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Make a Mess of These Meatball Sliders

I am always on the lookout for different meatball recipes. It is just one of those meal items that I like to tinker with and I am looking to add new flavors to meatballs to jazz them up a little bit. Whether it is for a simple meal with spaghetti in tomato sauce, as an appetizer for a buffet or party, to have in gravy over rice or noodles or to make a nice sub or sandwich meatballs are one of those things that you can do a lot of things with and make them in wide variety of ways with many different ingredients. I came upon this recipe from Alton Brown for meatball sandwiches on Parmesan parsley biscuits and thought it sounded great, but to me they are perfect meatball sliders for an appetizer, party or dinner. it’s a very easy recipe that gives you some basic meatballs with great tasting biscuits and a nice spaghetti sauce to boot.

Alton Brown’s Meatball Sandwiches (Meatball Sliders)

For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal
1 egg
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan Parsley Biscuits, recipe follows
Spaghetti Sauce, recipe follows
Provolone cheese, thinly sliced

For the Parmesan Parsley Biscuits:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or chives
1 cup whole milk, chilled

For the Spaghetti Sauce:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
20 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the meatballs,in a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, veal, egg, onion, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper and mix all of the ingredients until they are well combined. Scoop the mixture into mini muffin tins or onto a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the meatballs until they are browned and cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the Parmesan parsley biscuits:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk until everything is well blended. Add the butter and combine the mixture with your fingertips until a coarse meal forms. Mix in the parsley. Gradually add the milk, tossing the mixture with a fork until moist clumps form. Add extra milk if the mixture is too dry. Put the dough on a floured work surface, folding 8 to 10 times until it becomes firm. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes under a damp towel. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Using a 2-inch-diameter biscuit ring, cut out the biscuits and put them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and bake until the biscuits are puffed and golden, about 15 minutes.

For the spaghetti sauce, in a medium pan set over high heat, saute the onion and the garlic in olive oil until both are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and allow the mixture to simmer until it is slightly reduced and thickened, about 25 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil just before serving.

To build the sliders, slice a biscuit in half and place a meatball on the bottom half of the biscuit. Cover the meatball with as much spaghetti sauce as you like and top each meatball with a slice a provolone cheese. Place the biscuit top on top of the meatball and continue until all of the biscuits are filled.

I have to say I really liked these. While the meatball recipe is very basic, it does taste good and produces a moist meatball that goes well with the sauce. The real star of this one I think is the Parmesan biscuit, which comes out perfectly and goes really nicely with the meatballs as a slider. The biscuit has great flavor and is really easy to make so you can make this to go with other meals besides this one. we even used some to make breakfast sandwiches with some bacon or sausage and egg. Of course the meatballs and sauce can be for anything that you would use meatballs for as well besides just sliders if you want a nice, basic and easy meatball recipe.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Rainy Days are Perfect for This Chicken, Carrot and Sweet Potato Stew

It’s been pretty rainy and chilly here in our part of New York this week, so much so that the heat actually kicked in and came on the other morning, letting me know that the colder weather is rapidly approaching. It means I spend the early morning hours wearing my sweater around the house while I type away about various topics for my writing, covering everything from dental offices and travel tips to Thailand vacation spots and video gaming. Work has been busy lately and since the weather is cooler it is the perfect time to break out the slow cooker and make some soups or stews. This seemed like the perfect time to make this recipe from Cooking.com for chicken, carrot and sweet potato stew, a nice, thick, hearty stew that was easy to put together and has some great flavors to it.

Chicken, Carrot and Sweet Potato Stew

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1-2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 cup white wine

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 bay leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, white wine, thyme and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Stir the ingredients to combine everything well. Cover the slow cooker and cook the ingredients on low for 5 hours or until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through. Remove the bay leaves and put the stew into a large bowl or serve right from the crock of the slow cooker.

Believe it or not, that’s all there is to this recipe. It is very simple to put together and gives you a nice stew with a great tomato-based broth. I added in a couple of diced and peeled parsnips that I had on hand to get a little bit of extra flavor in there as well and I think you could pretty much add any fall vegetables that you really like, such as some diced butternut or acorn squash, to go along with the meal. You could always use chicken broth or water in place of the white wine if you did not want to use the wine and I think you could even substitute skinless, boneless chicken thighs for the breast meat if you prefer the dark meat or even use some stew beef instead of the chicken if that is what you prefer. Whatever you decide, it is a nice and simple mix that you can put in the slow cooker early in the day, set about your business and then have a great stew for dinner. I served this with some of the not quite whole grain baguette that I had made and it was perfect.

That’s all I have for today’s recipe. Check back next time for another new recipe and see what’s cooking. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day, stay dry, and enjoy your meal!

