Monday, August 17, 2009

Pasta Night One

I have been on a pasta kick lately. Probably because I can't stomach anything related to chicken. Since I can't seem to eat chicken, what is the next best.....Well, really it's the best thing to me in the first place. PASTA!

I am the type of person that can eat pasta every single day. Example, on Friday, I went to an Italian restaurant and had pasta. Saturday, the husband and I went to lunch and guess what I had? Pasta. Yesterday, I barely ate anything, so that doesn't count. And tonight, guess what was on the menu? Yes, pasta.

The recipe below was actually made last weekend. I just have been lazy and haven't posted. Don't let my laziness fool you. The spaghetti and meatballs were delicious. I have only ever made turkey meatballs, so I had to hunt for a real meat meatball recipe.

I am ashamed to admit that I didn't make the sauce in her recipe. I was trying to use up some jarred sauce that I had in the fridge. I know, jarred sauce. I am not a snob. I eat jarred sauce on occasion. As long as it on PASTA I could care less.

Elly's recipe is very easy to make and just like it states, makes about 25-30 perfect, tasty meatballs. I also admit that I was singing "On Top of Spaghetti" while making these. My husband thought I was nuts, but I digress.

Not only are these easy, but I liked the addition of the parmesan cheese. The added a little something extra. Plus, there were enough for leftovers. Jason ended up eating them the next night with some mashed potatoes. He said that they could very easily have passed for meatloaf if formed into a loaf rather than a ball. Mental note: Try this next time.

I didn't have any breadcrumbs on hand, so I made my own. I toasted some old bread and then processed it in the food processor. It worked well, but next time, I will use actual store-bought breadcrumbs. It saves extra dishes, that's for sure.

You could easily substitute the ground beef for veal, pork, ground turkey or chicken. I imagine any combination of the above would be tasty too. Enjoy these! They were fun to make and even more fun to eat!

On top of spaghettiiiiiiiii, all covered with cheeseeeeeeeee......


1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh
1/4 parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, a pinch of salt, and cook about 2-3 minutes before adding parsley and garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes more and set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs and milk in large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

4. After 10 minutes, add the onion mixture, beef, egg, parmesan, salt, basil and pepper to the breadcrumb bowl. Mix well, but not for too long or you will toughen the meatballs. Form into 1-1.5 inch balls and place in a pan coated with cooking spray.

5. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes or until done.

6. Add cooked meatballs to pasta sauce and simmer a little, while pasta is cooking.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Back in the Saddle

I have been cooking lately, I assure you. I have just been making things that I have blogged about before. For example, last weekend I made Spaghetti Salad. Twice actually. I have already blogged about that. I also have made brownies recently (all of which I have blogged about). It's not really inspiring to write about nor read about things that I have already posted. So, here I am. I made a new recipe yesterday. Amazing!

I have a few zucchini from my garden. Stop. I must talk about this for a moment. Our weather this year has been bizarre to say the least. As a result, my garden stinks. Actually, it sucks. I got three zucchini from my three plants and a few tomatoes so far. That is it. I did get some peas and beans earlier in the season but they were so few to comment about. And about a dozen strawberries. Next year, I plan to do some things differently in my garden. I am only going to plant things I love. I will try peppers and cucumbers again, but I am going to move them to where they might do better.

Okay back to my thought. I had some zucchini to use, so I grated two of them into 2-cup portions and froze them. The third I used to make zucchini bread. My husband adores zucchini bread. However, he begged me to make his mom's recipe. While I love his mom's recipe, I have already posted about it. So, alas, I used another one that I have. It's from Martha Stewart. Sssssh, don't tell Jason. He thinks I made his mom's. The fact that he can't tell the difference is funny to me.

I love my Kitchenaid silicone bakeware. I have a loaf pan and it's always fun to pop your loaf out when it's done baking. The edges have gotten some use (you can see in the picture below). One day I will get more bakeware. Maybe for Christmas. Hint hint!

This zucchini bread is very easy and tasty. It could be modified to be more Weight Watchers friendly, but that isn't something I am worried about these days. More on that later. It has ingredients that you would have on hand in your pantry. The blend of spices really adds to the bread. Using grated zucchini with the skin on gives the bread a ton of moisture too.

So, no Weight Watchers for me. I had to actually discontinue my membership back in May. Why you ask? I am pregnant. They usually kick pregnant people out of Weight Watchers. This isn't to say that you can't still watch what you are eating while pregnant. I am certainly doing this. So far, I haven't gained any weight because I am a little "fluffy" to begin with. Yes, I probably should have lost another 20 pounds before getting pregnant, but whatever.

Back to food. This bread is delicious. With the addition of vegetables, it makes it slightly more healthy than eating a piece of chocolate cake with Crisco frosting. It also is much more rich because of brown sugar instead of all white. I also substituted canola oil for the vegetable oil. I do this in all my recipes since it's healthier than most other oils.

So, enjoy a piece (a small one) after dinner. Or with a cup of tea for breakfast. I did.

Zucchini Spice Bread
from: Martha Stewart's Every Day Food Magazine

1 3/4 cup grated zucchini, skins on
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a large bowl, combine sugars, oil, vanilla and eggs. Mix well. In a small bowl, combine flour, soda, powder and spices. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Fold in zucchini.

2. Pour into a 9x5x3-inch pan and bake for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees.