Tuesday, February 24, 2015

ricotta meatballs

Sometimes a good meatball hits the spot.
recipe idea is from Better Homes and Gardens.

makes about 60 meatballs so you can definitely half the recipe


1 large yellow onion, minced
¼ cup minced garlic
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 ½ lb. ground beef
1 cup parmesan, grated
15 oz whole milk ricotta (see instructions for making your own below. Who knew it was so simple?)
1 cup panko bread crumbs (To make your own take any kind of bread, even gluten free, pulse bread in blender, and bake at 300º stirring a couple times, until crisp)
½ cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
Marinara sauce (optional - Some people, like my husband, prefer meatballs the good ol' Dutch way with mashed potatoes and green beans)

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line shallow baking pans with parchment; set aside.
2. In a large skillet cook onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil until translucent (about 8 minutes. Let cool.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine eggs, ground beef, panko, parmesan, ricotta, parsley, basil, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Add onion mixture. Using your hands, mix to combine. If meatballs are are too soft add more breadcrumbs. Shape into 2-inch balls and place on prepared pans.
4. Brush with remaining olive oil (this prevents moisture from escaping and helps them stay juicy and tender). Bake 22 minutes or until just cooked through (165ºF).
5. Meanwhile, if serving with Marina sauce, add sauce to pan and bring to boiling. Add meatballs and coat with sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes then serve.

Homemade ricotta:
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. salt

cheesecloth (available in the baking/cooking aisle) and fine mesh strainer

1. Add all ingredients to a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture has reached 160º (about 25 minutes). The mixture will begin to separate, forming bits of milky cheese curds and watery whey.
2. Line the strainer with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Pour in the milk mixture.
3. Refrigerate about 2 hours, or until most of the liquid has drained from the cheese. For a softer texture drain for less time and for firmer continue to drain overnight. Remove from cheesecloth and use.
4. Voila! You have made your own cheese!

winter salad with roasted yam, blood orange, and pomegranate

This scrumptious winter salad makes a gorgeous presentation. The perfect balance of sweet and tart, tender and crunchy this will be a total treat for your senses. The recipe is taken almost directly from howsweeteats.com


roasted yam
1 large yam, cubed
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. garlic powder

6 cups spring greens or other lettuce
2 blood oranges, segmented and chopped (more if using small) see below
¼ cup pomegranate arils
4 ounces feta, crumbled
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

blood orange vinaigrette
⅓ cup blood orange juice
¼ cup organic apple cider or golden balsamic
1 garlic clove, pressed or or minced
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
⅓ cup olive oil


roasted yam: preheat oven to 400º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the yam cubes with olive oil and maple syrup. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder, then toss yams with it. Roast 15 minutes, flip and roast for 10-15 minutes more. Allow to cool if desired.

Add the greens to a large bowl and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Add yam, oranges, pomegranate, and feta. Serve with vinaigrette.

blood orange vinaigrette: combine orange juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk together. Stream in the olive oil while constantly whisking until the dressing comes together.

After attempting a few different methods this is what I found to be the quickest and least messy way to segment the oranges:

with a very sharp knife, cut into thick slices
cut off peel
chop into pieces

Monday, February 9, 2015

beef stroganoff

A family favorite. This wholesome version of the classic dish is comfort food at its best. The rich flavors of beef and mushrooms complemented by a delicious creamy sauce is so delicious served over quinoa or brown rice.

4-6 servings


1-1½ pound ground beef
2-3 cups mushrooms (we love cremini or shiitake but white button would work fine too) sliced
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic, minced
butter or oil for frying

8 oz. sour cream
2 tsp. better than bouillon beef base
½ cup water
2 Tbsp. tapioca starch (or flour) for thickener

fresh herbs like parsley or thyme

1. In a bowl stir together sour cream, tapioca starch, bouillon, water, and pepper to taste.
2. In a large skillet heat butter over med-high and fry mushrooms on both sides until golden brown. sauté in batches if needed in order not to crowd the mushrooms! Set aside.
3. Sauté onion and garlic in oil or butter. Add to mushroom mixture.
4. Brown beef. If not using grass fed/organic then drain fat. Add mushroom and onion mixture. Stir in sour cream mix and cook until thickened and bubbly.
5. Serve over quinoa or rice and garnish with fresh herbs.