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Bake Your Own Bread with This Not Quite Whole Grain Baguette Recipe

The taste you get from homemade bread is so much better than what you buy prepackaged in any grocery store that it makes you wonder why you don’t make your own bread all of the time. For me, I then remember how much time it can make to prepare and make the dough along with the kneading and everything else and I realize I don’t always have enough time to make my own bread even though we love having it. Recently though I came across this recipe at New York Times Cooking from Mark Bittman and it may me realize just how easy some bread recipes can be. This is for a baguette that is a combination of rye or whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour  that you can put together quite easily. I was able to start it in the morning, let it rise for a few hours while I worked and then finish it off right before dinner so that it came out perfectly. It is only 4 ingredients, which makes things even better, and all of the kneading can be done in the food processor to save you some time and effort.

Not Quite Whole Grain Baguette Recipe

3/4 cup rye or whole-wheat flour

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for handling

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons instant yeast

Combine the rye or whole-wheat flour and the all-purpose flour, along with the kosher salt and the yeast, in the bowl of a food processor. With the machine running add water until a ball forms, about 30 seconds. Start with 1 1/2 cups of water. You may need a little bit more or a little bit less. After the water has been added completely, process the dough for an additional 30 to 45 seconds. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to sit until it has risen, about 2 to 3 hours.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut the dough into 3 pieces. Form each piece into a rough log, or, as an option, leave the dough as one piece so you can make one large boule, ciabatta-shaped loaf or other shape that you like. Cover the shaped dough with a towel and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes. Shape the logs into long baguettes and, if you wish, support the shape by placing them into baguette pans or a lightly floured piece of canvas (I actually just left mine alone and they seemed fine to me). Preheat the oven to 465 degrees and if you have a pizza or baking stone, leave it in the oven to heat.

After shaping the loaves, they will be ready to bake in about 30 minutes. Slide the loaves onto a pizza peel or into the baguette pans. Slash or cut the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake the loaves, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent the loaves from over-browning, until the loaves reach a temperature of 210 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the loaf, about 20 to 30 minutes. Cool the loaves on a wire rack before using.

It is a very simple recipe that you can use to have bread any day or time that you like. The loaves turned out great and I decided to shape the dough into just 2 loaves for us. We used one for dinner that night and saved the other for other uses such as sandwiches and with another dinner and it was fantastic. It had a nice crunchy crust and the dough had just the right type of chew to it and the combination of the 2 flours gave it some great flavor. I am making some more today to go with a  chicken stew I am making and it should be great..You could always take one and wrap it up and freeze it so you have it on hand when you want a fresh loaf of bread.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Breads, Cooking

 

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Sweet and Simple for a Monday – Sausage and Bean Dutch Oven Stew

I don’t know about you, but for me Monday is the busiest day of the week. even though I work from home, the bulk of my assignments come in over the weekends or on Monday so I spend most of the day doing research and writing, trying to get as much done as I can. this often means that Monday tends to be a leftover day or one where we have made something for dinner the night before and can cook it quickly and easily Monday night. this recipe for today could really fit into either of those categories. It is easy enough to do with leftovers right on the spot or you could put it all together the day before and simply heat it up for a great meal. The idea for the recipe comes from MyRecipes.com, but I did change it a little bit to fit my needs since their original version is designed to be cooked when you are camping and cooking over an open flame. I changed it slightly to fit into a nice, home-cooked meal of an easy sausage and bean Dutch oven stew.

Sausage and Bean Dutch-Oven Stew

2 cans (15.5-ounce size) each cannellini beans and chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1/2 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 onion, sliced

1 poblano chile or jalapeno, seeded and sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 1/2 pounds cooked Italian sausages, cut into 1-inch chunks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

In a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat until it is shimmering. Add in the red pepper, yellow pepper, orange pepper, poblano or jalapeno and the onions and saute until the vegetables have just softened, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and heat until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. add the cannellini beans and chickpeas, the rosemary and the Italian sausage pieces, along with 3/4 cup of water, and stir until the mixture is incorporated. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat until the stew is simmering. Cover the pot and continue cooking until the sausages swell and all of the vegetables are cooked through, checking the pot every 10 minutes and adding more water if the stew gets dry, until it has cooked for about 30 to 40 minutes. Season the stew with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the top with the oregano before serving.

It is very simple and quite tasty. The sausage and beans go very nicely together and the peppers and onions help round it out with the poblano giving it just a hint of heat, which is nice. I think this would be even better with kielbasa or a smoked sausage instead of the Italian sausage, but it all works really well together and gives you a nice one pot meal in under an hour that does not take a lot of work. If you have leftover Italian sausage they are perfect for this meal (which is what I did) but if you don’t you can cook some up quickly before putting them in with the other ingredients. I really liked the beans used in the recipe, but you could use other beans if you prefer them as well.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Fun and Frightful Halloween Recipes : Cooking Channel

Fun and Frightful Halloween Recipes : Cooking Channel.

