Happy New Year!
Have you fallen into a 2019 rhythm yet? I haven’t found mine just yet. One of our daughters is still home from college and my calendar has been peppered with a few new additions this January. Finding time to focus on the blog and the big picture is proving a little difficult right now. You might say I am feeling a bit overwhelmed having enthusiastically bit off a bit more than I can (or want to ) chew for this coming year. Not to worry, I know the rhythm will reveal itself eventually but in the meanwhile I am going to try to take some very deep breaths.
Since my last post, I have been cooking a fair amount and thought I would share some links to the recipes (where possible) we enjoyed. This delicious lasagna made with a bechamel sauce instead of ricotta and these garlic knots made even easier by using store bought dough fed our family at a post-Christmas gathering here at our house. Also served for the vegetarians was my favorite Mac & Cheese recipe that I amped up by adding fresh spinach and a can of artichoke hearts. I may never go back to making it without them again! My friend, Nicole gave me a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for an excellent Meatless “Meat” Sauce with Chickpeas and Mushrooms that I served over zucchini noodles. Unfortunately, I cannot link that recipe so if you are interested, let me know and maybe I will put it on the blog!
I also made Alison Roman’s now famous “Stew”, otherwise known as Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Turmeric which I may also post in the future because it lives up to the hype. If that link didn’t work, it may be because you need to have a subscription to The New York Times to access the recipe. I have been working on a Thai Chicken Coconut Soup recipe after tasting an award winning version in Utah over the holidays. Would that recipe interest you? I love the sweet-salty-spicy-sour flavors of Thai food and this soup has all of that. I also recreated a yummy Buddha bowl my husband and daughter enjoyed on our vacation that had roasted veggies tossed in a miso-peanut sauce served over brown rice. It’s honestly all about the sauce. Would you like to see that recipe? Please let me know in the comments!
I’ve never met a chocolate chip cookie recipe I didn’t want to try. I made this version twice over break and they are dense and chewy and full of chocolate. I borrowed Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook, Simple from our library and tried his Chicken with miso, ginger and lime, adapting it by swapping out the bone-in chicken and using boneless chicken breasts instead. Not surprisingly, it had great flavor and I look forward to trying out some more of his latest recipes. But don’t be misled – the recipes aren’t entirely simple. That’s an acronym. After borrowing it from the library, I decided to purchase Together: Our Community Cookbook which features recipes made at The Hubb Community Kitchen by women who were displaced by the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London. The recipes represent the cultures of Algeria, Egypt, Iraq and so many more and are beautifully photographed. There are so many wonderful recipes I am hoping to try and the best part is that a portion of proceeds from book sales will go to supporting this wonderful community kitchen.
This weekend, I am hoping to whip up a batch of a Red Lentil Soup with North African Spices from Cook’s Illustrated and cozy up with my book, Crossing to Safety which must be finished in time for book group next week! I read the book, An American Marriage over the holidays that I enjoyed. A Place for Us is next in line. What are you reading?
Also on my “to cook” list is this awesome Hearty Sweet Potato, Arugula & Wild Rice Salad with Ginger Dressing from Cookie and Kate, as well as this Chickpea Cauliflower Curry from Minimalist Baker.
I saw the movie Green Book and highly recommend it. If you are a fan of Bruce Springsteen, his one man show on Netflix is worth checking out. And if you are local, we have had a couple of great meals out of late, one of which was at Benedetto in Cambridge. Its sister restaurant, Giulia was one of the first I reviewed here on the blog almost five years ago. This was my second visit to Benedetto since it opened a few years ago. The food and service were excellent and the very humble owner/chef Michael Pagliarini paid a visit to our table at the end of the meal. I can’t remember the last time that happened and it left a very nice impression on all of us.
Ok, enough with my essay on how I spent my winter break!
We’re starting the year off with a really easy recipe for a Turkey Meatball Casserole which can only be called a casserole because it’s made in a pan and topped with a little cheese? It’s reminiscent of one of the first recipes I posted to The Kitchen Scout for Chicken Parmesan Meatballs only a little less labor intensive and even better on flavor.
The recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart. I’ve substituted ground turkey for the traditional beef/pork combination called for in the original recipe. Her version is delicious, but I have been making turkey meatballs forever and actually prefer them. I’ve also amped up the meatball ingredients just a smidge, adding a little more garlic, some onion, tomato paste and a little chopped fresh basil. If you’re going to make meatballs, it’s good to make them as flavorful as possible, especially if you are making your own sauce as you do in this recipe. And that couldn’t be any simpler as you will see.
What’s great about making this easy dish is that it can serve so many purposes. You can serve it on it’s own with some crusty bread and a salad. Or you can top pasta or veggie noodles with the meatballs. I can speak from personal experience that leftovers can be warmed, nestled onto a crusty roll, topped with provolone that’s run under the broiler and finished off with some arugula for a tasty meatball sandwich. I think they could even be served as an appetizer if you swap out the fresh mozzarella with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Just add toothpicks.
If you do make the recipe, please report back! I’d love to hear from you. Until next time…
took off a little cheese so you could actually see the meatballs 🙂
One Year Ago: Roasted Broccoli and Parmesan Soup
Two Years Ago: Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup
Three Years Ago: Katie’s Chicken Tortilla Soup with Black Bean Salsa
Three Years and One Week Ago: Farro, Citrus and Arugula Salad
Four Years Ago: Cheesy Baked Tortellini
Four Years and One Week Ago: Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce
This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart, using ground turkey, panko breadcrumbs and enhancing the meatballs with a little more seasoning. The original recipe calls for using 1 pound each of ground beef and pork and I have made them that way as well, but I really prefer the ground turkey! Please do not use white meat turkey as it doesn't have enough fat and will produce a dry meatball. The recipe can very easily be cut in half to serve smaller groups. Serve with pasta, veggie noodles, as part of a sub sandwich or on their own. Lots of possibilities!
- 2 pounds ground turkey (NOT white meat)
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 Tablespoons minced shallot (1 small)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (may need more)
- 1/2 small onion or 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, pureed (see note)
- 4 fresh basil leaves, plus additional for serving
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, pecorino, tomato paste, garlic, 2 Tablespoons shallots, eggs, parsley, 2 Tablespoons basil, salt and pepper until combined. Add the ground turkey and mix together using a fork and finishing with your hands until completely combined. Don't over work the ingredients or your meatballs will be too dense.
- Form the mixture into 1 1/2 -2 inch balls, depending on your preference. I use a 3/4 ounce ice cream scoop to distribute the meat evenly, ending up with about 38 smallish meatballs. The 3/4 ounce is about 1 1/2 Tablespoons. You can use 2 Tablespoons of the meat mixture for slightly larger meatballs.
- Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs and cook, turning until browned all over, about 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining meatballs, adding more oil if you need it.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion and pepper flakes and cook, stirring until onion is tender, just a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and basil leaves. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce has slightly thickened, about 5-8 minutes depending on the width of your pan. Return the meatballs and any accumulated juices to the pan. Simmer, turning meatballs once until cooked through, 10-15 minutes.
- Heat the broiler. Arrange mozzarella on top of the meatballs. Broil until the cheese has melted, 2-3 minutes. Serve with additional chopped fresh basil.
Tips from The Kitchen Scout
You could also use one 28-ounce can of tomato puree if you wish.
Happy 2019, Kitchen Scout! Hope to see you soon. We were inspired by your Menton review and had a fabulous dinner there last week. Looking forward to another year of your fabulous posts. Yes please to the meatless meat sauce and buddha bowl recipes! XO
Val, I would love the recipe for the Thai Chicken Coconut Soup and Buddha Bowl. The Turkey Meetball Casserole looks awesome, can’t wait to try. Happy New Year!
I have both boys home, Willie till Jan. 28! They are eating me out of house and home. Will have to make some of these. Thanks. I too am reading Crossing to Safety right now thanks to your recommendation. Love it so far. Just finished Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice. Read Out of Line, Barbara Lynch’s book prior to that. Not sure what next read will be but I am told all of Wallace Stegner’s books are great. xo Suze
Great summary Val! So many recipes to try!