Monday, November 4, 2013

Best Meatball Recipe

Here is an excellent meatball recipe!  I used it with the Stove-top Marinara for a knockout Spaghetti and Meatballs dinner.  Be sure to save the drippings from the pan to add to your sauce!

1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 eggs, beaten
1 T. garlic, minced
1 T. kosher salt
1 T. ground black pepper
2 t. dried basil
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch nutmeg
2 lb. ground chuck
1 cup low-sodium beef broth

1.  Preheat oven to 450.

2. Stir together all ingredients except for ground chuck and beef broth.  Add ground chuck and mix with a fork.

3.  Using a medium (2") scoop, portion the mixture into meatballs.  Roll them after they are scooped to be sure they are rounded.  Lay them, not touching, on a baking sheet.

4.  Add enough beef broth to cover the bottom of the pan and bake until cooked through, about 25 minutes.

Note: To freeze extra meatballs, lay the cooked meatballs on a tray lined with wax paper and put in the freezer.  Once the meatballs are frozen, move them to a freezer-safe plastic bag.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kimchi Pancake

I have been craving this and they no longer serve it at my favorite Korean restaurant in town.  Now that I know how easy it is, there's no need to leave home to get one!  It only takes a few ingredients, most of which I keep on hand (except for the kimchi).  This recipe is modified from one I found on allrecipes.

1 cup kimchi, drained and chopped
1/2 cup reserved juice from kimchi (I used water to make up the remaining 1/2 c. since I didn't have enough   juice)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the dipping sauce:
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. rice vinegar
1/2 t. sesame oil (optional)

1. Stir together the kimchi, kimchi juice, flour, eggs, and green onion in a bowl.
2. Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Using about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake, pour into skillet, spreading as thin as possible.  (Note: I've always had it served as one large pancake, so that is how I made mine.  You may need to increase the cooking time.) Cook pancakes until set and lightly browned, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Season to taste with salt.
3. Whisk together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Serve with the pancakes.

Mushroom Ragu with Soft Polenta

Here is another amazing recipe that I can't believe I haven't posted yet!  It's vegetarian, but it's so flavorful and filling you won't miss the meat!  It's from a back-issue of my favorite cooking magazine, Cuisine at Home.

1/2 cup shallots, sliced
2 lb. assorted mushrooms, sliced or quartered (8 cups)
1 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry sherry or Madeira (grape juice works instead)
4 t. balsamic vinegar
2 t. tomato paste
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 t. minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

2 cup vegetable broth
2 cup heavy cream
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
Pinch of white pepper
1 cup yellow cornmeal
4 T. cream cheese, cubed
(2 oz.)
4 T. Parmesan cheese, grated

Saute shallots in 1 T. oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until soft. Increase heat to high, add half the mushrooms, and saute until browned; remove from pan .Add additional tablespoon of oil to the pan and saute remaining mushrooms, then return the reserved mushrooms to the pan. Add tomatoes, broth, sherry,
vinegar, and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Finish with herbs
and seasonings.

Bring broth, cream, and seasonings to a boil.  Whisk in cornmeal, reduce heat to low and simmer 5 min., stirring often.  Fold in cheeses before serving.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Grilled Greek Stuffed Peppers

This is one of my favorite recipes... I can't believe I haven't posted it on here until now.  It's great the way it is, but you could always add chicken or rice to mix things up a bit.


Dressing (puree in food processor):
3 jarred pepperoncini,
2 Tbsp. jarred pepperoncini
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. plain Greek-style yogurt
1 Tbsp. each chopped fresh
oregano and basil (or 1/2 t. dried of each)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
 Black pepper to taste

For the grill (brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper):
2 bell peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded
1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise
1 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 yellow squash, cut lengthwise

1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives

Grill the seasoned vegetables, then chop all but the peppers.  Puree the dressing ingredients, then combine the chopped veggies, dressing, feta, and olives.  Spoon into grilled pepper halves and serve.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Baked Chicken Fajitas

I love chicken fajitas, but by the time I get everything chopped & prepped I don't want to stand at the stove cooking! In this recipe you throw everything into a baking dish and let your oven do the work. This can be made into a freezer meal easily by putting everything into a gallon freezer bag, then thawing and baking when needed.

