Eggplant Meatballs

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I really need to find my camera charger for my Canon. The battery is totally dead. I know the charger is somewhere and actually . . . there’s TWO chargers somewhere but until I figure out where that is, my iPhone camera is going to have to suffice. It’s better than nothing and it’s better than some digital cameras, so that’s okay.

In all honesty, I didn’t cook this. My boyfriend did. He cooked it with me in the kitchen guiding him. We’ve decided he needs to learn to cook. So for the past two weeks we’ve been having cooking lessons. He’s been a great student. I’m no expert, but I’m better than nothing. He’s starting to get better than nothing, but we will see what happens if he has to cook for himself. We probably need more lessons.

I had chosen this recipe to make for January’s Pasta Please, hosted by Ren Behan: healthy pasta. I love meatballs of all types, whether meaty or vegetarian. These meatballs were in my most recent Food Network Magazine and were perfect for the challenge.

The original recipe called for white beans. I can’t eat most beans so was going to replace them with chickpeas (which I can eat.) Unfortunately, the leftover chickpeas I had were moldy. So we used shredded potato instead. These were great.

pasta please

Eggplant Meatballs
(source)

Ingredients
1 small eggplant
1 large egg, beaten
2 small fingerling potatoes, shredded
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup basil, chopped
2 tbsp onion, diced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 cups marinara sauce
8 oz pasta

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place an eggplant on the sheet. Poke a few times with a fork. Roast the eggplant for 40 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the oven and let cool, but leave the oven on.

2. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. Scoop the meat of the eggplant out from the skin and place in a bowl.

3. Add the egg, potatoes, garlic, basil, onion, parmesan, and salt and pepper to the eggplant. Mix together with your hands. Then add the breadcrumbs and mix together with your hands.

4. Form balls in the size of golfballs out of the eggplant mixture. Place on the foil lined baking sheet. Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes.

5. While the meatballs are cooking, cook the pasta per the instructions on the box. Also, in a small pan heat up the marinara sauce.

6. When the meatballs are done, mix together the meatballs, pasta, and sauce. Serve with some extra parmesan cheese on top.

* serves 4
* besides Pasta Please, this recipe is shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Vegetable Fideua (but not really)

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Where did this recipe go wrong?

– I should have used thinner noodles.
– I misunderstood what it meant to break the noodles – I didn’t interpret that as smaller pieces than how I broke it up. But afterwards, when I looked at other recipes for this dish, it’s obvious the noodles are supposed to be substantially smaller than I had them here.

The dish wasn’t bad, but I’m sure it’s nothing like what fideua is supposed to be like. For what it was though, it wasn’t bad. Nothing like a standard noodle dish.

And truly, that was the point. Rachel of Rachel Cotterill is hosting this month’s Pasta Please, a monthly blog round up of pasta dishes based around a certain theme. Rachel set the theme this month as fusion. She challenged us to make a vegetarian pasta dish that steps away from the Italian influences.

So what did I do? I googled “Spanish noodles” and I got this dish. I followed this recipe loosely in making the dish that wasn’t very Spanish nor like fideua, but still tasty.

So here’s my tips for you, future fideua makers: break your noodles A LOT smaller than mine are. And maybe use angel hair pasta instead or something thinner than a spaghetti noodle.

pasta please

Vegetable Fideua

Ingredients
8 oz thin noodles
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 cup onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
6 oz frozen green peas
3 tomatoes, diced
1 1/3 cup vegetable broth
salt, to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Lay the noodles on a baking dish. Bake the noodles for 5 minutes, or until they start to brown. (mine got too brown)

2. In a large oven safe pan heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the green bell pepper and cook until it softens. Add the green peas and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for several more minutes.

3. Add the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Crush the noodles and sprinkle them over the vegetables. Stir the noodles into the dish. Simmer until the noodles are tender.

