Baked Meatballs

I was cleaning out my freezer over the weekend (okay… not cleaning out, more like shoving stuff into little nooks in there so I could fit even MORE stuff…) and I came across several packages of frozen ground beef (John always separates them into one pound chunks).  I figured it was time to use some of it!

This is one of my favorite meatball recipes – it has just a little bit of kick to it!  You can omit the red pepper flakes to have “kick-free” meatballs.  I would categorize this as a “30 minute meal” recipe – just heat up some sauce and cook the spaghetti while your meatballs are baking and dinner will be on the table before you know it!  Serve with some warm garlic bread and a side salad and your tummy will be oh-so-satisfied!  This recipe is adapted from lovestohost’s Meatball Nirvana recipe on Allrecipes.com.

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Baked Meatballs

Active Prep: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
TOTAL: 35 min

Yields ~35 meatballs (6-8 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 ½ tsp Italian herbs
  • ¾ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ c grated Parmesan-Romano blend cheese
  • ½ c Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together until well-blended.
  3. Roll into 1-1 ½ inch meatballs (~35 meatballs). Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping meatballs halfway through.
  4. Eat as-is, or serve over your favorite pasta and sauce!

Easy & Delicious Roast Beef

When it comes to cooking beef, my self-confidence is pretty much close to zero.  I didn’t eat a ton of beef growing up, so I just never really got the hang of how it should taste or how to cook it.  Plus, my mom likes her meat ruined VERY well-done, so I grew up thinking that chewy, dry meat was the norm (love you, Mum!).  I was pretty much a poultry-only girl through college until I met John, and he introduced me to what meat should REALLY taste like.  Tender, juicy, and full of flavor.  It should also be pink, not black. 😉

John and I usually take turns cooking dinner, and I usually have him take all responsibility for cooking beef (or anything on the grill).  So when he called me last night and said he was running late, could you please take care of the roast, I panicked as I recalled the last roast I made.  The horrifyingly dry pot roast that I cooked for FAR too long (remember that scene from Christmas Vacation where they are all choking down the turkey? Yep that was my pot roast). I reluctantly agreed and got started right when I got home.

I chose some of the best seasonings that go with this type of beef (thyme, rosemary, sage, onion flakes), and decided to sear it before putting it in the oven.  Searing it ensures that all the juices stay in and don’t seep out while cooking (I didn’t sear it last time, so the juices all came out, making it super dry).  I also decided to roast it at a lower temperature than usual – 350 °F – again, to prevent it from drying out too quickly.  I checked it after an hour, and NO juices had come out (win #1), the temperature of the roast was hovering just below 130 °F (win #2), which means that by the time it sat out for 10 minutes, it would be at the perfect temperature for a medium-rare piece of meat – WHICH IT WAS (win #3)!!!  And oh my goodness it tasted SO GOOD.

If you’re like me and lose sleep over the mere thought of cooking beef, this is your recipe!  Quick to prep, tastes amazing, and looks quite impressive!  I can’t wait to eat more of this tonight!

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East & Delicious Roast Beef

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60-75 minutes, depending on roast size
TOTAL: ~ 1 hr 25 min

Yields: 1 roast, about 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 4 ½ lb round roast
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • 1 ½ tsp dried onion flakes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Season roast generously with salt and pepper (hint: when you think you’ve added enough salt, go ahead and add some more!).  Season with remaining ingredients.  Be sure to get all sides of the roast.  You may have to pat on the onion flakes.
  2. Heat about 1 Tbsp of oil in a 10- or 12-inch cast iron pan over high heat. When oil is smoking, using tongs to place roast in pan.  Hold for 30 seconds to sear, then rotate to sear another side.  Repeat with all sides of roast until completely seared.
  3. Place cast iron pan with roast directly in oven. Roast at 350 °F until it reaches desired doneness, about 60-75 minutes.  For medium-rare, you’ll want to remove the roast when internal roast temperature reaches 125-128 °F (this was 60 minutes for me but will vary depending on roast size).
  4. Immediately transfer roast to carving board and tent with foil. Let sit for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes


I think everyone I know goes on some sort of “health kick” in early January.  It makes sense – most of us just ate our way from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s and are feeling a bit weighed down (literally).  Then we all make (unrealistic) New Year’s Resolutions that MAYBE last until February 1st, because there’s NO way I am going to run five miles every single day of 2017 and there’s DEFINITELY no way I am giving up ALL cake and cookies and ice cream in exchange for plain Greek yogurt mixed with a teaspoon of cocoa powder (I am actually ashamed of this).

To all of you trying to be healthier in 2017, this one’s for you!  Seasoned chicken, broccoli, and sweet potatoes – how can you get healthier than that?!

This recipe is adapted from the recipe over at Cooking Classy.  I really enjoyed it!  Next time I make it, I am going to marinade the chicken in some olive oil and balsamic dressing along with the spices.  I’ll update this post when I do!  But as is, the flavor is wonderful.

