Baked Meatballs

Meatballs are wonderful to make because if you make lots of them, you can freeze some for later use. Therefore, the reward for your effort continues for a long time. This recipe is a slight variation from Alton Brown’s recipe. Alton coats them a final time in bread crumbs before baking them. However, I decided that last step didn’t add enough pizzazz for me to put out the effort.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 10 oz of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Squeeze out the excess liquid from the spinach. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Knead the mixture until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Baked Meatball mixture
Baked Meatball mixture

Using a spoon, shape the meatballs about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

Raw Meatball
Raw Meatball

Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.

Baked Meatballs--ready for the oven
Baked Meatballs–ready for the oven

Then turn the meatballs and bake for another 15-20 minutes until they register 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Baked Meatballs
Baked Meatballs

Spaghetti Sauce

When I was a child, my favorite food was spaghetti. It was a quick and easy meal for my mother to make. Although I admit to often using spaghetti sauce from a can or jar, spaghetti sauce is actually quite easy to make especially if you use the slow cooker. Be sure to make up plenty because it freezes well.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or beef broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker except the baking soda.

Spaghetti sauce ingredients in a slow cooker
Spaghetti sauce ingredients in a slow cooker

Cook on low for 4 hours. Add baking soda toward the end. This counteracts the acidity of the tomatoes. Use more or less baking soda depending on the acidity of the tomatoes and your preference.

Spaghetti and Meatball
Spaghetti and Meatball

Serve with over spaghetti noodles.

 

Swedish Meatballs

I really love Alton Brown’s knowledge of food and food chemistry, so I encourage you to use explore his website. This is one of 3 recipes that I use from him. His recipe includes directions for making the gravy. Of course, I’ve made a few adjustments, but not many. This is a recipe that you should double and freeze all your extras. Remember, meatballs can be easily thawed for a quick dinner on hectic evenings.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices of white bread
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

Place the bread in a small bowl and pour the milk over the bread.

Soaking the bread in milk
Soaking the bread in milk

Let the bread soak in the milk while you saute the onion in the butter and olive oil.

Sauteing the onions
Sauteing the onions

Mix the soaked bread until it is a mushy glob.

Bread soaked in milk
Bread soaked in milk

Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl.

Swedish Meatball ingredients
Swedish Meatball ingredients

Knead the ingredients until everything is thoroughly mixed.

Swedish Meatball mixture
Swedish Meatball mixture

Use a small spoon to help you shape the mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Raw Swedish Meatball
Raw Swedish Meatball

Place on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes.

Swedish meatballs
Swedish meatballs

Drain the meatballs on a paper towel. Serve with mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce or lingonberry jam.

Swedish Meatballs served with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, Green Beans, and a Dinner Roll
Swedish Meatballs served with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, Green Beans, and a Dinner Roll

Slow Cooker Posole

I don’t think you can have too many soup or slow cooker recipes. When searching for yet another soup to add to my repertoire, I came across a posole recipe. Since I can hardly resist Mexican food, I knew that was the next soup/slow cooker dish to attempt. I was pleased with the result. This recipe makes about 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound boneless pork
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 1 can hominy, drained
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 can chopped green chilies
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

DIRECTIONS

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker.

posole ingredients
posole ingredients

Cook on low for about 8 hours. Stir to shred the meat.

red pozole
red pozole

Serve with fresh chopped cilantro, sour cream, and avocado.

Easy Clean-up Cooking

Did you know you can make aluminum foil pockets and avoid most of the after cooking clean up? This is a cool trick I like to use with fish and vegetables. Choose your favorite fish and vegetables and give it a try. I have used salmon and broccoli for my example here.

Place the salmon on a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil.

Salmon on heavy duty aluminum foil
Salmon on heavy duty aluminum foil

Sprinkle with your favorite all-purpose seasoning.  Fold the aluminum foil into a pocket.

aluminum foil pocket
aluminum foil pocket

Place your vegetables in the center of a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil.

broccoli on heavy duty aluminum foil
broccoli on heavy duty aluminum foil

Sprinkle with your favorite seasonings. Fold the aluminum foil into a pocket.

aluminum foil pocket
aluminum foil pocket

Place the aluminum pockets in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Unfold the aluminum pockets.

Salmon baked in aluminum foil
Salmon baked in aluminum foil
broccoli baked in aluminum foil
broccoli baked in aluminum foil

Serve on plates.

