STUFFED MEATBALLS & ROASTED VEGGIE SPAGHETTI SAUCE

STUFFED MEATBALLS
ROASTED VEGGIE SPAGHETTI SAUCE
  • I start with whatever vegetables I have in the vegetable bin. Today was Roma tomatoes, celery stalks, green onions and snap peas.
  • Then I drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper over it all and bake it for an hour at 400 degrees.
  • I started the sauce with a can of Contadina tomato paste, 1 teaspoon Better than Beef Bouillon paste, 2 cups orange juice and a V8. This truly was a clean out the fridge day.
  • When done roasting add the vegetables to the sauce and set to simmer all day. The vegetables will continue to cook down into a uniform consistency with the sauce. Salt & pepper taste.


For the meatballs:
1 pound hamburger
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3 large slices sourdough bread, crumbled
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheeseAlign Center
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 bunch green onions, finely minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic, jar
mozzarella cheese, about 4 ounces, cut into 1 inch cubes

  • Crumble bread into a large bowl.
  • Toss in Parmesan cheese, parsley, green onions and garlic.
  • Add meat and with your hands mix extremely well until you have a uniform mixture.
  • Roll meatballs around a Parmesan cheese cube.
  • Chill Meatballs until sauce is done.
  • Just before the sauce is finished, brown meatballs.**
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and bring to a medium high simmer until meatballs are cooked though, about 20 minutes.
  • Prepare pasta and Parmesan Cheese Bread while meatballs are cooking.
  • Enjoy

**If you prefer you can add the meatballs directly to the sauce and SLOW simmer for a couple hours instead of browning.


Bean & Sausage Cassoulet

I’ve already made this twice.  It was that good. It’s on the higher side of calories per portion but it was super filling.  It was wonderful to have this is the refrigerator for lunches all week.

I don’t cook with sausage too often but I happened to have 2 packages of sausages.  Which is why I ended up making this twice.  I could probably drop the calories by adding chicken instead but the sausage was SOOOO good!  I also loved the slight tang from the red wine.  You could use beef broth but I encourage the red wine as it tasted wonderful!

Bean and Sausage Cassoulet Recipe

1 (15 oz) can of black beans
1 (15 oz) can of white beans
1 (15 oz) can of red kidney beans
1 lb. turkey sausage, diagonally sliced
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 large onion, sliced into rings
1/2 cup dry red wine or beef broth
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients in an ungreased 3 qt. casserole dish. Cover and bake until carrots are tender, about 1 hour or until hot and bubbly. 

Total calories = 3320 calories
8 servings = 415 calories per serving

CRAB APPLE BOATS FOR THE BEACH PARTY

It’s beach party time at Seaside Simplicity. Time to grab your virtual beach towels and flip flops, and head on over to the beach!  You can follow me over.  This week I’m taking my CRAB APPLE BOATS.

CRAB APPLE BOATS
2 large cucumbers
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained really well
4 ounces flaked crab
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vinegar

  • Peel cucumbers.  Halve them and spoon out seeds.  Dry the insides.
  • In a bowl toss apple pieces with the well drained pineapple and then with the krab.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Fold into krab mixture.
  • Spoon into cucumbers and chill several hours before serving.

PARMESAN GLAZED TOMATOES

PARMESAN GLAZED TOMATOES
3 medium sized firm tomatoes
3+ tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
3 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
salt and pepper
flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray pan with PURE.
  • Arrange tomatoes in a single layer.
  • In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Spread on tomatoes evenly.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 5 minutes.
  • Turn on broiler and brown tops.
  • Remove from oven and top with parsley.

CARROT CAKE PANCAKES & CREAM CHEESE SYRUP

I love carrot cake.  If you asked me what I wanted for my birthday cake I would say Carrot Cake!  So when we found this cute little diner, Babycakes Cafe, recently and they had carrot cake pancakes on the menu I had to give them a try.  And then I had to duplicate them.  YUMMY!!!!!!!!!

So I started with my basic pancake recipe and added lots of carrots and spices. Their cream cheese syrup at the restaurant was really more like a glaze, so I used maple syrup as my liquid ingredient to make an actual syrup and like it even better!

The carrot cake pancakes were easy to make and tasted great! And it is always nice to have dessert for breakfast!