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Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Prep: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
TOTAL: ~40 min

Yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1-1.5 lb chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 large broccoli crown, cut into small florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • ½ tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F. In a large bowl, toss diced sweet potatoes with ~1 Tbsp olive oil until well-coated.  Spread out on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  2. While sweet potatoes are baking, add remaining ingredients plus 1-2 Tbsp olive oil to large bowl and toss until mixed and well-coated. Once sweet potatoes have baked for 15 minutes, remove from oven and add sweet potatoes to bowl of ingredients.  Toss to mix well.  Drizzle ~1 Tbsp olive oil over baking sheet and add sweet potato mixture.  Make sure everything (especially chicken) is evenly spread out in pan (try not to clump large amounts together – a single, flat layer is best to ensure even cooking).  Bake for an additional 15 minutes, until chicken is done.  Serve immediately. 4-6 servings.

Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap

When I was in college, one of my favorite things to get in the dining hall was a honey mustard chicken wrap.  It sounds simple, but there was always a lonnnng line waiting to get this wrap.  It was the mysterious “yellow sauce” in the wrap that us 18- and 19-year-olds lived for back then.  Obviously, we knew it was honey mustard, but no one could figure out how to replicate the taste – there are so many honey mustards out there!  Luckily, my five years’ experience as a waitress at Friendly’s exposed me to lots of different sauces and dressings, and I knew at first taste that the sauce was none other than Ken’s Honey Mustard Dressing!

I enjoy this wrap with either grilled or fried chicken.  If I’m feeling a bit on the healthier side, I’ll opt for the grilled.  But it’s the last day before the new year, and from what I’ve heard, diets aren’t really supposed to start until January 2nd, when you’ve figured out your diet plan. 😉  Luckily, I have some delicious deep fried chicken just waiting to be gobbled up.  Tomato and avocado are my favorite add-ons to this wrap, but you can add anything you’d like.

Happy New Year!

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Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap

Prep: 5-10 minutes

Yield: 1 wrap

Ingredients:

  • 1 10-inch wrap or tortilla (I like Joseph’s white or whole wheat wraps)
  • 3-4 oz chicken, diced
  • ¼ ripe avocado, diced
  • ½ roma tomato, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Ken’s honey mustard dressing
  • 1 leaf Romaine lettuce

Directions:

  1. Spread honey mustard in a 2- to 3-inch wide line across center of wrap.
  2. Layer lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and chicken over honey mustard.
  3. Add additional honey mustard, if desired.
  4. Fold in sides of wrap, then roll into a wrap. Slice down the middle and enjoy!

 

Beef Lo Mein

Are you ever stuck at home on a snowy day and NEED Chinese food, pronto?  But there’s too much snow to go anywhere and your favorite Chinese food place doesn’t deliver?  That was me last night!  Luckily, we love making this cuisine so much that we have most of the sauces and spices in our pantry already.  If you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, I highly recommend stocking up on some of these ingredients.

This recipe is super versatile – you can substitute chicken for beef, or even make it vegetarian.  Sometimes I don’t have sugar snap peas, so I’ll throw some green beans into the dish.  Really any vegetable you like!  Don’t have Chinese noodles?  I’ve used Thai noodles and even spaghetti or linguine.

I like to prep and measure all the ingredients ahead of time, because once you start cooking, the entire recipe is pretty fast-paced and hands-on.  It makes the wait go by so quickly!  It’s the flavor of this dish that will make you feel like you just ordered your favorite take-out. I like to serve this with my homemade baked chicken egg rolls, but it’s fine just on its own, too!

NOTE:  I have been making this recipe for several years and have since lost the original source of this recipe!  If you recognize this as yours, please let me know so I may give rightful credit.  Thank you!

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Beef Lo Mein

Prep/Cook Time: 45 mins

4 servings

Ingredients:

– 3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
– 2 Tbsp soy sauce
– 2 tsp sesame oil
– 12 oz top round steak, trimmed and sliced thin
– 1/3 c chicken broth
– ½ tsp corn starch
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– ½ tsp ground ginger
– 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
– 6 oz sugar snap peas
– 3 Tbsp water
– 1 red bell pepper, cut into ¼ inch strips
– 1 bunch scallions, sliced (~1/2 cup)
– 4 oz dried Chinese noodles
– 1 ½ tsp Asian chili garlic sauce

Directions:

  1. Whisk the Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil together in a small bowl. Measure 2 Tbsp of the mixture and add to small sealable plastic bag with beef strips, coating beef.  Allow to marinate for at least 15 min.
  2. Whisk corn starch and chicken broth into remaining sauce mixture. In a separate small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, and ½ tsp vegetable oil.  Set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tsp vegetable oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over high heat until smoking. Add beef and cook until medium rare, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to large bowl.
  4. Add ½ tsp vegetable oil to skillet and heat until smoking. Add sugar snap peas and cook for ~30-60 seconds.  Add water; cover and steam for 2 minutes.  Uncover and continue to cook until water evaporates.  Add to bowl with beef.
  5. Add 1 tsp of vegetable oil, scallions, and bell pepper slices to skillet. Cook until peppers are tender, about 2 minutes.  Stir in garlic/ginger mixture, vegetables, and beef.  Add Hoisin sauce mixture and simmer until sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.  Keep covered on low until noodles are ready.
  6. Prepare Chinese noodles according to package directions. Drain and add to beef mixture.  Add chili garlic sauce and toss to combine.  Serves 4.