Archive for Summer Mains – Page 3

Italian Sausage Zucchini Stuffed Peppers

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If you like peppers, you will really like these! I think they are really tasty! They would make a delicious meal in the early fall when local peppers & zucchini are abundant. Never mind…they’re still great anytime of the year! When I serve them as a main course, I plate one per person, but…I serve a simple pasta first course. You might find you’ll need 2 halves per person otherwise.

Makes 8 Halves

DSC_4257 nx2

1 ½ lbs. sweet Italian sausages (the ones with fennel), casings removed, or Italian turkey sausages & a few, ground up fennel seeds**
1 ½ cups coarsely grated zucchini, approx. 1 large
½ cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup minced fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
¼ cup fine, dry breadcrumbs**
1 Tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. minced fresh rosemary
4 medium-size bell peppers, halved lengthwise & seeded

Preheat oven to 350 F.



Lightly beat the egg, then add all the remaining ingredients, except the peppers, in a large bowl until well blended. Fill pepper halves with the mixture, dividing equally & mounding slightly. Arrange in an oiled 13x9x2” baking dish. You can make the day before; cover & chill.

Bake peppers uncovered until tops are browned & an instant read thermometer inserted into the filling registers 165 F, about 1 hour. Transfer peppers to a platter, garnish with sprigs of rosemary if you wish & a drizzle of EVO.

**A coffee grinder used only for spices, works very well for grinding the fennel seeds.

**If you would like to make the breadcrumbs, please go to Making Breadcrumbs.

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Asian Barbecued Lemongrass Beef Wraps

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A delicious, light summer dinner; perfect for eating outdoors on a warm evening! Or…you could serve them as an appetizer. I made a cool, refreshing cucumber salad to go with them. Normally I serve these wraps with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce but for a change I made a peanut sauce and it was delicious too, both recipes are included here.

DSC_4240 nx2Makes 4 – 6 Main Course Servings

2 stalks lemongrass, minced
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. sirloin steak
2 heads butter lettuce
4 oz. rice vermicelli noodles
½ cup cilantro leaves
3 limes, cut in wedges

Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce (recipe below)
Peanut Sauce (recipe below)

Remove the outer 2 layers from the lemongrass stalk; smash & finely mince the lemongrass, using the light-coloured parts only. (you can freeze the remainder of the lemongrass to use in making stock for Asian noodle soups or to cook with rice, or in a curry). In a bowl, combine the lemongrass, sugar, garlic, fish sauce, sesame oil & pepper; set aside.

Cur the beef across the grain into 1/8” thick strips; it’s easier to do this if the beef is partly frozen. Add to the bowl with the marinade; stirring to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or cover and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Soak bamboo skewers in cold water for at least 1 hour. You will get approximately 2 strips of meat on each skewer so just count the pieces of meat to see how many you will need.

Meanwhile, separate the lettuce into leaves & place on a large serving platter; place the vermicelli into a large bowl; pour boiling water over top & let stand for about 3 minutes or until tender but firm. Drain & arrange in the centre of the platter.

Thread the beef onto the soaked bamboo skewers; place over the coals on the barbecue (high heat); grill for approximately 3 – 5 minutes, but still pink inside. Arrange on the noodles on the platter; sprinkle with the cilantro & surround with the lime wedges.

To serve, let each person place a lettuce leaf on their plates,; top with about ¼ cup of the noodles; remove the beef from the skewers & place on top; squeeze lime juice over top & gently roll up using the sauces to dip the lettuce wrap into, or we drizzle the sauce on our wrap before rolling it up.

Nuoc Cham Sauce:

1/3 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small Thai pepper, seeded & minced
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar or palm sugar if you have it

Whisk together all ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside until ready to serve the wraps.

Peanut Sauce:

You can use this sauce on all sorts of things, such as assorted sates.

¾ cup tinned unsweetened coconut milk
4 tsp. red curry paste
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar or palm sugar if you have it
½ cups unsalted dry roasted peanuts, ground in the food processor

Place the coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce, sugar & peanuts in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat; simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Serve warm.

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Zucchini Sun-Dried Tomato Tart

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This was a tart we made many times in the summer for corporate catering events, except that we made individual ones. They are vegetarian to boot! The beauty was that they could be served room temperature and were just as delicious as when served warm!  I have used the frozen puff pastry but I change it up and use my own tart pastry since I don’t always have the puff on hand.

DSC_4361 nx21 sheet of frozen puff pastry (1/2 of a 17 oz. package), or a tart crust**
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6 Tbsp. + ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
½ cup drained & blotted on paper towels. oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
(Costco sells them already sliced, good old Costco!)
½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
¼ cup chopped green onions
1 Tbsp.  chopped fresh oregano
1 small zucchini, cut into thin rounds
2 large eggs
1 cup creamo or half and half
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface to a 1/8” thick square. Trim pastry edges to form a 13” round. Transfer to an 11” tart pan with removable bottom. Fold in overhang to form double-thick sides. Pierce all over with a fork. Cover; chill 1 hour. If using pie dough, roll out the dough, place into a 9” pie plate, crimp the edges, chill for up to 1 hour. Fit a large piece of baking parchment or tin foil into the dough lined pie place ; fill with beans or pie weights. Bake until sides are set, about 10 minutes. Remove foil & beans. Bake crust until bottom is golden brown, pressing with back of fork if bubbles form, about 5 or 8 minutes.

