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Chicken Parm Meatballs

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I love ground chicken. I love ground turkey, too. Basically, I feel like the chicken has a slightly creamy texture when cooked with. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but beef seems too, basic. It’s almost like it’s drying. Which isn’t the case if it’s not in ground form. Obviously, I’m not talking about the super lean beef, but the ground chuck that you’re supposed to use for good flavor. Nope, I just can’t do it lately, I can’t cook with beef.

I suppose that’s good for me, in the long run, so it works out.

But I have to say, I’ve used ground chicken in pasta sauces, with lasagna, stuffed into peppers, and made chili with it. I’ve been working with ground turkey less than chicken, but today I’m returning to my old poultry friend in these delicious, and giant (!) meatballs.

From Dinner, A Love Story

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Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill or parsley
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino (or Parm)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • paprika to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (or there abouts)
  • 1 14-ounce can store bought pizza sauce (or pasta sauce, I had pasta sauce so that’s what I used)
  • about 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly (I didn’t have that, so I used a shredded mozzarella blend, with a bit of cheddar mixed in)

Preheat oven to 400°F, setting rack to upper third part of oven.

In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix together first 11 ingredients (everything up to the olive oil). Shape into lacrosse-ball size balls (that would be somewhere between golf and tennis) and place a few inches from each other on a foil-lined baking sheet.

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Brush oil on top of each meatball (I just drizzled it around them and on top so some oil got under the meatballs as well. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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Remove meatballs from oven, spoon some sauce on top of each meatball, and cover each with a slice of cheese. Broil another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.  Heat remaining sauce in a small saucepan.

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Serve with some pasta or potatoes. I used some spaghetti squash, to keep it healthy.

These meatballs (if the same, large, tennis ball size) are about 128 calories each. Two is more than enough, especially with a side, for a meal.

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Chipotle’s Cilantro-Lime Rice

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Since I’m starting my usual work schedule tomorrow I’m going to be working on packing a lunch again, and making sure I have all of my snack items in order. My problem last year when I started this work schedule, and I that I assumed I’d buy my lunch or break food, and that was not only expensive but horribly unappetizing. Most of the food served by LAUSD is just… overseasoned, underseasoned, or cold.

What faster, and better side dish to anything I feel like making for lunch than rice? As I’m a fan of Chipotle’s rice in general, I decided to give my hand at replicating it. Apparently, there are tons of recipes for this online, as I’m not their only fan. But for this I followed steps that I thought were logical and more or less got the desired result.

Rice

  • approx 2 1/2 -3 cups basmatic rice, cooked
  • 2 tbsp garlic oil
  • 2 tsp pepper flakes
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt, to taste

Add oil to a skillet (I used garlic oil for more flavor but it’s up to you), about 2 tbsp on average, but you can add more or less depending on how you like your oil content. Remember, you are trying to coat 3 cups of rice.

 

 

Add in the pepper flakes and cilantro and stir in hot oil for 30 seconds. Add the rice and coat in the oil. Mix in the zest and juice of one lemon. Warm all the way through on the skillet so everything marinades properly, about 4 minutes. And you’re ready to eat!

Lemonchello

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I’ve had an excess of lemons around the kitchen lately, and I’ve been wanting to make my own since Giada showed her recipe all those years ago on Everyday Italian. I followed the recipe exactly, and it came out wonderfully.

Lemonchello is used in drinks, and in baking. You can add it to lemon cupcakes, or in frosting for a nice angel food cake. It makes a great martini, as well. The recipe is completely worth it to make at home, especially since store-bought Lemonchello is around $20, for 750 mL.

  • 10 lemons
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use).

Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher.

Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

lovely lemony yellow

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.

Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.

Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.

ignore the leftover waffles in the background

It’s so delicious, and if you’re worried about the lemons you have left over from the first nights’ peeling, just strain into a jar and use as fresh lemon juice in any recipe. About 2 tbsp equals 1 lemon.

Lemon Pudding the Old-Fashioned Way

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I woke up today with the urge to do something really nice, and something that dealt with lemons. At first, and for a while, I’ve been tinkering with the idea of having my own recipe for Lemon Curd. I was gonna tweak and combine a few that I’ve tabbed over the days to make my own, perfect for tarts in the summer.

As I was relaying what I thought was good news to Boyfriend, he said he wanted Lemon Pudding. In fact, he was craving it and he’d get himself some of the Jell-O brand (probably tomorrow). Now, I’m not sure if he actually got any, as this took place yesterday, but I was a little insulted at the thought of him buying ready-made pudding.

I’ve been on this kick of “everything homemade” and it’s been great. It’s tasted a lot better and been a lot healthier, too. So as I was going over my Lemon Curd recipe I decided to flip the recipe and make Lemon Pudding instead.

I’ve adapted the recipe somewhat from one that I found on FoodGawker.

Lemon Pudding

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 cups vanilla flavored coconut milk
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Place sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Whisk to combine the two. Gradually add the milk, whisking until smooth. This will take a few minutes so be patient. Add egg yolks, lemon zest, and salt. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, till sauce thickens, about 6-7 minutes so be patient. You’ll know it’s done when it can coat a spoon.

Keep stirring to get the milk and cornstarch incorporated without lumps

7 Minutes Later

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and butter. Whisk to make smooth, about 20 seconds. Place in jars (about 3-4 1 pint jars). Let cool completely, and then cover with plastic wrap or lid. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight, till set. Serve chilled.

5 Ingredient Pasta

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In terms of pasta, I like to go all out. Not that I like heavy pasta dishes, nor do I enjoy making homemade marinara when I have 4 hours till 11pm, and bedtime. However, I do like good pasta dishes, regardless of ingredients, or how long it takes to make them. This recipe is thankfully short on the list of ingredients and really fast to make.
  • Parsley
  • shitake mushrooms
  • lime
  • parmesan cheese
  • garlic
  • angel hair pasta (or pasta of your choice)

Boil the water for the pasta. When it’s good and rolling, add in the pasta and about a teaspoon of olive oil (if you like), to keep the pasta from sticking together. Salt the pasta, and cook about 8 minutes or so.

While you’re waiting for the pasta, get a skillet nice and hot. Add some oil and saute the mushrooms (cut up in any way you like. You do need to discard the stems as they aren’t edible and way too tough to try in any case).  Cook down for about 5 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste. Add in some parsley and garlic, depending on taste again.

When the pasta is ready reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Add the pasta to the skillet. Add the zest and juice of 1 lime and add the parmesan. Mix together and let simmer for two minutes before adding int he pasta water to make a smooth sauce.

Enjoy!

Orange-Chocolate Loaf Cake

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...lightly dusted with powdered sugar

1 1/4 stick (10 tablespoons) soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

dab flavorless veg oil, for greasing syrup spoon

2 tablespoons golden syrup, such as Lyle’s (or dark corn syrup)

1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar, cause that’s all I had)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons best-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

2 eggs

zest of 2 reg oranges and juice of 1

1 x 2-pound loaf pan

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line your loaf pan with parchment paper and grease the sides, or line with a paper loaf-pan liner.

Beat the already soft butter with the syrup– if you dab a little oil on your tablespoon measure with a sheet of paper towel, the syrup shouldn’t stick to the spoon– and the sugar until you have a fairly smooth caffe Americano cream, thought he sugar will have a bit of grit about it.

non-curdled batter

Mix the flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder together, and beat into the syrup mixture  tablespoonful of these dry ingredients before beating in 1 egg. Then add another couple of spoonfuls of the dry ingredients before beating in the second egg.

Carry on beating in the remaining dry ingredients and then add, still beating, the orange zest and finally, gradually, the juice. At this stage, the batter may suddenly look dimpled, as if slightly curdled, No need to panic! (Mine didn’t).

Pour and scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, though check 5 minutes before and be prepared to keep it in the oven 5 minutes longer as well, if needed.A cake tester wont come out clean entirely, as the point of this cake, light though it may be, is to have just a hint of inner stickiness. Let cool  a little in its pan on a wire rack, then turn out with care and leave on the rack to cool.

If it looks sunk in in the middle this is normal. This recipe was made out of Nigella Kitchen  and most of her cakes are slightly sunk in, in the center. This makes the cake look more inviting, and rustic, which is even the more better!