For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 pound chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
- 2 cups fresh white bread crumbs
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), diced
- 3/4 cup diced celery (2 or 3 stalks), diced
- 10 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups orzo
- 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
- 12 ounces baby spinach, washed
Last night I was not “feeling” dinner at all. I had been under the weather all day. Sore throat, chills, headache, can you hear me whining from there? The original plan was leftover pizza. The kids had bought two large pizzas the night before and I figured since it was just Kevin, his son, and me, that pizza would be fine. But the more I thought about it, and it swam around in my cloudy brain, I couldn’t do it. I must have been delirious to actually WANT to cook when I am sick!
I started poking around my kitchen and just kind of tossing things out on the counter. I guess I figured if I tossed enough things out there eventually I would be able to put a few together to make a meal. Well shock of shocks, I was RIGHT. Of course it turned out that I was going to make a mac and cheese. That is one of my comfort foods so I guess it was a subliminal thing. I am sick = give me mac and cheese. Something about that ooyey gooey cheesy goodness that just promises yummy in my tummy.
I had a couple of chicken breasts that I had poached a couple of nights ago with another recipe I made. I decided to poach all of the breasts I had so I would have some cooked chicken to work with later in the week. I must have been psychic! So I defrosted the chicken boobies and got to work.
You could substitute just about any cheese you want in this recipe. That is the beauty of a mac and cheese and why it is so versatile. I had Gruyere because I am making a quiche tonight, but I knew I wouldn’t use it all in one dish so grabbed some of that, and sharp cheddar, and parm. TADA dinner!!
Into a large pot of boiling salted water add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add onion mixture and cheese to the cooked macaroni and then place it all into a casserole dish.
Ever since I made the Make Ahead Sausage Breakfast Casserole I have been thinking more and more about good breakfast recipes. I really do love breakfast but I, as well as many I am sure, have fallen into that breakfast rut. You know, when you try to think of what to make for breakfast you run down the list, Bacon and eggs, Sausage and eggs (OH and don’ forget hash browns), Sausage gravy and biscuits, pancakes, french toast, omelet, etc. At least those are the ones that get bounced around here. Usually we settle on Eggs with sausage or bacon and hash browns. A cheese omelet or egg and cheese muffin sandwich are usually my go to choices through the week. That is IF I eat breakfast. My breakfast as of late has been coffee with cream. Bad I know, but it just seems to be all that I can fit in.
OK so if I am going to be boring and some what bad through the week, I want to make up for it on the weekend. This weekend was another winner. I was looking through my Everyday Food Magazine and saw a recipe that I was interested in but knew I wanted to change up a bit. I was really excited to have found another original recipe to surprise everyone with.
The thing about this recipe is that it is super easy and not that expensive. If you don’t want to use the packaged hash browns you could grate your own. Make sure you wrap them in a clean kitchen towel and squeeeeeeeeze all the moisture out of them that you can. I used the packaged hash browns that you can find in the refrigerated section (usually by the eggs) just because it meant less work on the weekend and THAT was one of my goals.
This recipe makes 4 to 6 depending on how large your ramekins/muffin cups are. I used 4 ramekins that I have for making creme bruelee (now ask me if I have ever made that creme brulee that I bought them for), but you can use the jumbo muffin pans and then it will make 6.
It is so flattering to be recognized by my peers. As food bloggers we put our heart and soul into what we do because that is our passion. So when someone I respect singles me out for an award it is such an honor. That is what Candi from The Devilish Dish did by giving me this award. Thank you so very much Candi for putting a smile on my face and making my day!!
OK you asked for it so here it is….Bobbi on a Budget TADA (and the crowd goes wild)! Ahem….OK let me reel myself back in and be a bit serious here. I was very happy when the votes came in and I saw that people wanted a budget post on a regular basis. With the economy the way it is and so many people out of work, it just makes sense that many of us can not afford to cook whatever we want whenever we want it. The dilemma? Trying to cook healthy (or at least healthiER) on a limited budget. That is something I struggle with all of the time. I love to use fresh produce and fresh herbs and, let’s admit, that isn’t “budget” cooking.
I am realizing that sale fliers are a wonderful thing (Ya, I know, who knew?). I have been so bad about just making a menu plan and shopping without even looking to see what was on sale. Now I am getting the hang of checking the sale fliers to the 3 local grocery stores and finding what meat, produce, etc. is on sale for that week.
A suggestion, look for things like canned tomatoes, tomato paste, stocks, beans, etc. All of things that are staples in your pantry. If you use dried spices a lot (I use a lot of cumin and coriander) grab those when they are on sale too. Again, probably not something you didn’t know but something I am having to learn quickly.
For the budget meals segment I will be trying to stay as close to $10 for a 4 serving meal as possible.
I took a little help from Melissa d’Arabian for my first post to get me started and in the swing of things. I have to admit I thought there was no way I could feed my 3 hungry guys for $10 but I was shocked and pleasantly proven wrong. With the white beans they end up being quite filling. They all loved this meal and there was enough for everyone. I was lucky enough to have the O Olive Oils that I won in the eRecipecards.com challenge, so I used the Tahitian Lime oil for this recipe. But regular olive oil is just as good.
Oh, the meal? Ah yes, the reason we are all here. I guess I should post the recipe so you can all enjoy!!
