Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs

15 Apr
2014-04-09 17.59.35

I had a pretty picture all set up of the beautiful sauce & meatballs sitting on top of the spaghetti with cheese and then I promptly forgot about the picture and ate it instead. So here’s my half-eaten plate of spaghetti & meatballs!

I don’t know what it is about spaghetti and meatballs that’s so fun. It always just looks so delicious and comforting. Now I typically just make spaghetti with meat sauce, but every once in a while I like to mix it up a bit and do meatballs instead. These meatballs are super easy to make and have a great flavor from using a 50/50 mixture of ground pork and ground beef. And the spaghetti sauce is killer too. This whole recipe will probably take close to 2 hours to make, but most of that is for the sauce to simmer. Well worth the time I say.

2014-04-09 16.23.25

For the Meatballs:

  • ¾ pound ground pork
  • ¾ pound ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon onion, minced
  • ½ teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1-1½ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large mixing bowl add the meats and blend together with your hands. Add the onion, parsley, pepper, and garlic salt. Mix again with your hands until the seasonings are well blended with the meat. Add the eggs and while mixing, add in the bread crumbs ½ cup at a time (up to 1½ cups) until the meat begins to feel slightly firm.

Form the meat into 1½” balls with your hands and place on a baking sheet so the meatballs are close but not touching. Bake for 10 minutes or until browned. The meatballs will not be fully cooked.  (Start sauce while meatballs are cooking).

Adapted from Food.com

For the Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1½ teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles

In a large, heavy stockpot, cook the onions in olive oil until softened. Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Stir in red wine & meatballs.

Simmer on low, stirring occasionally for at least an hour. About 10-15 minutes before sauce is ready, cook spaghetti noodles.

Spoon sauce and meatballs over drained spaghetti and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Adapted from Food.com

Slow Cooker Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

13 Apr

2014-03-16 12.48.05

I haven’t made too many Indian meals and thought this would be a quick, easy way to experiment. This had great flavor and was a big hit around here. Even my toddler loved it (which is a rarity). I cut back on the cayenne pepper a bit just to make it more kid-friendly and it still had a good amount of heat. I also shredded my chicken for easier eating. Nice to have something different that wasn’t too “weird”.

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (can use frozen)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2  teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (to add at the end)

Directions:

Put chicken in 5 quart or larger slow cooker and add onion, garlic, spices, butter, tomato paste, lemon juice, and coconut milk. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. The chicken should shred easily with 2 forks when fully cooked.

Stir in yogurt (or sour cream) 15 minutes before serving.  Salt to taste and serve with white or brown basmati rice.

Adapted from Crockpot 365

Crash Hot Potatoes

25 Mar

Smashed potatoes

I’ve never been a huge fan of red potatoes. Especially when quartered and boiled and served as a side at restaurants. No thanks. But, over the years I’ve come to find several variations of red potatoes which I actually enjoy. These Crash Hot Potatoes are my latest and most tasty find. I’ve made these babies probably 4 times in the last month or so. While they do take a bit of time to make, they really aren’t much work. Most of the time involved is waiting for them to cook. Using smaller potatoes will obviously cut way down on the cooking time. I’ve taken to using my pressure cooker for the first part of the process as it’s quicker and more fool-proof to get tender potatoes. This works especially well when I only have larger potatoes to work with.

One really great thing about this recipe is you can pretty much use whatever herb you like. The first time I made these I only had dried thyme available but they still turned out great. I’ve since made them with fresh thyme and fresh rosemary, both of which were awesome. This is now my go-to side whenever potatoes are needed. Give them a shot!

Go to Recipe

 

Bibimbap

25 Feb

bibimbap

I’d never heard of bibimbap before but it looked so delicious I knew I had to try it. There are a lot of components but none of them are too difficult to put together. This is mainly chopping and cooking glorious amounts of fresh veggies. You really could use just about any kind of veggies you like in here so it’s easily customizable. I would suggest however, that you try to the cucumbers as they added a delightful fresh spiciness to the mix. Have I mentioned I’ve already made this twice?

Go to Recipe

Quick “Roasted” Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

10 Feb

Brussels sprouts with bacon

I’m not sure why everybody is always hating on Brussels sprouts. They’re my favorite vegetable, especially when they’re roasted… mm mmm! I came across this recipe in my America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook and tried it out. It was a fabulous way to quickly cook the sprouts (there’s a microwave involved!), but still have the awesome results brought on by roasting.

Serves 4

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 slices bacon, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Microwave bacon in large bowl, uncovered, until rendered, about 3 minutes. Stir in Brussels sprouts, cover, and continue to microwave until largest sprout is just tender, about 4 minutes.

Transfer mixture to rimmed baking sheet and broil, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and sprouts are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

From America’s Test Kitchen’s Quick Family Cookbook

Smoked Salmon Frittata with Green Onion Dressing

7 Feb


smoked salmon frittata

This was a delicious, fast meal for a busy work night. You may want to double it up if it’s for the whole family and/or serve with a side salad.

 

Green Onion Dressing

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked, drained & rinsed (I usually pour boiling water over mine and soak for about 45 minutes)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped finely
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt & pepper

Instructions:

Add the raw cashews to a blender and process until they are finely ground. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice, and garlic powder. Blend until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides a few times.

Stir through the green onions and season to taste with salt & pepper. Refrigerate to thicken before serving.

Smoked Salmon Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon oil or butter
  • 4 large eggs, beaten with a splash of water
  • 3 – 4 oz smoked salmon, sliced

Preheat broiler.

Heat oil or butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet on stove over medium-low heat. Pour in beaten eggs and swirl pan to evenly distribute in a circle. Cook eggs until they are beginning to pull away slightly from the edges of the pan and only the middle is still liquid.

Place the skillet under the broiler and cook until the eggs are just set – they will be firm to the touch, but still spring back to shape. Remove the hot pan from the broiler with oven mitts and slide frittata onto a cutting board or plate.

To serve:

Top frittata with sliced smoked salmon and green onion dressing and garnish with additional green onions if desired.

Adapted from Meatified

Balsamic Blueberry Gummy Snacks (Sugar-free!)

6 Feb

I saw these on my recipe feed and I was very skeptical that they would be any good.  I thought that if I liked them there’s no way my 18 month old would. Imagine my delight when these turned out to be a huge success. They were so easy to make, didn’t stick in the pan (which I was sure they would),  are plenty sweet, and quite addictive. Which is great since they’re mostly made of fruit! I’m super excited to have another go-to healthy snack in my arsenal!

blueberry gummies

Ingredients

  • 4 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons gelatin (I used 4 packets or 1 oz. box of Knox Unflavored Gelatin)
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

Combine blueberries and balsamic vinegar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries are soft and have cooked through. Remove from heat.

While blueberries are cooking, bloom the gelatin. Pour 1 cup of water into a bowl with a large surface area. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, making sure it all gets wet (if there are any dry spots, stir it gently, and if it has soaked up all the water but there’s still dry spots, add a little bit of water). Let sit for 5 minutes.

After allowing the blueberries to cool slightly, transfer them to a blender (or use an immersion stick blender) and puree the blueberries until completely smooth. Return pureed blueberries to the pot. If blueberry mixture has cooled, reheat until warm but not boiling. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in bloomed gelatin until completely dissolved.

Transfer blueberry mixture to a 11″ x 13″ glass dish (or other shallow dish). Allow the mixture to come to room temperature then place in the fridge to set.

The gelatin should take approximately 2 hours to set. Cut into squares and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Adapted from The Primalist

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