Category Archives: Quick and Easy

Quick And Easy: Strawberry And Banana Smoothie

Strawberry and banana smoothy in a glass jar on green napkin, on a wood board, frullato fragole e banana

This week’s healthy recipe is packed with fibre, vitamin C, B6, manganese, potassium and with the vegetable proteins of the oats and the soya milk….Today I am sharing a dairy-free smoothie recipe for a super healthy and delicious energy boosting drink filled with bananas and strawberries; perfect for breakfast or as a light lunch. No need to say that banana and strawberry are a match made in heaven… Enjoy! 😉

Strawberry and banana smoothy in a glass jar on green napkin, on a wood board, frullato di fragole e banana

Strawberry and banana smoothy in a glass jar on green napkin, on a wood board, frullato di fragole e banana

Strawberry and banana smoothy in a glass jar on green napkin, on a wood board, frullato di fragole e banana

Strawberry and banana smoothie

Ingredients

Serves 2

250 g strawberries, washed and cleaned

100 ml soya milk

2 bananas, cut into chunks

4 tablespoons of rolled oats

the grated zest of an organic lemon

1 tablespoon of honey (optional)

a few leaves of fresh mint (optional)

3 ice cubes

Strawberry and banana smoothy in a glass jar on green napkin, on a wood board, frullato di fragole e banana

Method.

1. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth.

Strawberry and banana smoothy in a glass jar on green napkin, on a wood board, frullato di fragole e banana

2. Serve in two large glasses or glass jars with two straws.

Strawberry and banana smoothy in a glass jar on green napkin, on a wood board, frullato di fragole e banana

Strawberry and banana smoothy in a glass jar on green napkin, on a wood board, frullato di fragole e banana

Smoothie con fragole e banane.

Ingredienti

per 2 persone (due smoothie grandi)

250 g di fragole, lavate e pulite

100 ml di latte di soia

2 banane, tagliate a pezzi grandi

4 cucchiai di fiocchi d’avena

la scorza grattugiata di un limone, non trattato

1 cucchiaio di miele (facoltativo)

qualche foglia di menta fresca (facoltativo)

3 cubetti di ghiaccio

Preparazione.

1. Frullate tutti gli ingredienti fino ad ottenere una consistenza cremosa.

2. Servite in due bicchieri grandi (oppure in due vasetti di vetro) con delle cannucce.

Chickpea And Potato Soup With Lots Of Rosemary!

I have to admit that this recipe comes from my mother’s favourite dishes. She was enthusiastic about this dish and as soon as I tasted it I could see why… Not only is it a delicious and tasty soup, but it’s also a recipe that anyone can make and with ingredients that are cheap and everyone has in the kitchen pantry.

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For this dish I used ditaloni, which is a short pasta often used in soups in Italy. If you don’t find this particular kind of pasta you can replace it with some broken spaghetti (make them two-three centimetres long). You can also add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add some flavour and protein, however this soup is so tasty that you don’t really need to add any additional ingredients to flavour it…It is delicious!!!

Chickpea and potato soup with rosemary in a blue bowl on a black dish, on blue painted wood board. Zuppa di ceci e patate al rosmarino.

Chickpea and potato soup with rosemary.

Preparation and cooking time: about 30 minutes

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

3 sprigs of rosemary

2 cans of chickpeas

Vegetable stock made with organic vegetable stock cubes

2 large potatoes, washed, peeled and diced

220 g of ditaloni

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

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Method.

1. Sauté the chopped onion with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, after a few minutes add the chopped garlic.

Onions and potatoes on cutting board with knife.

2. When the onion is soft and transparent, add the chickpeas with the diced potatoes and the rosemary sprigs. Cover with vegetable stock and simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Stir quite often during the cooking time.

Chickpea and potato soup with rosemary.. Zuppa di ceci e patate al rosmarino.

Chickpea and potato soup with rosemary. Zuppa di ceci e patate al rosmarino.

3. Cook the pasta separately and then drain when is al dente.

4. When the soup is ready remove the rosemary, then add the pasta and serve.

Chickpea and potato soup with rosemary in a blue bowl on a black dish, on blue painted wood board. Zuppa di ceci e patate al rosmarino.

