Mrs. Carla Monti

Mrs. Carla Monti

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Healthy Weeknight Dinners

My family and I love to cook, and we typically eat healthy with lots of seafood, and using olive oil instead of butter, following a traditional Mediterranean diet (we are Portuguese on my side, Italian on my husband's).

Below are three typical weeknight dinners that I prepare, and my husband and toddler both enjoy.

#1: Chicken

  • Oven roasted chicken tenderloins, seasoned simply with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder, and then diced. 
  • Portabella mushrooms cooked in a port wine sauce. 
  • Diced zucchini, oven roasted with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then oven broiled with Italian breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.

#2: Salmon

  • Oven roasted Asian-marinated salmon fillets. The marinade consists of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, and sesame seeds. (I omit salt because the soy sauce is salty enough!).
  • Sauteed cannellini beans and spinach in a white wine, olive oil and lemon sauce.
  • Portabella mushrooms sauteed in Marsala wine.
  • Brown rice.

#3: Tilapia

  • Oven roasted tilapia filets seasoned with olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice, and a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Oven roasted yellow potatoes and zucchini, seasoned with olive oil, salt black pepper, garlic powder, and grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Orzo (small type of pasta that more closely resembles rice) and sauteed spinach in a garlicky Alfredo sauce (roux of flour and butter, then minced garlic, heavy cream, milk, and Parmesan cheese whisked together for a thick sauce). 


One of my family's favorite local restaurants is DaVinci's located in the Town Center mall here in Boca Raton. The food is always delicious and fresh, and their happy hour is one of the best in town.

We had dinner here a few weeks ago to celebrate one of my mom's best friend's birthdays.

Short rib ravioli in a creamy mascarpone and beef jus sauce!

Prosciutto and burrata salad, yum!

Spaghetti alle vongole ... I love clams!

A delicious super Tuscan to complement the meal.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes!

'Tis the season for all things pumpkin! I LOVE baking with pumpkin, and these cupcakes are a fall staple in my household.

My Pumpkin Spice Bailey's gives the cream cheese frosting a kick!

More Spaghetti Squash....

This year really kicked off a love affair between me and spaghetti squash. I am a big time pasta lover, so I am very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy the healthy veggie alternate of spaghetti squash.

At this point, I've made several different recipes with it, but last week I made an interesting one. Sauteed onions, garlic, and zucchini slowly cooking in a blend of lemon juice, olive oil, chicken broth, and cream. I roasted the chicken tenderloins separately from the spaghetti squash, and then chopped the chicken and added it to the pan with the veggies and sauce. I added some spinach to wilt, seasoned everything with salt and pepper, and then put it all together.

This meal tasted very healthy and fresh. It was easy to make, and substitutions can be made with whatever veggies you have on hand. I would love to try this again with mushrooms or eggplant.

Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove Miami

I attended a Business Summit hosted by the business school my dad attended in Barcelona, IESE, a few weeks ago. The all day conference was held at the Ritz Carlton in Coconut Grove Miami and of course, the food was fabulous.

Lunch: grilled chicken with mango glaze over rosemary orzo, topped with grilled baby asparagus.

Dessert: Strawberry mousse cake with strawberry gelee.

Cocktail Hour: Plenty of delicious Spanish Rioja (Olee!), assorted mini dessert platters, and appetizer bites.

The small yellow squares are pieces of a traditional Spanish-style tapa: basically an egg potato quiche, with small squeeze stoppers full of hot sauce!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Chicken Corn Chowder!

I found an awesome recipe for chicken & corn chowder on Pinterest, using the crockpot, and I made it my mission to make it for Sunday night supper, where I invited two good friends over. This recipe was a bit more labor intensive than others, as I cooked the chicken breasts first in the crockpot with white wine for 5 hours on low, before shredded and setting it aside. Then I prepared the rest of the chowder, chicken broth, seasonings, canned corn, heavy cream, diced potatoes for 3 hours on high, before adding back in the chicken and some shredded cheddar cheese.

To accompany the chowder, I put a bowl of bacon and cheddar cheese on the table. I don't normally eat bacon, but the cripsy bacon tasted delicious with the rich chowder broth.

My friends brought over plenty of good wine and a beautiful fruit tart, which perfectly complemented the chowder.

This was definitely a winner, and I would make it again! I also brought out my fall decorations since we are now in mid September, and I feel like chowder is an autumn type dish anyway!

Cooper's Hawk Winery - Take Two!

I visited Cooper's Hawk in Coconut Creek a few weeks ago with a girlfriend, and we had the best time. The wines were tasty, the food delicious, and the atmosphere was very fun. I went back last weekend to celebrate a dear friend's birthday, and we had a blast! I love this place.

Hurricane Irma!

Having been through the terrible hurricanes of the 2004 - 2005 season (Katrina, Wilma, Frances - just to name a few!), my family and I felt comfortable enough with Irma to stay home and ride it out. Armed with plenty of supplies (bottled water, wine, diapers, canned food) and a generator, portable AC unit, and lots of gas to power it all up - we were ready for Irma. To top it off, we had impact windows and doors installed in our new house last year - so no need for shutters or plywood.

Having said all that, hurricanes are certainly no joke and this one was quite serious. Losing power is never fun, and surviving in South Florida with no AC is even worse. We ended up going to a local hotel for a bit, just to get out of the heat. Our generator powered some things, like both fridges, so the food didn't go bad, and our microwave, so we had to get creative in the kitchen! One memorable dinner, I cooked salmon, zucchini, and quinoa, all separately, in the microwave, and it was actually delicious! The next morning I made scrambled eggs in the microwave too.

A hurricane tradition in our new house, which began last year with Hurricane Matthew, is to prepare an elaborate cheese plate / happy hour, which we very much enjoyed this time around.

My husband made a delicious grilled shrimp and pasta dinner using our grill. Yum! We love fresh seafood.

Pulled Pork!

I love using my crock-pot, and I never use it enough! One of my favorite recipes for a lazy Sunday night dinner is pulled pork sandwiches. I make the spice rub at home with various spices, and then let the pork do its thing for 8 hours. Once cooked through, I add a bottle of spicy BBQ sauce, toast up some sesame buns, and serve alongside roasted sweet potato wedges. Yum!

*Pro Tip - put a marshmallow inside the jar/container where you keep your brown sugar ... it will keep the sugar from hardening and sticking in big clumps!