1-1/2 lbs boneless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
15 oz can diced tomatoes
4 oz can chopped green chilies
1 sweet onion, cut in half and sliced
1 green pepper, sliced (I used half each of green, red, and yellow peppers)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 packet fajita seasoning mix
flour tortillas and favorite toppings (cheese, sour cream, avocado/guacamole, lettuce, salsa)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together chicken, tomatoes, chilies, onion, and bell pepper in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Drizzle oil and sprinkle seasoning over chicken & vegetables; toss to coat. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve in warm tortillas with favorite toppings.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Enchiladas Suizas

I was looking for a great enchilada recipe and came across this one. I modified it a bit to suit my tastes and it was fantastic! I've made it many times and my family devours it. It also freezes well, so make a couple at a time -- one to eat tonight and one to freeze for later. :)

16 oz jar mild tomatillo salsa
12 small corn tortillas
canola oil for frying
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken thigh meat (or you can use breast) -- seasoned how you like taco meat (I use either taco seasoning or a bit of cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper)
1 cup heavy cream
3 green onions, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put ~1/4 the jar of salsa in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Combine the cheeses and keep half of it aside for topping.

In a heavy skillet, lightly fry tortillas in shallow oil, being careful not to make them too crisp to roll.  Place about 2 tbsp chicken and 2 tbsp cheese down the center of each; roll and place seam side down in the baking dish.

After all the rolled tortillas are in the dish, pour the rest of the salsa over the top and cover evenly with heavy cream. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese mixture and the green onions.

Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Serve immediately with any additional toppings you like - sour cream, crumbled queso fresco, olives, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, salsa, avocado/guacamole, etc.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cheesy Italian Chicken

I got this recipe from the OAMM and it is now one of my favorite meals! Served with spaghetti the veggies end up being a fantastic chunky pasta sauce (I also cut up the chicken and mixed it with the pasta & veggies). This recipe freezes very well and doesn't need to completely thaw before baking so it can be made quicker than other frozen meals.

5 roma tomatoes, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
14.5-oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I cut into small fillets)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
fresh basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, artichokes, spinach, olive oil, flour, salt, and pepper. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish*.  Season chicken with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Place on top of vegetables. Bake for 40-45 minutes; top with cheeses and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until cheese is browned. Remove and sprinkle with fresh basil.

*If you have a smaller family this can easily be split in half. Just use two smaller pans and divide the veggies and chicken in half. Cook one for dinner and freeze another for later!

To make a freezer meal: Once the chicken and veggies are in the dish, cover with plastic wrap and foil. Place cheeses in a separate freezer bag to keep with the dish. When you are ready to cook, thaw (or mostly thaw) and bake (uncovered) as directed above, top with cheese, then broil.

Note: This can be made gluten free by omitting the flour with the veggies. Your vegetable mixture will be a little more watery in the end, but will still be delicious!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches

For this recipe, I used my homemade pesto, but feel free to use a store-bought variety.  I also created extra sandwiches (without the tomato) for the freezer, which can be thawed overnight to make a delicious lunch the next day!

