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!

Roast Beef Dinner with Cauliflower Rice Mash

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While the skies are certainly brighter these days, winter does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. My kitchen is still churning out comfort food and I am trying to be OK with that. Dinners fit a few new requirements nowadays:

1) Tasty when reheated as leftovers

2) Gluten free

3) Toddler/young child approved

This was one of the meals that fit the bill–not to mention roast beef dinner has long been one of my favorite meals. The cauliflower mash is a “great find” as my mom would say. I am forever seeking vegetable sides that my little ones will gobble up and that my husband and I find satiating and delicious. This is a hearty side that pairs well with the beef–it is a similar consistency to mashed potatoes. Unlike the majority of the cauliflower mash recipes floating around the internet, this one contains rice. The rice thickens it yielding a sturdier and more filling puree.

There we have it: A perfect recipe for another cold night.

Roast Beef:

  • 2.5 lbs eye of round or top of round roast, fat trimmed off
  • cooking spray
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Remove the roast from the fridge about one hour prior to cooking to reach room temperature.

Preheat oven to 500 F. Spray roasting pan with cooking spray.

Pierce the roast with a sharp knife creating holes about 1/2 inch deep and insert slivers of garlic in each hole. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder all over roast and place roast in pan.

Roast for 20 minutes at 500 F then reduce heat to 250 F. Roast for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until roast reaches your desired cooking temperature.

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Cauliflower Rice Mash:

  • 2 heads cauliflower, chopped
  • 48 oz. vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups brown rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Combine all ingredients (except cheese) in a large pot over medium heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 20-30 minutes or until rice is cooked and cauliflower is tender. Mash with the back of a spoon until desired consistency is reached. Stir in cheese until melted.

Roast beef recipe adapted from Skinny Taste. Cauliflower adapted from Pinch of Yum.

Farfalle with My Favorite Color Sauce and Roasted Vegetables

If you can’t tell what color the sauce is from this picture, here are a few clues: 

As far back as I can remember my favorite color has been green.  There isn’t really an explanation except that looking at green makes me happy. One of my best memories from my wedding day is walking down the stairs in my parents’ home to a sea of green dresses worn by my bridesmaids! I don’t just like green, I love it.  Both consciously and subconsciously I choose to surround myself with green. As I was snapping photos of this meal, all of my green things sort of jumped out at me. I knew I had an affinity for the color, but, yikes! Even my three soap dispensers, napkins, place mats, measuring cups, and oven mitts are green!

As my mother-in-law put it, and I agree, this dish is very pretty. The smooth green sauce over a bed of farfalle (bow tie) pasta studded with (red) roasted tomatoes and (more green) asparagus makes for a lovely presentation. The flavor is great too. I created this recipe to be healthy and flavorful. It seems too often that pasta is smothered with thick cream and butter. That is not the case here. The sauce is a puree of peas, olive oil, fresh basil and some pungent parmesan, which makes for a delicate, smooth, and tasty sauce that is not rich with dairy. In fact, there is only one cup of cheese over the two pounds of pasta. 

Tips:

  • Using a different pasta shape than you would ordinarily use adds interest to a dish. Choosing new  pasta shapes is an easy way to spice up an old favorite. Check out these recipes: Papparadelle, Orecchiette, GemelliOrzo, Buccatini–they are all fun shapes to try! If the selection at your local grocer is sparse, stop in a specialty shop, like an Italian market. You are likely to find an array of new shapes and sizes.
  • Eliminate chicken and replace chicken broth with vegetable broth to convert this to a vegetarian recipe.

Farfalle with My Favorite Color Sauce:

  • 2 pounds farfalle (bow ties)
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 2 bunches green asparagus
  • 3 glugs of olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1-16 oz. bag frozen peas
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 chicken breasts (seasoned generously with salt and pepper, grilled, and cut into 1-inch pieces)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Fill a large pot with salted water and place on stove to boil.  When water is boiling add farfalle and cook according to package directions.

Slice grape tomatoes in half and place on baking sheet cut side down. Drizzle with a glug of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 12-14 minutes, or until just soft. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave oven on.

Cut off the tough ends of asparagus and throw away. Cut asparagus into 2-inch segments and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with a glug of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Turn oven off.

In a large skillet or saucepan warm a glug of olive oil over low/medium heat.  Add minced shallots. Cook until shallots are soft. Add peas to pan and combine with shallots. Cook peas for just a minute–just until they are warm and slightly soft. Remove from heat.

In a blender or food processor combine pea/shallot mixture, 3/4 cup olive oil, 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 3/4 cup chicken broth, basil leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Puree mixture until smooth.

In a large serving bowl, combine cooked pasta, roasted tomatoes, roasted asparagus, and chicken cubes. Pour sauce on top and gently toss to coat.

Peas with shallots

Roasted tomatoes, roasted asparagus, and grilled chicken waiting to be tossed with the green sauce

 

Delicious and pretty

A Kitchenbelle.com original.

Mushroom and Wild Rice Casserole

I am crazy about wild rice and I always have my eye out for recipes that incorporate it. I was reading this recipe over at 101 Cookbooks where Heidi suggests trying any of your favorite grains in her mushroom casserole recipe. I saw it as great opportunity to use some wild rice! 

This recipe calls for three cups of cooked rice–I replaced that with two cups of cooked wild rice plus one cup of cooked brown rice. (For added flavor cook your rice in chicken or vegetable broth instead of water.) 

