Ham and Bean Soup

Jump to Recipe

I made an 8-pound ham for the three of us for Christmas dinner. Needless to say, I have more ham than I know what to do with. After eating plates and plates of sliced ham and leftover sides, I decided we needed to change it up a bit. I tried a ham and peas tortellini dish that needs a lot of improvement so I’ll share that once I’ve worked out the kinks. For now, we’re going straight to comfort food: Soup.

I got all ambitious and made my own ham broth, but that’s completely not necessary. I only did this because I had a ham bone and making broth is super simple to make in the Instant Pot. Here’s what you do. Take the meat bones (ham, chicken, turkey, anything really) and stick it in an Instant Pot along with chopped carrots, celery, and onions. Throw in some peppercorns if you have them and a bay leaf. Cover with water. Cook on high for 60 minutes and natural release. Done. Let it cool, strain all the stuff out, bag it in 2 cup servings, and freeze flat.

Now back to the soup. The base of the soup is from a recipe on the back of a bean package, but I made it better by adding ham and using broth instead of water. Always use broth or stock when you are making soups. Water just isn’t going to cut it if you want the depth of flavor. I don’t cook soup all day so using broth really makes the difference.

The hardest part is remembering to soak your beans overnight. I completely forgot so I soaked them all day instead. It was all good, but I was a little nervous there for a moment. I used cannellini beans because that’s what I had, but you can use any (pandemic) beans you happen to have.

Gather your ingredients. Rinse your beans in cold water and drain. Chop up everything that needs chopping.

Ham and Bean soup

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat up some olive oil and saute your chopped veggies. Throw in some garlic powder (because you completely forgot to mince up some garlic…hey I’m not perfect, but try to use minced garlic instead) and a little black pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes so the onion is softened.

Ham and Bean soup

Add chopped ham and mix it around a bit, cooking for a few minutes.

Ham and Bean soup

Then, add beans and 5 cups of broth. You can use more or less broth. Start with 5 cups and if you want your soup to be thinner, add more broth at the end.

Ham and Bean soup

Bring the whole thing to a boil and then reduce the heat until it’s simmering, which on my stove is the lowest setting. Cover and cook for a couple of hours. The longer you cook it, the creamier it’ll get. I was too impatient for that so cooked the soup until the beans were tender. Before serving, add more broth if you want. Taste it. Add salt and pepper if it needs it. Usually, I salt sooner, but the ham is already salty so you want to be careful not to over salt it. Serve in bowls and sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese on top because like bacon, everything’s better with cheese.

Ham and Bean soup

I really like how this recipe is simple, healthy, and comforting. Nothing beats a hot bowl of homemade soup on a cold winter day. Sorry canned soups. This is much better.

Ham and Bean soup

Ham and Bean Soup

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup cannellini beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 4 cups ham broth or other type of broth such as chicken or vegetable
  • 1/2 pound chopped ham
  • salt to taste
  • grated Parmesan

Instructions
 

  • Soak beans overnight in a bowl with at least 3 cups of water. Rinse beans with cold water and drain.
  • In a dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic powder, and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes until onions are softened.
  • Add ham and saute for another 5 minutes or until ham starts to cook a bit.
  • Add drained beans and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 90 minutes or longer, until the beans are soft and the soup is as creamy as you want it. The longer you cook the soup, the creamier it will be. If the soup is too thick, add more broth.
  • Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve with a little grated Parmesan on top.

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

Jump to Recipe

I love fish, but sometimes I don’t know what to do with it. Salt and pepper with a squeeze of lemon seems to be my fallback, but it’s not very exciting. I want something more memorable, but not overpower the fish. Let’s keep it simple.

I came across a recipe from Delish that seems to be the solution to my fish situation. Making this recipe is so easy and good that I want to try it with other white fish to compare. Tilapia is a good choice though. It’s still relatively inexpensive, doesn’t have any bones to pluck out, and is tasty. Picky eaters like tilapia because it’s mild, not fishy. You’ll especially love the recipe if you’re a fan of garlic. If not, you might want to skip this round.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Plop your fish on the foil. Season with salt and pepper.

