Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tangy Meatballs

This is another one of our classic meals. These meatballs are so easy and quick and tasty that they make for a great last minute meal. We give this meal 4 1/2 STARS.

1 lb ground beef
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting for water to boil form ground beef into tight 1 inch round meatballs. Add to boiling water and allow to cook for about 8 minutes.

Combine ketchup, brown sugar, water and Worcestershire sauce in mixing bowl. Finely chop onion and add to sauce.

Drain water from meatballs and combine meatballs and sauce back in the same pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the meatballs get covered in sauce.

MAKE IT A MEAL: Serve meatballs over rice and with a side of your favorite steamed vegetables. We usually use frozen peas or corn or mixed vegetables.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Sugar Pecan Sauce

I don't know if this technically counts as a recipe because we get the Butternut Squash Ravioli from Costco. I came up with the Brown Sugar Pecan Sauce which is modified from the recipe on the back. This has become one of my husband's favorite meals. He is always asking me to make it and it is so easy. If you don't go to Costco, I'm not too sure where you can get Butternut Squash Ravioli but if you find it you should try it because it is delicious! This gets 5 STARS from our family.

8 to 10 Cooked Butternut Squash Raviolis
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cream
* I have also added maple sugar to this recipe before and it was great but I am guessing most people don't have maple sugar in their pantries. If you have it though, try adding some.

Toast pecans in a large fry pan on low heat just until they become fragrant and start turning color. Add butter and stir until melted. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir until brown sugar has begun to melt and whisk in cream. Allow sauce to simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Spoon over cooked pasta and enjoy.

MAKE IT A MEAL: Believe it or not 4 or 5 raviolis are usually enough to fill us up but in order to get some diversity to the meal we usually have a small garden salad on the side.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sweet Potato Chicken Salad

This past week we have had some lighter meals since my husband is very nervous for his law school finals coming up. This salad is great on a spring day and could probably feed 4. We ended up throwing out quite a bit since salad does not make good left overs. It is served with the chicken, asparagus and sweet potatoes still warm. Not a lot of recipes get made more then once in our home and this one I have now made twice so it must deserve a spot on this web site. I would probably give it 4 STARS, my husband is too busy to rate so he will just have to go with it :)

1 lb Sweet potato or yam
Sprinkle of Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp Olive or cooking oil
1 lb Boneless, skinless, chicken breast
1 lb Fresh asparagus
4 cups Fresh spinach leaves

1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
4 tbsp Olive or cooking oil
2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Dried basil

3 Tbsp Pine nuts (optional, I just used them because I had them)

Preheat oven to 475F. Peal sweet potato and cut into 1/2 inch squares. Toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil and spread evenly on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 min, flipping once, until sweet potato is tender and golden.

While sweet potatoes are baking, cut chicken into 3/4 inch pieces and asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Heat remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add chicken and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown. Add asparagus. Cook for about another 5 minutes until asparagus in tender and chicken is no longer pink inside. You may need to cover the frying pan and allow the mixture to steam for a few minutes depending on how crispy you like your asparagus.

Dressing: Combine all 4 ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well. If you do not have a jar, just mix well in a small bowl.

Put spinach into a large salad bowl. Add chicken mixture and sweet potatoes. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

MAKE IT A MEAL: I served this salad with warm focaccia bread which we dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This is our favorite way to eat bread with our meals. If you are a simple roll with butter type of family, that would be good with this meal too.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mince Chow Mein

During my junior year in College I went on a study abroad to New Zealand. While I was there I lived with a wonderful family near Invercargill. They were amazing cooks! I wish I would have brought a lot more recipes home with me but one that I do have and love is Mince Chow Mein. For all of you that are unfamiliar with the term "mince", all it is is ground beef - nothing to be scared of. For those of you who don't like spice, don't worry about the curry powder. It is such a small amount that it really does just add flavour, no spice. This dish is served over rice and results in a great Chinese dish with a New Zealand twist. It makes a large amount and could probably feed between 4-6. We love the leftovers so it works for two of us as well. I give this recipe 5 STARS but probably because it has sentimental value for me. My husband gives it 4 STARS which must mean that it is a 4 1/2 STAR recipe.

1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp butter
2 packets of chicken noodle soup or 4 tbsp of chicken bouillon
1/2 small cabbage (shredded)
1 cup sliced green beans (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 medium onions
2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp rice
2 cups hot water
2 tbsp soy sauce
salt and peeper to taste

Brown beef in large fry pan. Drain excess fat and add butter. Stir in onions and green beans. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Add soup mix, curry powder, sugar, rice, water and soy sauce. Stir well. Cover and allow to simmer over low heat, stirring a few times, for about 10 minutes. Mix in shredded cabbage. Cover again and allow to cook for another 6-10 minutes until cabbage is cooked. Serve over a bead of rice and enjoy.