Cool 5 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 400 F. Sprinkle mozzarella over bottom of crust. Top with 6 Tbsp. Parmigiano, tomatoes, basil, green onions & oregano. Arrange zucchini rounds in concentric circles to cover top of tart. Whisk eggs, creamo, salt & pepper in medium bowl. Pour mixture into tart. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup Parmigiano.

Bake tart until custard is set and crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes.

**If you wish to make your own tart crust, please go to Making Pie Dough.

Phyllis Signature

Barbecued Butterflied Leg Of Lamb With Mustard Marinade

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This would be great with a medium-bodied red wine. This was our very first attempt to barbecue a butterflied leg of lamb; it was terrific!

DSC_3816 nx2Makes 6-8 Servings

6 medium garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. EVO
1 ½ Tbsp. red wine
1 (6 lb). leg of lamb, trimmed, boned & butterflied, have your butcher do this,
the meat should be between 1 1/2″ to 2″ thick
5 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ cup EVO
3 Tbsp. red wine
Rosemary sprigs, fresh thyme sprigs, bay leaves
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Using the first 4 ingredients mix to a paste in a mini-processor or with the back of a chef’s knife. Mix in . EVO & wine, adding more to form a loose paste if necessary; add 1/2 tsp. salt & 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Arrange the lamb cut surface down in glass baking dish. Cut slits over the surface with a small, sharp knife. Spoon & press garlic mixture into slits. Rub mustard over entire surface of lamb. Combine ½ cup EVO & 3 Tbsp. wine & pour over meat, turning to coat. Refrigerate the lamb overnight, turning occasionally.

Let lamb stand at room temperature for 1 hour before grilling.

Prepare barbecue to medium-hot with the coals to one side. Drain lamb, reserving marinade. If the lamb is floppy, place metal skewers through to hold it together. Arrange the lamb, boned side down/fat side up, on grill, not over the coals; cover with the lid & cook 10 minutes. Turn & baste the lamb with the marinade & cook 10 minutes, Scatter rosemary, thyme & bay leaves over the fire. Place the lamb over the coals, baste with marinade, turn over & baste the other side & continue cooking the lamb until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 130-135 F for medium-rare, & nicely browned on both sides, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer lamb to platter; let stand 15 minutes. Thinly slice across grain. Sprinkle with salt & pepper; garnish with rosemary.

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Tomato And Zucchini Fritatta

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I like to make frittata’s not only for brunch but also for a light summer dinner. One of the great things about summer is tomatoes and zucchini from the garden or farmer’s market or a wonderful neighbor who has too much for their own use. Gotta love those people!  Leftovers make a pretty good panino!

Makes 4 Servings

DSC_3763 nx21 Tbsp. EVO
1 small red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup unpeeled zucchini, diced
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
8 eggs
½ cup homogenized milk
1 tsp. fresh basil or a combination of basil, fresh oregano & Italian parsley
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated (you could use more cheese if you like, I usually do)


Preheat broiler. Heat EVO in a12” frying pan with an ovenproof handle, over medium heat; sauté onions & zucchini until onions soften; add garlic and continue sautéing for another minute. Add the tomatoes & continue to sauté for a few more minutes.

In medium bowl, beat the eggs until just blended. Stir in milk; basil, salt & pepper. Pour over the vegetables in the frying pan and cook over medium heat, lifting mixture with a spatula to allow uncooked egg to run to the bottom. Cook until just set but still moist (approximately 5 minutes). Sprinkle the top of the frittata with the Parmigiano Reggiano. Place under broiler for about 1 minute or until frittata is puffed and slightly browned. Cool for a few minutes, then cut into four wedges and serve immediately.

Phyllis Signature

Mexican Style Picadillo

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This is one handy recipe! I often make up a batch, use some for the tortillas and freeze the rest to use for other things, like making an appetizer by filling phyllo cups with the heated mixture or as a filling for a burrito…thinking it might be pretty good with a fried egg on top too!

Make the Picadillo:

DSC_3377 nx21 large onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. EVO
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 cup raisins
1 ½ cups tomato sauce (from a tin)
½ cup sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives
¾ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. chili flakes (or to taste)
4 Tbsp. sliced almonds
2 Tbsp. chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Make the Picadillo:

In a large heavy skillet, cook the onion & the garlic in the oil over medium- low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened; add the pork & beef & cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring & breaking up any lumps with a fork, until the meat is no longer pink. Pour off any excess fat; stir in the spices for 30 seconds, then add the raisins, tomato sauce, olives, salt & pepper to taste; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.

NB: You can make the Picadillo up to 1 or 2 days ahead.

