Meatballs

This is the first meatball recipe I tried, and I really like it. The meatballs are very tender and flavorful. The original recipe calls for half the meat to be ground pork, but I can never find it, and all beef is fine. I don’t think the bread really needs to be crustless either; tonight I just put a large roll in the food processor and it all turned out fine.

Yield: About 20-22 meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs from crustless French or country-style bread
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 1 pound ground beef (85/15)
  • ¾ cup finely ground Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • spaghetti sauce of choice (I use a jar of three-cheese flavor)

Directions:

  1. Pour milk into breadcrumbs and stir to moisten. Let sit 10 minutes.
  2. Place beef in large bowl. Add parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  3. Whisk eggs in a small bowl; whisk in garlic. Add to the meat mixture.
  4. Add breadcrumbs to meat mixture.
  5. Using hands, quickly and gently mix meat mixture until all ingredients are evenly combined. Do not over-mix.
  6. Chill mixture for 15 – 60 minutes.
  7. Form meat mixture into ping pong ball-sized balls, and arrange in single layer in sauce in a large pot or pan. Bring to simmer.
  8. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

(Adapted from Epicurious.)

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Chicken Pot Pie

I’ve had this recipe in my Pinterest for a while and tonight I felt utterly compelled to make it. It turned out fantastic and looked exactly like the picture from the source, which is pretty impressive! I might cut the salt a bit next time – it was perfect for adults but my kids tend to like less.

Yield: 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup chopped carrot (about ½ carrot)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (or less for kids)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon “Better Than Bouillon” chicken base
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I used rotisserie)
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup diced Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 large spud)
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 egg, beaten with fork

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take out puff pastry to thaw at room temperature.
  2. Microwave the diced potatoes on high in a covered bowl until they begin to become tender (about 3 minutes).
  3. In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add carrots and salt and sauté until the carrots begin to become tender (about 3 minutes).
  4. Sprinkle flour over mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Gradually whisk in milk, heavy cream, and and Better Than Bouillon, and bring to a slow boil. Simmer gently over medium-low heat until sauce begins to thicken (about 5 minutes).
  6. Turn heat to low and add chicken, peas, potatoes, and thyme. Pour chicken mixture into a 9 x 9 baking dish.
  7. Cut puff pastry into 12 equal strips, using fold lines as a guide. Lay puff pastry strips over chicken mixture, weaving it together to form a lattice pattern. Using a pastry brush, brush egg onto the top of the puff pastry.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes. The top of the puff pastry will be a deep golden brown color. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

(Adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen.)

Meal Prep: Beef with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

The original meal calls for a homemade BBQ sauce but I prefer ketchup, which adds 10 grams of carbohydrates. A low-carb ketchup would be better if I can find one. They also used bison/kangaroo which is leaner, but I just use lean beef.

Yield: 6 meals

Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds sweet potatoes/yams (about 2 large)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt/pepper/seasoning
  • 1¼ pounds green beans
  • 2 pounds lean beef (93/7)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¾ cup ketchup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dice sweet potatoes into 1-inch squares. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasoning you like. Stir to coat and then bake on silicone-lined baking sheet for 30 minutes.
  2. Clean and trim the green beans, and steam them for 15 minutes. Shock them in ice water to maintain color.
  3. Mix up all the beef ingredients thoroughly, then form into 12 90-gram patties (they will be soft, use patty paper to keep them separate!). Heat the coconut oil on medium-high heat, then cook off the patties in batches, about 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Divide into 6 containers, each containing 2 beef patties, 100 grams of sweet potatoes, and 60 grams of green beans. Serve with 2 tablespoons ketchup.

Macros: 489 calories, 18.1 grams fat, 44.2 grams carbohydrates, 37.6 grams protein

(Adapted from Fit Couple Cooks Beef Meal Prep.)

Meal Prep: Shrimp Scampi with Cauliflower Rice and Spinach

This meal is supposed to come with a tablespoon of pesto for fat and flavor, but I don’t like pesto enough to justify the price of 2 cups of basil. So, I’m planning to experiment with adding some parmesan or nuts or something to the “rice”.