- 1 lime, zested and juiced, plus lime wedges for garnish
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for baking sheet
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound white fish fillets, (I used Tilapia) cut into finger-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- Sauteed White Beans, recipe follows
- 1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
- Pineapple and Avocado Salsa, recipe follows
- Sour cream, for garnish
Sauteed White Beans:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper
Pineapple and Avocado Salsa:
- 1 (14-ounce) can sliced pineapple in juice, drained and juices reserved
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small jalapenos, seeds removed and diced (You can just use one if you don’t like much heat)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium avocado, halved, pitted and flesh cubed
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
I am sure some of you are wondering what in the heck “Snowmageddon” is. Well over the last couple of days Mother Nature has seen fit to open up the skies and dump more snow on the Western Washington area than we have seen in years! To ad insult to injury she has decided that a good old fashioned ice storm is just what is needed after a foot (or more in places) of snow. Needless to say I am stuck at home. Nothing drives me crazier than being cooped up. Even though I may not have had plans to go anywhere, just the idea that I can’t if I wanted to makes me nuts. So I decided a distraction is what I need. My cabin fever translates into wanting to make somebody smile.
This giveaway if for a shirt that I found at BurgerJunkies.com. I fell in love with it and bought one for myself and one for my daughter. Then I got to thinking “Hey” I bet I am not the only one that would like this shirt. SO I thought of all of you.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I love Love LOVE breakfast! But not so enthusiastic about being the one that has to get up and make it. Just being honest here. I can make a mean breakfast for dinner, but something about getting my rear out of bed to cook, and make dishes that need to be done, all before I have had some coffee and everyone else has gotten up. Sooooo the idea of a make ahead casserole that you put in the fridge and then pop into the oven when you feel like eating was one that I ADORED!! I had made one years and years ago for Christmas day with ham and cheese and bread etc. but I don’t know what happened to my recipe. Plus I wanted to try something different. I know Kevin loves sausage, eggs, and hash browns for breakfast so that was my jumping off point. I jumped off and ran with it.
This is seriously so simple it is ridiculous. Which makes it even better in my mind. I love pouring my love and time into main dishes but for some reason, breakfast, not so much. So the fact that I made dinner and then could jump right on this to get it ready was awesome. All you do it a bit of browning, chopping, and put it all together.
You could add more to this is you want. The possibilities are really endless. If you want more Italian flavors I would use Italian sausage (and they do have Italian flavored turkey sausage now), Parmesan cheese, flat-leaf parsley, and use an Italian seasoning blend to flavor the eggs. WOW now I am kind of excited about breakfasts!!
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Everyone in this house loves pasta. It is the one thing I know I can make that EVERYONE will be happy to see it on the plate. I will say, I am pretty lucky because the people that I cook for are appreciative of every meal that I make. Kevin’s son Dylan said the other day “Bobbi your dinners are like a 5 star meal every night”! OK well you know that is the quickest way to my heart right? Flattery will get you EVERYWHERE (except out of the dishes).
I knew I wanted to do something with fennel. I have developed a love for the flavor of fennel over the last few years. Roasted, raw, sauteed, you name it, I want it. I had seen a recipe Rachael Ray had done along these lines and decided it would give me another way of sneaking chicken in on Kevin without him feeling beef deprived. I mean if I can pack a ton of flavor into a chicken dish he won’t miss beef right? One can only hope.
This dish is takes a bit of time, but most of it is spent poaching the chicken. We got it going and then hopped in the hot tub for a while to pass the time. The only problem is I was really good about taking pictures up until things started to get really busy and then *POOF* taking pictures went right out of my head. Until the finished dish THEN I smacked myself for missing some of the steps. I promise I will get much better with my photography. 30 lashes with a wet noodle to me!!
I can tell you that not one bit of this meal went to waste. I think my son actually licked the leftover container clean!
OK I know that is a mouthful (and a tasty one at that, trust me) but really it is just fancy talk for cod cooked in parchment paper with a truck load of vegetables and a yummy herb salad on top of it all. But I figured that wouldn’t fit as a title so I went with the foo foo wording.
I was really excited to cook fish again because it gave me the opportunity to use some of my O Olive Oils. Remember I won the O Olive Oil and eRecipecards.com recipe challenge a while back? Well they sent me some of the olive oils I won and they have been staring at me from my counter saying “use me, use me!!” I didn’t marinade in the oil, which afterward I thought “dangit why didn’t I marinade?” but I did give the veggies and fish a good dousing of their Myer Lemon Olive Oil. I can’t say enough about their oils. The crush process they go through just gives the oils a fresh clean flavor. You can actually taste the fresh fruit in them sooooo yummy!!
I also got to break out the new Cuisinart food processor Kevin bought me for Christmas. He was disappointed because he thought he bought the one with the wide feed tube, but I am happy with it. I can chop the bigger stuff if needed. It sure made quick work of my zucchini I can tell you that!
But enough about my toys and gadgets. Lets talk about the food. I have to admit, this recipe looks a lot harder than it really is. The hardest part is slicing all the veg (unless you have a food processor…or a sous chef hehe). Once you get the fish in that paper the oven does all of the work. No worrying that you have overcooked the fish or wondering if you should flip it over yet. Bing, bam, boom, fish done. Top it with the herb salad and you have a wonderfully healthy and tasty meal that the family, at least my family, will gobble up in no time flat! We had 2 pounds of fish for 4 people and I only eat small portions because of my surgery. So I will say that between the 3 of them they consumed 1 3/4 pounds of fish in mere minutes!
Even if you aren’t a big vegetable person (this has eggplant which I know some people will say eeewwww to right off the bat) the veggies are sliced so thin and they cook in the oilive oil, butter, and white wine which gives them an amazing flavor. A great way to get your vegetables without having to eat plain boring ones.
Oh, little side note, my parchment paper was not wide enough to wrap completely around the fish so I topped it with another sheet and folded up the sides. I even secured them with paper clips just to make sure it stayed sealed so all of the yummy steam and juices properly cooked the fish and veggies.
I know the dish looks a bit “rustic” but it is oohhhh sooooo yummy!!