For Serving With Tortillas:

Makes 6 Servings

Twelve 6″ or 7” corn tortillas
Shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce
Thinly sliced red onion or coarsely grated radishes (or some of each)

In a skillet heat ¼” vegetable oil over medium high heat until it’s hot but not smoking & fry the tortillas, 1 at a time for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until they are crisp & golden; transfer them with tongs as they are fried to a large baking sheet lined with paper towels & keep warm in a 180 F oven.

To serve, place the shells in one layer on plates, divide the Picadillo among them & top with some of the lettuce, onion & radishes if using.

**If you would like to make the crust for empadas, please go to Empadas.

**If you would like to use the Picadillo as a filling for an appetizer, please go to Phyllo Cups.

**If you would like to see my recipe for guacamole, please go to Guacamole.

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Middle Eastern “Meatballs” With Pita

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There is just something about eating the foods of the Mediterranean in the summer….all the gorgeous spices wafting through the air! I like to serve these “meatballs” with a Greek salad, but you can chop up tomatoes, cucumbers & onion and put them on top of the “meatballs” then drizzle with the yogurt. Either way will be delicious!

DSC_3236 nx2Makes 4 Servings

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
¼ cup dry breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp. dried
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp each ground cinnamon & ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef

To Serve:

4 pita breads

Yogurt Sauce:

Stir together 1 cup plain Greek or Mediterranean yogurt, minced onion, 1 small clove garlic, 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, mint or dill. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Preheat your gas barbecue or start the coals.

In large bowl mix together the 3 minced garlic cloves, the minced small onion, breadcrumbs, water, oregano, Dijon, spices, salt & pepper; mix in the ground beef. Divide the mixture into 8 portions; shape each around 8” metal skewers, or well soaked (30 min.) wooden skewers; pressing to form 4” sausage-shaped ovals.

Place on oiled grill over medium-high heat; close lid & grill, turning twice, until firm & no longer pink inside, about 7 minutes.

**If you would like to make the salad, please go to Phyllis’ Greek Salad.

Phyllis Signature

Bourbon Marinade

I’ve been making this  marinade forever!We love it on pork chops but do try it on chicken, shrimp or scallops. The pork or chicken should marinate overnight but the seafood only requires a couple of hours in the fridge. It’s really easy to throw together and it’s seagull friendly! I was barbecuing chops one night on the balcony of my 6th floor apartment and I guess I got carried away with the flipping bit so over the balcony railing one went! By the time I went down to retrieve the run-away chop a seagull had landed and was surveying his good fortune!

DSC_2970 nx2Makes Approximately 1 Cup

¼ cup each bourbon
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Dijon Mustard
¼ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup light brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Dash Worcestershire sauce

Combined all ingredients. Place your protein of choice in marinade as per times above. Grill over hot coals and enjoy.

For cooking times, see my Grilling Chart.

Veal Steaks With Gorgonzola Butter

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So simple, yet so tasty but then what isn’t when cooked on the barbecue?

Makes 2 Servings

2 bone-in veal steaks
¼ tsp. Kosher salt or sea salt, or to taste
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
EVO to moisten steaks, up to 1 ½ tsp. per side
1 Tbsp. each Gorgonzola cheese & unsalted butter, at room temperature

DSC_2956 nx2Prepare the barbecue on high heat using the direct cooking method.

Mash together the cheese & butter; cover & set aside.

Season the steaks & rub with EVO 1 hour ahead of cooking time; cover & set aside.

Place the steaks over the hot coals & grill to the desired doneness.  Remove to a warm serving platter & top each with a dollop of the Gorgonzola butter.


**If you would like to check grilling times, see my Grilling Chart.





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Burgers With Grilled Onions And Red Pepper Aioli

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Burgers, Burgers, Burgers!

Happy Canada Day!  A perfect way to celebrate!

I don’t usually mix a lot of stuff into the meat, so we can enjoy the full, juicy flavour of the meat!

Makes 4 Servings

1 ¼ – 1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef
(depending on the amount of meat you are using for each of the 4 patties)
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.
4 burger buns
Grilled onions
Red pepper mayo

Form into patties and cook on the barbecue until done how you like them. ** Remove & place on buns that have been sliced & heated over the fire until toasted. Place the burger onto the buns, top with the grilled onions & red pepper aioli.

DSC_2720 nx2Grilled onions

2 red onions, cut into ¼ – 1/3 “ thick slices
1 Tbsp. EVO

I put short skewers through the onion slices to hold them together while cooking. Brush or drizzle with EVO. Place on the barbecue grill & cook until softened & browned. Remove the onions to a plate & take out the skewers.

Red Pepper Aioli – Makes about 1 cup.

1 roasted red pepper**
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
½ cup mayonnaise

In food processor, combine red pepper, garlic, mustard, & hot pepper sauce; puree. Add mayonnaise & process just until blended, using on/off turns.

**If you would like to see times for grilling, please to to my Grilling Chart.

**If you would like to see how to roast peppers, please go to Charring/Roasting Peppers.

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