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

Combine melted butter, minced garlic, lemon juice and a little lemon zest. Pour this over your fish. Add some sliced lemon and bake until the fish gently falls apart when you stab it in the middle with a fork (no, I’m not violent, just accurate).

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

Done.

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

That’s it. Can you believe it? I did drizzle a bit of the sauce over the fish and served it with couscous for the boys. I made myself a side salad. I even made the time to sprinkle some pretty parsley leaves to make it look fancy. Everyone was happy. Despite the name, it wasn’t too garlicky. There was the perfect amount lemon tang and no shortage of buttery goodness. Make again.

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tilapia
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • juice and zest of a 1/2 of lemon
  • 1 lemon round slices
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Season tilapia with salt and pepper. Place on an aluminum lined baking sheet.
  • Mix together melted butter, minced garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour over tilapia. Top with lemon rounds.
  • Bake tilapia for 10 to 12 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Tuna Patties

Jump to Recipe

Yesterday was Christmas and I have more ham than I know what to do with so don’t be surprised to see some posts about ham this and ham that in the near future. I already have ideas of making a ham tetrazzini and other various “ham surprise” casseroles. In the meantime, we’re just going to pile our plates with leftover ham slices, scoops of green bean casserole, and mountains of mac and cheese.

Instead, let’s go back to September when I decided I needed to try out some new dishes on the boy. Much like some of the other retro foods of my childhood (such as Sloppy Joes and SpaghettiOs), I realized he’s never had a tuna patty, which was a staple growing up at my house. Inexpensive and tasty, tuna patties would show up at dinner at least once a month, particularly because they were so easy to make. And we loved them.

I found a recipe on Simply Recipes that I modified a little to make use of what I had in the pantry. Win-win. Dump a couple cans of drained tuna (reserve some of the liquid…you’ll need it) in a large bowl along with Dijon mustard, white bread pieces, lemon zest, lemon juice, reserved tuna liquid, parsley, and onions. Mix it up and then add some salt and pepper to taste. Don’t do what I did and throw your egg in before tasting it. Fortunately it all turned out good.

Tuna Patties

This is a very forgiving recipe so if you don’t have Dijon mustard, use yellow mustard. No white bread? Use wheat. No red onions? Use another kind of onion, like white or green. In fact, the recipe called for fresh chives, not onions. Right, like I have fresh chives laying around. I could have thrown in dried chives, like the ones we’d put on our baked potatoes growing up, but that’s beside the point. This is a good time to use up your pantry ingredients and still come out ahead. And if you accidentally throw out the tuna water, plain tap water is just fine.

Form into patties like you would hamburgers. You don’t have to, but chill them for an hour so they are easier to flip when you cook them.

Tuna Patties

Heat up some olive oil and butter in a skillet. Cook on each side for about 3 to 4 minutes. The nice thing is that the tuna is already cooked so most of the work is done for you. You just want them golden brown.

Tuna Patties

We ate them plain with a little lemon squeezed on them, but these would made really good sliders on Hawaiian rolls. The verdict? My husband thought they were great. We probably haven’t had a tuna patty in a couple of decades (yes, I’m old). My son wasn’t as impressed. What is up with his generation?! Maybe we’ll try them on rolls next time.