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Zuppa di ceci e patate al rosmarino.

Tempo di preparazione e cottura: 30 minuti circa

Ingredienti

Per 4 persone

1 cipolla

2 spicchi d’aglio

3 mazzetti di rosmarino

2 scatole di ceci

Brodo fatto con due dadi vegetali biologici

2 patate grosse, lavate, pelate tagliate a pezzetti

220 g di ditaloni

3 cucchiai olio extra vergine d’oliva

Preparazione.

1. Fate soffriggere la cipolla tritata con tre cucchiai d’olio extra vergine d’oliva, dopo qualche minuto aggiungete l’aglio tritato.

2. Quando la cipolla sarà diventata morbida e trasparente, aggiungete i ceci, le patate e 3 rametti rosmarino. Ricoprite con del brodo vegetale e fate cuocere per 20-25 minuti, mescolando abbastanza spesso.

3. A parte cuocete la pasta, poi scolatela quando è al dente.

4. Quando la minestra è pronta togliete i rametti di rosmarino, poi aggiungete la pasta e servite.

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Light Béchamel Sauce (Gluten-free White Sauce)

Béchamel sauce is a delicious white sauce, traditionally used to enrich various recipes like lasagna, cannelloni, crepes and other oven-baked pasta dishes.  Usually made with butter and flour, today we are going to make a lighter gluten-free and Parmesan-flavoured version of this wonderful sauce.
It is a fairly easy and quick recipe to make, just mix the cornstarch with the milk and cook the sauce really gradually and slowly….Take your time with it, heat it gently and stir it constantly during the entire preparation method and you’ll be all right!

Tip. The béchamel sauce might thicken a little too much when it cools down. You can solve this problem by heating the sauce up with some hot milk over a low heat and then blending everything using a mixer. With this method you should get a smooth sauce with the desired consistency.

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Gluten-free Béchamel sauce (white sauce with cornstarch)

Ingredients

600 ml of milk

80 g of cornstarch

4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese

a pinch of grated nutmeg (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Method.

1. In a pan, mix the milk with 80 g of cornstarch (add the milk very gradually).

2. Warm the milk up over a low heat, then bring slowly to a boil, stirring constantly and vigorously. When the sauce has thickened, add the grated Parmesan cheese and stir for a few more minutes. Remove from the heat.

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3. Season with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of grated nutmeg (optional), salt, pepper and serve.

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Also see the Crepes with swiss chard and borage filling recipe and the Buckwheat Crepes recipe

Besciamella con amido di mais (senza glutine)

Ingredienti

600 ml di latte

80 g di amido di mais

4 cucchiai di Parmigiano Reggiano

sale e pepe q. b.

un pizzico di noce moscata

un cucchiaio d’olio extra vergine d’oliva

Preparazione.

1. Mescolate il latte freddo con 80 g di amido di mais (aggiungete il latte molto gradualmente).

2. Mettete il latte sul fuoco e portate ad ebollizione, mescolando energicamente. Quando la crema si sarà addensata, aggiungete il parmigiano grattugiato e mescolate per qualche minuto.

3. Spegnete il fuoco, condite con un cucchiaio di olio extra vergine d’oliva, un pizzico di noce moscata, sale, pepe e servite.

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Guardate anche la ricetta delle Crepes di grano saraceno e la ricetta delle Crepes con ripieno di bietole e borragine.

Pear And Passion Fruit Smoothie

A delicious and delicate smoothie, high in fibre, vitamins A, C and also contains a good quantity of iron, calcium, manganese and potassium. I added some chia seeds for extra fibre, omega 3 fatty acid and vegetable proteins.
If I was to describe it in a few words, I’d say that this smoothie tastes like spring! So take a sip of this wonderful drink, relax and enjoy the flavours!

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Pear and passion fruit smoothie.

for 2 smoothies

Ingredients

2 Williams pears (Bartlett pears)

2 passion fruit (maracujà)

200 ml almond milk (or the vegetable milk of your choice)

2 tablespoons of chia seeds (optional)

4 ice cubes

Method

1. Wash peel and clean the pears then, using a teaspoon, scoop out all the pulp form the passion fruit.

2. Using a blender, blend the fruit with 200 ml of almond milk, two tablespoons of chia seeds and 4 ice cubes.

3. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve.