 

3-Ingredient Roasted Parmesan Pesto Potatoes

The only thing I love more than potatoes is pasta. Pasta and potatoes are so versatile, how you you not love them? Lately, I stumbled on a new food blog that I love–twopeasandtheirpod.com. I recommend you explore their website. Since I had recently acquired some fresh basil from the teacher next door, I was looking for ideas for how to use pesto. This recipe is almost too easy.

INGREDIENTS

  • red potatoes
  • pesto
  • grated Parmesan

DIRECTIONS

Cube the potatoes.

cubed red potatoes
cubed red potatoes

Place the potatoes in a bowl and coat with pesto. Place in a casserole dish.

red potatoes coated in pesto
red potatoes coated in pesto

Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes in oven
After 20 minutes in oven

Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Sprinkled with grated Parmesan
Sprinkled with grated Parmesan

Bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown.

Pesto Parmesan Potatoes--Ready to eat
Pesto Parmesan Potatoes–Ready to eat

Cookie Bars

I make the best chocolate chip cookies. In fact, fights have ensued over my chocolate chip cookies. That being said, sometimes I don’t want to take the time to make cookies. Therefore, I use this recipe for a quick satisfying substitute for chocolate chop cookies. This is my go-to recipe when I volunteer to bring dessert, but I’m short on time. Since these ingredients are almost always on hand in my kitchen, I don’t even have to make a stop at the grocery store. I recommend that you volunteer for dessert at your next potluck and use this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (optional)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or mini M&Ms

DIRECTIONS

Cream together sugar and  butter (and peanut butter if using it). Mix in the egg.

Egg mixed into the butter and sugar
Egg mixed into the butter and sugar

Add the remaining ingredients except the milk and chips.

Adding the dry ingredients
Adding the dry ingredients

Stir in the chips and the milk.

Adding the chocolate chips
Adding the chocolate chips

Spread the batter into a 9×13 inch greased cake pan.

Cookie Bars--ready for the oven
Cookie Bars–ready for the oven

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool. Slice into rectangles.

chocolate chip cookie bar
chocolate chip cookie bar

Pesto

I work with the best people. They make my job worth going to even on days when the lesson flops and I feel like a failure as a teacher. My next door neighbor at work has fresh basil that she shares with me on occasion. I love the smell of basil and because of her generosity I now make my own pesto. I found that it also freezes well, so I recommend that you try this recipe and freeze what you don’t use for later use.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups fresh basil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

DIRECTIONS

Place all ingredients in a food processor.

Pesto Ingredients
Pesto Ingredients

Blend for a couple of minutes.

Pesto
Pesto

Freeze any extra for later use.

Thai Coconut Soup

I love Thai food and had ordered a bowl of Thai coconut soup at a restaurant when I thought. Wow! I should find a recipe for this. Well, I found a good recipe and tweaked it to my liking. Here is the result. It makes 3-4 large servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 stalk, lemon grass, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons fish sauce
  •  1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  •  ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  •  1 teaspoon minced onion flakes
  •  1-13/5 ounce can coconut milk
  •  1 pound raw medium shrimp
  •  ½ Tablespoon lime juice
  •  ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • Vermicelli rice noodles (I use one or two bundles depending on how many noodles I feel like having in a bowl.)

DIRECTIONS

Add ginger, lemon grass, curry paste, vegetable stock, fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, and onion flakes to a medium saucepan or small slow cooker. Since I often freeze my extra stock, the photo shows frozen vegetable stock.

Initial ingredients for soup
Initial ingredients for soup

Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes or cook in the slow cooker on low for 4 hours. Add the shrimp

Add the shrimp.
Add the shrimp.

and coconut milk.

Add the coconut milk.
Add the coconut milk.

Continue simmering until the shrimp turn pink. Stir in lime juice.

To cook the vermicelli rice noodles, place  them in a bowl and cover them with boiling water.

Soaking the vermicelli rice noodles
Soaking the vermicelli rice noodles

Let them soak about 5-10 minutes before draining. Place noodles each bowl. Top with soup. Garnish with cilantro.

Thai Coconut Soup
Thai Coconut Soup

 

Easy Egg Salad

I like egg salad, but I really don’t make it often enough. Here’s a quick and easy recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 boiled eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon dill relish
  • salt and pepper to taste

NIGHT BEFORE

Boil the eggs and  peel them.

BEFORE SERVING

Slice each egg in an egg slicer crosswise.

slicing crosswise
slicing crosswise

Slice each egg a second time in the egg slicer lengthwise.

slicing lengthwise
slicing lengthwise
chopped egg
chopped egg

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

egg salad ingredients
egg salad ingredients

Eat as-is or put on bread for an egg salad sandwich.

egg salad sandwich
egg salad sandwich