Halloween is just around the corner and if you want to make some tasty treats that are fun and Halloween themed, Cooking Channel has put together 31 fun and frightful recipes perfect for Halloween fun.Check it out!

 

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Simple and Satisfying – Butternut Squash Polenta with Sausage and Onion

I always seem to forget about polenta. It’s not something I do on purpose, it’s just not a dish that I think of very often to make and then I realize just how versatile and great-tasting it can be. Sean was just saying to me the other day that we had not had polenta in a long time and he was right. I couldn’t even remember the last I made it and we always have some around the house to make. Polenta, much like it is with rice, oatmeal, grits and the like, is so great because you can add lots of things to it to bring out even greater flavors. That’s what I really liked about this particular recipe from the New York Times for butter nut squash polenta with sausage and onion. It makes great use of one of my favorite fall vegetables by incorporating it into the creamy polenta, adding another great layer of flavor and texture to the polenta itself.

Butternut Squash Polenta with Sausage and Onion

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed

1 bay leaf

1 cup fine polenta (not quick cooking)

1 cup seeded and peeled butternut squash, coarsely grated

3 tablespoons butter

Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed

1 1/2 pounds sweet or hot Italian pork sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

2 teaspoons minced rosemary

2 onions, peeled, halved and sliced into 1/4-inch half moons

1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)

Rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional)

In a large pot set over medium-high heat, combine 4 1/2 cups of water, the kosher salt and the bay leaf. Bring the water to a boil and then slowly whisk in the polenta. Stir in the butternut squash to the polenta. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the polenta and the squash are very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. If the mixture is getting too thick while cooking, add a little bit more water to the pot to thin it out. Stir in the butter and the black pepper. Taste the polenta and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if it is needed.

While the polenta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the Italian sausage, the rosemary and the fennel seeds (if using). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is golden and cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes. You can cook the sausages in batches if necessary, adding more olive oil to the pan if the pan looks dry. Transfer the sausages to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Add more olive oil to the skillet if it looks dry and then add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Return the sausage to the pan and stir it together with the onions to heat the sausage through. Spoon the polenta into bowls and top it with the sausage and onion and garnish with the rosemary sprigs if you like.

It’s a very simple meal that packs some great flavor and is very satisfying. I love the way the squash and the polenta worked together here and it gave the polenta great texture and color. The sausages went really well with the polenta and the whole meal only takes about 30 minutes to cook. If you have polenta left, it sets really nicely when it is chilled and you can cut it into squares and saute it up as a side dish for all kinds of meals if you like. This is a great easy meal for a busy weeknight when you want something quick to put together and I think it would work well with just about any type of fall squash that you might want to use.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 17, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork, Vegetables

 

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Take a Try at Turkey Meatloaf

I have been using a lot of ground turkey lately for different things. The price has been right for it at the supermarket or at BJ’s where I can buy large packages of it and try different things. I have used it before in chili, turkey burgers, meatballs and even on nachos but I realized that I hadn’t given a turkey meatloaf a try. I am something of a meatloaf nut and love different meatloaf recipes so I was happy to take a look and see what I c ould find for turkey meatloaf, but to be honest I wasn’t bowled over by any one recipe that I saw anywhere. I then decided I would just do it on my own and see how it would come as far as flavor. To me ground turkey is one of those meats that needs seasoning and moisture, so I ended up putting a few things together and came up with this particular recipe of my own.

Turkey Meatloaf

1 shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup fresh bread crumbs (about 2 pieces of white bread, crusts removed)

1/3 cup milk

1 egg

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon tomato paste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and heat the oil until it is shimmering. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the shallot has softened and is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

In a large bowl, add the bread crumbs and the milk and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Add the cooled vegetables, the egg, the ground turkey, the Worcestershire sauce, the 1/4 cup of ketchup, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix the ingredients together by hand until they are just blended. Form the mixture into a loaf and place the loaf in a baking pan or on a baking sheet. Mix the remaining ketchup and tomato paste together in a small bowl and spread over the top of the meatloaf to coat it well. Bake the meatloaf in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted into the meatloaf registers 170 degrees. Remove the meatloaf from the pan to a platter and allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

As is the case with any meatloaf, you can always add different ingredients that you like to give it some extra flavor. If you are going for something leaner, you could certainly add different vegetables, like grated carrots and onions. If you want a different flavor, try topping it with bacon or putting crumbled up cooked bacon into the meatloaf. You could also add a cup of mushrooms you have processed in the food processor to give the meatloaf another layer of flavor. There are a lot of things you can do, but this one was pretty basic and came out with really good flavor. We even made a little gravy out of some  chicken stock and had it with the turkey and mashed potatoes. Of course, the turkey meatloaf is great for meatloaf sandwiches for lunch or dinner in the following days.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Turkey

 

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