Oven-Baked Squid…It will melt you like butter!

By Mona | Monday 18 June 2012 10:12 pm

A Delicious, Mouth-Watering, Healthy Mediterranean Dish! 

A couple of weeks ago, I caught an episode of The Dr. Oz show in which Dr. Oz and a special guest, Dr. William Li,  were highlighting the health benefits of squid with respect to breast cancer.  When most people think of squid, they think of fried calamari, the infamous appetizer.  Instead, I wanted to use squid as a main entree that showcases its tender texture and buttery flavor.  Squid has a reputation of being chewy, which is due to the fish being old or overcooked.  Fresh squid that is prepared properly will be tender and soft, not rubbery.  As with all fish, the smell should be clean and sweet, and the skin should shine.

I recently prepared a delicious squid recipe from ”Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen” cookbook.  Lidia Bastianich’s recipes are simple and divine with a mix of traditional and contemporary styles, and a focus on whole foods. I love meals with fresh, simple ingredients where you can actually taste the food and not have it overpowered by sauces, creams, etc.

Lidia’s Oven-Baked Squid melts like butter in your mouth. The squid (body and tentacles) is drizzled with olive oil, garlic, and crushed red hot pepper and baked in a cast iron pan. (Another pan or baking dish will also work.)  If you don’t enjoy the sight of the tentacles, just use the bodies.  Cleaning squid is messy and fun, but requires quite a bit of time.  If you’re crunched for time, consider purchasing cleaned wild squid from Whole Foods or a fish market.

The recipe from Lidia’s cookbook is in the link below.  I hope you enjoy this healthy, quick and savory dish as much as I do!  It is a delicious and light summer meal that pairs nicely with a side salad of arugula and a glass of wine. I added broccoli slaw, too!

Buon appetito and here’s to great health, happiness and delicious seafood! ~Mona


Squid baking in cast iron pan

P.S.   Dr. Oz had a special guest on by the name of Dr. William Li, a Cancer Prevention Researcher who studies the impact that certain foods have on cutting off the blood supply feeding cancer cells.  One of the cancer fighting foods mentioned was squid.  According to Dr. Li, eating just 3 ounces of squid greatly reduces your chances of breast cancer.  For more information about other cancer fighting foods from the show, see the following link: (http://www.drozfans.com/dr-oz-cancer-2/cancer-fighting-foods-grocery-list/)




categories: Seafood

Sautéed Broccoli Slaw with Garlic, Fresh Basil, and Toasted Pine Nuts…Delicious!

By Mona | Tuesday 5 June 2012 4:22 pm

A Quick, Easy, Yummy Vegetable Side Dish for even the pickiest eater!

Are you looking for new foods to experiment with or new ways to incorporate them into meals, particularly when it comes to vegetables?  Steamed vegetables get boring after awhile, and there is just so much more that can be done to add flavor and really make them pop.  I love broccoli and typically use those beautiful bright green tops (florets),  but what about those long stalks?

Use shredded broccoli stalks in this quick, easy, and delicious side dish that even kids will love. Instead of tossing  those broccoli stalks, shred them into a slaw and use in the recipe below or in a raw salad.  If you’re in a hurry, Trader Joe’s and Shop Rite sells bagged organic broccoli slaw with shredded carrots (nice added color!). The stalks are just as nutritious as the florets and are a very good source of vitamins A and C, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium.

Another idea…instead of a side dish, why not make a meal by adding some protein such as  sautéed wild shrimp and freshly grated ginger? Delish! Think of the broccoli slaw as a substitute for pasta.  There are so many ways you can be creative with this..have fun and leave a comment if you’ve come up with other great ideas! ~Mona


Sautéed Broccoli Slaw with Garlic, Fresh Basil, and Toasted Pine Nuts

This a delicate, savory, easy to prepare vegetable dish.

Yield: 1 serving

Sautéed Broccoli Slaw with Garlic, Fresh Basil, and Toasted Pine Nuts


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 1/4 cups Broccoli slaw

1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh basil leaves, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons raw pignolias (pine nuts), toasted

few pinches of sea salt to taste


1. In a small sauté pan, lightly toast raw pine nuts over medium-low heat, tossing occasionally, until they are golden and slightly browned and release a beautiful aroma. Set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Add broccoli slaw, carrot, and salt, stirring until slaw is slightly softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

3.  Add minced garlic, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add fresh basil and toasted pine nuts and toss together.

