Broccoli Rabe Crockpot Meatballs

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Happy Fall! I am posting this recipe so that I will not forget how much I loved this meal. I rely on Kitchenbelle.com as a place to find our favorite recipes. Whenever I am at a loss of what to cook for dinner, or if someone asks me to bring an appetizer to a party, or I need to make a dessert, I come to this site to find my favorites curated and easily accessible.

SO here we go. I recently made Skinny Taste Broccoli Rabe Crockpot meatballs and instantly fell in love. They are DELICIOUS. And so easy. I made one substitution–instead of the bread I used one cup of oatmeal because my husband is gluten free. I was wary of how it would work but then very pleasantly surprised by the result. The oatmeal gave the meatballs a nice firmness and great texture. And they reheated really well the days following. I served over quinoa and with a side salad. To my future self–do not forget about this recipe!!

Skinny Taste Crockpot Broccoli Rabe Meatballs:

  • 1 bunch  broccoli rabe, washed, stems trimmed off
  • 1 cup gluten free oatmeal
  • 3 tablespoons  milk
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves smashed garlic
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the broccoli rabe. Blanch for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, drain well and set aside in a colander to cool. Finely chop 3/4 cup of the florets and leaves (3-3/4 ounces) and set the rest aside for another use
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the oatmeal with milk, tossing to coat. Let stand, mixing occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef, chopped broccoli rabe, grated cheese, egg, fresh garlic, salt and pepper. Mix with clean hands, then gently form into 15 meatballs, about 1/4 cup each and transfer to a large baking sheet. Broil on the 2nd rack from the top until the top is golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. In a small skillet heat the oil over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until golden on both sides.
  5. Pour the crushed tomatoes into a slow cooker. Add salt and pepper, bay leaf and the garlic. Gently place the meatballs into the sauce, cover and cook low 4 to 6 hours or high 2 to 3 hours.

Source: Skinny Taste

 

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Unstuffed Cabbage

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This recipe is a weeknight standby in our house and has been for years. In fact, it was the first recipe I ever posted to this little blog seven years ago.

Check out the stats and you will see why it has survived the test of time:

  • One pot
  • Gluten free
  • Easy to make
  • Filling
  • Tasty
  • Reheats well
  • Not many ingredients

Most of Ellie Deaner’s recipes follow suit, which is why my copy of her cookbook is plastered with sticky notes. She is the weeknight dinner recipe queen in our house!

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If you are struggling getting home cooked meals on the table during the week, this is a good recipe to try. (Additionally, it is a  great one to introduce little ones to cabbage!)

Unstuffed Cabbage:

  • 1 lb. ground beef, turkey, chicken, or lamb
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup raw brown rice
  • 28 oz. jarred tomato sauce
  • 1 head of cabbage,shredded
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated parmesan cheese

Cook the ground meat and onion in a large pot stirring occasionally until meat is no longer pink and onions are soft. Add the rice, tomato sauce, cabbage and stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until rice and cabbage are cooked. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Adapted from So Easy, So Delicious by Ellie Deaner.

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Lamb Stew with Feta over Buttery Noodles

I think crock-pots get a bad rap.  I think maybe people think of them as a cop out, but just like any appliance, there is a time and place for a crock-pot. I might not advise you to prepare a dinner for your husband’s boss in a crock-pot. (Do people even have their bosses over for dinner anymore? I think that might have been a 1950s thing. Anyway, you get the point.) Crock-pots are perfect for week night dinners. Especially, for dinners on the nights where you would have gotten take out.  Crock-pots make really good food! And while they are known for being perfect for winter, they are actually perfect for summer too. Why? Because when you use a crock-pot you don’t have to turn on your oven! 

This stew is tasty. Pour it over hot buttery noodles.

Lamb Stew with Feta over Buttery Noodles:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 2 jars tomato sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 pound noodles, cooked

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add lamb. Cook until just brown. Add garlic, cinnamon, allspice, and vinegar.  Mix in with lamb using a wooden spatula. Remove from heat and pour contents of skillet into crock-pot. Add sweet potato, potato cubes, tomato sauce, and bay leaf. Cook on high for 5 hours.

Just prior to serving prepare noodles according to package directions. Top with butter. Serve stew over hot noodles. (Don’t forget to remove bay leaf!) Top with feta cheese.

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

After an indulgent holiday weekend, I was flipping through America’s Test Kitchen Light & Healthy 2010 in search of something fresh and light to get us back on track.  These Asian Chicken lettuce wraps caught my eye.  A little over a year ago now, I made lettuce wraps using a recipe from the Biggest Loser. They were absolutely delicious and so much fun to eat!  I figured it couldn’t hurt to try a new recipe with a bit of a different spin.  One word for these lettuce wraps: FRESH!  I am in love with the combination of lime juice, fresh basil, scallions, and cilantro! Each bite was bursting with the flavors of nature!   I added some minced carrot for additional color, bulk and nutrition.  I must say this was a very satisfying and filling meal.  And to quote my husband, “I feel full but I don’t feel gross.” Perfectly articulated if you ask me!

*Notes:

  • These can be made gluten free by eliminating the soy sauce or subbing gluten-free soy sauce.
  • I doubled the recipe below and there was enough to feed three for dinner and two for lunch.