4. Place the pan in the oven set at 400 for a few minutes, so the remaining liquid can be cooked off.

* serves 4

Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Fried Capers

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Pasta Please is one of the challenges I try to participate in every month, though sometimes the month passes before I get to it.. This was not one of those months! I’m trying to participate in all the fun round-ups that I normally do. This month’s Pasta Please was hosted by Allotment2Kitchen who also hosts a new round up I’m going to start participating in called Eat Your Greens. The idea of Eat Your Greens is to share your vegetarian dishes made with green veggies. This month’s Eat Your Greens was paired together with Pasta Please.

I decided to use cabbage in my recipe for the challenge. My quick google search tells me cabbage may have cancer fighting qualities, as it contains a good amount of sinigrin, which has been in the attention of cancer researchers in developing a cure. However, the way to get the most benefit from the cabbage is to steam it which is not how I cooked it.

For a quick cabbage story, I love cabbage but I hate the smell of it. When I was in college one of my roommates decided she was going to go on a cabbage soup diet or something. She made this huge batch of cabbage soup which just made the house reek. In the end, she couldn’t stomach the soup because of the strong cabbage scent – so that diet was incredibly short lived, but the smell has definitely made an impact on me forever.

But, I haven’t let that get in the way of eating cabbage. It still tastes good to me at least.

This cheesy pasta recipe was delicious. The fried capers were a big hit. I’d never prepared capers like that before, but I definitely will again!

pasta please

Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Fried Capers
(source)

Ingredients
1/3 cup + 3 tbsp olive oil
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cabbage, cut into strips
1 onion, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup capers, drained and patted dry
8 oz rotini pasta
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Place a baking sheet in the oven. Preheat oven to 425. Once preheated, remove the sheet from the oven. Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil over the baking sheet. Place the cauliflower on the sheet and drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil over the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, shaking the baking sheet halfway through.

2. While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage, onion, and thyme sprigs. Saute for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the white wine to deglaze. Set aside.

3. In a small skillet add the 1/3 cup remaining oil. Once the oil is hot, add the capers. Fry for 2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with a paper towel to drain.

4. Cook pasta per the directions on the box. Drain, saving 1 cup of the water the pasta cooked in.

5. Once the pasta is cooked, pour the noodles into the skillet with the cabbage. Put over medium heat. Add the cheese. Add the saved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time. Cook until you have a sauce develop. Add the thyme.

6. Serve and top with capers.

* serves 4
* besides Pasta Please and Eat Your Greens, this recipe is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs

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This month’s Food ‘n Flix movie of the month is a double feature: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and it’s sequel hosted by Culinary Adventures with Camilla. When I first saw this movie, a few years back, I loved it. My boyfriend and I even adopted the way they kiss.

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Anyway, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs was originally a child’s book. I never experienced the children’s book though, so the movie has been my sole experience with the story.

The movie is about Flint Lockwood, an aspiring scientist. His newest creation is a machine that can transform water into food. But, it backfires and it begins raining food, meatballs included. Both the first movie and its sequel, both feature a ton of food (and even food monsters!)

 

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I could have been more creative and made something else from the movie, but alas, I chose the meatballs for the movie’s namesake. My boyfriend has the palette of a little boy and loves spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs I made have hunks of cheese in them, pieces of bacon, and were just all around delicious.

Anyway, you still have time to participate in this month’s movie! Check it out here.

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs

Ingredients
4 pieces bacon
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp ground black pepper
3 oz mozzarella, cut into chunks
1 tbsp chicken broth
14 oz marinara sauce
4 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the bacon on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, until crisp. Set aside and let cool. Cut into pieces.

2. In a large bowl combine the bacon, ground beef, onion powder, paprika, bread crumbs, pepper, mozzarella, and chicken broth together with your hands. Shape the meat into balls (like ping pong balls.) Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until the meatballs are cooked all the way through (about 10 minutes.)

3. Cook the noodles per the box directions and heat up the marinara.

4. When the meatballs are done, put them in the marinara sauce. Serve on top of spaghetti noodles.

* serves 2

FoodnFlix* Besides Food ‘n Flix, this recipe is being shared with Weekend Cooking

 

 

 

Roasted Pepper Pesto (with no nuts)

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Though pestos traditionally have nuts (and usually pine nuts,) I forgot to buy nuts this week for this pesto. As a result, I had zero nuts in my house. I decided to make the pesto anyway, sans the nuts. This dish was delicious. The sauce was light with a slight kick to it (thanks peppers!)

To roast your peppers, heat your oven up to 500. Cut you peppers in half and seed them. Place on a baking sheet. Bake until the peppers are turning black. Remove them and put them in a ziplock. Let them cool off and then the skins will peel off nice and easy.

This dish was made specifically for the Pasta Please challenge from Tinned Tomatoes, hosted this month by simply.food.

pasta please

Roasted Pepper Pesto Sauce (with no nuts)

Ingredients
1 roasted jalapeno, with the ribs and seeds removed and with the skin removed
2 roasted poblano pepper, with the ribs and seeds removed and with the skin removed
2 garlic clove
1 cup cilantro
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

1. Process the peppers, garlic, and cilantro together in a food processor. Add the olive oil slowly and continue to process. Add cheese and pulse a few times until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse a few more times.

2. Serve over your favorite noodle.

* Besides Pasta Please, I’m sharing this recipe with Wednesday Whatsits & Cast Party Wednesday

Roasted Butternut Squash and Udon Noodles

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Alphabakes has reached the end of the alphabet. This makes me sad. This has been a fun activity to participate in. *Hint Hint* People should suggest other round-ups like Alphabakes to me! I participate frequently in We Should Cocoa, Random Recipes, and some others as well. What other ones should I do?

I obviously have not been updating frequently. I’ve been cooking, but nothing exciting. Work has been overwhelming me. And on top of work (which really just means my volunteer attorney position that involves a $0 paycheck,) I’ve been applying for jobs and trying to find an office that will actually pay me. I’ve been feeling bitter and have been having a hard time emotionally with this, which is making my updating pretty abysmal. But I did decide to participate in the last Alphabakes – this month’s letter is U.

This was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. The squash, the garlic, the noodles – this was such a good dish. The longest part of the whole thing is waiting for the squash to roast. Once roasted though, it comes together easily.

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Udon Noodles
(inspiration)

Ingredients
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
9 oz udon noodles
3 cloves garlic
1-inch piece ginger, peeled
1/4 cup parsley
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
1 tsp sesame seeds

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the squash and olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, until tender.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the udon noodles and cook to the package specifications. Drain and set aside.

3. In a food process, add the garlic and ginger. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the parsley and pulse until the parsley is finely chopped. Add the soy sauce, lime juice, honey, and sesame seeds. Pulse some more.

4. Toss the squash, udon, and sauce together.

* serves 2
* besides Alphabakes, this recipe is being shared with Weekend Cooking

Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce

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This month’s Pasta Please theme is GARLIC hosted over at The Spicy Pear. I love garlic. When a recipe calls for garlic, I most always double the amount of it I actually use in my dish because I love it. It helps that Matt loves it too, because that would make me sad.

To make a garlic pasta dish? YES PLEASE! I feel like garlic gives any dish (or okay, most dishes) a nice element. Please don’t put it in my chocolate cake though.

Anyway – I’ve been busy lately and haven’t been cooking too much due to interviews and work. This dish was easy to make after a Friday at work and tasted delicious. The sun-dried tomatoes definitely helped with that too.

pasta please

Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce
(source)

Ingredients
12 oz noodles in any shape you want
6 slices bacon
1 lb chicken breasts, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp garlic powder

Directions

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta. Once al dente, drain and set aside.

2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet. Once crispy remove to a plate covered in paper towels. Add the chicken to the bacon grease and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink. Saute artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes with the chicken for 4 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add garlic and then saute for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour on top and cook for 1 minute, whisking until smooth.  Slowly poor in the milk and chicken broth, whisking to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir, cooking for 10 minutes, allowing the sauce to become bubbly and thick. Add the garlic powder and stir.