CARROT CAKE PANCAKES & CREAM CHEESE SYRUP

1 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups buttermilk

2 JUMBO eggs

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup carrot (very finely grated)

4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)

4-6 tablespoons maple syrup (use enough for desired consistency)

powdered sugar to taste

crushed pecans or walnuts

  • Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg together in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together the milk, egg, sugar and carrot in another bowl.
  • Mix together the wet and dry ingredients making sure to not over mix them.
  • Heat a griddle and melt some butter on it to coat.
  • Pour 1/3-1/4 cup of the mixture onto the griddle for each pancake and heat until the surface starts to bubble and the bottom is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Flip the pancakes and cook the other side until the bottom is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Blend together the cream cheese and maple syrup and add  powdered sugar to get desired sweetness.
  • Pour the cream cheese onto the pancakes.
  • Sprinkle with crushed nuts.

MEXICAN LASAGNA~HEALTHY MEALS

This is a huge piece of lasagna. Enormous. I’m totally full. This recipes makes a LOT of food. It’s a great recipe to freeze individual portions for quick lunches or dinners. Packed with protein, this cheesy, tasty sauce is full of flavor but isn’t spicy at all. You do need a big baking pan for this, I think that I used an 11 x 17 in. pan. You probably could split it and use 1 – 9 x 13 pan and 1 – 8 x 8 pan and just freeze one. I might just do that next time.
MEXICAN LASAGNA
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 red pepper, chopped
1 can of corn or frozen corn
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chili peppers
1 (10 ounce) can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chil peppers
1 (8 ounce) jar taco sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can refried beans
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sour cream
12 – 8 inch, whole wheat tortillas, toasted
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the ground turkey for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the onion, peppers and garlic, and sauté for 5 more minutes. 
  • Drain any excess fat. 
  • Mix in the tomatoes, green chile peppers, tomatoes with green chile peppers, taco sauce, corn, black beans and refried beans. 
  • Stir mixture thoroughly, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. 
  • Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of a 11 x 17 pan. 
  • Cover with a layer of 3 tortillas followed by more meat mixture, then 1/2 of the sour cream. 
  • Repeat tortilla and meat layers, spreading sour cream on one more layer, until all the tortillas are used, topping off with a layer of meat mixture and cheese. I use 3 tortillas on each layer, 2 side by side and one cut in 1/2 spread over the open area. 
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.

Total calories = 3789
8 huge servings = 473 calories per serving
12 servings = 316 calories per serving

QUINOA & BLACK BEAN COLD SALAD

I love the flavors of this salad. It’s no secret that I adore red wine vinegar. That paired with the lime, the cilantro, the onions, and finally the texture of the Quinoa, just gives this that “what is that flavor” feeling on your tongue. You can’t help but continuing to go back for more and more. It’s really that good.

It definitely has that south of the border appeal and would be great for a fiesta or any Mexican themed meal.  We ate this with some taco burgers and it was sensational!  This makes a lot but it stays in the refrigerator for a long time so you can enjoy the leftovers!

Quinoa & Black Bean Salad Recipe
1 ¼ cup quinoa 
1 can (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 can of corn
1 red pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup cilantro
¼ cup lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ tablespoon splenda or sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Rinse quinoa under cold water thoroughly. 
  • Put quinoa in a pot with 2 cups water. 
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 20 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. 
  • Fluff quinoa and transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool. 
  • In a small bowl, toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper. 
  • Add beans, corn, red pepper, green onions, garlic, cayenne and cilantro to the quinoa. Toss well. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, cumin, splenda and oil. 
  • Drizzle over salad and toss well with salt and pepper.
Total calories = 1770
12 – 1/2 cup servings = 148 calories per serving

Fire Day Friday: Vegetable Burritos

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, I made a recipe for vegetable burritos that came from a recipe pamphlet from RoTel. Okay, carbon dating and fossil records show it was actually just over 15 years ago.

We loved it back then and thought it was an impressive recipe. That was back when I was just learning to cook for Alexis and my new family. Tonight we dragged this one out of the archives and upgraded it to how we would have made it now compared to back then.

Fire Roasted Vegetable Burritos with Cilantro/Roasted Pepper Queso

Source: NibbleMeThis

1 cup long grain rice
2 ea vidalia spring onions (green onions if you can’t get them)
1 ea red bell pepper
1 ea poblano or cubanelle chile
1 ea cherry pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
1 ea serrano pepper, finely diced (skip if you want mild, double if you want hot)
1 cup refried beans
1 cup salsa
6 ea flour tortillas (mission sized burrito tortillas)
6 oz Mexican Dipping Cheese (We get El Viajero brand)
4 oz milk
1/4 cup cilantro

Start your grill to direct high heat at about 500f (skip if using your broiler and oven)

Cook your rice according to directions.

Grill the green onions just enough to get a slight browning on them (about 1 min a side). Fire roast or broil your peppers until blackened on all sides. The fire roasting brings out the best of the veggies.


