Everyone from the Mayo Clinic to the Food Network is getting into the Mediterranean craze. There are a whole slew of heart-healthy recipes out there. And we’ve waded through them all to pick out some of our favorites that you can whip up at home to share with your friends to keep your whole retirement community eating right and living well.
1. CookingLight’s Chicken Souvlaki calls for plenty of fresh veggies and herbs packed full of nutrients that keep senior living healthy, and it’s a snap to make on a busy night.
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 1/4 teaspoons bottled minced garlic, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups sliced roasted, skinless and boneless chicken breast
- 4 (6-inch) pitas, cut in half
- 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- 1/2 cup chopped peeled cucumber
- 1/2 cup chopped plum tomato
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- Combine feta cheese, yogurt, dill, 1 teaspoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic in a small bowl, stirring well.
- Heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon garlic and oregano to pan, and sauté for 20 seconds. Add chicken, and cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Place 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each pita half, and top with 2 tablespoons yogurt mixture, 2 tablespoons shredded lettuce, 1 tablespoon cucumber, and 1 tablespoon tomato. Divide onion evenly among pitas.
2. If you need your red meat fix for the week, try lamb instead of your regular steak. Food Network has a great recipe for savory Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint.
1. Kale is in this season if you don’t want to sacrifice big taste to save calories, and this Greek Kale Salad is jam-packed with flavor, vitamin A and heart-healthy fats:
- 1 3/4 pounds kale, large stems discarded (3/4 pound leaves)
- 2 whole-wheat pita breads
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup pitted Calamata olives, cut lengthwise into slivers
- 2 ounces feta cheese, preferably French, crumbled (2/3 cup)
- Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the kale leaves until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Transfer the kale to a clean kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Fluff up the leaves, coarsely chop them and transfer to a large bowl.
- Brush both sides of the pita breads with olive oil and bake for about 8 minutes, or until crisp. Cut the pita into wedges.
- In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup of olive oil with the lemon juice and crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Add the grape tomatoes, olives and crumbled feta to the kale and toss. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve the kale salad with the toasted pita wedges.
2. A cold Mediterranean Couscous Salad can be a light and refreshing dish to share at your potluck picnic during the dog days of summer.
1. Not many people know how to cook with artichokes that don’t come out of a jar or can, but this recipe for Artichokes, Roman Style from the great Mario Batali is a fast and delicious side dish that calls for fresh ‘chokes. Check your local organic grocery (or Farmer’s Market for readers whose senior living has taken them away from Cincinnati’s colder climate) to find the best quality produce.
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons mint, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 artichokes, halved and trimmed of coarse outer leaves, choke removed, held in acidulated water*
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- In a small bowl, combine the parsley, mint, garlic, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. In the cavity of each artichoke half, where the choke was, place 1 teaspoon of the herb mixture. Arrange all of the artichokes in a deep pan in which they fit snugly. Add the wine, boiling water, the remaining 3/4 cup of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer on the stove for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
*Chef’s note Add a few drops of lemon juice or neutral vinegar to water.
2. You don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in carbs with this Fresh Tomato Crostini.