Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dinner and a Movie - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Light as a Cloud Meatballs and Steve-ghetti
Over-Mutated Garlic Bread
Ice Cream Snowball! (Blue Bell Happy Tracks)

Meatballs and Spaghetti
2 pounds ground turkey (can replace with ground beef if preferred)
1 medium onion, finely chopped/diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 cup beef broth
Italian Seasoning, to taste (oregano, basil, parsley, coriander, paprika, sage, thyme - whatever you like)
salt and pepper to taste

The secret to these meatballs is working the ground meat as little as possible.

Gently break up the ground meat in a large bowl. 
Add onion, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, olive oil and seasonings, evenly spreading over the turkey.
Pour beef broth over mixture, lightly toss ingredients to mix.
Gently form into balls, do not roll.
Line a cookie sheet with the meatballs so they do not touch.
Bake at 350 degrees until done (time depends on size of meatballs).  To test take a meatball out and break it open to check doneness.

Place meatballs in your favorite sauce (homemade or jar) and simmer for 30 minutes. 
Serve over your favorite pasta and top with parmesan.

Garlic Bread
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
french or Italian bread (I used Leidenheimer pistolettes)

Gently warm evoo, butter and garlic (on stove or in microwave).
Slice open bread, drizzle with olive oil mixture.
Toast under broiler, watch closely it is a short time from perfectly toasted to burnt.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some new summer time favorites

We have been trying a few new things this summer and my family has a few new favorites we wanted to share with you . . . (this is just us experimenting with new products and we have received no incentives, sponsorships, etc.)

Silk Pure Almond - Original
I used to drink soy milk, it took a little getting use to (okay, it took a lot of getting used to), but when DS was born, we switched to whole milk.  We have gradually moved down to organic skim milk, even DH will drink skim milk now, but only the organic - it is not so watery.  I decided to try the original Pure Almond last week and brought it home.  It is soooooo much better than soy milk! DS tried it and liked it, but DH won't even try.  It has fewer calories and less sugars than skim milk and has vitamin E, iron and potassium. It also does not feel as "heavy" as milk, which is great for this summertime heat. I have been using it as a substitute in some baking and am happy with the results.  It is also great in smoothies. 

Nature Valley Granola Thins
I like granola bars, they are a convenient take-along snack that can add to your daily intake of whole grain.  These are my new favorite treat.  It is a very thin granola "wafer" with a coating of dark chocolate on the bottom.  It is more crispy than crunchy so it is just right when you need a little something sweet. 

At only 80 calories, it beats those 100 calorie packs, and it is not too sweet.  Now you can enjoy a little whole grain with the antioxidants of dark chocolate.

Only one complaint, the chocolate melts quickly, so it is not a good choice for outdoor activities (unless you don't mind licking the chocolate off the paper and your fingers).

Dole Sensations Watermelon Juice
(sorry no photo) - This really does taste like watermelon in a glass.  DS goes nuts for this stuff (he is a water kid), so I have to ration it a little.  He must not be the only one, we had to go to 4 stores (over the course of a week) before we finally found some.  In this summertime heat, it makes a light refreshing break in what sometimes feels like endless glasses of water.  You could always juice a watermelon yourself, but I would rather be stitching and, at under $3, it is cheaper than juicing your own watermelon.

What are your favorite new products of the summer?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chicken with Okra and Tomatoes

Chicken with Okra and Tomatoes

This was a big hit with my guys, both went back for seconds and there were no leftovers.  I did not take time for a photo.  I will make it again at update this post with a photo - if I can get more okra at next week's Farmer's Market.

8 boneless chicken thighs (I usually use bone-in, but was short on cooking time)
1 pound okra, tops removed and sliced into rounds
1 onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
salt & pepper
olive oil
1 cup rice, cooked (white or brown)

Heat skillet with a little olive oil, add okra and stir occasionally over medium-low heat.  Cook until it no longer makes strings when you stir.  Add onions, cook until translucent and soft.  Add tomatoes and heat through. Add seasonings to taste.

In a deeper pan with a lid, brown chicken in olive oil.  When chicken no longer appears pink, add okra mixture.  Cover and simmer at low heat until okra gets to desired consistency (I don't like it too mushy)

Serve over rice.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Oh, the possibilities . . .

This is my haul from the local farmer's market this morning . . .

Well, this and a jar of locally produced honey and
 a stuffed bread (with scrambled eggs, sausage and cheese).

The veggies were $5.50, the honey $6 and the stuffed bread was $3.