Don’t be afraid that they are “too charred”. That makes them easier to peel and won’t affect the final flavor. This one wasn’t done enough yet, just to give you an idea.


Place the peppers in a plastic zip top bag, they’ll steam on their own for 5 minutes.

Cut the ends off each pepper and slice down the length of one side to open them up. Remove the seeds from the inside. Flip and lightly scrap the charred skin off with the sharp edge of a knife.

Dice the green onions.

As soon as the rice is finished, stir in the green onions, red bell pepper, and cubanelle/poblano pepper (reserve the cherry pepper for the cheese sauce). Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and the serrano pepper.

Taste the rice mixture for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

Repeat for each tortilla:
Spread about 3 Tbsp of refried beans on the tortilla. Top with 1/2 cup of the rice mixture. Sprinkle more cheese and 3 Tbsp of salsa on top. Roll up burrito style and place seam side down in a casserole dish. (Click here for a photo tutorial of how I fold mine.) Top with a few sprinkles of more shredded cheese.

Place the dish in your oven preheated to 350f (or in our case, a grill set up at 350f for indirect heat) and cook for 25 minutes.

Cut the queso cheese into 1/2″ cubes and put into a small sauce pan. Add the milk, cilantro, and diced cherry pepper and warm until melted over medium/low heat.

Serve the burritos with the sauce poured over the top or on the side.

Don’t let the minimal amount in the picture fool you. As soon as the pictures were taken and my burrito was cut up, I ladled a good bit of that queso sauce all over my burrito!

In case you’re interested, here’s the original version. It’s a lot easier and still good.

Vegetable Burritos
Yields: 6

Ingredients
1 Pam non stick spray
1 can (12 oz) Rotel (Diced tomatoes/chilis)
1 cup instant rice
1/2 cup water
1 Green pepper
2 Green onions
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup refried beans
10 8″ tortillas
1 cup salsa
Black olives to taste

Instructions
preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x 12 x 2 baking dish w/ spray. In medium saucepan, combine Rotel, rice & water. Heat to boil, reduce heat, cover, & simer 1 minute. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in pepper, onions and 1 cup cheese. Spread 3 table spoons beans over each tortilla. Layer rice mixture over beens and sprinkle on more cheese & salsa. Roll up and place seam down in prepared baking dish. Cover w/ foil. Bake 25 minutes.

Indian Dal Masoor (Red lentils) for Cultural Connections


I believe this is the first Indian dish that I brought for Cultural Connections. Dals, daals, dahls or lentils, peas and beans are cooked practically daily in almost every Indian home, vegetarian or not. Each region has its own favorites and cooking methods. Indian dal is an easy comfort food for me. There are many good recipes, and it’s easy to find one that you will like. It is easy to find lentils in your grocery store in the ethnic section or where I get mine in our local natural foods store. Of course if you have an Indian store in your area, I’m sure you’ll find a large selection. I like to use masoor dal or red lentils because they cook quickly, you don’t have to soak them or use a pressure cooker. I like the texture when they are cooked as well.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups red lentils
6 cups water or broth or mix half/half (I used veg broth)
1 small onion finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
4-cloves of garlic whole
1 Cinnamon stick whole
3 slices of ginger (peeled and sliced about 1/4″ thick)
1 bay leaf
sea salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter, you can use butter or good olive oil)
1 pinch asafetida (I found this in an Asian market also called hing)
1/2 teaspoon cumin whole seeds
dash of Cayenne or I used several dried whole chili peppers to get the flavor without so much heat.(my family can’t take too much heat) I sprinkled a little whole celery seeds in there too and It added a nice touch, just a tad.

Rinse masoor dahl thoroughly, until water is clear. In pot saute the onions in small amount of butter until soft. Add seasonings and stir. Add the broth, dal and remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, then lower to a simmer cook until thickens about 45min to 1 hour. Salt and pepper at the end before serving, some recipes heat whole mustard seed, cumin seed, and asafoetida in some ghee in small pan then drizzle on top before serving. Be sure you fish out the whole peppers, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, garlic and pieces of ginger before you serve it or at least warn them. I brought this to work once and didn’t get all the chilies out and someone ate it. She didn’t let me hear the end of it. At least she knew me well.

Adjust the liquid the way you like it. I like mine a little more soupy. Some like it thicker. Top with fresh chopped cilantro and yogurt,(my daughter ate hers with sour cream) and serve with a nice bread. Here it is with my Olga’s Bread, and yes I see the chili pepper! You can serve it over rice too!
Perfect for these cold winter days! I wish I could sit by the fireplace to enjoy this!

