Meatball Sliders

Meatballs of all sorts have become one of my go to entertaining dishes, so for my sisters bridal shower I decided to do meatball sliders.  I used my same turkey and chicken meatball and tomato basil sauce recipe that I used in my older post Meatballs!! but instead of serving them with pasta I turned them into mini sandwiches.

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Following the directions from the Meatballs!! post after both the sauce and the meatballs are ready combine them and cover the meatballs in the sauce.  If you are making this ahead of time now let them cool a bit then store in the refrigerator until an hour before you are ready to serve them then reheat over low until hot all the way through.  You can also reheat them in a slow cooker over low just add a little water and change to the keep warm setting, this is how I prefer to do it.  As the meatballs are reheating slice fresh mozzarella cheese. Preheat oven to 400. To create the sliders cut the meatballs in half and spread out on a sheet tray covered in tin foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Put the mozzarella on the meatballs and into the oven until the cheese is melty 5-10 mins. I couldn’t find slider sized french rolls but that is what I would recommend using or you can do what I did and cut up regular sandwich french rolls into thirds, place the meatballs and cheese on the rolls and garnish with a fresh basil leaf. Enjoy!

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Pulled Pork Sliders

I had never made pulled pork before so I looked at a few different cookinglight.com recipes before combining a few to create my pulled pork sliders and coleslaw recipe for my sisters bridal shower.  I ended up modifying the rub to be closer to what I use for barbecued chicken by adding garlic powder and onion powder and not using smoked paprika, that most recipes called for but I just do not like very much. This is a great party or casual dinner party meal because you can make it ahead of time and then leave it on warm until you are ready to serve.

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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork:

Ingredients:

1 (4-5 pound) boneless pork shoulder also called the Boston butt, trimmed

Rub:

2 Tbls brown sugar

1 Tbsp chile powder

1 Tsp garlic powder

1 Tsp paprika

1 Tsp onion powder

1 Tsp dry mustard powder

1 Tsp cumin

1 Tsp sea salt

1 Tsp fresh ground black pepper

Cooking Liquid:

2 cups water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup ketchup

Directions:

Combine and mix all the ingredients for the rub. Rub the rub mixtures all over the pork shoulder and let sit for at least an hour. After the pork has absorbed the rub, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and brown the pork on all sides, cooking each side for 3-4 minutes. In your slow cooker combine and mix the cooking liquid together, place the pork in the slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until tender and falling apart. Remove the pork and strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan, slowly let the cooking liquid reduce until thick like a barbeque sauce. Serve on slider buns with sauce and coleslaw, recipe below.

Lemon Vinaigrette Coleslaw

1 package pre shredded coleslaw

1 lemon juiced and zested

¼ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tsp honey

¼ cup chopped parsley

In a serving bowl add lemon juice, vinegar, and honey whisk until combined, continue whisking and stream in olive oil. Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Add coleslaw to bowl and toss to dress.

Bridal Shower Pics and Ideas…Recipes Coming Soon

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The beautiful future bride and groom!

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Drink Table!

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Champagne Bar!

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Dessert Table

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Pulled Pork Sliders

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Clasic Burger Sliders

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Brie & Raspberry Grilled Cheese

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Watermelon Feta and Mint Bites

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Mac’n’Cheese Mini Martini Cups

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Turkey Meatball Sliders

Taco Night!!!

I love mexican food and love making tacos of all kinds and salsas and guacamole! Before we get to the recipes a few tips if you are making all four items. First chop all the garlic, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro you will need for all the dishes before you start cooking. This actually is a good tip for anytime you are cooking multiple dishes as the same time that use some of the same ingredients. That way once you get started everything is ready to be added to each individual dish.

Tacos

1 package 99% fat free ground turkey

½ red onion, diced

1 tsp jalapeno, diced (optional)

3 garlic cloves, diced

2 Tbs olive oil

1 lime juiced and zest

¼ cup chopped cilantro

¼ cup beer

Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and lime zest and cook until onion starts to soften. Add turkey to pan and let cook all the way through, breaking up the turkey into small pieces. Deglaze with the beer, continue cooking until the beer has absorbed into the meat and take off heat and finish with lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper.

Serve on corn tortillas warmed over the stove burner on low or heated up in the oven on 350 on a cookie tray covered by parchment paper. If you are heating the tortillas in the oven you can also melt some cheese on the tortillas (my moms trick when I was a kid) Both ways taste great and are healthier than frying. Top with the coleslaw, salsa and guacamole!  

 

Honey Lime Cilantro Coleslaw

1 package pre shredded coleslaw

2 limes juiced and zest

¼ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tsp honey

¼ cup chopped cilantro

In a serving bowl add lime juice, vinegar, and honey whisk until combined, continue whisking and stream in olive oil. Add cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Add coleslaw and toss to dress.  

Salsa

1 package cherry or grape tomatoes or 4 roma tomatoes (organic)

1 lime juiced and zest

¼ cup chopped cilantro

¼ red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 tsp jalapeno, diced

 

Add onion garlic and jalapeno to the food processor, pulse 4-5 times until finely minced, add cilantro and pulse 2 times, then add tomatoes and lime juice and zest and pulse until well combined but still has some texture. Salt and pepper to taste.   

Food processor – if you do not have one just dice everything as small as you can and stir together, it will look more like a Pico de Gallo that way.

Guacamole

2 avocados, diced

1 lime juiced and zest

¼ red onion, diced

¼ cup chopped cilantro

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 tsp jalapeno, diced

Cut avocados in half and remove pit, using a small paring knife dice avocados and use a spoon to scoop them out into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and using a fork mash the avocados and stir until well combined but not totally smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Greek grilled chicken

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A few years ago I spent a summer traveling Europe and one of my favorite places was Greece. I especially loved the light bright freshness of the cuisine. This recipe is my version of the classic greek salad and an oregano marinated grilled chicken.

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Greek grilled chicken, Greek salad and easy tzatziki    

1 package boneless skinless chicken tenders

1 package boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 lemons & zest

2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tsp fresh dill, chopped

1 Tsp fresh mint, chopped

1 Tbs fresh oregano, chopped

1 Tsp dried oregano

2 garlic cloves, diced

¾ red onion, diced

Salt & pepper

 

Combine all ingredients starting with lemon zest, stir to combine add chicken and let marinate for 45 mins. For best flavor cook on the BBQ or use a grill pan and cook in batches.

 

Greek salad

½ bag pre washed mixed greens

½ english cucumber sliced

½ package cherry tomatoes

½ package low fat feta cheese crumbled

¼ red onion

Dressing

1 lemon, juice & zest

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp honey  

1 Tsp fresh dill, chopped

1 Tsp fresh mint, chopped

1 Tsp fresh oregano, chopped

1 Tsp dried oregano

¼ cup olive oil

 

Combine first seven ingredients then whisk in olive oil until combined, salt & pepper to taste.

 

Tzatziki

1 cup nonfat greek yogurt

¼  english cucumber thinly sliced

1 lemon

1 Tsp fresh dill, chopped

1 Tsp fresh mint, chopped

1 Tsp fresh oregano, chopped

1 Tsp garlic powder

Salt & pepper


Toss salad in dressing and serve with chicken and tzatziki on the side. Also great with toasted pita bread and hummus. Leftover chicken is great as a pita sandwich the next day!

Lazy night dinner

Its friday night and you are tired from a week of work but you don’t want to eat out here is a great easy lazy night tasty dinner. I made this and it looks much more impressive than the amount of effort it takes to make. Only minimal prep and the oven does most of the work for you.

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Rosemary & garlic roasted potatoes and lamb steaks

2 lamb steaks

1 lbs. baby potatoes

½ cup chicken broth

1 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs fresh rosemary

1 red onion rough chopped

5 garlic cloves, left whole

Salt & Pepper  

 

Preheat oven to 425. Toss potatoes with olive oil & rosemary. Add to roasting pan with chicken broth, onion and garlic. Cook for 15 mins then add the lamb steaks. Cook until potatoes are tender and lamb is preferred level of doneness. Serve with a simple side of steamed and then sauteed haricot vert (green beans) cooked in garlic olive oil and finished with lemon juice for a bit of brightness to the meal. Salt & pepper to taste.