Tuna Patties

Tuna Patties

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 10 ounces tuna packed in water save some of the water
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup white bread torn into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon reserved tuna water
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onions
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter

Instructions
 

  • Drain the liquid from the tuna cans and reserve a tablespoon of the tuna water.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the tuna, mustard, torn white bread, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, parsley, and onions. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix in the egg.
  • Divide the mixture into 4 parts. With each part, form into a ball and then flatten into a patty. Place onto a wax paper lined tray and chill for an hour.
  • Heat the olive oil and a little butter in a cast iron or stick-free skillet on medium high. Gently place the patties in the pan. Cook until nicely browned, 3-4 minutes on each side.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Jump to Recipe

I really love shrimp, but since my bad prawn experience and that I’ve tested positive for a shrimp allergy, I decided I better stay away from the whole crustacean family. I know there’s a difference between shrimp and prawns, but I don’t trust that the labels are being used correctly. I’m probably being too extreme because there was a time when I ate shrimp cocktail with wild abandonment. But a potential trip to the ER is not my idea of a good time so I think this isn’t much of a sacrifice.

As a result of my recent distrust of shrimp, I never make it anymore, which disappoints my husband a little. Plus with his innocent “chicken again” comment about dinner, I felt a little sorry for him. On top of that, my super picky son actually likes shrimp so I don’t want to stop serving it. Supposed he suddenly stops liking it?!

I’ve been making a lot of beans lately. I had a lonely single can of beans staring at me from the pantry. I needed to use it somehow. I googled shrimp and beans and found a delicious Kitchn recipe with the world’s longest name. It looked really easy to make. Bonus points.

When you buy your shrimp, keep in mind the cleaning situation. I usually splurge to buy shrimp that has been cleaned, have no shells, and deveined. Some would say to leave the shells on for more flavor, but that’s not my style. I don’t want to spend more time preparing the shrimp than actually cooking the shrimp.

Gather your ingredients. Mince some garlic and then slice even more. It’s definitely going to be garlicky. Zest a lime, cut it in half, and set the halves aside for later. I love using lime even more so than lemon with shrimp. Reminds me of shrimp tacos. Ok, this is going to be a little harder than I thought. Must get those delicious thoughts out of my head as I play the world’s smallest violin.

Chop up fresh cilantro. Set half aside and with the remaining half, add your seasonings (I used a little less red pepper flakes, but I encourage you to use the full amount) and some olive oil. You’re basically making a delicious marinade.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Mix it up and add your shrimp to it. Let it marinate for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile stage the rest of your ingredients. You want to be prepared. Shrimp cooks super fast and the worst thing you can do is overcook it. In fact, I usually cook it a touch under (like 30 seconds) because it’ll continue cooking when you remove it from the heat.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Start on your tomatoes. I like using a cast iron pan, but any skillet will do.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Cook them until the skins pop. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute. The shrimp will start to turn from translucent gray to a hint of opaque pink. No more than that! I would have taken a picture for you, but I would have overcooked the shrimp. Throw in the beans and sliced garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately. The shrimp should no longer be gray at all. It’ll be slightly pink on the outside, opaque inside, and firm (not chewy or rubbery).

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Serve over rice with a sprinkle of cilantro.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Because I can’t taste it, I had to depend on the boys for feedback. My husband made me laugh when he said the dish was a “medley of flavors.” I guess he’s been paying more attention to my cooking shows than I thought. The boy thought the sauce was weird (the tomatoes probably freaked him out), but thought it was a “make again” meal. Two thumbs up!

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 5 large garlic cloves divided
  • 1 medium lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 pound medium peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes about 10 ounces
  • 15 ounces cannellini beans drained and rinsed

Instructions
 

  • Grate 4 garlic cloves into a large bowl. Thinly slice the remaining 1 garlic clove and set aside. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lime into the bowl, and then cut the lime in half and set aside. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems. Place half in the bowl and reserve the remaining half.
  • Add dried oregano, paprika, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the bowl. Stir to combine. Add 1 pound peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp, and toss to coat. Let the shrimp marinate 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature.
  • Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or heavy-weight skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 1 pint grape tomatoes, and then season with kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the skins start to pop, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp with marinade and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the drained/rinsed beans and sliced garlic. Cook, stirring every minute or so, until the shrimp are just cooked through and the tomatoes have burst open, 3 minutes total.
  • Remove from the heat. Season with kosher salt and squeeze the lime halves over the shrimp. Garnish with the reserved cilantro, and serve immediately over rice.

