Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs (Bon Appetit magazine)

I searched high and low for the recipe on their website with NO luck. So here it is:

2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes in juice, drained, juice reserved, tomatoes finely chopped (or in my house, just use sauce as Hubby HATES chunky cooked tomatoes)
1 stick butter (unsalted)
2 medium  onions, peeled and halved through root end
1/2 tsp salt (more if needed)

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless french bread (or whatever)
1/2 cup milk
8 oz ground beef (15% or less fat)
8 oz ground pork (using sausage removed from casing)
1 cup finely ground Parmesan cheese. They say specifically NOT grated
1/3 cup finely chopped italian parsley (ummm, dried ok?)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 lb spaghetti
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Combine tomatoes, butter, onions and salt in large, wide pot. Bring to simmer and reduce heat, simmer uncovered 45 minutes or so, stir occasionally. Remove onions and toss them. Use an immersion blender to process sauce briefly to break up large chunks of tomatoes (or if you live like my household, no issues as NO CHUNKY TOMATOES ALLOWED!).  They want the sauce smooth but not completely (?) Season with more salt & black pepper. Remove from heat.

Combine breadcrumbs and milk in bowl. Let soak 10 minutes (stir to be sure all are swimming!).  Place pork and beef in large bowl and break up into small chunks. Add 1 cup of cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.

Whisk eggs to blend in small bowl, whisk in the garlic. Add to meat.

Using hands, squeeze the bread crumbs, reserve the milk. Add to meat mixture. Using hands, QUICKLY and GENTLY mix meat til just combined (do not overmix). Chill for about 15 minutes up to one hour (this is looking like a Sunday meal!)

Moisten hands with reserved milk and roll meat mix between palms, creating a golfball sized meatball, occasionally moistening hands with milk as needed. Place in single layer in sauce in pot. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer til cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.  This can be done 2 days ahead (cool slightly, chill uncovered til cold then cover, rewarm before serving).

Serve over hot pasta along with some nice crusty garlic bread!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Layered Southwestern Salad

The first time I made this, I completely forgot to make the dressing and someone just poured ranch on theirs so that's how I do it now!

1 16 oz package of romaine lettuce, shredded
5 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 small purple onion, chopped fine
8 oz Mexican blend shredded cheese (any will work, really)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 or 2 diced red peppers if desired

Layer lettuce, and the following ingredients in layers in a 3 quart glass bowl. I FINALLY have one of them footed thingys that my neighbor gave me, you know, the Triffle bowl!!

You can either top with a light dressing OR just do as I do and serve the dressing on the side. this is really pretty :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chicken, Black Bean, Corn and other pantry stuff salad

Funny, this came from a newspaper article a while ago of how to use up your hurricane supply stock. Ironically enough, it's stuff I normally have in the pantry anyways and Hubby loves it.

It also makes an awesome Quesadilla filling!

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can corn, no salt if possible, drained
4scallions, thinly sliced, about ½ cup (or for those who think like me, green onions)
1 red/yellow or orange pepper, diced
1 can of chicken, drained (or ¾ lb / 3 cups cooked chicken), cut into bite size pieces
Juice of 2 limes (3 tbs)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbs ground cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
Diced tomatoes (optional, but highly recommended)
Diced jalapeno for those who like a little kick.

In large bowl, mix all together. For best flavor, try to make a few hours ahead of time to chill and let all get happy together :)

Chicken Cesar Pasta Salad

I got this recipe a while ago from Moms Advice (which reminds me I need to go visit, it's been awhile!) and well, even though its really not so much a recipe as an idea, me and the Princess LOVE this stuff. Great way to use leftover chicken & pasta!

1 head romaine, sliced (note: I do not normally recommend you cut your lettuce, but for this its fine since you will be eating it all shortly)
handful of croutons
4 ounces (or just use leftovers!) pasta, preferably penne type (tubular) cooked
cooked chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks (or you can go smaller, almost shredded)
Parmesan cheese (I've kind of gotten hooked on the real fresh stuff from Costco)
Cesar dressing (again, Costco, even though I LOVE Ken's Low Fat Cesar dressing)

Take all the ingredients above, put in a bowl. Pour dressing over a little at a time, tossing to coat all well before adding more.  I personally do not like my salad swimming in the stuff, so I go light, but others like it heavier (uh, like Princess!)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chicken Wings - not fried!

A few weeks back, around Memorial Day I believe, I picked up 2 5 lb bags of chicken wings from GFS for something like $6 a bag ... that's cheap! Does anyone remember when the wings were dirt cheap? Not anymore!

Anyways, With all the men that were in the house (5 total, 3 of them teens), we cooked alot of meat. And hubby is the wing master. So he used 7 lbs total to do the following:

Rinse and pat dry the wings. This is just the way hubby is :)

Make a marinade of lemon juice, liquid smoke and Tabasco pulp (this stuff is WICKED). Toss wings in marinade and let them get happy for an hour or so.

Remove from marinade and place wings on baking trays. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic salt. Bake at 350 for an hour or so until cooked. You can serve these dry or go ahead and top with a little more hot sauce if desired.

*FYI - I was not home when hubby made these, but boy were they delicious. I'm so glad we opted NOT to fry them!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fruit Salad (pantry food!)

My brother in law and his two kids (13 and 15) are visiting and we've been grilling like crazy every night. That's fine and dandy and I'm really enjoying it as is Hubby.

The boys eat fairly well. Surprisingly not BIG eaters but they eat. And they like fruit. A LOT.

So, I grabbed a can of peaches in light syrup, drained. A can of pears in light syrup, drained. A jar of cut pineapple in juice, drained, and a can of mandarin oranges (in "syrup"), drained.

Tossed all those in a bowl, and hubby handed me my canning jar that holds my toasted coconut (hey, toast your coconut ahead of time and have it on hand and ready to go for times like this!) and I tossed some in.

Oh MY GOD. It was good. The coconut took it right over the top! Try it!! Perfect to go with the 7 pounds of wings he made :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Salsa or as we call it, "That Fresh Tomato Stuff"

I've got the little gadget, the Vidalia Chopper and I swear by the thing. This is made at least 2 times a week and kept in the fridge and then just topped on everything (favorite? Scrambled eggs!)

2 large tomatoes, cut in quarters and squeezed lightly to eliminate most of the liquid
1 onion (whatever you have on hand), quartered
2 to 3 jalepenos, seeds removed to your taste and cut in half (my plant just will not die and the hotness varies from one pepper to another)
lime juice (fresh or from that little fake plastic thing
Now comes the hard part. Open lid of chopper. Using the SMALL grid, place a quarter of onion on grid, and slap the lid shut. Open and repeat with rest of onion and jalepenos.

Remove small grate and insert large grate. Repeat with tomatoes. Empty contents of tray into bowl if needed.
Squeeze lime juice over all and store in fridge. I've got mixed emotions on salt. I use coarse salt but find it makes the tomatoes really juice up and then swim in liquid which is NOT what we are going for!! That's why you use the LARGE grid for the tomatoes.
Now if you are using this right away, use the small grid & add a pinch of salt.
Sure, you can add cilantro or basil or any other flavors. But this house is using it just as all around topping (rice, chicken, nachos, tacos, eggs, etc.)