2 c. boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 c. basil pesto
1/3 c. Greek yogurt
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
4 hoagie rolls, cut in half
Tomato slices (optional)
4 slices mozzarella cheese

In a large bowl, stir together the first five ingredients.  Toast the hoagie buns under the broiler for about 1 minute.  Spread the chicken salad mixture onto the hoagie buns and add sliced tomato (if desired) and a slice of mozzarella.  Broil until cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

Homemade Pesto

With all the basil in our garden, I've been making pesto quite a bit!  Here's the recipe I've been using, adjusted from one I saw on

3 c. packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 c. pine nuts
4 cloves garlic
3/4 c. parmesan cheese
Pinch of coarse salt
1/4 c. olive oil

Blend all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor.  With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Red Wine Sangria

2 bottles red wine
1 cup brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pomegranate juice (I used cherry pomegranate juice)
1/2 cup simple syrup, or more to taste (equal parts sugar and water, heated until sugar dissolves, cooled)
Orange slices
Apple slices

Directions:Mix all liquids together and let stand in a tightly sealed container or pitcher for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator before serving.  Add fruit 1-2 hours before serving.  If there are any leftovers, be sure to remove the orange slices before refrigerating so the sangria does not go bitter.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Roast Salmon

I love finding new ways to prepare fish for my family. We love eating it, but enjoy a variety of flavors with it. This was delicious and all my kids cleared their plates!

3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tbsp Dijon mustard
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
4 pieces salmon fillet, with skin (4-5 oz each)

Preheat oven to 400. In a small bowl, whisk oil, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Place salmon fillets, skin side down, in a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. Spoon the mustard glaze over the fish. Bake 12 minutes or until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Island Chicken

This is a simple chicken marinade. It's my favorite way to fix boneless skinless chicken breasts for a tasty dinner. Usually I bake it in the oven, but it's also great grilled.

1/2 cup canola oil
3 TBSP lime juice
1 1/2 TBSP soy sauce (I use San-J Wheat Free Tamari for gluten free)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix together all the ingredients but the chicken breasts. Place chicken breasts in a plastic bag and pour marinade over chicken. Refrigerate and marinate up to 10 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in baking dish and pour marinade over it. Bake for about 45 minutes or until it reaches 165.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

I don't like mashed potatoes, but I did like this and it seems to be an acceptable lower-carb option if you like mashed potatoes.  I actually steamed the broccoli first so I didn't have to mess with draining it and patting it dry.  I also omitted the butter at the end because it was flavorful enough without it.


  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter


Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.
In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper until almost smooth.
Garnish with chives, and serve hot with pats of butter.
Hint: Try roasting the garlic and adding a little fresh
rosemary for a whole new taste.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings or homemade chicken stock

This is my favorite recipe of the winter! I love making this for dinner. Bonus the kids gobble it up. Because I puree the soup prior to serving, that means my kids are happily consuming all their veggies rather than picking them out. If you stop after simmering and just remove the chicken and veggies you have some delicious homemade chicken stock and can eat the chicken and veggies on their own for a meal as well. This can also be mostly made ahead of time. You can do the recipe, including pureeing the soup and shredding the chicken the day before and just bring it to a simmer and make the dumplings just prior to serving.

4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
2 carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 stalks of celery, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
6 to 8 cloves of garlic, whole with skin removed
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into large chunks
1 dried bay leaf
2 tablespoons kosher salt (I use less, I think it's too salty, but the original recipe calls for 2)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup all purpose flour (I use Better Batter for gluten free)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (not skim)

1. Place the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, squash, bay leaf, salt and pepper in a large stock pot. Pour in just enough water to cover the chicken and vegetables.

2. Cover the pot (with the lid tipped a bit) and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and the mixture is very fragrant.

3.Remove from heat. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables into the liquid. Blend until no large pieces remain. Return pot to the stove top and turn the heat to medium-high. Cover partially and allow the liquid to simmer.

4. In a separate bowl,  blend the flour, baking powder and salt until well combined. Add in the milk in a slow, steady stream, whisking as you go. Continue to whisk until batter is smooth.

5. Remove the cover from the pot and drop in dumpling batter by the spoonful, allowing a little space between each dumpling. The dumplings will swell as they cook. Cover the pot partially and allow dumplings to simmer until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

6. While the dumplings are cooking, remove the skin and bones from the chicken and shred. Add the chicken back into the pot. Serve when the dumplings are done cooking.