One mistake I made that I will warn you against is this: When I was making the rice to use for this recipe I was not thinking straight and I measured out two cups of DRY wild rice plus one cup of DRY brown rice and then cooked them in two separate pans according to their respective package directions.  Well, DUH.   Rice expands while cooking and nearly triples its volume! So, unless you want to have lots of leftover rice, only prepare enough dry rice to yield a total of three cups cooked!  (I see some new wild rice recipes in my immediate future!)

I intended to serve this as an accompaniment to some flank steaks I purchased from Whole Foods, however, as I was about to put the steak onto the grill pan I realized I wasn’t that hungry. My husband wasn’t that hungry either so we decided to eat this as a main dish.  We both really liked it! It is a very lightened-up version of the old school cream of mushroom soup recipes that we all love so much.  (Don’t expect that canned-soup level of moistness, though.)  The flavors were great and I plan to eat the reheated leftovers for lunch this week!

Mushroom and Wild Rice Casserole:

  • 2 cups of cooked wild rice
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice
  • 8-10 ounces of mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup of grated cheese (you could use Parmesan, mozzarella, or a combination of the two)
  • a few tablespoons of fresh chives, roughly chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Coat a 9 x 13 glass baking dish or casserole with olive oil and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat saute the mushrooms in a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Sprinkle with some salt. Stir every few minutes and cook until the mushrooms have browned a bit and released their liquid. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes or until they are transluscent.  Add the garlic, cook for another minute then remove from the heat.

Add the brown rice and wild rice to the skillet. Stir until combined.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream and salt.

Combine in the rice/mushroom mixture with the cottage cheese mixture. Stir until well combined and pour into the prepared 9×13 dish. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the grated cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 more minutes or until bubbly and golden around the edges. Sprinkle with chives, scallions, remaining cheese.  (Add some chicken or vegetable broth if you’d like some additional moisture.)

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

Spinach Squares

This time of year, over and over I find myself  searching for “good” appetizer recipes.  “Good” usually means the following:

  • not too difficult
  • does not require too much time
  • travels well
  • people will actually want to eat it

I recently found myself Googling like crazy and I could not find something that fit the bill.  I have a few go-tos (like this Layered Greek Dip, for instance) but I just get sick of the same thing over and over.  (By the way, if I had a nickel for each time I made that Layered Greek Dip I could buy Greece and all of its feta…and olives…and olive oil…you get the picture.)

After much frustration and interchanging of the words “appetizer” and “hors d’oeuvre” in Google (because technically *I think* an appetizer is something that is served as a plated first course  and hors d’oeuvres are more of finger foody snacks, or at least that’s how I distinguish them) I conceded that Greek Dip it would be.  But then for some reason I remembered to consult my green binder.  My green binder is a vinyl, school binder and it is bursting at the seams.  It contains recipe printouts and handouts and tearouts and recipe cards and papers and clippings from all walks of life.  And there it was:

A little old fashioned recipe card with a little duck wearing a ruffled apron on it and my 8 year-old penmanship staring up at me.  A recipe from the 1980s.  A recipe that reminds me of first communion parties and birthday cookouts and grandparents’ anniversaries.  A recipe that I transcribed from an aunt on June 25.  (It is dated!)

SPINACH SQUARES.  Spinach Squares are the perfect appetizer (or shall I say, hors d’oeuvre).  They travel well, they are versatile, they are delicious and they are straight out of the 1980s–what could be cooler than that!  (That’s almost retro, right?)  I promise never to forget these little bites of cheesy goodness again.   

Spinach Squares:

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion
  • 2 packages chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 2  8-oz packages grated white cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt butter in a glass 9 x 13-inch dish.  In a medium bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together and spread into dish.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Let stand for 30 minutes before cutting.  Cut into small squares.  May be served warm, cool, or at room temperature.

Arugula, Cranberry, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlets

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This is another delicious and easy weeknight meal.  I made it up in my head on my way home from work based on ingredients I knew we had on hand.  The panko crumbs make the cutlets very crispy, though you could certainly substitute any type of bread crumbs.  The filling is a delicious little surprise!  I think this is a perfect fall meal.  I served with roasted maple and olive oil acorn squash.

Arugula, Cranberry, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlets:

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 1 leek, rinsed clean and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • coarse salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs, seasoned to taste with coarse salt and pepper
  • 3 teaspoons of mango chutney (I use Major Gray’s)
  • 2 teaspoons honey mustard (or Dijon mustard)
  • 4 turkey cutlets, rinsed and dried with a paper towel
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over low heat.  Add leek and cook until tender.  Add garlic and cook until soft.  Add arugula.  Add salt and pepper and use a spatula to move arugula around the pan.  Cook until just wilted and then add chopped dried cranberries, goat cheese and mozzarella.

On a baking sheet place a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In one small shallow bowl combine mustard and chutney.  Mix with a small spoon until combined.   Pour breadcrumbs into a second small shallow bowl.  Dip cutlets, one at a time, into chutney mixture.   Then pat breadcrumbs onto one side of the cutlet.  Place on cookie sheet and scoop 1-2 tablespoons of the arugula filling onto one side of the cutlet.  Fold top portion of cutlet onto filling and secure with a toothpick.  Repeat for remaining cutlets.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until turkey is done and juices run clear.  Garnish with dried cranberry pieces and goat cheese crumbles.

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I love the beautiful contrast of the fresh arugula and the dried cranberries.

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Scoop filling on the bottom end of each cutlet so that you can easily fold over the top portion.

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Fold over cutlet and secure with a toothpick.

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Oozing with fresh arugula, cranberries, and cheese!