Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs


I made this tonight- I LOVED using spaghetti squash as "pasta" instead of actual pasta, and I will definitely be doing this more often (although it was a B*TCH) to cut open!  I thought the sauce was just ok, but Gary loved it.  In the future, I'll probably just use one of my regular sauce recipes or even just use jarred sauce...but definitely try the spaghetti squash. 

Oh, and I made the meatballs tiny- loved it.  And ella loved that they were mini like her. :)

ingredients
  • For the Homemade Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 Carrots (diced)
  • 2 Celery stalks (diced)
  • 1 Yellow Onion (diced)
  • 3 Garlic cloves (minced)
  • 8-10 Plum Tomatoes (you can use 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes)
  • 3 cups Water (I used only 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine
  • 1 cup freshly torn Basil Leaves (I used dried basil)
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • For the "Spaghetti":
  • Homemade Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 1 1/2 pound Ground Turkey
  • 1 Egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh Parsley (I omitted this)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt to taste
For the Homemade Tomato Sauce: Dice the carrots, stalks of celery and onion, and mince the garlic. Drizzle olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot and cook over medium heat until warm. Add the ingredients and allow them to sweat. The longer you cook the vegetables, without allowing them to turn brown, the better. Add salt and a pinch of chili flakes.

In a separate stock pot, boil water. Cut little “x’s” into the tops of the tomatoes (bottom side, not where the stem is). Place them directly into the boiling water for approximately 2 minutes. When they’re done take them out of the pot and put them into an ice bath to cool.

Once the tomatoes are cooled, take them out with your hands and you’ll notice that the skins are separating from the flesh. Remove all the skin and coarsely chop the tomatoes, adding them to the pot with your celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Add in your water and wine, and stir. Allow this to cook over medium-low heat, until the liquid starts to reduce down and the sauce starts to meld together and become fragrant – about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add torn basil.

For the "Spaghetti": Heat the tomato sauce in a large stock pot on the stove, over medium heat.

Slice squash in half (lengthwise) and pull out seeds. (Don’t throw them out - you can roast them at a later time by adding 1 teaspoon olive oil and salt, and roasting until golden brown.)

Rub olive oil and salt to taste all over the flesh side of the squash you have cut in half. Place flat side down on a roasting tray and place in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes until the flesh of the squash is fork tender. Take out of the oven and allow to cool.

For the Meatballs: Meanwhile, use a bowl big enough to incorporate all ingredients. Add ground turkey first to the bowl, followed by the egg, and the rest of the ingredients. Use your hands to mix everything together.

Grab a golf ball size dollop of the meat mixture and roll between your palms until a uniformly round meatball is created. Repeat until all the meat is made into meatballs. Place all the meatballs one by one into the tomato sauce you have cooking on the stove. Give a gentle stir occasionally so the meatballs don’t stick to the bottom of the stock pot. In 20 to 25 minutes, your meatballs will be cooked through.

Take your cooked spaghetti squash and scrape out the flesh with a fork, you will see that the spaghetti squash is stringy, forming little pieces of spaghetti, as you scrape. Discard the hard outer shell.

Serve a heaping serving of spaghetti squash followed by a dollop of tomato sauce and 2 meatballs. Add parmesan cheese to taste.

*From Helen Cavallo on The Chew

Monday, January 14, 2013

White Lightening Chicken Chili


I made this last night, and it was amazing!!  Even Ella liked it.  I think we all liked it better than my other white chicken chili recipe.  Instead of using all navy beans like the recipe calls for, I used 3 different varieties:

1 large sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 2 tsp crushed garlic from TJ's)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
2 (14.5 oz.) cans chicken broth (I only used 16 oz. and will use less next time)
2 (4.5 oz.) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
1 (1.25 oz.) package white chicken chili seasoning mix (I used McCormicks- great flavor)
3 (16 oz.) cans navy beans, undrained (I used cannellini, great northern and navy)
Shredded cheese for topping
Chopped avocado for topping (did not use)
*we added Fritos to the bottom of each bowl!

Saute onion and garlic in hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until onion is tender.  [From here, I put the beans in a crockpot, mashed some of them and then added the rest of the ingredients; put on low for about an hour and then switched to the "warm" setting until we were ready to eat; served with Fritos on the bottom of the bowl & cheddar cheese on top- this enabled me to make it earlier in the day since late afternoons are always too busy for cooking in our house!].  Stir in chicken, next 3 ingredients and 2 cans navy beans.  Coarsely mash remaining can navy beans and stir into chicken mixture.  Bring to a boil, stirring often; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.  Serve with desired toppings.

Southern Living mag.

**I made this again but cooked it all day in the crockpot.  I sauteed the onion and garlic in oil, and then put them with all other ingredients (except the chicken broth) in the crockpot with 3 fresh chicken breasts (about 1.25 lbs.), mixed it up, cooked on low for 8 hours.  I shredded the chicken with 2 forks after about 7 hours.  YUM!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Slow Cooker Barbecued Chicken


I made this tonight, and it was SO tasty!!  BUT, I halved the entire recipe and used about 1.3 pounds chicken breasts (which was 3 chicken breasts) and no lemon.  I shredded the chicken in the crockpot after about 6.5 hours on low, then stirred it a bit and put the crockpot on the "warm" setting.  Gary ate it on buns, but I just ate it plain- yum!  Both kids liked it too.

2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 (3-3.5 lb.) cut-up whole chicken (I used 1.3 pounds chicken breasts)
1/2 cup cola soft drink (I used diet Coke)
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp bourbon (I used Jack Daniels because it's all we had in the house!)
1 lemon, sliced (I did NOT use any lemon)

1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over chicken.  Place chicken in a single layer in a lightly greased 6-qt slow cooker.

2. Whisk together cola soft drink and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl.  Slowly pour mixture between chicken pieces (to avoid removing spices from chicken).  Place lemon slices in a single layer on top of chicken.

3. Cover and cook on high 5 hours (or on low 6.5 to 7.5 hours) or until done.

4. Transfer chicken pieces to a serving platter; discard lemon slices.  Skim fat from pan juices in slow cooker.  Pour pan juices over chicken; serve immediately.

*OR*

Prepare through step 3 then remove chicken from slow cooker and let cool slightly, discard lemons.  Skin, bone and shred chicken.  Skim fat from pan juices and pour over chicken.  Serve chicken on buns.

From Southern Living mag.