Turkey Tacos

Jump to Recipe

I have a ton of turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. Ok, maybe not a ton. More like 7 pounds. The boys have been eating turkey everything this week, including these turkey tacos that were delicious and easy to make. You can easily use chicken instead, but I needed to use up all this turkey so turkey it is.

Gather your ingredients. Chop up an onion. Shred the turkey. You know what to do.

Turkey Tacos

Saute the chopped onion in a little olive oil until cooked. Throw in the turkey, spices, and a little water. Mix it all up.

Turkey Tacos

When the water is mostly absorbed and your turkey is heated through, you are done. Assemble into tacos with your favorite toppings. See how easy that was?

Turkey Tacos

I have to admit that I usually make tacos using those seasoning packets (gasp!), but I really should break that habit. Mixing up cumin, coriander, and chili powder is just as easy as opening an envelope and is a great combination that provides lots of flavor. It doesn’t taste the same, but is just as good, if not better. These mild tacos are the opposite of spicy so feel free to throw in some hot sauce before or after you cook the turkey to kick up the fire. And don’t judge the flour tortilla. To each his own.

Turkey Tacos

Turkey Tacos

Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 pound cooked skinless turkey shredded
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • tortillas
  • your favorite taco toppings

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and saute until cooked, for about 5 minutes.
  • In the same skillet, add turkey, cumin, coriander, chili powder, black pepper, and water. Stir to mix. Add salt to taste if needed.
  • Cook for 3-5 minutes until the turkey is warmed through and most of the water is evaporated. Remove heat and assemble into tortillas. Add your favorite toppings.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2020

Jump to Recipe

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a most usual year. This year has made a significant impact in the way we live our lives so Thanksgiving looked differently this year too.

We usually have anywhere from 7-10 people over and a decent sized turkey. Because it was just the three of us, I took a different route this year and purchased an 8 pound bone-in, skin-in turkey breast. None of us want the legs anyway and I detest working with realistic food so let’s just avoid the whole bird cavity thing.

It turns out that I wasn’t the only one with this idea and found lots of turkey breast recipes. I settled on one of Ina Garten’s recipes. I trust her completely so I knew she wouldn’t steer me wrong.

Everything turned out fantastic except the rolls and that was completely my fault. I was so excited at how they looked after 20 minutes in oven that I pulled them out before they were golden brown. They ended up being like rocks. Sadness. Eat more stuffing, people.

First, pull out the turkey from the refrigerator at least an hour before you roast it. It’ll roast more evenly than if you stick a cold bird into a hot oven.

While it’s sitting, prepare the paste that you’ll run under and on the skin. Gather your ingredients. This is one of those times where you really should use fresh herbs. You just spent all this money on your turkey so you should invest a little more on fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage. The extra chopping won’t kill you and the herbs smell good too.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Mix together all the ingredients, except the white wine, in a small bowl. Take a sip of wine to make sure it’s ok. You don’t want to poison anyone with bad wine.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Mix it up until it turns into a paste.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Loosen the skin with your fingers to make a large pocket and spread half of the paste directly on the meat. Rub the rest over the skin. If I had to do this again, I’d probably put all the paste under the skin and just season the skin with salt and pepper. Why? Because we threw the skin away along with all those good seasonings. If you like skin, do it Ina’s way.

When you are done, it’ll look something like this. Little did I know how ginormous an 8 pound turkey breast could be. It’s huge. And that includes the bone. Anything bigger and I would have needed a larger roasting pan. At this point, I’ll refrain from making any large breast jokes. This is a family show, people. Move along.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Throw a cup of wine in the roasting pan. Drink the rest.

