Tag Archives: hearty

Lamb Meatballs and Napoli Sauce

30 May

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I acquired these traditional Italian recipes, passed down through generations, from a chef in LA. As per usual, I added my own touches to make this dish sing. The simplicity of the sauce highlights the succulent, herbaceous lamb and everything is in harmony – the pleasant tune of spring.

Time: 30 minutes + simmer Serves: 5

Ingredients


  • Meatballs


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cubed bread (I used Udi’s Gluten Free White)
  • milk, enough to cover bread cubes
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sea salt and black pepper – to taste (about 1/4 tsp each)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only – carefully cleaned and cut into thin half moons
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sauce


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 a medium-large onion)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • sea salt and black pepper – to taste
  • 8 basil leaves, roughly chopped or chiffonade

How to make it


  • Meatballs


  • Combine bread cubes and milk in a small bowl to soak.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil. Once hot, add leeks and cook for about 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Transfer soaked bread to a large mixing bowl. Discard excess milk any remains. Add lamb, parsley, rosemary, thyme, beaten egg, salt, pepper, and cooled leeks & garlic. Mix just to incorporate.
  • Form mixture into 2-inch balls and set on a lined baking sheet.
  • At this point you can bake them in a preheated oven at 400F for 20 minutes. Or you can braise them in the sauce by allowing them to cook for 25 minutes. Finally, you can pan fry them in batches with a bit of olive oil over medium-high until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
  • I always cook my meatballs, let them cool, then put them on a baking sheet and into the freeze. Once frozen, pop them into a freezer bag or container and you’ll have homemade meatballs waiting for you anytime.
  • Sauce


  • In a medium stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened and translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, some salt & pepper and stir. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours. Add basil during last 30 minutes of simmer.
  • Serve meatballs tossed in sauce and spaghetti. Top with shaved Parmesan Reggiano Asiago blend and garnish with small basil leaves.

Mushroom Barley Soup

23 May

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I know some of you are probably thinking, “soup?! really?!” considering it is late May. But here in my fine hometown of Detroit, MI it is currently 46F and pouring. What better time to warm up with this hearty soup that pleases vegetarians and meat-eaters alike?

Time: 15 min prep, 1hr 15min cook                   Serves: 8-10

Ingredients


  • 1 1/4 cups pearl barley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 large)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 pound cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 large portabella mushrooms, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp brown rice Miso paste, dissolved in a bit of warm water
  • black pepper
  • chopped parsley, chopped – for garnish
  • Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids and Sriracha, to serve

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How to make it


  • Put barley in a 5 quart pot with bay leaves and a generous amount of sea salt. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, lower heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until grains are soft and open.
  • Heat half the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and the garlic, and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Stir in the thyme and rosemary. Add the carrots and celery. Cook for a few minutes then add to the pot of barley and cooking liquid.
  • Next, heat the remaining olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. (If you don’t have a large enough skillet, you can cook them in a couple of batches). Sauté, stirring constantly for a few minutes. Lower heat to medium and cook until softened and starting to brown.
  • Transfer to pot. Add 2-3 cups of water, and miso paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Add kale and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve with Bragg’s and Sriracha.
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Chicken Pot Pie Mac & Cheese

25 Apr

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I’ve been back in Detroit for almost two weeks and Spring has definitely come through here and there but it’s still not in full swing. This comforting dish is nice on a rainy, cool spring evening and reminds me of the saying “April showers bring May flowers” because of how colorful it is,  incorporating fresh spring produce. This was my beau’s brainchild and I’d say an experiment gone

Time: 1 hour           Serves: 10

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (b/s), poached in 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, shredded*
  • 8 oz. elbow quinoa pasta, cooked al dente (or short cut pasta of your choice)
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced (about 1 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup corn, frozen
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or flour of your choice)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground  (I used about 1/2 tsp each)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 oz. New Zealand white cheddar, shredded – divided
  • handful pea sprouts, for garnish

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 1 13×9 or 2 8×8 or 2 quart casserole dishes with cooking spray.
  • Melt butter in a large 5 qt. pot. Add onion, cook until softened. Add carrots, cook for 2 minutes. Add celery, cook for 1 min. Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add flour. Cook until a lightly brown roux forms around the veggies.
  • Slowly add stock, and whisk to incorporate. Remove from heat. Add shredded chicken, mayo, cooked pasta, corn peas, and half shredded cheese. Mix to incorporate. Pour into casserole(s), I set one aside at this point to cool completely to freezer for another great dinner.

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  • Top with remaining cheese. Bake on middle rack for 15-20 minutes until bubbling. Transfer to top rack and turn on broiler. Broil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Allow to set for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with pea sprouts.

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Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

4 Apr

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Although spring is trying to peak out, it’s still chilly here in SoCal where I’m currently based. I don’t mean to wine, I know it’s warmer than my native land. But I thought it would be nice to introduce a Midwestern favorite. A big salad is great for lunch but for dinner a hearty, satisfying, comfort food is in order. The array of vegetables not only pack a nutritional punch but they lend their colors to make this dish really pop. A great make-ahead meal. Prepare it up until the baking, cool completely and freeze, I usually divide into 2. Just defrost in fridge before baking, or up baking time by about 45min. I meant to add mushrooms to this dish but forgot, maybe next time.

