Saturday, April 24, 2010

Grilled Chicken Lo Mein

This recipe is one of those wonderful clean-out-the-fridge recipes. It's a great use for leftover chicken and whatever veggies are left in your veggie drawer. I threw on some teriyaki and sriracha-marinated chicken breasts when the hubby was grilling earlier in the week, in the hopes that I'd have a use for some cooked chicken.

Because the chicken is already cooked, this comes together very quickly for a weeknight meal. I used instant Asian noodles that were ready in about 3 minutes, making it even faster.

And speaking of leftovers, like all pasta, this doesn't reheat terribly well. Am I the only one who has that problem?

Grilled Chicken Lo Mein
Serves 4

1/2 c. chicken broth
6 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1/2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. sriracha
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. canola oil
3-4 c. fresh chopped veggies (broccoli, onion, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, etc.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cooked and cut in thin strips
8 oz. Asian noodles or other pasta, cooked according to package directions

1. Combine chicken broth through cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add veggies and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add chicken and sauce mixture. Let mixture come to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. (You still have to add the pasta, so you don't want this too thick.)

4. Stir in cooked pasta until everything is combined with the sauce.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spaghetti and Stuffed Mini Meatballs

When I was growing up, my dad made killer meatballs and gravy. (He still does.) But the first time I made them for the hubby, he said, "Um, these aren't meatballs."

I said, "Of course they are. These are quite obviously balls of meat."

The hubby said, "No, these are hamburger balls. There's a difference. Meatballs have other stuff in them. That's what makes them MEATballs. These are good. But they're hamburger balls."

And thus began my education of all things meatballs. I've discovered that I'm still not a huge fan of fillers in my meat. So I try to keep things basic. (Feel free to substitute your favorite meatball recipe.) And I also don't like huge meatballs, because it's like someone plopped half a meatloaf on my pasta.

But one night I had a dream that I was eating this perfect plate of pasta that had these wonderful, mini meatballs, and the pasta was also tossed with the tinest bocconcini you ever did see. (And yes, I know I'm weird. I dream in food.) I woke up from this dream and thought, "Oh my god, I have to make that." And it seemed like fate when, instead of bocconcini, I found a package of fresh mozzarella pearls.

Of course, the recipe is my dream isn't terribly practical. It's difficult to serve a plate of steaming pasta without melting the cheese into a gooey mess. So I figured I'd stuff the meatballs with the cheese. The hubby and I both really liked this dish. He wanted the leftovers in a meatball sub, instead of with pasta. (I think these would be splendid as an appetizer, and dipped in roasted red pepper sauce.)

Spaghetti and Stuffed Mini Meatballs
Serves 4-6

1 lb. lean ground beef
Salt, pepper, onion salt, and garlic salt
1/3 c. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg
6 oz. fresh mozzarella
1 tsp. vegetable or canola oil
1 26-oz. jar pasta sauce
8 oz. pasta

1. Cut mozzarella into small pieces. Or save yourself some time and buy some mozzarella pearls, if you can find them.

2. In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, seasonings, breadcrumbs, and eggs. Mix with your hands until ingredients are combined.

3. Use a melon-baller to scoop the meat. Flatten and shape around cheese, and then lightly roll to form the meatballs.

I don't have a photo of this. I only have two hands. But I ended up with ... maybe four or five dozen mini meatballs. They were very cute.

4. Heat 1 tsp. oil in a skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove from skillet.

Don't worry if the cheese starts to ooze out of some of the meatballs. Such is the nature of things stuffed with cheese. It adds extra flavor to the sauce.

5. Brown remaining meatballs and remove from pan. Drain fat, and then add both meatballs and sauce to pan. Cover and cook sauce and meatballs over medium heat.

6. Cook pasta according to package directions. This should allow the sauce to simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

7. Drain pasta and serve with sauce and meatballs.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fettuccine with Spicy Four-Cheese Rosa Sauce

I haven't posted in a shamefully long time. But sometimes life happens, right?

Much has happened in the past few weeks. The little man recovered from his pneumonia, but then his eardrum ruptured. All is well now, and it's hard to believe that he's 6 months old. He's almost sitting on his own, is on the verge of crawling, and grabs at everything in sight. He sleeps about 11 hours a night, loves chocoalte ice cream and graham crackers, and hates mashed potatoes.

He also loves playing, which is why I haven't been doing as much blogging. I have, however, become an expert at the stacking rings, and I sing a mean Itsy Bitsy Spider.

And in other good news, I recently won the giveaway on Moogie & Pap, and I won a Cuisipro Herb Keeper from Foodbuzz. I'm on a roll!

Speaking of Foodbuzz, I also received two jars of Bertolli pasta sauce, as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. One of them is the new Four Cheese Rosa sauce, which I used with our supper this evening.

The hubby and I aren't huge fans of cream or Alfredo sauces, but we do like them if they're spicy. So I threw in a few teaspoons of Creole seasoning, and served the sauce with grilled andouille sausage and veggies. The sauce tasted very similar to the homemade sauce I use in my Spicy Chicken and Sausage Alfredo, but with the ease of just opening a jar. Which, of course, gave me more time for a few extra rounds of Pat-a-cake after supper.

Fettuccine with Spicy Four-Cheese Rosa Sauce
Serves 4

1 jar Bertolli Four Cheese Rosa sauce
2 tsp. Creole seasoning, to taste (recommend Tony Chachere's)
6 shakes Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 large red bell pepper
1 medium zucchini
1 red onion
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt and pepper
4 andouille sausages
12 oz. cooked fettuccine

1. In a small saucepan, heat pasta sauce over medium heat until it's smooth and heated through, about 4 minutes. Stir in Creole seasoning and Tabasco sauce, to taste. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer.

I added both Creole seasoning and Tabasco because I thought the sauce still needed some kick, but more Creole seasoning might make it too salty. (The sauce obviously has a lot of cheese, which is already salty.)

2. Cut veggies into large pieces and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Grill veggies and andouille over medium heat until cooked to desired doneness.
4. Cut veggies and andouille into bite-sized pieces.

5. Serve hot fettuccine with pasta sauce. Add andouille and veggies.

Serve as is, if you're the hubby.

Mess it all up, if you're me.