Saturday, June 11, 2016

Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

These are a fairly recent discovery for me and we loved them so much I made them twice within two weeks (I know that probably doesn't sound that amazing, but I get bored easily and always like to be making new things--I rarely return to the same recipe within a few months of having made it, so twice in such a short time is a true sign of love).  My husband loves any Italian-type dish with red sauce and I love when Italian dishes are more than just boring old red sauce, so this one makes us both happy!  The light creaminess of the sauce makes it feel a little richer without being too heavy and you don't even have to feel too guilty about the meatballs since they are turkey (but don't worry, they still taste fantastic).  Also, this oven-safe skillet is a relatively recent addition to my kitchen and I am LOVING it.  It is so super convenient for recipes like this.  If you don't have one, you should definitely consider getting one.  In the meantime, you can cook the sauce up in any old skillet and then transfer everything to a baking dish when it needs to go in the oven. 

Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

Number of Servings: 4-5
Time to Prepare: 50 minutes


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup cream or half-and-half
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil, julienned
In a large, oven-safe skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the diced onion and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until softened and starting to get slightly golden.  Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for another 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and diced tomatoes.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat and simmer while you make the meatballs.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine all the meatballs ingredients until well combined.  Roll into meatballs about the size of golf balls--I use my medium cookie scoop and get about 24 meatballs.  Place on the prepared baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes (they don't have to be cooked all the way through yet).

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cream or half-and-half.  Add the meatballs to the pan and stir gently to coat.  Sprinkle the cheeses over the top and put in the oven.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through (165 degrees) and the cheese is bubbling.

Remove from oven and garnish with fresh basil.  Serve over pasta (or however else you like your meatballs).

Source: adapted from Everyday Reading
Produce Used: Onion, garlic, basil

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Breakfast Enchiladas

Enchiladas for breakfast?  Yes please.  Or breakfast for dinner...that works too.  It's hard to go wrong with these yummy little guys.  They come together pretty easily, then you just let them sit in the fridge overnight, then pop them in the oven in the morning.  I love a breakfast that requires little to no effort in the morning.  Because let's get real, effortless breakfasts are the only kind that happen around here.  And the rich, eggy, cheesiness of these enchiladas is made even better with the salty sweetness of the ham.  It's a great start to the day!

Breakfast Enchiladas

Number of Servings: 5-6
Time to Prepare: 8 hours 50 minutes

  • 2 cups cubed ham
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 10-12 flour tortillas (medium/enchilada size) 
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2-1 tsp white pepper
  • salsa (optional)
Stir together ham, green onion, and 2 cups shredded cheese.  Scoop 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the mixture onto a tortilla.  Roll tightly and place, seam side down in a greased 9x13 baking pan.  Roll up remaining tortillas and squeeze them into the baking dish.  (I find them a little easier to roll if I warm them up for a few seconds in the microwave.)

Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, flour, and pepper.  Pour over tortillas.  Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until eggs are pretty much set.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake for 10 more minutes.

Serve with salsa if desired.

Source: slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Produce Used: Green onion

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Cream Cheese Filled Almond Braid

Have you ever been to one of those bakeries where everything looks beautiful and amazing, but when you taste it, it is all kind of blah?  It is always so disappointing!  Beautiful foods should taste incredible too, don't you think?  Have no fear, this lovely little coffee cake/bread will not do that to you.  It is both lovely and delicious.  The bread is slightly sweet and tasty on it's own but when you add the rich, creamy filling laced with almond flavor it really takes it over the top.  This makes two loaves so plan ahead to give the second one away or you will end up devouring it all.  Or just embrace it and enjoy both.  But don't say I didn't warn you.

Cream Cheese Filled Almond Braid

Number of Servings: 2 loaves
Time to Prepare: 3 hours 50 minutes

  • 3/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (about 4 1/2 tsp)
  • 4 to 4 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • additional granulated sugar for sprinkling
Dissolve yeast in warm milk and let sit until foamy.  In a stand mixer, combine the yeast mixture, 1 cup flour, sugar, and salt.  Mix at medium speed for two minutes.  Reduce speed to low and mix in butter, egg, vanilla, and 1 cup flour.  Increase speed to medium and mix for another two minutes.  Stir in remaining flour about 1/2 cup at a time until you have a soft dough.  Knead for 5 minutes.

Place dough in a large, greased bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled.  Punch down and knead for 1 minute.  Cover again and let rest for ten minutes.

While the dough rests, mix the filling.  Combine the cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, egg yolks, flour, and almond extract in a medium bowl (set aside the egg whites for later).  Beat with electric mixer until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Grease two baking sheets.  Divide the dough in half and roll out one half into a rectangle about 12"x9".  Carefully roll the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it onto a prepared baking sheet.  Lightly score the dough lengthwise into 3 sections about 3" wide.  Spread half of the filling down the the middle section of the dough.  Cut the remaining two sections into 1" wide diagonal strips, cutting to within 1/2" of the filling.  Starting at one end, fold the strips over the filling, alternating left and right to create a braid.  Repeat with remaining dough and filling.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine egg whites with 1 Tbsp water and brush the braids with that mixture.  Sprinkle with almonds, then with granulated sugar.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped.  Rotate the sheets top to bottom halfway through baking.  Immediately remove from baking sheets and cool completely on wire racks.