Check back later to see what I do with these lovely veggies!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grand Marnier Cranberry Muffins

After being so disappointed with the orange cranberry muffin mix earlier in the week, I thought I would try a homemade version.  This recipe is from one of my favorite culinary mysteries, Killer Pancake by Diane Mott Davidson.  I can highly recommend the recipe and the book.

1 1/4 cups orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Mariner liqueur
3/4 cup canola oil
2 cups chopped cranberries
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped orange zest
4 egg whites

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine the orange juice, Grand Marnier, and the oil; set aside while you prepare batter.
  • In a large bowl combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest.
  • In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy.
  • Combine the juice mixture with the beaten egg whites.
  • Add the egg mixture and the cranberries to the flour, stirring until just moist.
  • Using a 1/4 cup measure divide the batter among 24 muffin cups that have been fitted with paper lines.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and puffed.

Stuffed Crabs

Hearing that tar balls from the BP oil leak have been found in the waters nearby made me crave this dish.  It will be awhile before we will have any fresh crabs here, so I thought I might share it with you.

2 large onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound crabmeat
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of thyme
1 tablespoon celery, chopped
4 slices toast
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
2 tablespoons green onions, sliced in slender rings

  • Saute onions and garlic in butter until tender.
  • Add crabmeat, bay leaves, salt, Worchestershire, thyme and celery.
  • Simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove bay leaves.
  • Wet toast, squeeze to remove excess water and add to crab mixture.
  • Add parsley, egg and milk, mix thoroughly with crabmeat.
  • Place mixture in real or tin crab shells or in small mounds on baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle with bread crumbs and dot with butter.
  • Bake 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes until browned.

To make Crab Balls, use bread crumbs instead of toast and add a little water.  Make mixture into walnut sized balls, roll in bread crumbs, then place on buttered pan. Bake until edges start to brown.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Quick" Shrimp Creole Pasta

Serves 2 to 4 (depending on your appetite)

Medium-sized shaped pasta (I used bow ties)
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper (any color), diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jar plain Marinara sauce
cayenne, to taste (or Tony Chacherere's, Tabasco, etc.)

  • Boil pasta to 'al dente' in salted water.
  • Saute' 1 medium diced onion and 1 diced bell pepper in EVOO, add garlic when onions are translucent.
  • Add 1-2 pounds (depends on the size of your pan and your appetite) peeled shrimp, cook until just pink, do not over-cook since they will continue to cook in the heated sauce.
  • Add one jar of your favorite MARINARA sauce and add a pinch of cayenne to taste
  • Heat to a simmer.
  • Serve shrimp and sauce over pasta.
Add a tossed salad and warm New Orleans French bread on the side

Monday, July 5, 2010

Meal Planning Week 1 - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Week 1 Goal:  I love baking, but hate heating up the house with the oven during the summer.  My goal is to double up on my baking to utilize an already hot oven for multiple items and to use the toaster oven and bbq grill when possible.

I will update this entry with my notes during the week
 and hope to share a couple of recipes in another post.

  • Oatmeal - gotta love a kid that still loves oatmeal
  • Meatball Sandwiches - a real hit with my guys and really delicious on toasted Italian bread
  • Dinner out at our favorite Mexican restaurant - shared fajitas with DH and still had leftovers
  • Whole Grain Blueberry and Orange Cranberry Muffins - blueberry was a hit, but the OC flopped
  • Picnic - Sandwiches, Carrot and Celery Sticks and Grapes - picnic rained out, but still enjoyed yummy super sweet grapes
  • Grilled Honey Lime Chicken, Grilled Zucchini and Squash, and Grilled Corn on the Cob and Apple Spice Minicakes - Accepted a dinner invitation instead - yummy homemade lasagna
  • Eggs, Bacon and Biscuits - woke up my guys with a surprise breakfast in bed
  • Selection of cheese, crackers, bread. and fruit - a great break from house cleaning & DS discovered he likes brie!
  • Grilled Kibbeh Patties, Roasted Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj), Hummus with Za'atar-Spiced Grilled Pita Bread, and Feta Salad
  • Oatmeal
  • Salad Nicoise with Grilled Tuna
  • BBQ Chicken Thighs, Baked Beans, and Grilled Corn on the Cob
  • Oatmeal
  • Selection of cheese, crackers and fruit
  • Taco Taters (loaded tex-me potatoes (I will "bake" them on the grill with Thursday's chicken)
  • Grits
  • Quesadillas
  • Red Beans and Rice, Sausage and Jalapeno Cornbread
  • Bob's Mill Five Grain Cookies
  • Pancakes
  • Sandwiches and Fruit
  • Wood Grilled Salmon, Wilted Spinach, and Sweet Potato Fries