Italian Wedding Soup

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Sunday = soup day, we made this early in the day and enjoyed for lunch.  Knox came back for “one more” meatball 5 times before they were added to the soup- they are SO GOOD.  We always always reserve our chicken carcass and freeze them so we can easily make our own broth anytime we need it.  So I started by throwing that together ( linked below).  While the stock came to a boil, I prepared and baked the meatballs.  Then when I had another moment between parenting and life- I chopped the soup ingredients and set aside to wait for their big moment.  It’s more involved, but this is what the weekends are all about!  I would easily make this meatball recipe solo any day, you can use ground chicken or pork ( chicken sausage too)- we used what we had- which was beef and they turned out delicious.  cropped-job_0078.jpg

INGREDIENTS
For the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
8-10 cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed

1 Parmesan rind

extra chopped fresh parsley leaves and parmesan to serve

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs, place the ground beef, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine well with your hands. Pinch off a small amount to roll small 1 -inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 70 meatballs. They don’t have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine and reduce for 3 minutes then add the chicken stock and Parmesan rind, bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 10 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Then add the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and additional parsley and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

40 meatballs:

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Easy Pasta with Sausage, Zucchini and Tomatoes

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This is such an easy AND healthy AND new AND filling way to make pasta.  We eat a lot of pasta around here, it’s one of those easy to have on hand items that are satisfying for us and Knox.  Instead of pouring a jar of red sauce over noodles, this pasta has no sauce- but it is SO full of bright flavors and it’s something we’ve been making over and over again.   You can use any type of sausage you like- pork/ sage/ chicken, and type of veggies zucchini/ asparagus/ tomatoes and any type of herbs parsley/ basil/ cilantro would ALL work well in this dish.  It’s versatile like that- you’re welcome.  Trust, you will not miss the marinara at all.  This made 3 adult portions and 1.5 child portions.

SPAGHETTI WITH SAUSAGE AND VEGGIES

serves 3-4

Ingredients

½ pound whole wheat spaghetti

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 pound chicken sausage

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 pound zucchini ( or asparagus), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

½ cup chicken or vegetable stock

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package direction, stirring occasionally, until just tender. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.

3. Remove the sausage to paper towel lined plate, setting aside. Add an additional 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic and cook until golden but not browned, stirring often, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the zucchini, tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

5. Pour in  the chicken stock, add the sausage back to the pan, and simmer everything together on medium for 3-4 minutes.

6. Add the cooked, drained pasta to the pan, tossing to combine. If the sauce is a bit dry, add a splash more chicken stock. Drizzle with lemon juice, sprinkle with parsley and parmesan. Taste and add additional salt or lemon juice if you like. Serve warm.

Tender Pot Roast with Carrots and Parmesan Garlic Potato Wedges

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The perfect Sunday night dinner, this roast with carrots cooks all day and falls apart tender to eat.  We served with potato wedges, everything got a hit of fresh chopped parsley.  Red wine and friends make this even better.

 

Roast Recipe, adapted slightly from Carlsbad Cravings

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pound chuck roast trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoons dry minced onion
  • 3 packets beef bouillon powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut in the 4″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Heat oil over high heat in a large dutch oven with lid. Using tongs, sear meat on all sides until lightly browned, turn off heat.   Add whole garlic cloves into the crevices of the roast (usually where there is a seam of fat). Add desired amount of carrots surrounding roast.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients and pour over roast and carrots.
  4. Cover with lid and roast for 30 minutes at 425 degrees F.
  5. Turn roast over, re-cover with lid and turn your oven down to 300 degrees F. Continue to roast for an additional 3-4 hours at 300 degrees F. Roast is ready when it is fall apart tender.
  6. Remove roast and carrots from oven to a serving platter and let roast sit 30 minutes before carving to reabsorb the juices.
  7. Serve with fresh parsley and Potato Wedges

BAKED GARLIC PARMESAN POTATO WEDGES

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large russet potatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • optional: fresh parsley
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Place potato wedges in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. In a small bowl whisk together salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle potato wedges with the shredded cheese, tossing to coat, then sprinkle with the seasoning mixture.
  3. Place potato wedges on prepared baking sheet in a single layer with skin-sides-down. Bake for 25-35 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender and golden. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and dressing for dipping.