Yield: 4 meals

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups cauliflower (about 30-ounce head)
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 pound baby spinach (tail on)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt/pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut cauliflower into small florets and rice it in batches using a food processor.
  2. In a large skillet, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the cauliflower. Season with salt/pepper to taste (and other seasonings as desired). Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In another large skillet with a lid, heat up another tablespoon of olive oil. Add 2 cloves of crushed garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the shrimp (optional: remove tails). Season with salt and pepper, and add parsley. When shrimp is nearly done, add the butter and half the lemon juice. Remove shrimp with tongs to reserve pan juices.
  4. Cook the spinach in the same pan as the shrimp, adding more as it cooks down.
  5. Divide into 4 containers, each containing 1 cup of cauliflower rice, ¼ of the shrimp, and ¼ of the spinach. Serve with ½ tablespoon Parmesan sprinkled over rice.

Macros: 254 calories / 13.1 grams fat / 6.7 grams carbohydrates / 32 grams protein

(Adapted from Fit Couple Cooks Shrimp Meal Prep.)

Country-Style Peppered Pork Stuffing

I ❤ stuffing. I ❤ sausage. And stuffing with sausage in it makes me deliriously happy. This recipe definitely takes some work but it’s worth it!

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups bread cubes (⅓ – ½ inch, from crusty bread)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • ½ cup dry white wine (OR more broth and a bit of lemon juice)
  • 1 pound spicy pork sausage (not in casing)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup chopped celery leaves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt (unless stuffing into brined bird)
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup low-salt, low-fat chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Toast bread cubes on cookie sheets in 350 oven until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery and sauté till tender. Add sage, sauté 1 minute. Add wine, boil until it evaporates. Add sausage and cook until cooked through.

  3. Stir pork mixture, parsley and celery leaves into bread cubes. Whisk eggs, salt, nutmeg and pepper in medium bowl. Add to stuffing.

  4. Bake in bird OR in a separate buttered dish. If baking separately, add more broth until moist, cover with buttered foil for about 30 minutes, then remove foil and allow stuffing to brown.

The first two steps can be done a day in advance. Store the bread at room temperature, and keep the pork mixture refrigerated.

(From an old friend and excellent chef, Bitsy Lee.)

Almond Squares

In all honesty I haven’t made this yet. A coworker of Eric’s brought these into the office and apparently everyone went crazy over them. Maybe if I post it I’ll remember to make it!

Yield: 2 – 2½ dozen squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 7 ounce tube pure almond paste, grated (small holes)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds, divided

Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325º. Spray 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cream butter and sugar thoroughly in large bowl. Add egg yolk and almond extract and mix. Add grated almond paste. Beat well. Add flour and beat until just blended.
  3. Pat batter into pan. Beat egg whites until foamy and brush over surface of dough. Scatter ½ cup almonds over top and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. While still hot, mix glaze ingredients and spread over surface. Sprinkle with additional almonds. Cool and cut into squares.

(From newspaper clipping.)

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

I fully accept that this recipe is just dumping cans in a pot. It probably covers the entire adult RDA of sodium. But it’s sooo good and sooo easy! I’m planning to experiment with switching some of the ingredients to low-sodium versions… but here’s the original.

Yield: About 8 x 1 cup servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning (½ of a 1.25 ounce packet… I use Ortega)
  • 1 x 15 ounce can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes*
  • 1 x 15 ounce can black beans
  • 1 x 15 ounce can whole kernel corn
  • 1 x 5.5 ounce can V8 (or tomato juice)

* I hate the texture of chunky tomatoes, so I blend them in a food processor before adding to the slow cooker.

Directions:

  1. Brown the turkey in a large skillet and drain off any extra fat.
  2. Place the turkey in a 3½ – 4 quart slow cooker.
  3. Add all the other ingredients (do not drain the beans, tomatoes, or corn) and stir.
  4. Cook for 2-3 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low.

We like to have it with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and just a bit of sour cream. Sometimes, if I’m on my game, I make cornbread to go with it as well.

(Adapted from SparkRecipes.)