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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Homemade SpaghettiO’s With Meatballs

Homemade SpaghettiO's (1)

What’s better than reliving one of your favorite childhood meals. You know the one I’m talking about, SpaghettiO’s with meatballs! Well I’ve recreated this dish for you and its super easy to make.

Making homemade sauce and meatballs takes this to dish to a grown-up level that will definitely surprise you guests. I have a couple of great ingredients tips for the meatballs that’s going to blow your mind.

Let’s start by making the meatballs and getting them into the oven before working on the sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

Normally I wouldn’t turn to using a store-bought basil pesto, however; in this instance, I’m using it as an ingredient in the meatballs. If you’re going to go this route, buy the basil pesto you get from the refrigerated section, of the grocery store, rather than the jarred version. In some of my earlier posts I’ve mentioned using basil pesto in meatballs really elevates the flavor, and when you think about it, they’re really ingredients you would most likely add to the meatball mixture anyway.

When making the mixture for the ground meat, you want to start with the flavorings in a bowl first. That mixture needs to have the consistency of wet sand. Next, you’ll add your choice of ground meat and combine. I use a fork to slowly combine the wet flavoring mixture to the ground meat. Keep the ground meat as loose as possible, do not over mix. This will ensure you’ll have super tender meatballs. Below are 3 ice cream scoops. The middle one is about a an ounce or a 2 tablespoons scoop. For my mini meatballs, I’m using a scoop which is about half the size of a golf ball, for this recipe.

ice cream soops.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yields: 48 meatballs
Equipment: 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients For Meatballs:
2 pounds (your choice of or mixture of) ground meat -chicken, turkey, pork, beef, or veal.
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup half and half, room temperature
1/4 cup water, room temperature
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup of fresh store- bought basil pesto
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano_ Reggiano cheese. (grated Parmesan cheese is fine too)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 heaping tablespoons dried parsley flakes (finely chop and use double this amount of fresh)
1 to 1 1/2 cups of  Italian bread crumbs (you want the consistency of wet sand)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Ingredients For Sauce:
1-28 ounce can can crushed tomatoes
1-15 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 large onion diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, basil sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese, for cooked pasta
2 packages of la Molisana pasta

Directions For Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray them both with non- stick cooking spray.
Start by placing all the flavorings for the meatballs into a large bowl. When blending in the bread crumbs, start with 1 cup, add an additional 1/2 cup if needed. The finished consistency should look like ( have the texture of) wet sand.

Add in the (your choice of) ground meat. Using a fork to combine the flavorings and meat together, do not over mix.

NOTE: If the ground meat starts to stick to the ice cream scoop, spray with a little non- stick cooking spray so the meat releases easier.

Scoop the meat mixture into your hands, roll into balls, then place the meatballs on the grease parchment paper lined baking sheets. Each baking sheet should hold 24 meatballs. For a nice golden brown meatballs, spray the tops of the meatballs with a little non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 45 minutes.

Directions For Sauce:
While the meatballs are in the oven, start the sauce. On med-high heat add the olive oil to a heavy bottom pot. Add in the onions, cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the minced garlic, Kosher salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, brown sugar, and tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes. Next, add the chicken stock. Let the stock come up to a bubble and reduce by half. Once stock has reduced, add in the tomato products. Turn the heat down to med- low and let simmer until the meatballs come out of the oven.

After the meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the sauce. Simmer sauce for another 45 minutes.

Cook 2 packages of the pasta according to the directions. In a large serving bowl, add the well drained cooked pasta. Add 1/2 cup of  freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese and toss through. Ladle the sauce with meatballs to the pasta and toss through. Add fresh basil leaves. Serve up table side into individual bowls. Garnish each bowl with sprigs of fresh basil. Have extra cheese on hand for you guests.

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Chicken And Dumplings With Vegetables

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I love this dish! It’s so comforting and just gives you warm fuzzies inside! I have to be honest here, I didn’t make my own dumplings, for this dish. I took some help from my local grocery store. I found that they carry a great and quick alternative to making my own, and it’s a great time saver.

One ingredient that’s a staple in my frig is, chicken fat. Steve loves to grill chicken thighs and doesn’t use the skin. I render the skin down, and save the grease for recipes such as Matzo ball soup, and this dish. Chicken fat can add extra flavor to your dish. I’ll show you how I incorporate it.

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Directions For Poaching Chicken:
Equipment:4 quart sauce pot with glass lid
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time For Poaching Chicken: 30 minutes
Cook Time For Soup: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Note: While chicken is poaching, prep the vegetables.
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 2 tablespoons chicken fat (or 3 tablespoons of olive oil)
1 yellow diced yellow onion
3 diced carrots
3 ribs diced celery
2 cloves of minced garlic
3 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, poached and shredded
pinch of dried rosemary (crush up in your hand)
1-1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
1-10 1/2 ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 package of Mary B’s Open Kettle Dumplings (12 ounces, break strips in half- freeze unused dumplings)
1 package frozen peas – optional
6 cups of low sodium chicken broth (make sure there is enough broth to come over the half-way mark)
4 tablespoons of corn starch
4 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup of finely chopped, fresh flat leaf Italian parsley

While chicken is poaching, prep all the vegetables for the soup.

Directions:
To start, place 3- boneless-skinless chicken breasts ( in a single layer, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, and a pinch of Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, into a large pot. Cover the chicken with either water or ( I’m using) unsalted chicken broth. If the 1 quart of broth does not cover the chicken completely, add water so that it will cover the chicken by at least an inch.

Bring the chicken to a boil of med-high heat. You’ll see some white scummy foam collecting on the surface as the liquid starts to boil.  Since I’m not using the poaching liquid for this recipe, there is no need to skim this off, it’s fine to leave it.

As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to med- low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer. Chicken will typically finish cooking between 25-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat and whether it has a bone.  The chicken breasts are done when they are opaque through the middle, and an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken reads- 165 F.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, transfer the a cutting board, and begin shredding them using two forks, transfer to a bowl.

Packaged Frozen Dumplings:
Gently separate the dumplings right before adding them to the broth.

Directions For The Chicken And Dumplings:
In a small dice, dice the onions, carrots and celery.  Finely mince the garlic. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and chicken fat over medium heat. Add in all the vegetables, poultry seasoning, bay leaves, and a pinch of dried rosemary. Season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Saute until the onions until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add cream of chicken soup to the pot and stir. Next, add the chicken broth (making sure to add enough broth to where it comes up to over the half -way mark in the soup pot), and give another good stir. Turn the heat to med- high and wait until it returns to a boil. Once boiling, drop in the dumplings one by one. Let them boil in the soup, (45 minutes according to the package), stirring occasionally, until they are all tender. Next, carefully fish out the two bay leaves.

Return cooked shredded chicken to the pot and gently stir through.

To Thicken Broth: Optional
In a small bow combine 4 tablespoons of corn starch with 4 tablespoons of water.
Add to the boiling broth, a little at a time, stirring to reach desired consistency.

 

1 Comment »

Cajun Style Jambalaya

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A great way to be transported to the French Quarter right from your own dining room! This one pot wonder is done in layers. What I mean is, I’m going to season and cook each layer as I go, building layers of flavor.

First is to prep all the vegetables. Next, on to the proteins for the dish.

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I marinate the chicken and shrimp in a mixture of olive oil,  Kosher salt, cracked black pepper and a Cajun seasoning blend.

Next, is to marinate the diced chicken breasts.

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Slice the sausage.

Marinate the shrimp. This is the last ingredient to go into the pot and needs to be refrigerated until they are added to the pot.

The liquids and tomato paste are ready. So we are ready to start!

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Equipment: 6 quart Dutch oven
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Cook Time 1 hour
Yields: 6-8 servings

Marinate For Chicken and Shrimp:
Shrimp:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Chicken:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced yellow bell pepper
1 diced Poblano pepper
1 finely chopped Fresno chili
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 green onions, whites sliced,  (slice on the bias, green tops save for garnish)
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
1-12 ounce package Andouille sausage sliced ( 5 links)
2 boneless- skinless chicken breast (about 1 pound)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning blend
1-1/4 cups long grain white rice
1-(28 oz.) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
3 cups of unsalted chicken stock

Directions:
1. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive. Add garlic, Fresno chili, white parts of green onion, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Saute for about 1 minute.

2. Add in marinated diced chicken. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes

3. Add in bell peppers, diced onion, diced Poblano pepper, tomato paste, sliced Andouille sausage , and stir through. Cook until fragrant, about 4 minutes.

4. Add unsalted chicken stock, Cajun seasoning blend, crushed fire roasted tomatoes and rice. Reduce heat to medium low heat.  Cover with tight fitting lid and cook until rice is tender and liquid is almost absorbed, about 25 minutes.

5. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

6. Turn heat off and stir in green onion tops for garnish and serve.

2 Comments »

Steak And Tomatoes

 

Let's DishLet’s  Dish Up

Some Color

And

Flavor!

 

 

 

 

 

NY Strip Steak With Heirloom Tomato Salad

NY Strip Steak With Heirloom Tomato Salad (2)

Steak and tomatoes are a terrific combination.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Yields:  2 servings
Cook Time: 14-15 minutes
Equipment: 10 inch cast iron skillet

Ingredients:
2-8 ounce, 1-1/2 inch thick NY strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
Seasoning Mix For Steaks:
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
4 cups of heirloom tomato wedges
1-14.6 ounce jar of long stemmed artichoke hearts
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
Red wine vinaigrette

Ingredients for dressing:
1/4 cup of red wine
1/2 cup of e.v.o.o.
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1 teaspoon freshly grated garlic
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Directions For Dressing:
Place all the ingredients into a jelly jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well until all the ingredients are well combined.

Directions For Heirloom Tomatoes:
Place the tomato wedges, artichoke hearts, chopped parsley, and sliced red onions into a large bowl. Pour on the dressing and toss through. Set the bowl aside until steak is ready.

Directions For Steak:
Important: Let the steak come to room temperature, about 15 minutes, before placing it into the hot pan.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F., convection, 400 degrees.

Trim and season the steaks to your taste. In a 10 inch cast iron skillet over med-high heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When pan is hot, sear both sides of the steaks for 2-3 minutes. You want a golden brown crust on the outside of the steak.

Transfer pan the the preheated oven. Now come the variables.  The steaks thickness, how long they were seared, and the temperature of the oven. Cook to the final temperature you want. Remember that you may get a few more degrees after removal from the oven. I call this “carry over cooking time”.

It took about 6-7 minutes to reach an internal temp of 135-140 degrees, medium rare. Remove the steaks, transfer to a plate, cover with foil, and let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

To serve, slice the steaks on the bias. Fan the slices of steak out onto a plate along side the heirloom tomato salad. Serve with some of your favorite bread.

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