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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Veggie Packed Macaroni and Cheese

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My husband is gluten free and our girls LOVE macaroni. I float somewhere in the middle. I am certainly not gluten free (GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!), however, I  could easily live without pasta. Typically I make a single meal for the four of us, however, sometimes it makes sense to make a big batch of macaroni for the kids that can be reheated for lunches and dinners a few nights in a row. And that is how I came to make this veggie packed macaroni.

This was a huge hit with the little ones! In fact, my oldest yelled, “This is the best meal ever!!!” when I set it on the table. Wow! I wish I received that kind of enthusiasm every night! I had to agree with her–this is darn good. I”ll be honest–I think the wheel-shaped macaroni is a huge selling point. The tiny spokes ooze with the gooey, drippy, melty cheese sauce in the most wonderful of ways. Also, the chunky little circles of pasta are easy for little fingers to pick up and pop in their mouths.

Veggie Packed Macaroni and Cheese:

  • 3 cups uncooked wheel-shaped macaroni
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the macaroni and diced carrots. Set timer for 9 minutes and cook until your timer has four minutes remaining then add the broccoli. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the timer goes off and/or pasta is al dente. Remove from heat, add in the peas, stir, and reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Then, drain the pasta/carrot/broccoli/pea mixture and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat, then add in the diced onions. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and broth. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in the cheddar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir until smooth.

In a large bowl, stir together cooked macaroni/veggies, reserved cooking liquid, + the cheese sauce. Transfer to the prepared 9×13 dish. bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Recipe from The Fearless Homemaker.

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Add the shredded cheese.

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Wisk, wisk, wisk, wisk!

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Drain the macaroni and vegetables.

 

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Cheesy deliciousness and veggies!

Oatmeal and Parmesan Crusted Boneless Pork Chops

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We hardly ever eat pork so while meal planning last week I decided to add it to our menu to freshen things up. This recipe reminds me of a homemade version of Shake ‘N Bake. It uses ground oatmeal instead of bread crumbs (to keep the gluten out) while keeping a crisp-ish texture. Use parchment paper to line your pan if you have it. Parchment paper absorbs the moisture from the pork, unlike foil, yielding a better texture.  If you are out of parchment paper, like I was when I made these, use foil to line your pan and then just flip the chops and broil them for a few minutes prior to serving. Doing so will eliminate any moisture that might make for a soggy bottom.  Did I really just say soggy bottom?

This recipe pairs well with most vegetable sides. Roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, cauliflower rice mash would all be great. Even a simple tossed green salad would work well. The above photo shows it with this broccoli salad, which I highly recommend. It contain bacon. I’ll just leave it at that.

Parmesan and Oatmeal Crusted Pork Chops:

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup raw, dry, quick cook oatmeal, pulverized in the food processor until smooth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper (or foil) and coat with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl gently mix together cheese, oatmeal, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Rub each pork chop in a thin coat of olive oil. Dip each chop into the cheese mixture and press mixture onto chop so it sticks.

Place each chop in the baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until pork is cooked through. To ensure a crispy top you can put the oven on broil for 3-5 minutes, after baking. This will brown and crisp the tops of the chops.

Adapted from Just a Pinch.

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Meatless Tacos (Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Filling)

While the rest of the world is honing their recipes for whipped sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts, I am not. I am honing recipes that can be prepared with minimal effort and eaten during the busy holiday season when the fridge is full but there is nothing to eat.

I am always searching for the next best slow cooker recipe and this one, my friends, is a GEM. I love eating lentils but admit that I find the plain old lentil soup (while delicious) can get a tad boring. Enter: Meatless Taco Filling.

This recipe is at the top of my list because:

  • It uses the slow cooker = I don’t have to worry about dinner once I have tossed all of the ingredients and turned the dial to “on”
  • It is healthy! Three cheers for lentils (fiber, folate, + non-animal protein)
  • It is delicious! While you might not fool a diehard carnivore into thinking it is meat, it does feel just like meat on the palette and you might trick them for a few minutes. This is a fantastic recipe for vegetarians AND meat eaters.
  • Everyone loves taco night!

I am documenting this recipe immediately so that I don’t forget about it!

Meatless Tacos (Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Filling):

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 14 ounces vegetable broth (beef or chicken broth can be substituted) plus an additional 5-6 oz.
  • 1 cup salsa
  •  14 ounce can of corn
  • your favorite taco fixings (tortilla shells, grated cheese, sour cream/Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, chopped tomatoes etc.)
Put everything in the crock pot (except for corn and taco fixings) and cook on low for 9 hours, stirring occasionally and adding broth or water as needed. When done, stir in canned corn. Use as you would a meat taco filling.

Adapted from recipe found here on Food.com.

P.S. I love Food.com!

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce

When I visited my friend Jenny in Chicago a few months ago, her very sweet boyfriend cooked us dinner so that Jenny and I could drink wine, chat, laugh uncontrollably and reminisce of our days spent riding camels in Australia, soaking in the sulfur baths of New Zealand, gorging on duck fat coated potatoes in France, and trekking through waterfalls in Martinique. (And quite honestly, that barely covers it!)

The meal was so delicious that as soon as my little one and I returned home it was the very first meal I prepared. And I have made iterations of it 3 times since.