 

Wine Tasting – Found Object – Malbec

Wine Tasting - Found Object - Malbec

As part of the planning for my sisters August wedding we are trying to find the best moderately priced wines we can. We are looking for 2 reds, a white and a champagne. To pick them we are rating them from 1-5 with no half points allowed. Now let me warn you that this is a totaly subjective rating system and none of us are wine connoisseurs, just people who like a good wine, so take our advice with a grain of salt.

Tonights wine was a Found Object Malbec which got a unanimous vote of 3 from us. It’s a nice Malbec but was not quite wedding quality, but for the money, if you like Malbecs, its good far a casual dinner.

Job search update and a health food snack

On the job search front I am actively reaching out to my network and starting to connect with people and companies that I am interested in. I have my first informational interview set up for Friday and I am looking forward to learning more about Sole Society from a fellow Trojan alum. As part of my search process I have been reading a lot of advice from influencers on LinkedIn I have been sharing some of the better articles with my Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Like this article that is a great reminder why and how social media is more important then ever in your job search process. http://preview.tinyurl.com/jwyhutx

I also tried out a new snack for when you get the craving for potato chips but know you shouldn’t eat them, Kale Chips. I was a little skeptical but they were surprisingly tasty reminded me of the flavor of toasted pumpkin seeds. I can’t take credit for the recipe but I did modify it a bit and I am still perfecting it, would love any advice or tips you have. 

Trader Joe’s Organic Ready to Eat Kale Chips 

Spread parchment paper out on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Cover with one layer of kale and spray with cooking spray again. I followed their advice and tossed the kale with a bit of white wine vinegar, I also added a little garlic powder and pepper. 

Bake at 200 for about 30 min tossing every 10 mins, until crunchy and toss with sea salt.  Image

Meatballs!!

So I know the blog says it is not only about food but also about dating and job searching but after few failed attempts at online dating I am back to the drawing board with that one and I am just getting started with a new refocused job search as my consulting job is coming to an end. So in the mean time more food! Well it was a cold and windy day and I was in the mood for comfort food, but do not want to indulge too much on a weekday so I made my classic but healthier version of spaghetti and meatballs. I also made a homemade tomato sauce, recipe included, to go with it but there are a lot of good jarred options if you are pressed for time.

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Turkey & Chicken Sausage Meatballs

2 handfuls of baby spinach chopped

1 egg

1 egg white

1 Tbs. olive oil

½ cup panko bread crumbs

½ cup non-fat milk

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 Tbs. dried oregano

1 Tbs. fresh chopped basil and/or parsley

3 cloves finely diced garlic

1 shallot finely diced

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 package 99% fat free ground turkey breast (usually a little more than 1 lb.)

1 package Sweet Italian Chicken or Turkey Sausage, removed from the casings

 

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 450. Mix first 11 ingredients, up to S&P, until well combined then add the meats. Mix well with your hands until it is incorporated but not over mixed because that will toughen your meatballs. Use a teaspoon to help keep the meatballs all the same size about 1 inch around. Place on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper lightly greased with cooking spray and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Add to sauce and serve with sauce and spaghetti and fresh grated parmesan cheese.

 

Tomato Basil Sauce

 

3 cloves of garlic finely diced

1 onion diced

1 Tbs. dried oregano

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 cup sliced mushrooms

5 roma tomatoes diced

1 can San Marzano tomatoes

1 can tomato paste  

2 cups baby spinach (optional)

¼ cup of red wine

¼ cup fresh basil

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

¼ cup skim milk

 

Directions


Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat add onion, garlic, and oregano until they soften, then add mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes  then deglaze with red wine. Add fresh tomatoes cook until they start to break down then add both canned tomatoes. Cook for at least 15-20 minutes. Add spinach if using cook until soft. Finish with milk, parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Salt and pepper to taste.