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

Butternut Squash Parmigiana

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I was going to make eggplant parmigiana, but I decided last week mid-week that I wasn’t going to do any grocery shipping and I was going to use the ingredients I had in the house. I had planned to make this eggplant parmigiana, but didn’t have an eggplant . . . so I searched through my fridge and found a butternut squash that was asking for me to use it. I’ve made mini pizzas on butternut squash before, so I figured this was a good choice of foods to make parmigiana with. I really love butternut squash. This meal turned out to be decadent – with the sweetness of the squash mixed with the salty of the tomato sauce . . . YUM!!! I’m going to not go grocery shopping more and force myself to make do with what I have in the house, because this was magical.

Butternut Squash Parmigiana

Ingredients
3 cups crushed tomatoes
2 medium butternut squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice the squash into slices 1/3 of an inch thick. Make sure you clean out the center of the squash, disposing of the seeds.

2. Brush the squash slices with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tender.

3. Raise oven heat to 400. Place the tender squash slices in a casserole dish, layering the bottom of the dish. Spoon the tomato sauce on top, followed by the mozzarella, and then the parmesan.

4. Cover the casserole dish with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

5. Cool for 10 minutes before enjoying!

* serves 4
* shared with Tasty Tuesdays

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

Mushroom Turkey Burgers

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I love burgers. They’re actually a huge downfall for me when we go out to eat. I just want a burger. With bacon. And cheese. And lots of mayo.

For a little silly story about me, I grew up hating hamburgers. I would temper tantrum, I would cry, and I would end up getting chicken nuggets or a hot dog whenever hamburgers were served. They repulsed me. I didn’t want to have anything to do with that weird piece of pressed together meat that I had no idea what was mixed in (yet, I’d eat a hot dog haha.) My first hamburger that I ate willingly without a temper tantrum was after my senior year in high school, when In ‘n Out Burger moved into town. It changed my life. And I began to experiment with burgers from other places and burgers with other meats.

Today, burgers are one of my favorite foods.

Though ground beef is my favorite meat in a burger, this turkey burger was divine. The flavors were great, it was juicy, and I wish I had room to eat a second!

Mushroom Turkey Burgers

Ingredients
1 oz dried mushrooms
4 mushrooms, diced
1 lb ground turkey
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp spicy mustard
1 tsp steak sauce
4 hamburger buns

Directions

1. In a large bowl mix together the diced mushrooms, turkey, green onions, salt, parsley, mustard, and steak sauce with your hands. Form the meat into four even sized patties.

2. Press the dried mushrooms onto both sides of all four patties.

3. Heat up a cast iron skillet. Spray with cooking spray. Add the patties and cook for 7 minutes per side.

4. Serve you burgers on buns and add any condiments you desire. I had mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and onion.

* serves 4
* I’m sharing this with See Ya In The Gumbo

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

White Fish on Mashed Fava Beans

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This month at Cooking with Herbs, we’re playing with mint. Mint is one of my favorite herbs, though not one I use very frequently. I find mint to only work in some things – it isn’t like oregano or even basil which I use frequently and feel like work in a lot of dishes. When I generally think of mint I think of lamb. I made the intentional decision this time to pick something very different than how I usually use mint – so no lamb! Instead I found a recipe using fish and fava beans.

The mashed fava beans were sort of strange? Or interesting. They tasted good, but I’ve never made anything like it before.

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White Fish on Mashed Fava Beans
(source)

 

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups canned fava beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup + 2 tsp mint, chopped
2 tsp lemon peel, grated
3/4 tsp salt
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
6 fillets of white fish of your choice – I used cod
9 tbsp olive oil
all-purpose flour (for dredging)

Directions

1. In a boiling pot of water, cook the fava beans for 2 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

2. Mix 2 tsp of mint, 1 tsp lemon peel, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1 pinch red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Arrange fish on a rimmed baking sheet.  Rub the mint mixture over the fish. Set aside.

3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the fava beans. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. If they begin to get dry, add 1/4 cup of water and continue cooking. Using a potato masher, mash the beans. If they are dry, add 1/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Dredge fish in flour. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until slightly brown and opaque in the middle, about 4 minutes per side.

5. Stir remaining mint, lemon peel, and 3 tbsp of olive oil in the fava beans.

6. Serve the fish on top of the fava beans.

* serves 6
* Besides Cooking with Herbs, I’m sharing this recipe with Weekend Cooking 

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

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

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This month, Random Recipes and We Should Cocoa banded together to create a wonderful challenge. Randomly pick a cookbook and randomly pick a recipe from said cookbook that uses . . . you guessed it! CHOCOLATE!

Somehow, despite being random, I keep picking my favorite cookbook off the shelf. Either I just need more cookbooks to be randomly selected or there’s some sort of magnetism that keeps this book coming back to me. Welcome again my favorite cookbook, Cook Yourself Thin. In the past, for Random Recipes I’ve made the Mediterranean Chicken and Better For You Breakfast Sandwich.

Anyway, once I was holding this cookbook, I counted the number of recipes in it that used chocolate. I then put into the random number generator and was directed to this chocolate cake. I was pretty happy when I saw what recipe the generator had chosen for me, since my boyfriend’s birthday is in February (today actually) and he had asked for a chocolate cake.

This cake was sort of dry, but he raved over and over that he hates moist cakes and was so happy because he likes dry cakes and no one ever makes dry cakes. While I personally like moist cakes a hell of a lot, the lack of butter does take away a lot of the moist in a cake. Additionally, he likes it when I accidentally overcook things, so a dry cake really was the way to go for him. All in all, it was a success. The beets were such a strange addition, but in the end, you don’t even taste them.

This was a great random recipe. The universe was aligned when I randomly chose this recipe!

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And with that, I’d also like to wish my love a very happy 31st birthday!

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Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE
1 1/2 cups flour
3 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 + 1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup finely ground cashews
5 tbsp cocoa powder
4 oz beets, peeled and finely grated
4 oz buttermilk
2 tbsp brewed black coffee
3 eggs
3/4 cups sugar

FOR THE ICING
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp brewed black coffee
2 tbsp honey

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray an 8″ springform baking pan with cooking spray.

3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, ground cashews, salt, and baking soda together. Set aside.

4. In a mixer, beat the eggs and sugar for 4 minutes using medium speed, until pale and fluffy. On low speed, beat in the beets followed by the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and coffee and beat until the batter is smooth.

5. Pour the batter into the springform pan. Place in the middle of a hot oven and bake for 30 minutes. Your cake is done with a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

6. Cool for 10 minutes then unmold and set on a cooling rack. Cool until the cake is cold.

7. To make the icing, prepare a double broiler. Combine all the icing ingredients and stir gently, until the chocolate is smooth. Stir until the chocolate mixture thickens.

9. Pour the icing over the top of the cake and allow it to drip down the sides.

* I’m also sharing this recipe with Mix It Up Monday

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