Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cucumber, Tomato and Dill Salad

Sometimes, you just want some crisp, raw vegetables with a bite. And this salad delivers. Plus, it's so easy to put together you don't really have to think ahead; just pull a couple of veggies out of the crisper and any well-stocked pantry will guide you home. 

Total Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Cook Time: 0 minutes!

What you will need:

2-3 salad cucumbers (always try and pick skinnier cucumbers, as they have smaller and fewer seeds)
6-7 cherry tomatoes (any tomato really works in this dish, just whatever you have on hand)
1/4 red onion (I omitted it because when I cut into it, it had already sprouted but I didn't miss it!)
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil (not pictured)
2 tbsp white vinegar
sea salt, black pepper to taste
dill OR cumin (depending on what taste you want--it can also be fresh or dried dill, depending on what you have on hand)

This is super simple. Dice your cucumbers and tomatoes into small chunks.

Add to a bowl, then add vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Depending on what type of seasoning you want for your salad, use either cumin to taste or dill to taste. If you have fresh dill, it tastes great, but dried dill does the trick just as well. If you have ten minutes to let it marinate together on your counter, you'll be even happier! Then, just serve and enjoy!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Savta's Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

I have already posted a recipe from my Bubbe Elaine. Now it's time to go to my Israeli roots and post a recipe from my Savta Leah. This is one of my favorite side dishes to gives zucchini a completely different texture than what you see in a lot of American recipes using zucchini. Kids go crazy over it, since there's a bit of ketchup in it (a 1950s housewife throwback), and it's certainly not gourmet, but boy is it comfort of all? It's pretty quick and easy to make.

Total prep time: 10 minutes

Total cook time: 35 minutes

What you will need:

2-3 medium sized zucchini
1/2 white onion
1 regular sized jar tomato sauce (any brand is fine)
2 tbsp ketchup
1 packet splenda (you can use sweet n lo or even sugar if you're not trying to be low-cal)
1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable/canola oil (not pictured)
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Wash your zucchini and make sure you scrub them. Zucchini have tiny little hairs on them that can prickle you. Then dice them into large chunks.

Next, dice 1/2 of a white onion. It does not need to be finely chopped, but you want the pieces to be much smaller than your zucchini slices.

In a medium sized saucepan, add 1 tbsp of the oil of your choice and heat on medium heat. Once it is warm (you can tell by holding your hand slightly above the oil, and if you look closely, you'll see it change color a bit) add your onion and saute until translucent and slightly browned.

Next, add the zucchini and saute for a few more minutes.

Then, add the tomato sauce, ketchup, and splenda packet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let it simmer on a low-medium low heat for anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour...the longer you let it sit, the more the flavor melds, but it's definitely ready to eat when the zucchini becomes very tender after about fifteen minutes.

Now it's ready to serve! The resulting taste is not quite an "italian" style sauce as it is definitely sweeter than a typical marinara. This is a good side dish for any roasted or fried type of protein...I typically pair this with chicken schnitzelbrisket, or some sort of roasted chicken breast. Enjoy it!!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Italian Turkey Meatballs

Confession: Before I made this meal, I had never, ever, in my life, made a meatball. I've enjoyed many a meatball, but I've always been a bit apprehensive of making them. It seemed overwhelming to try and keep the meat together, in ball form, appropriately seasoned and evenly cooked. But I found out how wrong I've been, and how easy they are to make. Best part about meatballs? As long as you have fresh ground turkey and a fairly well-stocked pantry, you have all the ingredients necessary. And these recipes seem to be pretty flexible!

Total Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Cook Time: 30 minutes

What you will need:

1 lb ground turkey meat (I used 43% lean since my grocery store does not have 93%, but use whatever mix you prefer)
2 tbsp bread crumbs (I used Italian, but you could use whatever you have on hand, including panko!)
1 egg
1 tsp italian seasonings
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp cumin
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 bunch minced fresh parsley (only if you happen to have fresh herbs on hand)
(not pictured: my favorite jar of publix marinara sauce. Use whatever you have on hand).

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

In a large mixing bowl, put your ground meat, and add all dry ingredients. Also add egg, garlic and mustard.

Here comes the fun part. Mix all of this together, well. I tried doing it with a spoon. It didn't work. So I got my hands all up in there. Fact: my refrigerator keeps meat very, very cold.

In an ovenproof casserole dish (sprayed with Pam), place rolled meatballs which are approximately 1-1.5 inches in diameter. Roll the meatballs with the palm of your hand rather than fingertips; I find they bind up a bit better that way.

Bake the meatballs at 400, uncovered, for approximately 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and put a non-stick skillet on medium heat on the stove. Place the meatballs (taken out of the casserole dish with a slotted spoon so as to essentially drain them of the fat they've rendered) in the skillet and in a few minutes you will hear them begin to sizzle. Make sure you place them with the browned sides up; essentially, what we are doing here is browning the other sides of the meatballs.

Let the meatballs cook for approximately five minutes, then dump your jar of sauce over them. This is where I really wish that I had a Le Crueset dutch oven, because what I'd really love to do is brown these little suckers in the Le Crueset, pour my sauce in, and then pop it back in the oven...we'll see whether my dreams are recognized from my wedding registry.

Let the meatballs simmer on low heat for approximately ten minutes, then serve and enjoy! These are pretty good on their own (and don't create too much sauce) if you're trying to be low-carb; otherwise, you can serve these with spaghetti for your traditional spaghetti and meatball, or probably could even make meatball subs if you had baguettes and some provolone to melt. Either way...very delicious and easy!