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Frullato di pere e frutto della passione.

per 2 frullati

Ingredienti

2 pere Williams

2 frutti della passione (maracujà)

200 ml di latte di mandorle (o il latte vegetale di vostra scelta)

2 cucchiai di semi di chia (facoltativo)

4 cubetti di ghiaccio

Preparazione.

1. Sbucciate e pulite le pere poi, utilizzando un cucchiaino, estraete tutta la polpa dai frutti della passione.

2. Frullate la frutta con 200 ml di latte di mandorla, due cucchiai di semi di chia e 4 cubetti di ghiaccio.

3. Guarnite con qualche foglia di menta fresca e servite.

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American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, a month-long campaign to raise awareness about the risk of heart diseases and unhealthy lifestyles; it is also a way to remind us that we have to take care of our hearts and ourselves on a regular basis. One way to do that is to improve our diets by adding more fresh vegetables, whole grains and limiting unhealthy fats, in order to lower the cholesterol levels in our blood.

We all know that these healthy foods contain a lot of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, which are extremely important for our system, more than this, they also contain fibre, another important element that helps maintain low cholesterol levels in our blood. As a consequence, we have to cut down on unhealthy fats like the ones contained in full-fat dairy products, heavily processed food and fatty meat… It doesn’t mean we have to completely avoid these foods, we just have to be a little bit more aware about what we eat.

Healthy eating doesn’t necessarily mean tasteless food…
I am a firm believer that healthy dishes can be tastier than unhealthy processed food. In fact, the less you cook, manipulate and process the ingredients during the preparation method of a recipe, the tastier the food will be, as you preserve the nutrients contained in it…As a consequence, your body will benefit with a boost of energy and good health!

Of course, today’s recipes are dedicated to this topic..

Mixed salad with shrimps-6

Whole spelt and oat crackers-10

Fresh vegetable and shrimp salad.

Difficulty: easy

Ingredients

Serves 4

300 g of shrimps

1 large avocado

16 cherry tomatoes

150 g mixed salad (with fresh carrots and mixed salad leaves)

2 spring onions (optional)

the juice of a lime

a little extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Method.

1. Fill a small pan with water, then cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and poach the shrimps for 5-7 minutes (until they turn pink), then drain and set a side.

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2. Wash, clean and dry all the vegetables. Cut the tomatoes into halves, the avocado into small chunks and mix with the salad. Slice the spring onion and add it to the vegetables.

3. Divide the salad into 4 equal portions, then add the shrimps and season with a little extra virgin olive oil, the juice of a lime, salt and pepper.

4. Serve the salad in bowls with a few whole spelt and oat crackers on the side.

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Mixed salad with shrimps-7

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See also the whole spelt and oat crackers recipe

Insalata con gamberetti e avocado.

Difficoltà: facile

Ingredienti

Per 4 persone

300 g di gamberetti

1 avocado grande

16 pomodorini ciliegia

150 g di insalata mista (con carote fresche)

2 cipollotti (facoltativo)

il succo di un lime

un po’ di olio extra vergine di oliva

sale e pepe q.b.

Preparazione.

1. Fate bollire dell’acqua in una pentola. Spegnere il fuoco e immergetevi i gamberetti per 5-7 minuti (fino a quando diventano rosa), quindi scolate e mettete da parte.

2. Mondate tutte le verdure. Tagliate i pomodorini a metà e l’avocado in piccoli pezzi, poi uniteli all’insalata. Tagliate il cipollotto a fettine molto sottili e mischiatelo alle verdure.

3. Dividete l’insalata in 4 parti uguali, quindi aggiungete i gamberetti e condite con un filo d’olio extra vergine d’oliva, il succo di un lime, sale e pepe.

4. Servite l’insalata con dei crackers di farro e avena.

Vedete anche la ricetta dei crackers di farro e avena

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Skinny “Fries”, My Way!

