Monday, November 26, 2012

Meatballs 2 Ways

Meatball Recipe

2 slices of bacon
2 pounds ground veal
1 pound ground lamb
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup minced shallot
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
3 cups water

1.     Place the bacon in a skillet and cook over medium heat until crisp, place on a paper towel and crumble when cool enough to handle.

2.     In a large bowl, using your hands, mix the ground veal and lamb with the eggs, bacon, shallots, bread crumbs, ricotta, parmesan and 2 teaspoons of salt. Shape the mixture into 40 golf ball-size meatballs.

3.     Preheat the oven to 325.

4.     In a wide saucepan, bring the chicken stock and water to a simmer. Add half of the meatballs and simmer over moderately low heat until just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked meatballs to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining meatballs.

5.     Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Meatball Pizza

1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce
1 onion, sliced and sauteed
10 meatballs, sliced and warmed
2 cups shredded mozzarella

1.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.     Top your pizza dough with the ingredients starting with the sauce, onions, meatballs, and then cheese.

3.     Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meatball Parmesan

1 baguette, sliced but still leaving one side attached
1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce, with more for dipping
10 meatballs, sliced
2 cups shredded mozzarella
Fresh basil

1.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.     Add sauce to the bottom of the bread; add the meatballs, cheese, and basil.

3.     Bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is slightly crispy. 

Lapin au Vin (Rabbit with Wine)

This is a take on traditional Coq au Vin but with rabbit. You can use chicken instead. I served it over wide egg noodles but rice or a good hearty bread would also be good. 

Serves 4

1 whole rabbit, skin off
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
12 ounces bacon, chopped
1 bag of frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 pound domestic cap mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3 cups white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/2 bag of wide egg noodles


1.     In a shallow pan, add 2 cups of the flour. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge the rabbit in the seasoned flour.

2.     In a large oven-proof skillet with a lid, render the bacon until crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the crispy bacon from the pan and reserve. Lay the rabbit in the hot bacon fat and brown for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove the rabbit from the pan and set aside.

3.     Add the onions to the pan sauté for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, shallots, and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Add the rabbit.

4.     Add the wine and chicken stock. Bring the liquid up to a simmer and cover. Cook the rabbit until very tender about 30 to 35 minutes, skimming off the fat.

5.     Remove the rabbit pieces from the pan, shred and set aside.

6.     Blend the remaining flour and butter together into a smooth paste. Whisk the paste into hot liquid. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rabbit back to the pan and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

7.     Serve in individual bowls with noodles and garnish with the reserved bacon.

Chicken Pot Pie Filling 2 Ways

I made this double batch of chicken pot pie filling and used it for two dishes, Traditional Chicken Pot Pie and Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole.

Pot Pie Filling


2 cups diced peeled potatoes
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup butter, cubed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups milk
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups frozen peas and carrots mix
1 cup frozen corn


1.     Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.

2.     In a large skillet, sauté onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the chicken, peas and carrots, corn, and potatoes; remove from the heat.

3.     Divide mixture in ½ and use it for the pot pie and hash browns.

Traditional Chicken Pot Pie
Serves 4 to 6


Pastry for one double-crust pies (9 inches)
2 cups chicken pot pie filling


1.     Line one 9-in. pie pan with bottom pastry. Fill with chicken mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie. Place over filling; trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in pastry.

2.     Bake potpie at 425° for 35-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. 

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
Serves 6


2 lbs. frozen hash brown potatoes
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups chicken pot pie filling
1 pint sour cream
1/2 stick butter melted
8 oz. bag of sharp cheddar cheese


1.     Mix together, spread in 9x13 pan (I spray mine with pam first)
2.     Bake at 350°, uncovered, for 1 hour or until golden brown.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Braised Cabbage Rolls

A classic :) Pigs in a blanket, stuffed cabbage, cabbage rolls... Whatever. Comfort food!

  • 1 hard headed cabbage
  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • 1 package stuffing, prepared (I used whole wheat "for chicken" stuffing)
  • 1 onion, diced and sauteed
  • 2 c red sauce


1. Blanch a head of cabbage. Core the cabbage 2-3" deep. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add cabbage (cored side up) to boiling water. Gently loosen leaves one at a time with tongs or wooden spoons. I removed about 15 leaves before the leaves became too small to use for wraps.
2. Add blanched leaves to a cold water bath, then set aside in a strainer.

3. Make cabbage stuffing. Mix ground sausage, sauteed onion, and stuffing with hands.

4. Stuff cabbage. Add a heaping spoon of sausage mixture to a piece of cabbage. Set it right over the more rigid spine of the cabbage leaf. Then fold the softer end over the sausage (effectively folding the leaf in half) and roll the cabbage into a nice little blanket. Repeat with all leaves until sausage/stuffing mix is gone.

(If you run out of leaves before stuffing, make meatballs and let them simmer in the sauce.)

5. Cover with red sauce, bake at 300 for 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gnocchi in Tomato Basil Sauce

I'm not Italian, but that won't stop me from making a big Italian family dinner on Sundays!


  • 9 whole potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, cover potatoes with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes.

2. Once tender, remove from water, peel, and mash quickly. While mash is still hot, add eggs and flour and mash again.

3. On a floured surface, with oiled hands, need the mixture for 2-3 minutes until you have a loosely formed dough. Grab a hunk, roll it into a 2 foot play dough snake, and cut it into 1/2" sections. Mark one edge with a fork (optional... and tedious) and set aside onto a cookie sheet.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add gnocchis to boiling water and cook 8 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Drain and finish in sauce for 2-3 minutes.

Tomato Basil Sauce- quick, easy, delicious!

  • 1 can of tomato puree (23 oz)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 c red wine
  • 8-10 basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until clear and tender. Turn heat to high, add red wine and saute 1 minute.

2. Reduce heat to med-low, add tomato puree and torn/chopped basil leaves and let simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add gnocchi to sauce, let simmer 2-3 minutes more. Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan.