Italian Sausage and Beef Meatballs

I was at the grocery store this past weekend and found sweet Italian Sausage and Aged Angus Ground Beef both on sale for $3 a pound.

I’ll have a pound of each please.

When I got home I started thinking about what to make with a pound of Italian sausage and a pound of ground beef.  Meatballs!
Toss these into some Tomato Sauce 2.  You really didn’t want a vegetarian meal anyway.

Italian Sausage and Beef Meatballs

1 lb ground beef (80/20)

1 lb sweet mild Italian sausage, bulk

Leftover Italian or French bread, coarsely chopped

Milk

1 egg

1 cup Parmesan cheese

White wine

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the coarsely chopped Italian bread with just enough milk to moisten.  Beat in the egg, add a pinch of oregano or basil (optional) and incorporate the Parmesan cheese.
  2. Mix in the meats and blend well.  Chill for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Form 1.5 – 2 inch meatballs and spread evenly in a roasting pan large enough so that the meatballs don’t touch one another.
  5. Add a little white wine and water to the bottom of the roasting pan and bake the meatballs for 40-45 minutes.
  6. Cool and drain the meatballs on paper towels to absorb as much grease as possible.
  7. Toss into Tomato Sauce 2 and simmer for two hours.
  8. Serve over pasta or make into sandwiches.

 

Tips – note the basil and oregano are optional.  Go light on the herbs and spices because any Italian sausage you buy will already be seasoned well, and perhaps salted fairly well also.  When using sausage in meatballs, you won’t need a lot of additional spices.  When I was younger, I fried my meatballs.  Nowadays I prefer roasting my meatballs in the oven with a little wine.

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Tomato Sauce 2

Tomato Sauce 2

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried basil
1 28 oz can tomatoes, puree
1 28 oz can tomatoes, crushed
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Brown sugar

  1. Heat olive oil in an 8 quart stock pot.
  2. Saute the carrot, onion, and celery until limp.
  3. Add garlic, mushrooms, basil, and oregano.  Saute for another minute.
  4. Add both cans of tomatoes, simmer for 30-45 minutes.

 

This sauce recipe is a rough adaptation from the cookbook Cooking From an Italian Garden by Paola Scaravelli and Jon Cohen.  The cookbook contains Italian vegetarian recipes (long story here).  I’ve served this sauce on pasta and it’s OK.  But rather than use this sauce as is, I’ve always used it as the base for my version of Sunday Gravy.  My family never really cared for giant chunks of animal protein in their sauce.  So Tomato Sauce 2 became my base for meatballs and sausage.

Tips – salt and pepper to taste.  Use sugar only if the tomatoes are overly acidic.  You’ll be glad you used an 8 quart pot once you toss in the meatballs.  Italian Sausage and Beef Meatballs

Baked Costa Rican-Style Tilapia with Pineapples, Black Beans and Rice

Baked Costa Rican-Style Tilapia with Pineapples, Black Beans and Rice Recipe : Ingrid Hoffmann : Recipes : Food Network.

Baked Costa Rican-Style Tilapia with Pineapples, Black Beans and Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (5 to 7-ounce) tilapia fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 cups jarred or homemade tomato salsa
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Combine the rice and chicken broth in a pot
    over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and
    cook until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid, about
    20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, oil,
    2 tablespoons of the cilantro, the garlic, and sugar; season with salt
    and pepper. Add the tilapia fillets to the marinade, turning to coat.
    Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Stir together the cooked rice, salsa, beans, pineapple, and remaining 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in a 2 or 3-quart baking dish. Remove the tilapia from the marinade, reserve the marinade, and lay the fish fillets
    over the rice mixture, overlapping if necessary. Pour the reserved
    marinade over the fish. Shingle the lime slices over the fish. Bake
    until the fish flakes easily, is opaque, and cooked through, 25 to 30
    minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.

via Baked Costa Rican-Style Tilapia with Pineapples, Black Beans and Rice.

Our friends who favor red wine surprised us with a fine selection of white wine.  “What’s up?” I asked.

“We’re having tilapia.”

When we sat down to dinner and I tasted my first bite of this wonderfully flavorful dish I had to agree white wine is a better choice.  This dish is light with bright flavors, a highly suitable supper when it’s 113 degrees outside.  We all agreed the recipe was a keeper.

Our friends got the recipe from one of their kids who got it on the Internet.  The recipe is presented here unaltered (copied) with the Guy Fieri Copyright reprinted as proof I’m not stealing but merely sharing.

Tips – no tips or suggestions at this time, since I’ve not had the time to play with this recipe.  I’m already thinking of adding some red bell pepper, maybe trying basa instead of tilapia.

One Rotisserie Chicken, 50 Meals – #4 Pasta Primavera with(out) Chicken

Pasta Primavera with Chicken

Grated Parmesan cheese (lots)
3 medium carrots
2 small zucchini
1 small head of broccoli florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 lb cooked, drained pasta (fettuccine, bow ties)

One Rotisserie Chicken, carved off the bone, cut into pieces that match your pasta shape.

  1. Cut carrots and zucchini lengthwise into thin slices. Add carrots, zucchini and broccoli to 1 inch boiling water in medium saucepan. Cook until crisp-tender.
  2. Drain; set aside.
  3. In the same saucepan add olive oil, onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Gradually stir in broth, cream, grated Parmesan (min. 1/2 cup) and seasonings; simmer 5 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.
  5. Add vegetables and heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally. Add pasta to vegetables and lightly toss.  Add chicken if desired.
  6. Top with more grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

 

Back in my 20’s I started making Pasta Primavera.  This was always the dish made to celebrate the bounty of fresh, seasonal vegetables during the summer months.  I recall using copious amounts of butter and heavy cream.  Low cholesterol and heart friendly were not in anyone’s vocabulary at that time.  Along the Path I came across a recipe called Pasta with Fresh Vegetables in Garlic Sauce on http://www.theculinarychase.com  It was the first time I had seen someone use a combination of chicken stock and cream in a Pasta Primavera type dish.  Over the years I began using chicken stock with half and half with good results.  Then I started tossing in cooked rotisserie chicken.  The kids ate it so I kept making it.

Tips – try different vegetable combinations.  Mushrooms and red bell pepper are a good addition.  So too are a handful of fresh spinach leaves. A dash of red pepper flakes will add some zip.  If you want less fat in your sauce, cut back on the half and half, increase the chicken stock.  Or if you want a richer sauce, more half and half, less stock.  Toss in a pat of butter.  This dish freezes well.  Don’t make the mistake of using a full pound of pasta.  You’ll end up with enough pasta for 8 people.  Depending upon the size of the chicken, you might need only a half chicken for this dish.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

Homemade Taco Seasoning (from Whole New Mom)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp paprika

1 Tbsp cumin

2 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

Method:

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly

via Homemade Taco Seasoning | Recipe Taco Seasoning.

Please follow the link above which takes you to http://wholenewmom.com/recipes/homemade-taco-seasoning/.   The creator of this wonderful taco seasoning recipe is Adrienne from Whole New Mom.  Please go check out her website.  Thanks Adrienne!

As I write this the temperature outside is 112 degrees F.  It’s really too hot to cook but for some strange reason I starting thinking tacos.  I’ve already been to the store (when it was only 100 degrees) and picked up some organic canned pinto beans, Colby jack cheese, lettuce and tortillas.  In the house we already have crispy taco shells, tomatoes, and salsa.  While at the store I also bought some boneless chicken and a small package of lean ground beef.  So as you can see, I can go one of several ways here.  Soft or crispy, ground beef, chicken, or vegetarian tacos.  Now you may ask, why homemade taco seasoning?

The last time I shopped for taco ingredients I forgot to buy one of those seasoning packets.

So I got online and found this recipe.

Tips – I don’t use as much salt as the recipe calls for.  Otherwise I’ve changed nothing else.

One Rotisserire Chicken, 50 Meals – #3 Sour Cream Chicken Enchillada Casserole

Updated 10.13.13

Son:  “Whenever I make one of your recipes it never quite turns out the same.”

Me:    “So?”

Recipes change with time and repeated preparations.  So when the usual crew showed up to to be fed this weekend I made a conscious effort to pay attention to what I was doing and the quantities while making this dish.  Sure enough, quite a few things were different from the original recipe.  The changes are in bold.  The original recipe is in the cookbook mentioned below.  But you don’t want the original recipe.  You want this one.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole

1/4 C butter
2 T. flour
2 C. sour cream
3 C. chicken broth
1 small can mild green chiles
1 medium onion, chopped

Saute onions in butter, add flour then broth.  Cook over medium heat until thickened.  Add chiles and sour cream and heat.  Be careful to not let the sauce boil.  Set aside.

One rotisserie  chicken, meat taken off the bones, cubed
 8 oz cheddar cheese, 8 oz Monterrey Jack cheese grated
18 corn tortillas

1.  Butter  a 9 x 12 casserole dish.

2.  Put a little sauce in the bottom of the dish.

3.  Layer 3 corn tortillas.  Layer chicken.  Cover with jack cheese.  Sauce.  Repeat two more times.

4.  Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes covered until bubbly.  Remove cover, add cheddar cheese to the top.  Return to the oven to allow cheese to melt.

5.  After cheese has melted, remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

 

And yet another recipe whose origin is kind of fuzzy.  I think this recipe kind of morphed from Delicioso! Cooking South Texas Style.  But when I go to the book, the recipe is different, calling for Monterrey jack cheese and jalapenos.  If this is the source of the recipe, then somewhere along the Path I subbed mild chiles and cheddar.  But pretty much the recipe is from this classic cookbook.

Tips – Cut up the chicken first.  If you use pre-shredded cheese make sure it the kind that will melt (if you know what I mean and I think you do).  Use more sour cream if you like a rich casserole.  Use more chicken stock if you like your casserole “juicy” as in fall apart and spread all over your plate “juicy”.  Go ahead and use the hot pepper of your choice if you don’t have kids.

One Rotisserie Chicken , 50 Meals – #2 Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad

1 C canola oil
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c ketchup
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 c chopped sweet onion

Mix the above ingredients together to make the dressing.

3 hard boiled eggs
1 can water chestnuts (optional)
6 strips bacon fried and crumbled ( NOT optional)
1 lb bagged spinach, baby and organic (if you can find it)

Toss the above ingredients together and pour the dressing over and mix

The date stamp on the electronic file for this recipe was 2007.  Friends of ours across the street served this salad one night and we thought the spinach salad was the best we had tasted.  This simple salad is a staple in our home for five years according to the date stamp

A couple of weeks ago we were at the same friend’s house for a rousing Friday evening of cards.  I said we’ll bring dinner.  We bought some prepared potato and corn salads, spinach salad, and one carved up rotisserie chicken.  The reaction was somewhat surprising:

“We’ve never put chicken on this spinach salad before.”

And another simple supper recipe is born.