It's Kids Clothes Week, so family and house will be de-prioritized for seven days. Sorry, sweeties! Fortunately, I have a stash of yummies in the freezer for family dinners. This is one of our favorites, and when I make it fresh, I always freeze half of the meatballs and sauce for another time. This is how they come out of the freezer:
You can find the recipe here.
Instead of pasta, I like to serve these with zucchini noodles. I have a new toy, the Spriralizer.
It produces wonderful noodles from any vegetable.
If you're not a fan of slimy zucchini (who is, I wonder?) try this trick: Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and let sit for an hour or so. It draws a bunch of the water out for a firmer "noodle." See how much water I was extracted by the salt (below)? For you smoothie lovers, don't throw away the zucchini water -- save it as a boost in your breakfast treat.
To cook, simply sauté in a little butter, olive oil, or pesto. Serve with meatballs.
After many attempts and failures, I have found the 3 secrets to a juicy turkey burger:
1. Don't use the leanest ground turkey -- the 85% lean / 15% fat is still healthy, but you do need that fat.
2. Add FRESHLY ground bread crumbs and egg to keep the moisture in
3. Let the burgers stand 5-10 minutes, so the juice can evenly reincorporate back into all the meat.
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh soft bread crumbs (don't use the dry bread crumbs, or your burgers will be rubbery)
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds ground turkey -- 85% lean / 15% fat
Cook onion and garlic in olive oil until very tender. Place in large bowl and cool 10 minutes. Add bread crumbs, BBQ sauce, egg, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Work in turkey with your hands until combined. Form into
patties (or 14 silders). Refrigerate patties 3 hours. Grill or saute until done, turning once, until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F. Top with cheese; cover and let stand until cheese melts.
Yields 8 burgers or 14 sliders
Brining is the secret to moist pork chops, and this copycat recipe is de-li-cious!
4 bone-in pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup coarse kosher salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 gallon cold water
1 tablespoon black pepper
Copycat Shake 'n' Bake Ingredients:
2 cups dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon minced onion
1/2 pinch dried basil leaves
1/2 pinch dried parsley
1/2 pinch dried oregano
Instructions: A heavy-duty plastic tube, stainless-steel bowl, or re-sealable plastic bag can work as a brining container, as long as the pork is fully submerged. Weight with a plate, if necessary, to keep the meat fully covered by the brine. Dissolve salt and sugar in the boiling water. Add it to the cold water; add pepper and stir to combine. Chill brine completely in the refrigerator before adding pork. Place your pork in the water and place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all the Shake 'n' Bake ingredients in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Seal bag & shake all ingredients together.
Rinse THOROUGHLY your pork chops, then shake each piece in the coating bag. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook 15 minutes or until done (160 degrees).
By the way, this goes great with Grown Up Mac and Cheese!
Peaches are in season! Hooray!
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh peaches (2 medium peaches, seeded), chopped (or frozen unsweetened peaches, thawed)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cupcake liners (optional)
Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside. Sift 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl, toss the peaches with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour.
Whisk together the sour cream, butter, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring quickly until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the peaches and divide the
batter among the muffin cups. (The dough will be somewhat cakey.) Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean and the muffins are puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Remove the muffins from the oven, let cool in the tin for five minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
Pork Chops with Roasted Peach Sauce
3 ripe peaches
6 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. powdered ginger
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. garlic
1 T. olive oil
4 thick pork chops, boneless
Peel peaches, and cut in half to remove the pit. Place on a baking tray, hollow side up, and dot with about 1 tsp
of salted butter per half. Sprinkle each half with 1 T. of brown sugar, and roast in preheated oven at 425 for about 25 minutes, or until tender throughout.
Combine roasted peaches, soy sauce, and ginger in a food processor; process until smooth. Set aside.
Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat with olive oil over medium heat. Trim all visible fat from chops, season with pepper, and brown chops. Remove chops and cover with foil.
Pour peach sauce in skillet, and boil until reduced by half. Add chops, and serve.
There's nothing like a roasted chicken Sunday dinner. This recipe is so easy, but it does require a bit of planning ahead. The chicken needs to brine for 5 hours and then sit in the fridge and crisp for at least 4 hours.
4 quarts water and / or apple juice
6 T. kosher salt
2 T. granulated sugar
1/2 large onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
Other leftover veggies and bits
1/2 head garlic
Fresh or dried herbs of your choice
Chicken and Gravy Ingredients:
1 whole chicken
Tarragon or oregano
1/2 stick butter
2 springs rosemary
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
4 T. flour
1 cup apple juice or cidar
Combine all of the ingredients for the brine in a large container. Add the chicken and let it brine in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours.
Remove the chicken from the brine and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels. Combine the herbs, and butter in a small bowl. Season, to taste, with salt. Work the butter under the skin of the chicken and massage it into the breasts and the legs. Massage the butter on the outside of the skin as well.