Chicken Thighs in Garlic Cream Sauce with Potatoes and Spinach

I love cooking chicken thighs, dark meat is my favorite.  ( This cut is also budget friendly)  I pinned this recipe ages ago and finally stumbled upon it’s heavenly combination for this week’s meal plan.  I updated the recipe to make it less buttery, it was so rich with almost 3 times the butter written below, and totally unnecessary.  The potatoes baked in the cream sauce are tender and amazing, the spinach is all melded in and the chicken skin stays nice and crisp on top with flavors incorporating in from below.  It’s a keeper:

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Chicken Thighs in Garlic Cream Sauce with Potatoes and Spinach

adapted from Damn Delicious

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon unslated butter
  • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 16 ounces baby potatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

FOR THE GARLIC PARMESAN CREAM SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth, or more, as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup half and half*
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Season chicken with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side; set aside.
  4. To make the garlic parmesan cream sauce, melt butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
  5. Gradually whisk in chicken broth season with thyme. Cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in half and half and Parmesan until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more broth as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Scatter potatoes first in the prepared pan, next top with chopped spinach then place chicken in a single layer over that and finally top with the cream sauce.
  7. Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 45-60 minutes.
  8. Serve hot, garnished with parsley

Lemony Cream Salmon and Garlic Broccolini Sheet Pan Dinner

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All I got was this shot of Knox’s plate, which only has the salmon- but this was so easy and so good I had to share ( and to remember to make it again!)

Since returning to work after maternity leave, we’ve gotten back to meal planning.  It was getting pretty bad, us picking up food here and there from the store, with no recipe in mind every other day and yet we never had anything to eat… or making pasta and jar sauce more often then I’d like to admit… pizza frozen or delivered 1-2x per week as well. We missed eating GOOD food, but I knew we’d have to batten down and invest in meal planning again.  It’s only been a couple weeks, but we’ve been eating so so well.  I choose 3-4 easy weeknight meals ( one pan deals, fish, crockpot that cooks while we work etc.) and 2 recipes for the weekend when we have a bit more time and ambition.  I typically try to find recipes around items we may already have at home, then make my grocery list.  I shop on my lunch break from work and put everything away at home, so after work, I don’t have to try to carry a toddler ( is he still a toddler..?), the baby in the car seat carrier, my bags and theirs AND groceries- because let me tell you, it’s NUTS.

Ok, so back to the fish- Knox LOVES fish- any kind any way; which is funny because we almost never make it.  I know, terrible- but it’s hard to easily and affordably get good seafood in the Midwest, and I’m not a huge fan to begin with- whew confession over again .  But fish is really good for all of us and especially for me, nursing momma, and Knox- growing boy.  This kid loves to eat, thank God, he’s truly ours!!  He eats halibut, salmon, spinach salad, quinoa and broccoli, spaghetti squash pasta, peas and cucumbers are his favorite veggies, and all meat from chicken to beef to pork to fish and eggs- with gusto.  Fish cooks FAST, and is easy to prepare, and this recipe, with it’s bold flavors is perfect for fish skeptics like myself.  So no excuses- make it, eat it, love it!

adapted from bobbi’s kozy kitchen

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound salmon filet
  • 1 pound broccolini, ends trimmed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. place parchment paper in large rimmed baking sheet
  3. Spread the lemon slices out on the pan.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, yogurt and Dijon mustard together. Season with salt and pepper and dill.
  5. Place the salmon on the sheet pan and season with salt and pepper. Spread sauce on evenly.
  6. In a large bowl, toss the broccolini and garlic with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Scatter the on the baking sheet. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until desired doneness, checking the cook time at the 10-12 minute mark.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve!

Happy Birthday Jason

 

 

We hosted our traditional pizza making party to celebrate Jason’s birthday this year.  It was also a great way to celebrate Melissa and Mike’s birthdays as well.  Our dough recipe hasn’t changed much but is copied below again- it’s crispy and flavorful.

 

Best Pizza Dough:

PART 1, Starter Dough:
1.)  Dissolve 2 TSP Sugar, 2/3 Cup Warm (not lukewarm- WARM) Water, add 2
yeast packets or equivalent.  mix and let stand for about 5 minutes till slightly foamy on top.

2.)  Then in your stand mixer with dough hook add 2 cups flour (bread flour makes a crispier dough) and slowly add the liquid.
3.) Beat well for 2 minutes.

PART 2, Dough:
4.)  Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a 1 cup measuring cup, add warm water to make 1 cup, set aside.

5.)  Add 3 cups flour and 1 TSP salt to the starter dough that is still in the mixer.

6.) Add in the 1 cup of butter/ water mix slowly in stand mixer until dough is formed (if it is
too wet add more flour, too dry add more warm water.) should come together in a nice clean ball.

7.) Let the mixer beat the dough really well for a few minutes and then form it into a ball within the mixing bowl, place a wet towel over it- let it rise in a warm environment and then beat it down at least 3 times before using the dough (every 1/2 hour to an hour).

Using the Dough:
8.)  Pinch a small hand full of dough per pizza, about a fist size.

9.) When you roll it out, flour the surface very well
Baking Pizza:
10.) Use corn meal on the pizza peal to transfer the pizza in to the oven onto a pizza stone

11.) Bake in hottest oven temp you can get! ( we do 550 for 5-7 minutes)