4. Cut the bacon into small pieces. Combine the pasta, bacon, chicken mixture, and sauce. Toss to combine.

* serves 6
* besides Pasta Please, this recipe is being shared with  Weekend Cooking

Spicy Fish Stew

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Before I start talking about food, I have a huge announcement to make. On Friday I found out I passed the California bar exam. :D :D :D

My life has been pretty excellent this last year. It’s been stressful, no doubt, but I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Anyway, this year I also started the Pantry Party. Pantry Party is a monthly round-up, where dishes are made from the ingredients in our pantries. Every month I give a theme. This month’s theme has been perfect for this crazy month (or really, this crazy year) I’ve been having. The theme? A recipe that can be made in 30 minutes or less!

The month is almost over – I hope more people join.

This was an easy dish. It was flavorful. And for a cold evening, it was great! PS – it was the first dish I made as a lawyer. This dish took me about 20 minutes to prepare.

pantry

Spicy Fish Stew

Ingredients
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb swai, cut into pieces
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp a spice mix from Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack (I got this from a past Foodie Pen Pals)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can garbanzo beans

Directions

1. In a deep pot, heat the olive oil. Add the spice mix and the oregano and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onions, garbanzo beans, and garlic. Cover and cook over low-medium heat for 10 minutes.

2. Add 1/2 cup of water. Arrange the swai between the vegetables. Cover and cook for 7 minutes.

* serves 2
* this dish is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Spaghetti Bolognese

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This month’s Food ‘n Flix film was hosted over at This Mama Cooks! We watched a movie called Toast. Toast is the story of Nigel Slater. The movie shows us Nigel’s version of his life, based on his memoir.

The movie depicts Nigel and his family. It shows his venture into the land of culinary arts. Having grown up with a mother who only cooked from cans, Nigel always wanted something more than . . . toast. At one point Nigel has a conversation with his mother:

Nigel: Can I have Spaghetti Bolognese?
Nigel’s Mom: I don’t know how to cook such a thing.
Nigel: I’ll show you.

Nigel made a beautiful bolognese. And his mom didn’t eat it. She ate toast. She was so intimidated by that big plate of noodles with meat sauce that she just couldn’t do it and resorted to the one thing she was sure of. Young Nigel tried so hard to get his mom to love food and love to cook, but unfortunately that was a joy she never shared.

The story continues to explain more of the culinary creations that Nigel creates and explains how he became the chef and the man he is today.

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For this meal I loosely followed Nigel’s own bolognese recipe. I made adjustments, as always, to suit my pantry, refrigerator, and life on whole. I mean, I really didn’t have 2 hours to let the sauce simmer for after having worked all day long. Now – don’t get me wrong . . . I know pasta sauce is lovely when cooked for hours and gets this dynamic that is hard to replicate on a quick cook, but I just didn’t have the time. I turned the heat up and cooked the sauce way quicker than Nigel would have approved of.

But I was left with a delicious pasta sauce that was easy to make. With some garlic bread, delicious!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 pieces bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
7 oz ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Stir in the bacon and ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and mushrooms, stirring well. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, allowing the vegetables to get tender.

2. Pour in the milk. Then pour in the tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for about a half hour, or until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

3. Cook the pasta per the package directions while the sauce is cooking. Drain. Toss with the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, I’m sharing this dish with Cast Party Wednesday

 

Faux Tom Yum Soup

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This month at Cooking Around the World we’re heading to Thailand. My google-fu suggested I make Tom Yum Soup. I agreed.

Now . . . I live in a very Asian area. I very easily could have gotten all the ingredients I needed to make this authentic. But I just don’t have money to be spending on ingredients I don’t use frequently. So I subbed and I skipped and I made a soup with too many noodles (oops!) But you know, it doesn’t matter. It still tasted delicious.

If you want the authentic recipe go to the source. If you want mine . . . well, it’s below.

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Faux Tom Yum Soup
(source)

Ingredients
1 package soba noodles
2 1/2 cups water
1 stalk lemongrass
1 tomato, chopped
12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
3 tbsp lime juice

Directions

1. Cook the noodles to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a pot bring the water to a boil. Add the lemongrass, tomato, shrimp, mushrooms, and chili garlic sauce. Boil until the shrimp is cooked all the way through. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Stir together.

3. Pour the broth over the noodles. Toss the noodles into the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Cooking Around The World, this is shared with See Ya In The Gumbo