Low-fat and healthier than the real thing, oven-baked skinny “fries” can be even tastier than deep fried potatoes, if you add fresh herbs and garlic.
These skinny “fries” are super tasty and very crunchy!…None will know they are baked and not fried!!

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

Rosemary and garlic skinny “fries”.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30-35 minutes

4 Servings

Ingredients

a bunch of fresh rosemary

8 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in halves

4 medium-large potatoes

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

what you need

2 large rectangular baking trays

a big bowl

some baking paper

a knife

a kitchen cutting board

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

Method.

1. Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into sticks.

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

2. Put the potatoes in a large bowl and mix with 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

3. Take 2 large baking trays, line them with baking paper and place the potatoes on the trays (not too many, otherwise they’ll stick together).

4. Top the potatoes with the rosemary and the garlic cloves, then bake for 30-35 minutes at 190°C (374° F).

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

5. Take the potatoes out of the oven, remove the garlic and rosemary and serve.

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

Patatine al forno con aglio e rosmarino.

Tempo di preparazione: 10 minuti

Tempo di cottura: 30-35 minuti

Per 4 persone

Ingredienti

un po’ di rosmarino fresco

8 spicchi d’aglio, puliti e tagliati a metà

4 patate medio-grandi

4 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva

sale e pepe q. b.

occorrono:

2 teglie grandi rettangolari

una ciotola grande

2 fogli di carta da forno

un coltello

un tagliere

Preparazione.

1. Lavate, sbucciate e tagliate le patate a bastoncini sottili.

2. Mettete le patate in una ciotola e mescolate con 4 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva, sale e pepe.

3. Prendete una teglia grande, ricoprite con carta da forno e posizionateci sopra le patate, lasciando un po’ di spazio tra un pezzo e l’altro (altrimenti si attaccano).

4. Aggiungete il rosmarino e gli spicchi d’aglio sopra le patate, poi infornate a 190 ° C per 30-35 minuti.

5. Levate le patate dal forno, poi togliete l’aglio e il rosmarino. Servite subito.

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

Skinny fries with garlic and rosemary

Quick And Easy Recipe: Sautéed Carrots

This is an easy and extremely delicious carrot recipe! You can add the quantity of extra virgin olive oil and butter you desire, or you can have a healthy dish with just a little extra virgin olive oil in it. You can adapt this recipe according to your taste.

Sautéed Carrots

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients

For 6 servings

1 kg carrots, washed and peeled

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

salt to taste

a little bit of butter (optional)

Method.

1. Steam the carrots until a little bit tender.

2. Slice the carrots and then sauté (for 5-10 minutes) with the extra virgin olive oil, a little bit of butter (optional), the chopped garlic and parsley.

3. Add some salt and serve.

sautéed carrots

Carote saltate in padella.

Temo di preparazione: 5 minuti

Tempo di cottura: 15-20 minuti

Ingredienti

Per 6 porzioni

1 kg di carote, già pulite

2 spicchi d’aglio (tritati)

4-5 cucchiai di olio extra vergine di oliva

2 cucchiai di prezzemolo tritato

sale q. b.

un po’ di burro (facoltativo)

Preparazione.

1. Cuocete a vapore le carote, fino a renderle più tenere.

2. Tagliare le carote e poi fatele rosolare (per 5-10 minuti) con l’olio extra vergine di oliva, un po’ di burro (facoltativo), l’aglio e il prezzemolo.

3. Aggiungete un po’ di sale e servite.

Quick And Easy: Chestnut Salad With Apples And Escarole

This week, as promised, I start a series of recipes dedicated to chestnuts. Chestnuts are a wonderful and versatile ingredient, full of fibre, nutrients and vitamins. Basically, they are carbohydrates, but they also contains some good proteins and are gluten-free. These fruits are usually roasted or boiled, sometimes used to enrich salads, stews or soups. Chestnuts flour is also quite popular, often used to make tasty breads and various desserts. Candied chestnuts are also an amazing ingredient when it comes to making desserts, but they are usually quite expensive.