In a preheated 325 F oven, roast the bird for about 2 hours. Ina says to pull it out when the internal temperature reaches 165 F, but I like to pull it out sooner, at 155 F, and let it sit longer. The turkey will continue to cook and eventually rise up to 165 F.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

After it’s done resting, slice it up. Soooo much easier than carving a whole turkey.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Garnish with a few fresh herbs. I chose sage, the scent of Thanksgiving. The recipe says to spoon the pan juices over the turkey, but I completely forgot and dug in. You guys are lucky I even remembered to take a picture. There was a whole table full of sides to get to and I forgot to take a picture of that. But I have to say this was an amazing flavorful turkey that was not the least bit dry and did not disappoint. There will be tons of leftovers. Make again.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Ingredients
  

  • 1 whole bone-in turkey breast, about 6 1/2-7 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.
  • In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 155-165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. (I test in several places.) If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices spooned over the turkey.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

I made this really delicious slow cooker recipe from The Food Network a few weeks ago when the weather started getting a little chilly. Hey, it’s slow cooker season! Then again, when is it not slow cooker season? Regardless, we are in pandemic mode, working and studying at home. Having the awesome smells coming the kitchen was an extra treat while plugging away. The end results were delicious plus it was super simple to make.

I didn’t change a thing. Not much more to say about that. Sometimes a recipe is just right.

I gathered my ingredients, but put aside the cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. You’ll add that later at the end. There were a lot of ingredients, but nothing too exotic.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

Slice an onion in half and stick a clove in each half. Ok, that’s a little strange, but it turned out not to be weird after all. The clove gave it a hint of spice that I wouldn’t have thought of. Next, slice the apple chicken sausages in half lengthwise. Throw everything in the slow cooker (well, measure first, of course) and mix, making sure the onion, sausage, and beans are all nestled in together. Cook on high for 6-7 hours until the beans are tender.

Remove the onions. They were there only to add flavor. Stir in vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Then let it sit for at least 15 minutes. This last addition really gives it a tang.

And that’s it. Seriously. The hardest part was waiting. The apple sausage gave the dish a sweet taste that complemented the honey mustard and molasses. The dish was a perfect blend of tangy sweet and completely comforting. With the soft texture of the beans, everything felt like it was melting in your mouth.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

I will definitely make this again. We managed to eat most of the sausages in one sitting, but there were plenty of beans leftover, which we enjoyed as sides until they were gone.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue seasoning blend
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 pound dry navy beans rinsed and picked over
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 small onion halved
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken apple sausages halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Instructions
 

  • Whisk the broth, water, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, barbecue seasoning and garlic in a slow cooker. Add the beans. Push a clove into each onion half. Tuck the onions and sausages into the beans in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until the beans are tender, about 6-7 hours.
  • Discard the onion halves. Stir in the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Let the mixture sit, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes. (The longer the beans sit, the more flavorful they will be.)

Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Jump to Recipe

I used to be suspicious of sheet pan meals. There’s no way everything can be done at the same time! Now that I’ve tried a few sheet pan recipes with great success (check these out), I think my fear is over. I made this one from BA and it turned out to be another win-win. Be brave with me.

First, you make the sauce. Mix up all the ingredients. Pretty simple. Set some aside to glaze your meatballs (your reserved glazing sauce). Simmer the rest to reduce it down. Set aside (your reduced glazing sauce). You pour this over the meatballs at the end. The reserved stuff will brush the meatballs before you pop them into the oven.

Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Next, prep your broccoli and put them on the a sheet pan lined with foil. BTW, I love broccoli. I eat it practically every day and I’m still not sick of it. Well, maybe it’s because I’m dipping it in ranch, but let’s not speak of that. The point is that I know a lot of you hate it and you can continue being haters. Just leave it off the sheet pan. Or maybe try some cauliflower, carrots, or potatoes, but I honestly don’t know about the cooking times. You might need to pull the veggies off before or after the meatballs are done.

Next make your meatballs. These meatballs are a bit healthier because you use ground chicken. Ground turkey or beef would work well too, but you might have to adjust the cooking times on the beef.

