Mediterranean-Style Quinoa


This is my first experiment with Quinoa. It was really tasty and I am definitely going to use this power grain again. I used the rice cooker method and used the 2 to 1 ratio, two cups water or broth to one cup quinoa. I also added 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and quinoa before turning the rice cooker on.
The finished product above was really easy. This is for one serving.
Use one cup of cooked Quinoa, one tablespoon of Christine’s Greek salad vinaigrette ( and add any of the following ingredients: Sun dried tomatoes, vine-ripened tomatoes, green or red bell pepper, artichokes, chickpeas, red onion, pitted Greek olives, pine nuts, and feta cheese. Toss and Enjoy a guiltless meal or side dish.

If you have any questions contact me at



Christine’s Greek Salad and Dressing

Last night we had an unexpected visit from friends we hadn’t seen for a few years, and it was a lazy Saturday night for us. I decided to whip up a Greek salad for dinner, and finally, after many times having made this dressing, I’m sharing it with the world. I hope you like it as much as my family does.
Kali Orexi (Greek equivalent to Bon appetit in French)

Salad Ingredients:

2 heads of romaine lettuce
3 cups of vine ripe tomatoes, cut in quarters (see photo)
1 red onion, diced
1 english cucumber, sliced
1 green bell pepper, core and seeds removed, and diced
1/2 cup of Greek pitted olives (optional)
Feta Cheese (use block and crumble into fine pieces)

The Dressing (Makes 1 cup of dressing):
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of fine red wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon of fine sea salt
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
3 large cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of dried mint
1 teaspoon of Cavenders Greek Seasoning (optional)

Combine all the dressing ingredients and place in food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender. For this recipe and for all dressings, I use the immersion blender, specifically the Cuisinart Smartstick 200W hand blender. Please see the picture of what the dressing should look like. I used about half the dressing for the amount of salad above, and poured the dressing over the ingredients and then topped with feta cheese before serving.

Tomatoes on the Vine

Greek Dressing

Christine’s Greek Salad

Green Bean Stew (Loubia B’Zeit)

Green Bean Stew (Loubia B’Zeit)

Difficulty: Very Easy
Serves 4

1-28 ounce bag of frozen cut green beans (Family Size)
2 teaspoons of Ground Allspice
1 cup of onion, diced
2 teaspoons of salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon of dried mint flakes
1-8 ounce can of tomato sauce (Hunts is best)
½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup of water (more if necessary)

Sauté onions on medium-high heat with mint, allspice, salt, and pepper until onions are almost fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Add green beans, water, and tomato sauce and cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes or until beans are tender. Add more water if needed in ¼ cup increments until mixture resembles a thick stew. See picture below:

Kibbi bi Saneah (Baked Kibbi or Baked Kibbeh)


4.5 pounds of lean ground beef or lamb
3 teaspoons of Ground Allspice
2 ½ cups of soaked fine bulgar wheat (wheat needs to be soaked for about 20 minutes before using)
3 teaspoons of salt (add more to taste)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ cup or 4 ounces of snobar (pinenuts)
2-3 ounces of butter
2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Serve with Plain Yogurt or Yogurt Salad (laban)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Baked Kibbeh goes in the oven as three even layers. If you are using 3 pounds of meat, then it’s 1,1, and 1. In this recipe, I used 4.5 pounds of meat, so it’s 1.5, 1.5, and 1.5. The bottom and top layer are raw, and the middle layer is cooked. See pictures for detail. I used the lasagna pan from Pampered Chef and the Kibbeh came out great. It’s a 14”x9”x3”. You can use a 12×9, but make sure you have at least a ½ inch from the top of the pan left empty.

Middle Layer:
Saute’ onions in one tablespoon of oil for about 3 minutes on medium heat. Add one and a half pounds of ground meat, allspice, and salt, and cook until meat is browned. Add snobar (pinenuts) and mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool while the other layers are prepared.

Top and Bottom layers:
With your hands, combine three pounds of meat in a large bowl, soaked bulgar wheat, one tablespoon of oil, two teaspoons of ground allspice, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Mix well until wheat and seasoning is evenly distributed.


Grease bottom of pan with nonstick cooking spray, or very little butter or olive oil. Place half of the raw meat mixture on the bottom of the pan and rub olive oil on hands to spread the mixture evenly. Add cooked meat mixture and spread evenly across the bottom layer making sure there are no large clumps of ground meat. Using olive oil, spread the last raw layer on top of the cooked layer.

Bottom layer shown:

With Middle Layer:

With Top layer:

Cutting Kibbeh (Before oven):

Take a sharp knife and cut the Kibbeh diagonally from one end and shown below.

Once finished, cut the Kibbeh again in the other direction from the adjacent corner that you started on, forming squares as shown below:

The final step is optional and includes placing small pats of butter over the top layer.

Cook Kibbi for about 45 minutes covered with foil, and then cook uncovered until top is browned and cooked throughout.