Put the peach, leek, and rosemary in a roasting pan and season with salt. Arrange the chicken on top of the veggies and refrigerate uncovered for at least 4 hours. This will help the skin dry out and become really brown and crispy. After refrigerating, the chicken is ready to go in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put the wine and chicken stock in the bottom of the roasting pan. Slather a bit of olive oil on the chicken -- like putting suntain oil on a 70s beach babe. Roast the chicken in the preheated oven until the skin gets really nice and brown, about 30 minutes. Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. Baste the chicken every 20 minutes or so. Cook about 12 minutes per pound. Once it gets to the proper color, tent the chicken with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark.
Remove the chicken from the oven when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 160 degrees F. When the chicken has reached the proper temperature, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
While the chicken is resting, make the gravy. Strain all the veggies over a bowl to separate them from the stock/mixture. Discard the veggies. Skim off the fat and add it to the roasting pan. This is the fat for the roux. Put the roasting pan over 2 burners and over a low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the pan juices and the apple juice/cidar. Cook until the mixture has thickened and reached a gravy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into a serving pitcher or bowl.
Here's link that shows how to carve a chicken: http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to-carve-roast-chicken.aspx
Grown Up Mac and Cheese
This is a recipe from the Neely's on Food Network. I just love them!
Gina: Pat, can you give me a little sugar for these peaches?
Pat: Honey, I'll give you sugar any time you want it.
Gina: (giggling) That's my man!
The only ingredient change I've made is to substitute gouda cheese for the blue cheese, as it tends to aggravate my allergies. But here is the original ingredient list:
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
2 cups favorite shaped pasta: elbow macaroni, cavatappi, conchiglie, lumaconi, etc.
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
Cook the bacon until crisp but not overdone. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth.
Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes, or as I have done, a 8x10 casserole dish. Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle
the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups crushed potato chips
lollipop sticks from a craft or party store, or wooden skewers
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
2. Crush potato chips onto a plate. In a large bowl, whisk together egg and milk. Dip the chicken cubes into the egg mixture, then coat well with potato chips. Spread the nuggets onto the baking sheet.
3. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn nuggets over, and bake for 10 minutes more, until golden brown. Remove baking sheet from oven, and insert a lollipop stick into each nugget.
3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 lb rigatoni pasta
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup 2% low-fat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
PInch teaspoon white or black pepper
1/8 cup prepared pesto sauce
Pinch teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
Cook the rigatoni according to package directions, boiling the carrots with the rigatoni. Drain, place back in the pot, and stir in the olive oil (to avoid sticking).
Grill the chicken breasts on an indoor grill, 6 minutes per side or until juices run clear. Cut into strips.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour until smooth and the consistency of wet sand. Add milk gradually, whisking well after each small addition, then until no clumps can be seen. Heat over medium, whisking constantly, until heated and thick (sauce will thicken the more you cook it).
Add the pesto sauce and mix well. Sprinkle the parmesan in, and whisk. Add the crushed garlic, pepper, and
red pepper flakes. Remove from heat, and add salt to taste.
Pour over rigatoni and carrots, mix and serve.
The amount of flour you need to make the dough will vary depending on how moist your pumpkin or winter squash is.
1 cup of puréed cooked pumpkin
1 cup ricotta
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3-4 cups cake flour
Mix the pumpkin puree, ricotta, parmesan, eggs and salt together in a large bowl. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix well with your hands. The dough should be very sticky, impossible to work with. Add another half cup of flour and mix that in — you want the dough to still be pretty sticky, but pliable enough to shape into a large log. If it's not, keep adding a little flour at a time until you can get a soft dough that will be able to be rolled into a log. It should never require more than 4 cups of flour. Cover the dough with a damp towel.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt to it so that the water tastes salty. Let this simmer while you make the gnocchi.
To make the gnocchi, spread some flour on a large work surface and have more flour ready. Cut the dough log into four equal pieces. Take one piece and cut it in half. Roll the piece of dough into a snake about a half inch thick, and then cut it into pieces about the thickness of a fork.
Dust the gnocchi with a little flour, and then use one finger to push the dumpling up onto the tines of a fork. Let the gnocchi drop back to the work surface. This makes the dumpling a little thinner and lighter, and it creates depressions and ridges that sauce can hold onto.
Repeat this process with the other pieces of dough and then, using a metal spatula, gently pick up a few gnocchi at a time and drop them into the water. Increase the heat to a rolling boil. Boil these gnocchi until they float, then remove them with a slotted spoon or spider skimmer. Lay the cooked gnocchi on a baking sheet and toss with a little olive oil so they don't stick together.
It is important to boil gnocchi in small batches so they don't stick to each other.
Found in the fridge: tomatoes about to turn, basil. Found in the pantry: Pasta, white beans.
I remembered that I had seen this recipe in Ellie Krieger's cookbook, The Food You Crave.
3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans
1/2 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Slice each tomato into 8 wedges and discard the seeds. Put the tomato wedges and garlic into a 9 by 13-inch roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a few turns of pepper. Roast in the oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
Drain the beans into a large colander in the sink. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta into the colander containing the beans, so the hot pasta water will warm the beans. Return drained pasta and beans to the pasta pot.
When the tomatoes are done, pick out the garlic cloves, squeeze the garlic out of the skin into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Pour the roasted tomatoes into the pasta pot, add the garlic, the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the basil and additional salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to combine. Serve topped with the