Feijoada – Brazilian Celebration Meal! Cultural Connections

This month for Cultural Connections I am making Feijoada, it is the national dish of Brazil. This hearty meal is traditionally served on Saturday and is a celebration meal served with family and friends. I can see why, it makes a lot! I originally posted this on my blog The Tiny Skillet and thought it would be perfect to bring it back for this time of year. You can try it with a Coquito a Puerto Rican eggnog and have a festive time!
All I want to say is, I don’t know what made me research this and make it, but I am glad I did! I am definitely keeping this recipe in with our regulars.
It was said that it originated in the sixteenth century from slaves, where the dish was first made using all parts of the pig such as ears, feet, snouts and what ever else they could use and cooked with beans. I suppose like the chili recipes in the US, and paella in Spain, feijoada has many different recipes, each family or region has it’s variation.

I started out by stopping at our German meat market and store, Geiers Sausage Kitchen. I had a blast checking out all the different sausages, fresh and smoked…so many choices.
I picked up some Hungarian cured bacon to use in the Feijoada, polish sausage, and smoked chorizo. A lot of the recipes called fore dried beef to add some depth, but I found mine had plenty of depth with out it. It is also commonly made with black beans, but my husband is not crazy about them so I mixed in some pinto beans because I like the flavor of them. Pork is usually the star, but again I had my reason for not using much. I just had some pork loin which was too lean in my opinion, pork butt (shoulder) would work better. This is my version after plenty of research! I will try to get the amounts down for you, but as always with cooking (not baking) nothing is exact! (You can use all black beans or great northern if that what you like, and adjust or change the meats, but it is so worth it to make this dish) Give it a try!

Feijoada
1 1/2 cups dried black beans -soaked overnight
1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans -soaked overnight
3 or 4 slices of bacon (I used Hungarian bacon cut in small cubes like lardons)
1 link smoked chorizo -sliced
1 pound Polish sausage (I used one large one)
1 pound eye round steak -cubed (not the best choice, but ok)
1 pound ox tails
3 shallots or 1 yellow onion – chopped
2 carrots – diced
2 stalks celery -diced
4 cloves of garlic – sliced
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons Mew Mexico green chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 dried chilies
6 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1/2 bunch of parsley chopped with stems
4 cups broth (I used organic beef broth) and some water to cover

Near the end I added some cubes sweet potato and chayote, you can add butternut squash or skip it. I added some purple sweet potatoes, and I was going to add some chopped cilantro to it at the end too, but forgot!

After the soaked beans are rinsed and added to a pot with broth, start to cook them. I used my crock pot for this because it was one thing that was large enough to hold it all. Because I bought fresh polish sausage I pricked some holes in it and roasted it in the oven with the ox tails for 30 – 40 minutes. While the sausage is roasting and the beans are started, in a large pan , saute the bacon to render the fat, then brown the lean beef.
Add the shallots, celery, carrots, and cook 2 -3 minutes, then add the garlic and tomato paste, cook a little more. I then added the coriander, chili powder, salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
Slice the chorizo sausage to add to it. Some recipes had you slice the polish sausage and some had you leave it in big chunk, so I did both with that!
Combine the meat and remaining ingredients…

I added some water to cover everything to cook in my crock pot. It probably took another 3 – 4 cups of water, (you can use more broth is you wish) once you add all that meat to the beans…

If using a crock pot cook on low for around 8 to 10 hours or on high for 5 0r 6. I had it on all day around eight hours. I started high for about an hour to get it going then turned it low for the remaining time. Then we went out a played on the boat all day, and the last hour or so I added the sweet potato, but of course that is optional.
If making it on the stove top, it cooks for around 3 hours until everything is cooked through and tender.

The meat should be falling off the bones…if using meat with bones, like ox tails or pork ribs…
Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves and dried whole chilies.
Serve over some nice fluffy rice.
Traditionally served with steamed kale, orange slices and toasted manioc flour. I only had cassava flour, which I understand is too fine to use and just wouldn’t work, so I skipped it. My kale was a little sorry looking, but that’s okay, it wasn’t the star!
We all loved this dish, and I am so happy I tried it. I brought some to work for my co-workers, and I still had some left over to freeze for later. It sounds like a lot of work, but it was not really(and it was worth it)…the hardest part was trying not to forget anything that goes in it!

Now I have to find some of this manioc flour!
Hope you enjoy it! Happy Holidays!
Feliz Natal!”

PICKLED CARROTS

Pickled Carrots

(makes 2 cups)
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 pound carrots (peeled and cut to match stick size)
  • Mix the water, vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt dissolves.
  • Place the carrots in a container and cover with the pickling liquid.
  • Let pickle for at least and hour and store in the fridge for up to a week.

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