After I mixed all the ingredients together, I found that the meatballs were really wet. If I made these again, I’d probably use half the water and then slowly add more until the consistency was to my liking. When you are done making 12 1.5-diamater meatballs, put them on the baking sheet with the broccoli. Hmmm…I made 13. Close enough.

Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Brush with reserved glazing sauce. Be sure to save some for later. Don’t use the reduced glazing sauce. I know. This is complicated, but delicious.

Bake everything until the meatballs are done, for about 15 minutes.

Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Remove it from the oven, set your oven to broil, brush the rest of your reserved glazing sauce, and broil until the broccoli is charred. Not burnt! Charred is not another word for burnt! Read this.

Pull it out of the oven and serve it over rice. Now drizzle the reduced glazing sauce and nosh. It’s pretty amazing. You’re welcome.

Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli
Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Sauce

  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice cooking wine or water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 inches ginger peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Broccoli and Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
  • crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and grated
  • 2 inches ginger peeled and grated
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • cooked rice
  • seasme seeds optional

Instructions
 

  • Mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, wine or water, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper in a small saucepan. Measure out 1/4 cup mixture into a small bowl. This is your reserved glazing sauce. Set aside for glazing meatballs later. Bring remaining mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a small bowl. This is your reserved glazing sauce.
  • Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 450F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Trim broccoli stems and remove from the crown. Peel off the tough outer skin, if needed. Slice crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut florets into 2-inch pieces. Toss on prepared baking sheet with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (optional). Push to the edges of baking sheet to create a space for meatballs. Brush space with the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
  • Mix chicken, egg, scallions, garlic, ginger, panko, sesame oil, pepper, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 cup water in a medium bowl. Gradually add more water (up to another 1/8 cup) until the meat mixture is your preferred consistency.
  • Using wet hands, form into twelve 1 1/2 inch-diameter meatballs. Arrange on baking sheet. Brush with some of the reserved glazing mixture. Bake until meatballs are cooked through, 14–18 minutes. Remove from oven.
  • Heat broiler. Brush meatballs with remaining reserved glazing mixture. Broil until broccoli is charred and meatballs are browned in spots, about 5 minutes.
  • Spoon meatballs and broccoli over rice in bowl. Drizzle with reduced glazing sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Jump to Recipe

One reason why I think Indian food is so special is because it often requires you to cook your seasonings before using them. This brings out an intense flavor not found in many other dishes. With that said, I decided to try Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala from the kitchn. It’s a wonderful creamy dish with tomatoes and cooked spices that is perfect over rice. And it’s hardly Indian at all. I looked it up and learned that it’s a popular British dish with South Asian roots. Well, this is awkward. This is sort of like saying chimichanga is Mexican food.

While I go research authentic Indian recipes, let’s enjoy this one because I promise that even picky eaters won’t turn this down.

Gather your ingredients and measure them out. Chop up your onion. Mince that garlic. Grate the ginger.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikki Masala

You probably don’t have all these spices in your cupboard. You might be wondering where to get them or when you’ll use them again. I’m happy to say that you should be able to find all of these in your grocery’s spice section. You will not have to go to a specialty store. I recommend getting the smallest containers possible, even if it costs more by weight, because spices lose their taste and potency over time. You really don’t need a tall container of cumin unless you use it a lot.

I changed the recipe order because I didn’t want to dirty up a pan so instead of using a separate pan, I used the saute setting on my slow cooker. Heat oil and then saute your onion for about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and spices, and cook for about 1 minute. When you can smell the spices is just long enough. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute. You want to see that the tomato paste is a little darker than before. Add the diced tomatoes and the rest of the salt. Bring it to a simmer, but to be honest, there was nothing really to simmer. Add the chicken, yogurt, and a teaspoon of salt in your slow cooker and mix it all up.

I cooked this on low for 8 hours. When it was done, I stirred in the cream and served it. The recipe suggests cooking it for another 30 minutes for a thicker sauce, but I found the sauce consistency to be perfect.

Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro. Everyone liked it. The boy did pick out the tomatoes and refused the cilantro (green foods are bad), but they gave this dish two thumbs up. I just like how easy and tasty it is.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikki Masala
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk (not Greek) plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 15 ounces canned diced tomatoes drained
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  • cooked rice for serving

Instructions
 

  • In a slow cooker, heat the oil using the saute setting. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, garam masala, cumin, and turmeric and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook until darkened in color, about 1 minute. Add the drained tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Place the chicken, yogurt, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on the High setting for 4 hours or Low setting for 8 hours. Stir in the cream. If you prefer a thicker sauce, leave the slow cooker uncovered and cook on the High setting for 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt as needed. Serve garnished with cilantro and serve over rice.

Mini Meatball Soup

Jump to Recipe

Hi everyone! Fall is here and that means it’s soup time. Growing up, we always ate canned soup instead of making our own. I don’t know about you, but when I eat canned soup, I’m still hungry afterwards. I need something more substantial. The best way to solve this problem is to just make you’re own soup, which it’s so much easier than you think. For example, to make homemade chicken soup, you just need some low-sodium chicken broth, chopped up veggies, pre-cooked chicken pieces, and some egg noodles. Boil everything together and you’ve got soup. It’ll also impress your family.

Rachel Ray’s Mini Meatball Soup requires a little more work than that, but is still easy and super delicious. It’s a good week night meal with leftovers if you’re a small family like us. I decided to split it, which made two HUGE servings so we still had leftovers. The recipe below is the full recipe with a few tweaks.

Make your meatballs first. The recipe calls for making them while you’re sauteing your veggies, but there’s no way I can make meatballs in 5 minutes. I’m just not that talented.

Mix up ground beef, egg, minced garlic (mincing the garlic would take me 5 minutes alone), grated cheese (see, now I’m grating cheese!), bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste, and nutmeg (secret ingredient?).

Mini Meatball Soup

The original recipe called for a blend of beef/pork/veal, but I’m lazy. I’m sure the combination is better, but this is supposed to be easy and I didn’t want to buy three types of meat. Set this mixture aside.

Chop up carrots, celery, and onions. Grab a bay leaf.

Mini Meatball Soup

Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a deep-pot or dutch oven for about 2 minutes. Place your veggies and bay leaf in the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes. Don’t forget to stir it so the veggies don’t stick.

After 5 minutes, added a ton of broth (10 cups!), more than the recipe called for. I also used 100% broth instead of broth and water. I think adding all broth makes for a more flavorful soup. Bring the broth to a boil. Reduce the heat and start adding meatballs. Roll the meat into small balls and drop them in. The beauty is that the balls don’t need to be perfectly round. Just make sure they are consistently sized, about an inch across. When you’re done, add the pasta and stir. Cook for 10 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the pasta is tender. Throw in some spinach.

Mini Meatball Soup

When it’s wilted, you’re done. That’s it. See how simple that was?

Mini Meatball Soup

You end up with something that is very reminiscent of Italian wedding soup. It’s hearty, comforting, and perfect for a crisp fall night. And it took you about 30 minutes. Perfect.

Mini Meatball Soup

You can also serve it deconstructed with the veggies push to the side. Sigh…

Mini Meatball Soup
Mini Meatball Soup

Mini Meatball Soup

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta
  • 1 pound fresh baby spinach leaves

Instructions
 

  • Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine meat, egg, garlic, grated cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • In a deep pot or dutch oven, heat add oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, onions, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Uncover your soup pot and add broth. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. When soup boils, reduce heat. Roll meat mixture into small 1-inch balls and drop them straight into the pot. When you are done adding meatballs, add pasta to the soup and stir.
  • Cover and simmer soup 10 minutes. When the meatballs are cooked and the pasta is tender, stir in baby spinach. When spinach has wilted, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.