Oscar Weekend Wrap Up

This past weekend I hosted a dinner with some friends, and the food was the icing on the cake. Good company seems to always make the meal more enjoyable.
Josh and Kristin expressed their love of Lebanese food, and so the menu included Baked Kibbi or Kibbeh (Kibbi bi Saneah), Green Bean Stew (Loubia B’Zeit), Tabouleh, Rice, and of course, Hummus. This was my third time making the Kibbi, and I was a little nervous, but it came out great because everyone went for seconds. If you have never had Baked Kibbi before, it is like a Lebanese meatloaf.
I’m posting two new recipes to Gourmet Anise, Baked Kibbi and Lebanese Green Beans (Loubia B’Zeit), and you can find them under the Mediterranean menu under Recipes by Cuisine. Loubia B’Zeit can be eaten with pita bread or served with rice. My mother likes to use fresh green beans, and I will have to try that recipe another time and although this is a gourmet website, for the most part, I’m bending the rules by using frozen green beans. When your a new mom, sometimes you need to take a shortcut to still enjoy a dish that you love or you may never make it. The main dish and side dish were completed, but now, I needed a salad for this meal and what better dish than Tabouleh. The only problem that I had was with the tomatoes because at this time of the year, the tomatoes aren’t that great here in Germany. As I’ve said before, tomatoes are the key component of Tabouleh. Why? THE JUICE! It’s all about the juicy tomatoes.
With Kibbi, Loubia, and Tabouleh completed, the rice and yogurt salad were the last dishes to prepare. Leave these for last so you have hot rice, but if you want to prepare the yogurt salad early, you can. The Cucumber Yogurt salad (Laban) is easy. Here is the recipe:

Khyar Bi Laban (Yogurt salad with cucumbers)
1 cup of plain yogurt
1/4 cup of chopped seedless cucumber
1 tablespoon of fresh mint, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

I wasn’t able to take a picture of the salad close up, but next time, I will. Here is a picture of all the dishes served family style:

For Dessert, Kristin brought Oreo truffles, a recipe she got from There is also a recipe at We started with about 20 of them and as you can see, there are only a handful left after the first round of indulgence. Here is a picture just before my husband got a hold of them and luckily, I was able to eat a couple of them because this was taken right before my husband went for round two.

These truffles were TO DIE FOR! I crave them every night since I’ve had them. So much for the diet…
It’s a good thing Kristin brought these because I chickened out on making K’nafeh bi Jibn, a Lebanese dessert. I have never made it, but it’s a very unique dish. It’s made with Semolina, Cream of Wheat, and Cheese, and of course, BUTTER. It is then topped with this sweet syrup that is absolutely amazing. I will make this some time in the next couple of weeks and post the recipe, that is, if it comes out good.

All in all, it was a great night. The company was great. The food was a success, and the kids played well. This was also the very first time I had all the food ready, and so I was able to enjoy the company, and what a difference that makes. 😉

You can find all the recipes mentioned under Mediterranean recipes on the website under Recipes by Cuisine.

Until the next “Weekend Wrap Up”, have a great week and keep cooking. Even if you have to take some shortcuts, I won’t tell if you won’t.


Spinach Artichoke Breakfast Casserole

This casserole was inspired by Panera’s Spinach Artichoke Souffles…
You can follow this recipe and bake in individual souffle dishes as an alternative.

Make about 8 servings


1 cup of frozen chopped spinach (drained) or fresh sauteed spinach
1/2 cup of chopped canned artichokes (non-marinated)
1/2 cup of diced Canadian bacon (optional)
1/4 cup of chopped chives
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/4 teaspoon of oregano
1 package of Pillsbury crescent rolls or Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets
3 cups of a mix of finely shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese (use Sargento Italian blend)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Defrost spinach in microwave. Set aside and let cool. Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl. Once the spinach is cool (run under cool water to speed up process), make sure all the water is drained from the frozen spinach and squeeze excess water out if necessary. Add spinach and remaining ingredients to egg mixture. Stir well. Spread out dough in a 9×13 non-stick casserole dish. Make sure there are no holes in the dough and if necessary spread out dough up sides of casserole dish. Pour egg batter over the dough and spread out the ingredients. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the casserole is cooked. Check the middle of the casserole with a knife to make sure it comes out clean.

Mediterranean Tuna Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Tuna Pasta Salad

Makes 4-6 Servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Time tip: Chop the veggies while pasta is cooking.

1 14.5 oz Box Penne Pasta (Use whole wheat pasta or Barilla PLUS as a healthy alternative)
10-12 oz of canned Albacore Tuna in Water
1 cup of cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup celery
1/2 cup pitted greek olives (green or black olives can be substituted)
1/4 cup Feta Cheese (you can always add more)
1/2 cup of Red Onion (use 1/4 cup white onion if red onion is not available)
6 Pepperoncinis (optional)
Sea salt to taste

1 Tbsp of Fresh Oregano
1 Tbsp of Fresh Basil
1 Tbsp of Chopped Garlic
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup White Distilled Vinegar
1/4 cup good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (First Cold Press preferred)
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
1/4 tsp Crushed Red pepper (optional)


Cook pasta according to the instructions on the box, preferably Al Dente. Drain and let sit until cool. While the pasta is cooking, chop the bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, and onion and place in a large bowl. Add drained tuna, drained garbanzo beans, and olives and toss. Once the pasta is cool, mix with vegetables and tuna. Set aside.

For the Dressing:
Chop the oregano, basil, and garlic and place in a separate bowl. Add vinegar and oil and use a whisk to combine all ingredients. Sometimes, I use a fork and mix really well. A salad dressing bottle works really well here. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and toss the salad very well.

Add the pepper and the feta. Because the olives, tuna, and cheese are salted, I recommend only adding salt if necessary. I left out the feta in the picture for reduced fat. Garnish with tomatoes and fresh basil. Add the Pepperoncinis and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes for a kick!

Enjoy! 🙂