Source: adapted from In the Kitchen with America's Favorite Brand Name Recipes cookbook

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Fruit and Nut Granola

Once upon a time, my sister Janae sent me her delicious homemade granola recipe.  I've adjusted it here and there to make it my own and boy do we love it.  I actually hadn't made it in several years and finally made a batch last week.  My husband teased me about making way too much, then proceeded to devour about 3/4 of it within a week.  So yes, it makes a lot, but I wouldn't be too worried about that.  This stuff is great as a snack on it's own, or in a bowl with some milk, or our particular favorite way to eat it: on top of some fruity yogurt.  It is slightly sweetened, nutty, crunchy, and chewy.  And very adaptable--adjust to include whatever kind of nuts or fruit you want (dried cherries and apricot bits are especially good, or a bag of mixed dried fruit it a nice easy way to get some variety in there).

Fruit and Nut Granola

Number of Servings: makes about 8-9 cups of granola
Time to Prepare: 40 minutes

  • 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 1/4 cups sliced almonds
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup craisins
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 T cinnamon
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix oats, nuts, fruit, and coconut in a large bowl.

Mix brown sugar, applesauce, honey, vanilla, coconut extract, and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Pour over the oat mixture and stir well to combine.

Spread mixture on two ungreased baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking.  (I also like to switch the pans halfway through so they both get time on the lower rack and the higher rack.)

Pour onto waxed paper sheets and allow to cool completely before storing.

Source: adapted from a recipe my sister sent me
Produce Used: Coconut

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Imitation Chicken Bryan

This recipe is a copycat of Carrabba's Chicken Bryan.  Carrabba's was easily one of our favorite restaurants when we lived in Provo.  We haven't been in years now--there isn't one in NYC (and we never really eat at chain restaurants here anyway) but we still talk about it.  We had so many favorite dishes there, but this one was always particularly special so when we came across a recipe for it, we knew we had to give it a shot.  And this does not disappoint.  It's one of those recipes where you take a bite and then you just have to pause for a minute to savor just how good it is.  The sauce is so rich and buttery and it complements the creamy goat cheese and tangy tomatoes perfectly.  Serve it over a bed of angel hair pasta and you have reached Italian food nirvana.

Imitation Chicken Bryan

Number of Servings: 4
Time to Prepare: 30 minutes

  • 14 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 3 Tbsp minced onion
  • 3 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • olive oil (I like to use a lemon-flavored olive oil, but regular works just fine)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4-8 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (I've subbed dried when I'm out of fresh...still delicious)
  • 4 oz goat cheese
In a large saute pan, melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium-high heat.  Saute onion and garlic until soft and fragrant.  Add white wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes to reduce.

While the sauce simmers, drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  Remove to a plate and tent with foil.

While the chicken cooks, add the remaining 12 Tbsp of butter to the sauce, 1-2 Tbsp at a time, until melted and emulsified.  Be careful not to overheat or the sauce will break (it will still taste good, it just won't look as pretty).  Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and basil.  Place the chicken in the pan and top each breast with 1 oz of goat cheese.  Cover the pan and allow the goat cheese to warm and soften.  Serve the chicken breast with the lemon butter sauce spooned over the top.  I especially like it over a bed of buttered angel hair.

Source: adapted from
Produce Used: Onion, garlic, lemon, tomato, basil

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fruit Lassi

There are some lassi recipe posted on this blog previously, but this is pretty much my go-to recipe now.  You can use just about any type of fruit that you want--I've done strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries, pineapple, and more.  This particular time I used a bag of mixed fruit that had strawberries, melon, peaches, and pineapple and it turned out great.  It is lightly sweetened with a slight tang from the yogurt and lime and a hint of aromatic spice from the cardamom.  It is a great cool-down drink for the summer, especially paired with a spicy Indian dish.

Fruit Lassi

Number of Servings: 2
Time to Prepare: 5 minutes

  • 1 cup frozen fruit
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I've used regular plain yogurt and it works fine, the lassi is just not quite as thick and creamy)
  • 2-4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1-2 pinches cardamom
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Adjust sugar to taste (I prefer sweeter so I'm usually closer to the 4 Tbsp amount, but start with 2 and see how you like it).

Source: adapted from
Produce Used: Fruit of choice, lime

Saturday, May 21, 2016


This focaccia is a great Italian bread, full of garlic and herbs.  It's soft and little bit fluffy, but hearty enough to be great for soaking up sauce or dipping in oil and vinegar.  The crumbly, garlic and cheese topping adds nice texture and great flavor.  It comes together pretty easily as well--no rolling out dough, no shaping rolls, no floury counter-top mess to clean up.


Number of Servings 12-16 pieces
Time to Prepare: 2 hours

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups bread flour (more or less)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
Mix yeast and sugar into warm water until dissolved.  Let sit for about 5 minutes, until frothy.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine yeast mixture, 1 tsp salt, 1/3 cup olive oil, Italian seasoning, and 2 1/2 cups of the bread flour.  Stir until well mixed.  Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed for a soft dough.  Knead dough for 5 minutes.  Place in greased bowl and turn to coat.  Cover and let rise until doubled.

When dough has doubled, grease a 9x13 pan.  Press dough into the pan.  Use your fingertips to make indentations in the dough (I usually do them every 1-2 inches).  Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.  While the dough is rising, prepare the topping.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a small frying pan.  Stir in oregano and garlic, being careful of splatters, and remove from heat.  Spoon over the risen dough.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and kosher salt.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Source: adapted from the recipe book that came with my breadmaker
Produce Used: Garlic