Time: 90 minutes           Serves: 6-8

Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup wild rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (I used orange cauliflower)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3/8 cup AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp each)

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 2 8×8 or 2 quart casserole dishes with cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, cook stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally for another 4 minutes. Finally, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  • Drop broccoli and cauliflower florets into boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes then remove and drain in a colander. Run cold water over top until cooled through or drop in an ice water bath.
  • In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add chicken stock in 3 parts, whisking to incorporate. Cook until thickened somewhat. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese and season to taste. Add all vegetables, chicken, and both kinds of rice. Mix well to incorporate. Spoon into prepared baking dish and top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until bubbly and cheese has melted.

Studded Matzo Balls

2 Apr

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It was only natural to honor my first Classic Homemade Chicken Soup with my first ever matzo balls, and it was fitting that I served them on the last day of Passover. They’re studded with carrots, celery, and parsley.

Time: 10 min prep, 30+min cook             Serves: 8

Ingredients


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup matzo meal (I used Manischewitz brand)
  • 3 tbsp water/stock/broth
  • 1 tsp salt, if desired
  • 1/4 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely diced celery
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley (I used flat leaf Italian)
  • 1 batch chicken soup

How to make it


  • In a mixing bowl, combine oil, eggs, matzo meal, water/stock and salt if using. Mix to incorporate. Cover and place in fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile bring soup/stock/water to boil in a 4 quart stock pot.
  • After chilled, add carrots, celery and parsley to batter mix. Gently fold in.
  • Reduce heat to simmer.
  • Moisten hands and roll batter into about 1-inch balls. Gently drop into boiling pot. Cover pot and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  • If cooking broth/water, remove from liquid and serve warm or at room temp. If serving in soup, you’re all set to serve it up 🙂

Classic Homemade Chicken Soup

1 Apr

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I decided this time last year that making my own from-scratch chicken soup was long over-due. Boy am I glad I finally tackled this! It was much easier to make than I imagined and the results were beyond my expectations. I consulted a recipe by Susie Fishbein from her gorgeous book “Kosher by Design,” but put my own spin on it as I like to do 🙂

Time: 30 min prep, 90+min cook                 Serves: 8

Ingredients


  • 1 chicken, cut into 1/8ths (with skin on and bones in)
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 large carrots (or equivalent in baby carrots), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 stalks of fresh dill
  • 5-7 stalks of fresh parsley (I used flat Italian)
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • kosher salt, to taste – I used 1 tbsp
  • ground black pepper, to taste – I used 2 tsp

How to make it


  • Rinse chicken and place in an 8 quart stock pot, or larger. Cover with cold water, then add an additional 4-5 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil. Skim the fat and impurities off the top as it rises, using a small strainer.
  • Add parsnips, carrots, celery, onion, turnip, and garlic to pot.
  • At this point you can either tie the herbs & peppercorn into a bouquet garni (in muslin or cheesecloth), or just toss them in there freely which is what I did.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Start with less, as you can always add more but you can’t take away once it’s in there 🙂
  • Lower the heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Strain the foam & impurities off the top as needed. Taste and add seasoning if needed. Remove from heat.
  • Once the soup is at room temperature, remove veggies with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl – careful to discard any small bones or skin that might stick.
  • Place chicken into another bowl. Break up with your fingers and discard bones & skin. (I set aside 2 cups of this cooked chicken for later use.)
  • Pour broth through a strainer. THis will sift out any remaining small bones or stray skin, as well as the stalks from the herbs. Be sure to discard the bay leaves as well.
  • At this point, you may either combine the broth, veggies, and chicken in a large storage container, or split it up if you plan to freeze some. Or, you may combine the three components in a 4 quart stock pot and refrigerate or reheat to eat right away.

Rice Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce and Roasted Tofu

27 Mar



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Spicy peanut sauce that will make you want to lick your bowl clean! with rice noodles and roasted tofu. Add a side of steamed broccoli to round out the meal. The month of March happens to be National Noodle Month, National Peanut Month, and National Sauce Month and this bowl of goodness delivers on all three of those. So, enjoy and cheers to the rest of March!

Time: 30 minutes             Serves: 5

Ingredients


  • Tofu


  • 14 oz. pack extra firm tofu, drained and pressed to release moisture
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 tsp each olive oil and toasted sesame oil, combined
  • Sauce & Noodles


  • 2 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 6 stalks fresh lemongrass – inner bulbs only, finely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 thumbs ginger, grated/finely minced
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
  • zest and juice from a lime
  • heaping 1/3 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy will do)
  • 1 pound brown rice noodles or soba
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • handful of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

How to make it


  • Tofu


  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Cube tofu. Toss with tamari and oil.
  • Place in roasting pan and bake for 25 minutes, until edges are browned.
  • Sauce and Noodles


  • Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a rapid boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • Process in a blender, processor, bullet…lemongrass, garlic, ginger, shallot, and chile paste.
  • Heat oils in a large skillet over medium-high. Add mixture to pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant – about 2 minutes.
  • Add tamari, vinegar, honey (or brown sugar), peanut butter, and lime. Whisk to combine.
  • Add cooked pasta and toss to coat.
  • Serve the roasted tofu right on a mound of these yummy noodles. Top with cilantro and green onions. And don’t forget to eat your veggies!

