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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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.

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.

 

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.  

Wedding Planning and kabobs

In addition to a job search and cooking for my parents I have also been helping my sister with wedding planning. So today we are meeting for the millionth planning session (ok millionth might be an exaggeration) to figure out what to do about flowers (which cost a fortune), décor and maybe music… Fingers crossed it is a good use of our time.

 

Coming back to this post a few hours later we did get a few things accomplished, we emailed the florist and décor person and ordered a bunch of décor stuff from http://www.save-on-crafts.com/ (its great for discounted crafts)

 

Following the marathon wedding planning meeting we had a nice light meal of grilled seafood kabobs, rice and sautéed sugar snap peas.

 

Grilled Seafood Kabobs – I purchased these already put together from a local fresh seafood market and seasoned them myself with lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. To make for your self buy whatever type of fish you like to grill (I love good salmon) and cut into 1 inch cubes and stack with 1 inch squares of onion and red and green bell peppers. Season and cook for a few minutes on each side until fish is done.

 

A nice bright fresh side to go with the seafood kabobs is sautéed sugar snap peas. I personally spend the extra money to get the ready to eat vegetables because I found it increases the amount I eat and cook over all, but on to the recipe

Ingredients

1 bag of sugar snap peas

1 clove of garlic finely diced

1 shallot finely diced

1 Tbs. olive oil

Directions

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan, add shallots and garlic and cook until slightly soft. Add the peas and cook over medium heat until tender crisp.  

Enjoy! 

First try and chicken soup

Well I have never done this before but here goes my first post. As you can guess by the title have boomeranged back into my parents’ home again… not ideal but I am making the best of it. Part of that has been becoming their “personal chef” that works out because I love to cook for others and they get to have (if I do say so myself) great meals without the work. So my credentials as a cook are a love of food and cooking and years of cooking for myself and others and one year cooking at an upscale local rustic Mediterranean restaurant. So if this is a blog at least in part about food I guess a recipe is in order. Yesterday one of my “roomies,” otherwise known as Dad, was not feeling well and requested chicken noodle soup.

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

Mirepoix – 1 diced onion, 2 diced carrots, 2 diced celery sticks

1 Tbsp fresh & dried Thyme

1 bay leaf

2 Quarts of low sodium chicken broth (or use homemade if available)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 package each of boneless skinless chicken breasts & thighs

2 cups chopped carrots

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 cups green beans

1 cup peas

½ pound of pasts (any short shape you like)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

Fill a large pot with 6 cups of water, salt and a splash of olive oil and bring to a boil (I cook the noodles in a separate pot so they stay al dente and don’t suck up all the broth)

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat 

Sauté the mirepoix and fresh Thyme until ingredients just begin to caramelize

Deglaze the pan with all of the chicken broth and increase heat to high (you can also first deglaze with a splash of white wine then add the broth)

Add bay leaf and all the chicken and bring to a boil

When chicken is cooked though remove and cut into pieces also remove bay leaf

Turn heat to medium and add the carrots and mushrooms first followed by the green beans

Boil pasta until al dente following package instructions, drain and hold aside

Let soup simmer until vegetables are tender, add peas for the last few minutes 

Salt and pepper to taste

To serve put pasta in a bowl and cover with soup…enjoy!