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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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.

Middle Eastern Quinoa with Chicken and Apricots

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After my first experience with quinoa, I’ve kept my eye out for  other appealing recipes.

My husband wasn’t home the last time I made quinoa so I was interested to hear his feedback on this dish.  He really enjoyed the chicken but the quinoa did not go over as well.  He said he would have preferred this dish over rice.  I can’t say I disagreed with him.  The quinoa was dry and bitter, and my preparation was partly to blame.  Here is what I will do differently next time.  I am certain these small changes will add up to big improvements. 

  • Tsk tsk on me, I forgot to rinse the quinoa!  There are “saponins” on the outside of the quinoa which have a bitter taste.  Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer under cold water before cooking. 
  •  Cook quinoa in chicken, beef, or vegetable broth instead of water.  This will not only increase the moistness of the quinoa, but it will really bump up the flavor factor.
  • This dish did not call for a sauce so the quinoa was not only bitter (due to me forgetting to rinse it) but it was dry.  Next time I will build a sauce from the chutney and broth to pour over the quinoa.

I am not giving up on quinoa, folks!  The flavors of this dish were really delicious.  Just a few “tweaks” and I think it will be right on!  The chutney kept the chicken moist and sweet, while the sliced apricots added some wonderful texture.  The cilantro added a very lovely freshness.* 

If you use a gluten free chutney this meal is gluten free!

Middle Eastern Quinoa with Chicken and Apricots:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 2 tablespoons chutney (I used Major Grey’s)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 6-8 dried apricots, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Side Note: These Sunsweet dried apricots are FANTASTIC.  They are so plump and soft.  They worked really well in this dish.

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Prepared the quinoa according to the package.  (Don’t forget to rinse it before you cook it!)

While the quinoa is cooking, combine chicken, chutney, and mustard in a large bowl. Toss well to coat the chicken. 

Spray a large non-stick ridged grill pan with non-stick spray and set over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken mixture and cook, turning frequently until the chicken is cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large platter.  Top with chicken mixture, apricots, and cilantro.

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*Did I mention that cilantro is growing on me?  I used to have the strongest aversion to it but I am slowly enjoying it more and more.  I didn’t think that was possible!

Adapted from The Gluten Free Cooking Expo’s Blog.

 

Quinoa Salad with Corn and Red Pepper

 

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Quinoa is all the rage these days!  Everywhere I turn there are either quinoa recipes or articles praising quinoa as the best food source ever.  I had to get on the bandwagon!  I’ve been holding on to a box of quinoa for a few weeks now and I finally settled on making  this Martha Stewart recipe.  I was quite pleased! The taste and texture of the quinoa reminded me of a combination of rice and couscous–I think that if it were possible to “mate” the two, this is the taste and texture you would get! 

 Because I served this as a main dish, not a side, and I didn’t know what to expect, I decided to add some pulled chicken breast.  (I actually bought one of those grocery store roasting chickens and pulled off the deliciously moist meat—I am surprised over and over and over at how fabulous these birds are!)  That said, this is a filling meal and by no means did it need the chicken.  Without the chicken I think this would be a perfectly satisfying gluten free vegetarian main course or side. Also, I think it would pair perfectly with turkey tips or steak tips (or any other grilled or broiled protein–think Memorial Day cookout!).    

This recipe was a light yet filling, delicious, and nutritious gluten free meal—and a perfect introduction to this super-grain.

Quinoa Salad with Corn and Red Pepper:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions, using chicken or vegetable broth in place of water
  • 1 cup of frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • chicken breast pieces, cooked
  • baby spinach

Whisk olive oil, vinegar, basil, mustard powder, and garlic in a large bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the (cooked) quinoa, corn, chicken, diced red pepper, and half of the sliced scallions to the bowl.  Toss lightly to combine.

Arrange baby spinach on individual serving plates or a platter.  Mound salad on the center.  Garnish with remaining scallions.

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Recipe adapted from MarthaStewart.com.