*Note: For those who eat dairy, add 1 tablespoon of shredded pecorina romano cheese

Lightly Toasted Pine Nuts in a Cast Iron Pan

categories: Recipes, Vegetables


By Mona | Monday 13 February 2012 12:23 pm


Yield: 1 to 2 servings  

This luscious, spicy ground turkey wrap makes a quick, savory lunch or dinner.  It can be brought to work and easily re-heated.  If you are looking for less calories, use a romaine lettuce leaf for the wrap instead of the tortilla  or make it a salad instead of a sandwich.    

Let your senses be enlivened with a blend of warm, aromatic and flavorful spices: cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper.  Cinnamon is shown to help moderate blood sugar and to aid digestion; studies credit curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, with powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and  cancer-preventive properties (plus I love the bright, lively  yellow color it leaves behind); and cayenne pepper, with its fiery kick, helps get the digestive juices flowing and, based on various studies, is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Watercress, with its soft, vibrant leafy greens and slightly peppery taste, is a nutrient dense vegetable.  A member of the brassica family, watercress contains calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K and so much more.  Make this amazing food a regular nutritious and delicious addition to your salads!  And let’s not forget the creamy avocado (technically a fruit), a great source of fiber, healthy monounsaturated fat, potassium, and vitamins A, B, and E. To store cut avocado, sprinkle it with lemon juice, place in an airtight container, and refrigerate.



2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

1/2 medium size carrot, julienned

Spiced ground turkey on a bed of watercress, baby spinach and avocado.

1 garlic clove, minced

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon coriander

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

couple dashes cayenne pepper (adjust to your taste)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

5 ounces ground turkey (thigh; I prefer dark turkey because of its higher iron content, a common deficiency with Celiac)

2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth *optional

1 teaspoon  organic Worcestershire sauce ( “Wan Ja Shan” brand is gluten-free and dairy-free) *optional

1 gluten-free tortilla **


1/4 avocado, mashed with a fork

1/2 cup baby spinach, rinsed

1/2 cup watercress, rinsed



  1. In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and carrots and sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  
  2. Add garlic, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.  Sauté over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the ground turkey, breaking it up into pieces with a spoon.  Cook ground turkey until browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. 
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of chicken or vegetable broth (optional) and cook for 1 minute. 
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, add Worcestershire sauce (optional), and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove cooked turkey mixture from pan and transfer to a covered bowl.
  6. In sauté pan, heat tortilla over low heat or warm tortilla in toaster oven.
  7. Spread a layer of mashed avocado onto warmed tortilla.  Add spinach, watercress, turkey mixture and roll.

* The broth and Worcestershire sauce are optional.  I use homemade broth in many of my dishes to aid in digestion and to add another layer of incredible flavor.  A  dash of  gluten-free Worcestershire sauce adds a little bit of fun and zing. 

**If you would like to make your own flatbreads/wraps, try “Breads from Anna” mixes.  Use one package of the gluten, dairy, and yeast free mix and follow the recipe in the link: https://breadsfromanna.com/recipes/flatbread  These flatbreads are oustanding in taste and texture, stay moist and don’t crumble and crack. 


categories: Lunch Ideas, Recipes


By Mona | Thursday 2 February 2012 1:14 pm


Yield: One 8 ounce shake 

No time for breakfast?  This power shake is the answer. It takes only a few minutes to throw everything into a blender.  This nutritional powerhouse drink provides protein, healthy fats and low carbs all-in-one.  All you need is a blender (Magic Bullet and VitaMix are state of the art blenders for those of you who love gadgets, but any blender will do!).  Down this power protein shake pre- or post-workout.  It’s even great for a mid-day snack.



1 scoop rice protein powder *

1/2 cup organic frozen berries

2 tablespoons ground flax seed (chia and hemp seeds work, too) **

8 ounces unsweetened non-dairy milk (e.g. almond, hemp, coconut, water)

cinnamon (as much as you like)

1 teaspoon unrefined extra virgin coconut oil

1 teaspoon organic flax seed oil (cold-pressed & unrefined) ***

half frozen banana (optional)

1 tablespoon raw nut butter such as almond, walnut, or pecan (optional)

ice cubes (optional)

pinch of stevia (natural sweetener, if needed)


  • Put all ingredients in a blender and give it a whirl.

*NutriBiotic and Sun Warrior are top quality organic rice protein powders that are great for those on elimination diets or for people who cannot tolerate gluten or dairy.  These brands are minimally processed without fillers and additives, organic, and free of major allergens.  Sun Warrior and NutriBiotic are sold at www.vitacost.com and www.amazon.com  NutriBiotic is also sold at Whole Foods. 

Although it is pricier, from a taste perspective, we prefer Sun Warrior.

**Gound  flax seeds are a great source of fiber.  Purchase organic whole flax seeds and grind the seeds in a coffee grinder immediately before use. Due to their high rancidity rate, store flax seeds in the refrigerator or freezer.   If you feel like mixing it up a bit, try chia and hemp seeds, too. 

***Flax seed oil should be refrigerated.  Recommend Organic Cold-Pressed & Unrefined Gluten-Free Flax Oil by Flora (Whole Foods carries it).  Flax Oil may also be used for dressings or drizzled on top of vegetables.  Since the oil is fragile and has a low smoke point, do not heat or use for cooking. 

Recommended brands of seeds sold at www.vitacost.com:

truRoots Organic Chia Seeds

Arrowhead Mills Organic Flax Seeds

Navitas Naturals Organic Hemp Seeds

categories: Recipes, Shakes and Juices


By Admin | Wednesday 1 February 2012 6:12 pm

Yield: Four 2 1/2 inch salmon patties

A delicious meal anytime of the day

These scrumptious salmon patties are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They taste best fried, but can also be baked. Choose wild over farmed salmon. Wild salmon gets it’s beautiful pinkish hue from a natural diet of algae and krill. Farmed salmon, due to their un-natural altered diet, are pale grey-colored and artificially dyed a pinkish hue. In fact, farmed salmon farmers choose the ‘perfect’ shade of pink from a color wheel. Studies also show that farmed salmon typically have at least 10 times more cancer-causing persistent organic pollutants than their wild counterparts.

Don’t be afraid to use the bones and skin. Bones contain calcium and you won’t taste them since everything will be combined in the food processor anyway!


7.5 oz. can wild caught Alaskan red sockeye salmon (the canned version is inexpensive and quick) *

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil

1/4 small onion, minced

1 heaping teaspoon garlic, minced

1 heaping teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (slightly less than 1/4)

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon paprika (slightly less than 1/4)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons minced parsley

sea salt and black pepper to taste

*Canned wild salmon can be purchased at Whole Foods or on-line from www.vitalchoice.com


  1. Cut the salmon into large chunks, and put into the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and pulse until the salmon breaks down. Be careful that the mixture does not become too fine. Small chunks around a quarter inch or so is fine. Transfer salmon to a medium sized bowl.
  2. In small saute pan, heat one tablespoon of oil. Add onions and sweat on medium-low heat until onions begin to soften. Add garlic, ginger, salt, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, and paprika.
  3. Cook until onions are tender and translucent. Cool. Add seasoned onions to bowl with fish.
  4. Mix fish and seasoned onions together. Add lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Shape the mixture into 1/4-inch thick patties about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. You can use a 2 1/2 inch round cookie or muffin cutter to form perfect round shape.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the patties for approximately 2 to 3 minutes on each side turning once, until golden brown.
  7. Serve on a bed of greens or on gluten-free buns or by themselves, with lemon wedges and a dollup of lemon and dill sauce.

Variation: If baking, place patties onto an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 375F until golden brown, turning once.

Note: Be creative as you want with these patties. They are a great means of getting more vegetables into your kids’ diets without them knowing. Add vegetables such as minced spinach, kale, carrots, peppers, etc.




4 tablespoons Earth Balance Mayonnaise Original (egg, dairy, soy, gluten free; non-GMO)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons parsley, minced

sea salt to taste

dill sprigs for garnish


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and sea salt.

To serve salmon patties, place a dollup of sauce on top of the patty. Garnish with fresh dill or parsley.

categories: Recipes, Seafood
Next Page »