

-Devein the shrimp, rinse and place in a colanderIMG_0772

-Heat the grill

-In a bowl add the juice of 2 lemons, the crushed garlic, sea salt, pepper add the olive oil stir with a small whisk add the thyme.IMG_0774

-place the shrimp one by one on metal or wood skewers 7 or 8 per (note-if using wood skewers, soak them in water so they don’t burn while grilling)IMG_0773

-In a shallow dish long enough to hold the skewers, add the marinade, let sit at least 20 minutes

-on a medium/low direct heat grill, place the skewers and grill  3-5 minutes per side…when the shrimp turn white they are cooked. Save the marinade in the dish to brush on the shrimp while  cooking.IMG_0776

Serve along side or on top of a mixed green saladIMG_0779

Buon Appetito!!

Pasta 101

Before we go any further,  I think it is time to get down to some basics and one of them is Pasta.  Pasta….is a basic here in Italy.  Sometimes the easiest dishes are the hardest to get perfect.  Pasta seems easy, but when not cooked properly it  can end up a soggy, starchy mess.   The following recipe Pasta 101, will walk you through a step by step method for cooking dried pasta and ensuring it is al dente (firm to the bite) every time !

I will accompany the Pasta 101 recipe with a nice,  Springtime  fresh chunky tomato sauce with thyme.  

Lets get started!!

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Pasta 101

  • Servings: 2-3
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This is one of my Basic recipes and can be used  for all types and sizes of pastas.

Ingredients

-1/2 pound or 250 grams of pasta

-water

-sea salt

-sauce to accompany pasta

Directions

-In a large pot fill 3/4 with cold water and place on high heat burner, bring to rolling boil, add between 1 and 2 tablespoons of gross grain sea salt (note- salt is our friend in Italian cooking, and we aren’t afraid of it!! )

-Add the pasta, stirring.   Please respect the time indicated on the pasta package.  (note- pasta companies are not misleading you, they are pretty accurate with their cooking times so use your timer)

-Set time for 1 minute less than  time indicated, you will finish  cooking your pasta in the  hot skillet with it’s accompanying sauce. (note- keep the pasta water until you have finished the dish, we will use the water to elongate the sauce if needed)…..Cold sauces and  sauces mixed with drained pasta we will discuss later!!

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-depending on the type,  use one of these tools to take the pasta out of it’s boiling water and into the sauce of choice.FullSizeRender 7

The fork for all your long pastas, spaghetti, fettucini, bucatini etc… and the draining spoons for penne, rigatoni, and those types.

-When the timer sounds, pick the pasta out of the water,  give it a few seconds to drain over the pot…. you don’t want to carry lots of excess water  into the sauce.

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-with a lively flame or on a medium setting ,stir the pasta with it’s sauce for another minute, if you need more liquid use the hot pasta  water, taste for doneness, it should be al dente.  (note- the cheese can be added while the pasta is cooking to combine all of your flavors)IMG_0717

Buon Appetito!!

 

Springtime fresh chunky tomato sauce with thyme

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe can be easily adjusted just add more tomatoes and thyme!!

Ingredients

1-2 large ripe tomatoes chopped

-1 clove of garlic

-1 tbls extra virgin olive oil

-sea salt and pepper

-2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Directions

-In a wok style skillet, large enough to hold your quantity of pasta add the olive oil and garlic clove. On a low heat lightly brown the garlic.IMG_0710

-Add the chopped tomatoes,   sea salt, pepper and thyme.   Stir and let simmer while your pasta is boiling.FullSizeRender copy 2

-When the pasta is ready (see above) add to the skillet and stir cooking for 1 minute with a lively heat…adding pasta water if the sauce seems to be dry…. taste for salt.  Either add cheese on or off flame.

Buon Appetito !!

Veal meatballs with simple tomato sauce

#whatsmickeycooking’s  very first recipe blog has to be Meatballs. Growing up they  were, and still today  are  our all time favorite food.  This is Italo-American comfort food at it’s best!!

These meatballs have a history in our Italian/American family.  The recipe,  from my paternal Grandmother was revised and updated by my Mother ( my Mom says my GM purposefully left out key ingredients!!).   Now , this is my version of my Mom’s recipe. They are great made little, served as appetizers  with a dipping sauce, medium sized served with pasta or like these served alone as a main course with  vegetables and salad.

Veal Meatballs with a simple tomato sauce,

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is a fast, easy recipe that everyone loves.

This recipe can also be made using a combination of ground beef and ground veal.  Ask your butcher to grind the meat mixture twice.

Ingredients

-1 3/4 Pounds or 800 grams of Ground Veal

-3 Garlic cloves minced or pressed

-10 Lg Basil leaves

-5 Lg Eggs

-3/4 Cups of Grated Parmigiano Reggiano  Cheese

-3/4 Cups of fine breadcrumbs

-sea salt (fine)

-pepper

-extra virgin olive oil

Directions

-In a medium sized mixing bowl add the ground veal, the cheese, and  the breadcrumbs.

– Using either a blender or immersion blender mix the eggs, garlic, basil, salt and pepper.  Blend well until the basil is completely blended with the eggs.

-Pour the blended mixture into the mixing bowl of veal , mix together well, but don’t overwork the meat, you might need to adjust the  breadcrumbs.  The mixture should take the shape of a large ball.

– In a non-stick skillet large enough to hold 12 meatballs, add oil  (note- I try to use as little as possible we are just browning these).  Roll the meat into the size or style  of meatball you would like (note- you can also shape them in hamburger shape).  When the oil is hot add the meatballs being very careful.  Brown the meatballs on all sides.

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Carefully turn them to prevent breakage.  When they are rust colored they are finished browning.  Being very careful place each on a plate to rest while you construct the Simple Tomato Sauce (Note- keep the pan scrapings for the construction of your sauce)….  Recipe to follow.

-When tomato sauce is mixed, gently place the meatballs along with their juices back into the pan and simmer for 20-30 minutes covered, until the center of the meat is cooked.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  They’re great both ways.

Enjoy, Buon Appetito !!

 

  • Servings: 3 1/2 cups or 700 grams
  • Difficulty: easy.
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This simple sauce is used with meats/meatballs that are already seasoned.  It’s simplicity will not overwhelm the meat/fish

Ingredients

-3 1/2 cups or 1 bottle of tomato sauce (note- I use Mutti  Passata di Pomodoro, which can be found at Italian specialty markets)

-1 large garlic clove crushed or diced

-1 1/2 tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil

-Pinch of sugar

-Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

– Lightly brown the crushed garlic in the olive oil,  then carefully add the tomato sauce, add sugar, salt and pepper..(note- for above recipe, use the pan used for browning, along with it’s juices…add the garlic then follow the recipe as above, add meatballs and juices back into pan cover and cook.

-simmer 15 minutes