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Today I am publishing a salad with crunchy roasted chestnuts, escarole, pine nuts and apples, packed with vitamins (B1, B2, C etc…) and minerals, to boost the immune system with plenty of flavour and texture!

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Salad with roasted chestnuts, escarole and apples.

Ingredients 

For 4 people

400 g of roasted chestnuts (or boiled, if you prefer) see How to make amazing roasted chestnuts

160 g of escarole or curly-leaved endive, washed and dried

1/2 red onion (optional)

30 g of raisins

40 g pine nuts

2 gala apples, washed and dried

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

the juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

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Method.

1. Cut the apples and the escarole leaves. Peel and slice the onion then put it in a cup and fill the cup with water. Leave the onion in the water for 30 minutes and then drain (this operation will make the onion sweeter).

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2. Arrange the escarole leaves on the plates, then add the chopped apples with the raisins, the onion and the pine nuts (divide into 4 servings).

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3. Peal the roasted chestnuts then  add them to the salad.

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4. Season with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a few drops of lemon juice, salt and pepper.

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Insalata di caldarroste, scarola e mele.

Ingredienti

Per 4 persone

400 g di caldarroste (oppure castagne bollite),

per fare le caldarroste seguite questo link:  Come preparare ottime caldarroste a casa

160 g di indivia scarola (oppure indivia riccia) , lavata e asciugata

1/2 cipolla rossa (facoltativo)

30 g di uvetta

40 g di pinoli

2 mele gala, lavate e asciugate

3 cucchiai di olio extravergine d’oliva

il succo di mezzo limone

sale e pepe q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Tagliate le mele e le foglie di scarola. Sbucciate e affettate le cipolle.  Mettete le cipolle a mollo in acqua per 30 minuti (per renderle più dolci), poi scolate.

2. Dividendo in quattro porzioni, sistemate prima le foglie di scarola e poi aggiungete i pezzetti di mele, l’uvetta, la cipolla e i pinoli.

3. Sbucciate le caldarroste e aggiungetele all’insalata.

4. Condite con olio extra vergine d’oliva, qualche goccia di succo di limone, sale e pepe.

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Quick And Easy: Prawn Salad With Rocket And Pomegranate

Last but not least, today I am publishing a wonderful prawn salad with rocket leaves and lots of pomegranate seeds. Extremely easy to make and perfectly balanced, this dish is real treat!!!

It will definitely become a classic at my dinner parties!

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Prawn salad with rocket and pomegranate.

350 g prawns tails

125 g rocket (arugula)

2 spring onions, washed and finely sliced (only the tender part)

half bulb of fennel, washed and finely sliced

2 stalks of celery, washed and finely sliced (only the tender part)

the seeds of a pomegranate

for the lime citronette

the juice of 1/2 a lime

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

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Method.

1. Peel and devein the prawns, then poach in water for a few minutes.

2. Drain the prawns and let cool.

3. Place the arugula, the fennel, the spring onions and the celery in the plates, then add the prawns and garnish with plenty of pomegranate seeds.

4. Make the lime citronette. Mix 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with the juice of half a lime, then season with salt and pepper.

5. Pour the lime dressing over the salad and serve.

Also see Rice Flour Chocolate Cookies With Pomegranate and Light Sabayon With Pomegranate And Pistachios

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Insalata di gamberi con rucola e melagrana.

350 g di code di gambero

125 g di rucola

2 cipollotti, lavati e tagliati finemente (solo la parte tenera)

2 gambi di sedano, lavati e tagliati finemente (solo la parte tenera)

1/2 finocchio, lavato e tagliato finemente

i chicchi di una melagrana

Per la citronette di lime

il succo di mezzo lime

4 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva

sale pepe q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Sgusciate i gamberi e togliete il budellino. Fate bollire i gamberi per qualche minuto.

2. Scolate i crostacei e fateli raffreddare.

3. Mettete i gamberi con la rucola, i chicchi di melagrana, il finocchio e i cipollotti nei piatti.

4. A parte, preparate la citronette di lime. Mescolate 4 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva con il succo di mezzo lime, sale e pepe.

5. Condite l’insalata di gamberi con la citronette di lime e servite.

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