While not exactly photogenic (large slabs of meat in brown sauce tend not to be) this recipe was utterly delicious. Jenny’s boyfriend served it with perfectly crisp roasted potatoes. In the photo above I was short on time so I served it with sauteed mushrooms over a bed of quinoa. (The quinoa really soaks up the mustard and pork juice sauce and tastes delicious.)

Wait to add salt to sauteed mushrooms until AFTER they are done cooking. And to boost their flavor, start with some fresh garlic and olive oil in the pan.

This recipe is now a staple in our kitchen. And as always (at least in this household!) a good meal is only partly about the actual food. It’s often about the feelings the food evokes. In this case, the years of memories of great times with a fabulous friend.

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pork tenderloins (3/4 – 1 pound each), trimmed
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper; transfer to skillet and cook, turning, until browned all over, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover skillet; cook pork, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150  degrees. 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pork from skillet, wrap in aluminum foil, and let rest 10 minutes (reserve skillet with juices).  To juices in skillet, add mustards, and sour cream, and any accumulated juices from resting pork; whisk over medium heat until heated through (do not boil). Add water if sauce is too thick. Slice pork thinly and serve with pan sauce.

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce found here on Martha Stewart.com.

Carrot Soup (Dairy Free)

I forgot how much I loved this broccoli soup recipe. I’m not sure why I haven’t made it in so long. I love that it is non-dairy and meat free. It is a delicious accompaniment to a panini for an easy make ahead week night dinner. Also, it stands perfectly well on its own or with a piece of crusty bread for lunch. You may be wondering why I am talking about broccoli soup if this post is about carrot soup. Well, after re-discovering my love for the broccoli soup I decided to try the same recipe swapping out the vegetable.

This carrot soup turned out really well! I love how it has a creamy texture while it does not contain any milk or cheese. It reminds me very much of the soups my host mother in France prepared for me during my term abroad in Rennes. Whenever we had a particulary hardy lunch, say on a Sunday or a holiday, she would prepare a light dinner of pureed soup like this one. Anything that reminds me of France is a winner in my book!

Side Note: I find it so funny that I posted the broccoli soup recipe exactly three years ago today!

Carrot Soup:

  • olive oil
  • 2 leeks, cleaned, root and green woody top removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 8 fresh carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces PLUS
  • 2 fresh carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 48 ounces of vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth or stock if you prefer)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil and place the 8 2-inch carrot pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for approximately 20 minutes or until carrots are soft. Half way through roasting turn carrots over.

Add some olive oil to the bottom of a large soup pot.  (I used my Le Creuset.)   Warm the oil over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks, onion, garlic, and two chopped carrots.  Stir and cook until the onions are translucent. [Note: The above step is extremely important for a maximum flavor soup.  If you aren’t in a rush, cook these ingredients over low heat for a long period of time (even to the point of caramelization if you’d like, though it is not necessary) to fully cultivate the flavor.]

Add the potatoes and roasted carrots to the large soup pot.  Add the broth or stock and bay leaf.  Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce to a low boil.  Stir occasionally, cooking for about 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are all tender.

Take the pot off the heat and remove the bay leaf.  If you have an immersion blender, use that to puree the soup.  Alternately, cool the soup in the fridge for a few moments then puree in a traditional blender or food processor, one cup at a time.  Return the pureed soup to the cooking pot and warm it through.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

Easy Broccoli Quiche

Quiche is one of my favorite things to eat for lunch. A slice of quiche alongside a pile of mixed greens feels like a wonderfully complete meal. I love it because it is rich enough that you feel as though you have indulged, yet because you typically only have a slice or two you don’t feel overly stuffed. And it’s the richness that makes the meal feel special–it’s not every day you have quiche for lunch, after all! I especially enjoy serving quiche when I have a friend over for a lunch date.  It is something that is easily prepared ahead of time and then served at room temperature.  There isn’t anything unusual about this particular recipe. It is a straightforward way to make a tasty vegetarian quiche. (Of course you can make your own crust or use prepackaged.)

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Entirely unrelated, I feel as though I must acknowledge that I am probably the only recipe blogger in the blogosphere who did not post anything Thanksgiving related. “Why?” you may ask. The answer is because my brother-in-law prepares our entire Thanksgiving meal without an ounce of help from anyone else!  (Well, without any help except for the Minnesota-style mashed potatoes made by my other brother-in-law. 😉 ) He is a fabulous cook and he makes the most delicious and unconventional Thanksgiving dinner leaving guests in awe year after year.

The only item the menu required was something light that guests could snack on while sipping a drink prior to dinner. I made these ol’ standbys: SPINACH SQUARES.  My sister-in-law refers to them as spinach brownies. How cute, right?! Give them a try if you are looking for an easy holiday season go-to app that transports well.

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Easy Broccoli Quiche:

  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  1 onion, minced
  •  1 teaspoon minced garlic
  •  2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  •  1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
  •   1  cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  •  1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  •   4 eggs, well beaten
  •    1 1/2 cups milk
  •    1 teaspoon salt
  •    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  •    1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Over medium-low heat warm the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onions, garlic and broccoli. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese over the crust and press into the dough. Spoon vegetables into crust and sprinkle with the remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in melted butter. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until center has set.

Recipe adapted from this one on AllRecipes.com