 

Pineapple “Fried” Rice

17 Jan

Leftover pineapple inspired me to create this dish. It has a great balance of flavors and textures. I served it with teriyaki-marinated roasted chicken thighs.

Time: 25 minutes              Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • cooking spray
  • 2 eggs, whisked in a bowl with s+p to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used Canola)s
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch crushed red pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed & halved
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice (I used Basmati) – leftover 1-2 days is best
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • sesame oil, to taste
  • soy sauce, to taste
  • rice vinegar, to taste
  • ground sea salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 1 green onion, trimmed & sliced thinly on an angle

How to make it


  • Prepare a small skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium. Add eggs and cook until set, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook another 1 minute, or until done through. Set on cutting board to cool. Once cool, roll up and slice in thin strips.
  • Heat veg oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add carrots and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, peas, and sprouts. Cook about another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender crisp.
  • Add rice, egg, and pineapple. Season with sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a bit of s&p (less is more to start). Mix to incorporate, cook to heat through – about 3-5 minutes. Add more seasoning if needed.
  • Garnish with sliced green onion to serve.

Baked Pasta with Meat Sauce

11 Jan

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This name sounds very ordinary but this dish is extraordinary! I’m open to suggestions on how to spruce of the name. This is a great make ahead dish to keep in the freezer for an effortless homemade meal. The slow-cooked sauce develops such great flavors as it sits, so make it a day or two before you plan to make the baked pasta.

Time: 45 minutes hands-on               Serves: 12

Ingredients


  • Meat Sauce


  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound mild/sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced small
  • 3 celery stalks, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed & roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • 6 dry bay leaves
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 28 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 16 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Béchamel Sauce


  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 16 oz. mushrooms, sliced or diced
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used a Gluten Free baking mix to keep it wheat free)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Gouda blend cheese
  • The Rest


  • 16 oz. short cut pasta, cooked al dente (I used quinoa and corn elbows, again to keep the dish wheat free)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Gouda blend cheese

How to make it


  • Meat Sauce


  • Pour 1/4 cup water in bottom of a large medium stock pot, you’ll want about 1/4 inch. Heat over medium. Add ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Next, add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Add parsley, basil and oregano and cook, stirring, until beef is browned all over and vegetables are tender, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Add Lawry’s and stir. Then, add bay leaves and remaining ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn to simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for at least 2 hours. Tastes best after sitting, so allow to cool, and refrigerate overnight.
  • Béchamel Sauce


  • Heat 3 tbsp butter over medium heat in a large skillet or medium saucepan. Add mushrooms and saute for about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt & pepper.
  • Add flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes until lightly browned. Slowly whisk in milk. Add nutmeg. Cook for about 3 minutes until thickened. Add cheese and stir. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • The Rest


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a very large mixing bowl or stock pot, combine meat sauce and cooked pasta. Toss well.
  • Pour mixture into baking dish. Pour béchamel sauce over top evenly. Top with grated cheese. Cover and bake in middle rack of oven for 40 minutes.
  • Switch oven to broil at 425F. Uncover and place on top rack under broiler. Broil for about 4 minutes, until top is golden brown and lightly crisp. Check every minute or two to see that it does not burn. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes before serving.

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Cottage Pie

30 Nov

Reading up on Cottage Pie vs. Shepherd’s Pie I learned that the former is traditionally made with beef while the latter with lamb. Both are quite similar beyond that, with veggies and a mashed potato topping. This is my version, in which I used neither (ground turkey).Whatever you want to call it, I hope you find it as appetizing as we did.

Time: 20 min prep, 20 min cook              Serves: 6

Ingredients


  • Potato Topping


  • 2 pounds baby yukon gold potatoes, cubed (or potato of your choice, peel if you want)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt (or to your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (or to your taste)
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Meat Filling


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken (may use beef as well)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (or to your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (or to your taste)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup chicken stock, warmed (sub beef stock if using ground beef)
  • 2 tbsp AP flour

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Potato Topping


  • Place potatoes and garlic in a medium sauce pan. Cover with water, about an inch over top. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. (In the meantime, begin meat filling.)
  • Drain water. Add butter, cream cheese, and milk. Mash until creamy. Season with salt & pepper. Stir in chives. Set aside.
  • Meat Filling


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender. Add meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned – breaking up as you go. Drain off excess liquid.
  • Turn burner to medium-low and return skillet to stove. Season with salt, pepper, and onion powder. Add parsley, tomato paste, and corn. Stir to combine.
  • In a cup or small bowl, combine stock and flour. Whisk until incorporated. Add to meat mixture and stir. Cook until just thickened.
  • Place meat filling mixture in bottom of a casserole dish. If you want a more shallow pie (as I did), divide between to 9-inch pie plates or similar. Top with potatoes, smooth to even out. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and cheese is melted.