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • fresh squeezed juice of one lime
  • fresh grated zest of one lime
  • 1.5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey (or a combination of both)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 jalepeno chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1 carrot peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 12 Boston lettuce leaves (about one head) washed and spun dry

Prepare rice according to package instructions and set aside.

Whisk the soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, and cornstarch together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat warm oil.  Add carrots and cook a few minutes,  or until soft. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mash ground meat with the back of a spoon until smooth.   Add the ground meat and jalepeno to the skillet containing carrots. Break up meat with a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is no longer pink.

Add the soy sauce mixture to the skillet and cook stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in basil, scallions, and cilantro.

Transfer meat to a serving bowl and serve with rice and lettuce. To serve, scoop some rice on top of each leaf and top with scoops of meat.

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Light & Healthy 2010.

Taco Salad

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Spicy salsa! Chunks of avocado! Shreds of iceberg lettuce!  Freshly grated cheese!

Last week my sister-in-law mentioned that she made a fabulous taco salad for dinner.  She described it with such enthusiasm and detail that I have not been able to get it out of my mind! 

Done right, a taco salad is a healthy week night dinner, so I decided to give it a go.  Some notes on keeping it healthy:

  • Skip the chips
  • Replace full fat sour cream with Greek yogurt (for a great source of protein) or use non-fat or low-fat sour cream
  • Replace full fat cheese with non-fat or low-fat cheese and use just a sprinkle
  • Use extra lean ground turkey or chicken in place of beef
  • Use nutrient dense lettuce, such as romaine, instead of watery iceberg (something I didn’t do this time!)

It’s funny—we never eat ice burg lettuce.  It contains mostly water and very little nutrients when compared to its darker leafy friends like romaine, arugula, spinach, Bibb, and Boston.  So having iceberg felt like a treat!  And shredded—I never shred lettuce so it made the salad especially special.  This was a really enjoyable and filling weeknight supper!

Taco Salad:  

  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (or chicken)
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 14-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 cups shredded iceberg (or romaine) lettuce (rinse, spin then shred using a grater)
  • 2 avocados, sliced then cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

Combine salsa and sour cream in a large bowl.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add turkey and cook, stirring often and crumbling with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, cumin and chili powder; cook, stirring, until the tomatoes begin to break down, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in cilantro and 1/4 cup of the salsa mixture.

Add lettuce to the remaining salsa mixture in the bowl and toss to coat. To serve, divide the lettuce among plates, top with the turkey mixture and avocado then sprinkle with cheese.

Recipe adapted from Eating Well.com.

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Thai Lettuce Wraps

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 This is a perfect “make Sunday and serve Monday and Tuesday” meal!  The flavors deepen as the turkey marinates so a couple of days in the fridge actually boosts the flavor.  The textures of the meat, vegetables, and nuts make these wraps satisfying to the palette.  And they are fun to eat!  I served them with a side of stir-fried vegetables.  (They would also work well as a starter course.)

Thai Lettuce Wraps:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce + 1 tablespoon
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • 4 limes, juiced
  • 1.5 tablespoons Sriacha chili sauce (available in Asian markets or Asian ingredient aisle in grocery store)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, leaves carefully removed, washed and spun dry in a salad spinner
  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts or almonds, coarsely chopped

Brown turkey.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place in a covered glass bowl and refrigerate until cool.

In another bowl, combine all ingredients (except pepper, cucumber, lettuce, and nuts).  Add to turkey and mix.  Cover and allow to marinate overnight, or at least 3-4 hours for best taste. 

Remove from fridge and allow filling to come to room temperature.  Stir turkey mixture and add one tablespoon of light soy sauce to moisten it up.  Fill each piece of lettuce with filling.  Top with dice bell pepper, cucumber, and chopped nuts. Roll up and enjoy!

Adapted from Biggest Loser Ed’s Thai Turkey Wrap Recipe.

Barbeque Meat Loaf

My oh my, meatloaf is a far cry from photogenic.  And because I made this and gave it away (you guessed it, to the new parents) I didn’t slice it and plate it in attempts to make it all pretty for the camera.  If only there were a mechanism by which you could smell through your monitor!  The aroma of this meatloaf  was fantastic! I actually said the words, “Bath and Body Works should create a meatloaf-scented candle.” That’s how good this smelled.  When I asked my brother to describe the taste he said, “Slightly sweet and tangy.”  (That sounds like a description of Paula Deen herself!)  He said it was delicious and moist, and I believe him based on the scent of it!  

Leftovers of this would be great sliced up in a soft white bread sandwich.

Barbeque Meat Loaf:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2   8 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1cup BBQ sauce*
  • 1/4 cup Colby Jack cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, salt, pepper, 1 can of the tomato sauce, and 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce. Create a loaf out of the mixture and place it in a shallow baking pan. Sprinkle the top of the meatloaf with shredded cheese.  Stir together the remaining tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, mustard, Worcestershire and BBQ sauces.  Pour this sauce over the meatloaf. Bake covered for 1 hour, basting every so often with the sauce from the pan.   Let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing. 

*Recipe note: As a BBQ sauce zealot, I feared the recipe would not taste BBQ-y enough as it stood, so I added BBQ sauce to the meat and the sauce.  However, unless you like to drink BBQ sauce from the bottle with a straw like I do, you’ll probably want to omit the BBQ sauce.  This recipe is sweet and moist enough without it!

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe found here on foodnetwork.com.