Annemieke’s Dutch Meatballs

My lovely friend Annemieke is Dutch, and when Alice was born she made us these amazing Dutch meatballs! I’ve been craving them ever since, and yesterday my Christmas wish came true and Mieke gave me a Dutch seasoning packet and the recipe to her famous meatballs. You’ve got to try these. Delicious!! You DO have to buy the dutch seasonings online. I’m sure you could make your own, but I used the pack that Mieke gave me. You can purchase the same one here.

Picture Credit: Alice lovin’ her meatball!

Ingredients:

1 Cup Bread Crumbs (don’t do progresso, just plain simple bread crumbs like panko)
1 egg
1-2 tbsp ketchup
1 stick butter
1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 seasoning packet (salt, corriander, pepper, ginger, mace, nutmeg, cardamon, chile, majoram)

Directions:

Mix breadcrumbs and seasoning packet together. Beat egg with ketchup. Mix all ingredients with meat and make 4-6 large meatballs. Heat butter on medium heat until melted. Place meatballs in pan. Sear for 4 minutes on top, then 4 minutes on bottom. Turn heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Served with potatoes or over rice.

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Picture Step by Step Chicken Soup Tutorial

Here is a step by step picture tutorial on how to make your own nourishing chicken soup.  In our house, we use quinoa instead of noodles, but Chicken Quinoa Soup just doesn’t have the same ring to it ask Chicken Noodle Soup!  So, if you prefer noodles, go ahead and skip the quinoa prep parts, but I do highly recommend you try it with quinoa instead because of the wonderful nutritious value of this super grain.

Do youself a favor when you make this – make it BIG so that you have some to freeze for the future, when you are feeling under the weather, and you need a quick hardy soup on hand.  I always feel infinitely happier when I know there is frozen soup in my freezer!!

And forgive the quality of my pictures.  I’m not going for a food blog award here.  These are iPhone photos taken in my small messy kitchen with poor lighting.  It’s real life folks.  Real life.

And onward to the soup!!

Step 1: Peel and chop half an onion.  Ignore the Safeway receipt.  

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Step 2: Sauté chopped onion with a few pats of butter in a stock pot or dutch oven.

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Step 3: Peel and mince a few cloves of garlic, add to the sautéing onions


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Step 4: Toast 1 cup of quinoa in a saucepan for about 6 minutes. Just quinoa in the pan, nothing else. You will know it’s done toasting when you can smell it. Don’t let it go too long or it will burn. If you need to, put a timer on it!


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Step 5: Chop several stalks of celery

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Step 6: Add chopped carrots. These are extra carrots and green beans that I had over the summer, so I chopped them up and tossed in a freezer bag. Perfect and easy to put in soups when you are short on time! I put them in the soup completely frozen. Freezing pre-chopped veggies is amazing and so helpful.  How did I just learn about it?  Life changing!!


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Step 7: Add herbs. Here I am using fresh parsley. If you have it, great. If you don’t, no worries. Allow veggies to cook until softened.  Also add some salt.


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Step 8: By this time, you should smell your quinoa toasting up nicely. Measure 1 3/4 cups water, preferably boiling hot, but it’s ok if it’s not.

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Step 9: Add the water to your quinoa

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Step 10: Add a tbsp of olive oil to the pot with the water and quinoa. I don’t measure, just a quick pour.

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Step 11: Add a tsp of salt to the quinoa. 

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Step 12:  Bring quinoa to a boil, then down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Step 13:  Revisit your veggies.  Add spices.  These are my favorite cast of characters.  Just a pinch or two of the turmeric will give a nice flavor.  I like to be generous with the garlic salt and other seasonings.  Other yummies to add are dried onion, onion salt, thyme.

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Step 14:  Add your cooked chopped chicken.  Stir to get them covered with the flavors and cook for a minute.  This is where already cooked chicken from the freezer comes in very handy – preferably if you made a roast chicken and shredded the extra meat!  Also another great way to save $, one whole chicken can make several meals if you roast it, then shred it, make broth, and soup.  Our family of 5 can use one 4 lb chicken for 3 meals.  You rock, roast chicken! 

(here it is out of the fridge)

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(then chopped and in the soup!)

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Step 15:  Add your homemade chicken broth until the veggies are completely covered, and then some.  Yes, homemade broth.  It’s where all the nutrients and healing “powers” of the soup come from.  Store bought broth does not have the same nutritional qualities.  But if you are pressed, store bought is OK.  Just promise me next time you’ll do homemade, ok?  

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Step 16:  Bring to a boil.

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Step 17:  Once your quinoa is done, it should look like this.  Add to your soup.  I like to add all of it.  I think it makes a hearty soup and keeps you full longer.  Of course, if you are doing noodles instead, add the cooked noodles now.

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Step 18: Check your flavors.  Taste, adjust, taste taste, adjust more!!  I always end up adding more salt and seasonings.  Just use a clean spoon for every taste.   🙂  And voila!  Your soup is done!  Super healthy, warms up up inside (which helps fight germs, too!), veggies, bone broth gelatinous goodness to keep your immunity up, and all the delights of the complete protein, high calcium, magnesium, and iron of the lovely hardy gain quinoa.  Eat!  Enjoy!  (remember to stir well when serving because the quinoa is heavy and sinks to the bottom).

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Maren’s Dinner in a Squash

 

 

My neighbor and friend Maren gave me this cool idea of cooking dinner in a squash! I peeked in her oven while she was baking it – being the weirdly food obsessed person I am – it smelled so yummy and looked creative! The idea mulled around in the back of my mind for quite awhile …. then I was super lucky to get added to a recipe email thread, where Jessie from Bites asked her cooking friends to reply all with their fav recipes. One of them was stuffed squash – Perfect! I took some from Maren’s recipe and also from the email thread. Then Andrew found this great step by step on how to cook dinner in a squash. The final product was delicious! We used italian pork sausage, apples, bell peppers, onions, kale … super yum. I can’t wait to make it again.

What You Need

Ingredients
1 winter squash, like acorn, kabocha, red kuri, sweet dumpling, delicata, spaghetti or any other grapefruit-sized (or slightly larger) squash
2 to 3 cups of filling

General amounts for filling — to equal 2 to 3 cups total:
1/2 to 1 cup protein — sausage, chicken, pork, tempeh, or baked tofu
1 to 2 cups veggies — onions, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, greens
1/2 cup cooked grains and/or nuts — barley, quinoa, millet, farro, rice, walnuts, almonds, pecans
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese
1 to 3 teaspoons herbs or spices (we used a pinch of cinnamon, trader joes 21 seasoning salute, garlic salt)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the squash for roasting: Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Slice the squash in half from stem to root and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Transfer the squash to a baking dish: Place the squash halves cut-side-down in a baking dish and pour in enough hot water to fill the pan by about 1/4 inch. Cover the dish loosely with foil and place the dish in the oven.
  3. Roast the squash: Roast the squash until very soft and tender when poked with a fork or paring knife, 30 to 50 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size and variety of your squash.
  4. Prepare the filling: While the squash is roasting, prepare the filling. Depending on the size of your squash, 2 to 3 cups of combined ingredients is usually sufficient. You can combine leftovers from other meals (cooked chicken, roasted vegetables, etc.) or you can prepare a fresh filling. Cook any raw meats and raw vegetables and combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust the spices, salt, and pepper to your liking.
  5. Stuff the squash halves: Flip the cooked squash halves so they form bowls. Rub the inside with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide the filling between the halves — it’s fine to really stuff the wells and also to mound the filling on top.
  6. Bake the stuffed squash halves until bubbly: Re-cover the pan with the foil and bake the halves for another 15 to 20 minutes until both are hot and bubbly. Top with extra cheese and serve immediately.

Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

 

 

I just discovered this incredibly easy way to prepare a whole chicken! Seriously, no prep AT ALL! Love it. The chicken is tender and great for shredding into tacos, soups, salads, etc.

4 lb Whole Chicken

Salt Chicken

Place in crockpot, add in lemons and garlic if you have it – if not, no problem!

Cook on High for 3 hours. If 5 lb bird, cook 3.5 hrs.

Allow chicken to rest 10 minutes before cutting into it. The skin will not be crisp like a roasted chicken, but the meat will be moist and tender!

Don’t forget to use that chicken later for homemade chicken broth!!

Pumpkin Chili

A delicious fall dish – lovely combo of flavors! I was able to do a bit of freezer clean out too! I don’t remember who told me about chopping up extra summer veggies (like the abundance of bell peppers we had this year) and freezing them – but whoever did is a lifesaver! Didn’t need to chop up a single veggie for this dish – all was pre-chopped in my freezer and ready to go. Same with the precooked frozen beans! So so easy and cheap. Love things like that!

Because I made this without going to the grocery store first, I made adjustments as you will see. Originally thought I would be halving the recipe because I didn’t have 2 lbs of meat, but I think in hindsight I could have used the full amount of pumpkin and pumpkin spices and it would have been just fine! However if you are nervous about the idea of the pumpkin flavor, you can keep it in half like I did and it will taste more like a traditional chili.

Thanks to Jessie at Bites for this fun fall dish!

2 pounds ground beef (I used 1.3 lbs)
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced (Used a medley of colored peppers)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained (instead 2 cups black beans, 2 pinto)
1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice (Didn’t have much of this, subbed in a cup or two of chicken broth, added a small can of v8)
1 (28 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz. can canned pumpkin puree (I used half although I wish I had used more)
1 T. pumpkin pie spice (also used half since my pumpkin use was half, but could have done more)
1/4 cup chili powder (taste your chili first before you add in the chili powder, you might prefer more or less)
2 t. cumin (used half)
2 T. white sugar (did not use sugar, instead a small spoonful of honey)

In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until brown; drain. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes. Stir in beans, tomato juice, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder and sugar. Simmer 1 hour.

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps

 

 

My chef like friend Kassidy passed along this website and recipe and we LOVED it! Plus this was an easy one to throw together and make modifications where needed. I didn’t have mushrooms or broccoli slow, so I did grated carrots and zucchini instead. And we wrapped ours in big cabbage leaves instead of lettuce. Instead of coconut aminos I used organic soy sauce. The flavor was wonderful! I added a bit of brown rice for the kids.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of ground meat (I used grass fed ground beef)
  • 1 lb of thinly sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of lard
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 cups of broccoli slaw (I use the organic slaw from Trader Joe’s)
  • ½ cup of shredded carrots (I use the ones from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • a handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut aminos
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Chop in a food processor onions until super fine, sautee in large pan with pat of butter. Cook until translucent. Add mushrroms, cook until softened. Add garlic, cook for 1 more minute.

Add ground beef, mixing and cooking until all chunks are broken and beef is cooked with no more pink. Season with salt and pepper.

Add in equal amounts the soy sauce (coconut aminos), fish sauce, and apple cider vinegar

Add carrots and broccoli slaw. Cook and stir until softened.

Add green onions and cilantro, mix, and serve in lettuce leaves!

Thai Chicken Quinoa Salad

The best part of this salad is the dressing! Yum! Salads are great because you can pick and chose what to include based on what you have. I wanted to use up our leafy greens, so I added them – but didn’t have carrots, edamame, or cilantro. We didn’t miss those too much! The quinoa and chicken made this salad a hearty meal.

Thanks to Bites and Mel’s Kitchen for this recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 lime juiced, about 2 tablespoons
  • Pinch of ground ginger

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. I usually cook quinoa in low-sodium chicken broth: 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/2 cups liquid.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, combine all of the sauce ingredients together in a liquid measure and whisk to combine (or pulse in a blender). When the quinoa finishes cooking, scoop it into a large bowl. Stir in the sauce and mix well. Stir in the chicken, carrots, edamame, red pepper, green onions, peanuts and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

 

This is a great recipe because the prep is FAST! I was searching for something to do with pork tenderloin while my children melted down around me. Voila! Less than five minutes of work, pop it in the oven, and then leave the house for an hour. Come home to delicious dinner.

I layered sliced onions and apples on the bottom of my pan and cooked the roast on top. Don’t worry if you don’t have time to marinate.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons steak seasoning rub
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lbs boneless pork loin roast

Directions:

Dissove seasoning in balsamic vinegar, then stir in olive oil. Place pork into a reseable plastic bag and pour marinade overtop. Let marinate 2 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place pork into a glass baking dish with marinade. Bake in oven until pork reaches 145 degrees, about 1 hour. Let roast sit 10 minutes before slicing.

 

How To Stir Fry

 

Just yesterday, I was talking to my sister about how I am not one to make a “quick and easy stir fry”. She lives in Shanghai, so I thought she’d have some good ideas for me. She did – and so I put them together with the help of my handy dandy favorite cookbook, and made a simple guide to the stir fry world. I like that you can play around with whatever veggies and meats you have on hand. Perfect for cleaning out the fridge night.

Chop meat in small cubes – use pork, chicken – or thin slices of beef

Marinate while you chop veggies. You can look up a fancy marinade or just dose with a tsp of fish sauce and a tsp of soy sauce. Add a hearty pinch of salt and pepper.  We like to use Tamari soy sauce because it’s GMO free!

Chop and separate your veggies. Use anything. Carrots, Bell Peppers, Squash, Cabbage, Kale, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Onions … separate the harder veggies from the soft.

Mix together a “sauce”. This is a forgiving science. Some good choices are equal parts soy sauce, fish sauce with a dash of chicken broth, water, plum sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch …. even ketchup! I typically leave out the sugar and cornstarch and my sauce ends up just fine.

Finely mince some garlic and/or ginger.

Putting It All Together:

Make sure everything above is prepped and ready to go.

If you have a wok, you are awesome. Pull it out and heat that baby up on a medium high heat. If you are like me and have no wok, use a large nonstick pan. If you are skilled in cooking on stainless steel, give it a go.

Here is the trick to stir frying – use a small amount of oil and a high heat. This will sear and cook your food without the veggies getting soft.

Add a scant about of oil – 1 tsp. Most cookbooks call for peanut oil. I used olive oil – or I think coconut would be good too.

Put half of your meat in the pan and cook until browned. If it’s not done all the way, that is OK, it will go back in the pan later. Take it out, put it in a bowl or plate, and add the other half. If you pieces are small this process should only take a few minutes.

In the empty pan, add a bit more oil. Put in the harder veggies and start cooking. Add the softer veggies once the harder ones have softened a bit.

Make a hole in the center of the pan. Put a scant bit of oil, and add the garlic and ginger. Let it cook in the center, mashing it with the back of spoon, until it is fragrant and starting to brown. Then mix into the veggies.

Now add back in the meat, and dump in your sauce. Stir and cook until the sauce gets warm and thickens.

Add some fresh herbs if you like – and perhaps some nuts!

Serve over rice, quinoa, or noodles.

Yum!

 

Pasta with Kale and Onions

 

 

Our CSA includes recipes each week with what comes in our box – we tried this one tonight and enjoyed it! Henry loves “red sauce”, so in the last step after the chicken broth, I added a can of pureed tomatoes. I also sprinkled in some garlic salt and some Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute. Tasted fresh!

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups kale, stems removed and leaves shredded
1 cup chicken stock or stock of choice
2 cups cooked spaghetti (I like to use brown rice or quinoa spaghetti)
freshly grated cheese of choice (Asiago, Romano, Parmesan…)

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat then add the oil, onion, shallot, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and sauté until onion is just wilted, about 5 minutes (be careful not to burn the garlic).
2. Add kale and continue to saute until it wilts and brightens in color a bit, about 1 minute. Then add the stock and cover loosely. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until most of the stock has evaporated and kale is soft, but still a lively green, about 7 -10 minutes. Stir in the pasta and continue to simmer until heated through, about 1 minute.
3. Serve hot, sprinkled with cheese.