Italian Meatball Sandwiches

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These are by far one of my honey’s favorite things I can make. The sandwiches are slightly spicy, garlic rich, and savory.

You also do not have to make a sandwich with the meatball mix! You can fry it up and add it to spaghetti or lasagna.  Adding some home made tomato sauce and creating an Italian style meatloaf is pretty awesome too!

A great thing about this meatball mix, is it will keep in the fridge (2-4 days) or freezer (1 week) till you are ready to use it or you can precook the patties and leave them for about a week before the need to be used. My honey actually likes me to pre-make the patties because the flavors develop more over the first 1-2 days before he makes the sandwich to take to work and he wears, they are better as leftovers!

Ingredients:

1 Recipe Meatball Mix (listed below)

1 Loaf French Baguette  (or sandwich roll of your choice)

1 Recipe Garlic Butter (listed below)

Lettuce

Tomato

Meatball Mix:

1lb Ground Turkey (I find it holds together the best, but you can use whatever kind of ground meat you like)

1 cup 0%Fat Greek Yogurt (I use Fage)

1 cup Italian Style Breadcrumbs

4 Cloves Finely Minced Garlic

5-6 Fresh Basil Leaves – Finely Chopped (I like lemon basil for this)

1 tablespoon Fresh Chopped Rosemary

1-2 tablespoons Dry Italian Seasoning

Cayenne Pepper (to taste – I like it spicy so I use about 1 teaspoon or so)

Crushed Red Pepper Flake (to taste – I like it spicy so I use about 1/2 a tablespoon or so)

1/2 cup Mozzarella

1/2 cup Ricotta

1/2 cup Finely Shredded Parmesan

1-2 Eggs ( add last – depending on the moisture of the mix)

Garlic Butter:

3 tablespoons Butter (soft, room temperature)

2 Large Cloves Garlic (pressed through a garlic press)

1 tsp Dried Parsley

1 tsp Granualted Garlic

You can make the garlic butter well ahead of time and keep in the fridge, just combine all noted ingredients and put in a Tupperware container for up to 2 weeks.

For the meatball mix: Start by making sure the meat is slightly cold still, as this will hold more moisture.

1) Combine in a glass bowl the first 9 ingredients, from the ground turkey to the crushed red pepper flake

2) Once combined, add the cheeses and see how moist the texture is. You do not want the mix to be so wet it is runny, but it should remind you of a stiff biscuit dough. If the mix is still kind of dry add 1 egg, check again and add a 2nd egg if needed.

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3) Once the mix is ready hand form 6 patties. Each patty should be about 2×3 inches and maybe 3/4″ thick.

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4) Heat oil of your choice on medium high heat in a large skillet which has a lid (I use grape seed because it has a nice sweet flavor and heats really high without burning)

5) Drop meatball patties into oil and let brown about 6-8 minutes on first side, when you flip the patties, turn the heat down to medium and place the lid on the pan to help finish cooking while sealing in moisture

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6) While waiting for the patties to finish, turn your boiler on, and cut your baguette or rolls and spread with garlic butter. Place on cookie sheet and place under broiler for 4-6 minutes, until slightly golden

7) Remove the patties from the pan and allow to cool on paper towels for about 2-4 minutes so the juices redistribute.

Once cooled slightly, begin to BUILD!

Stack a patty with lettuce, tomato,  or even marinara sauce is a nice touch. I like a little pepperoni and red peppers, but you can top them with anything you want. It is a great base for an amazing sandwich (and more)! 

 


Lettuce Wraps

I love lettuce wraps. By far my favorite are those served at the Cheesecake Factory, but my homemade ones are a close 2nd.

They are light, fresh, and totally fulfilling. They are really great for a hot night when you don’t feel like cooking (you can pre-cook the meat and then store it in the fridge and then just put them together – eat them hot or cold – yummy either way)

Ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons oil

1/2 a red onion diced very small

3 cloves of garlic smashed

1.5 lbs ground meat (I use turkey or really lean ground sirloin, but feel free to use what you like)

Seasoning to use to your liking: Cumin, Cayenne, Paprika, Salt, Pepper, Onion powder

1 head of butter lettuce ( romaine or red lettuce leaves work nice as well )

1 bag pre-shredded carrots

Assorted fixings as you would like:

Shredded cheese, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, cucumber, bean sprouts

 

 Start by placing oil in a heavy skillet pan and allow a few minutes for it to heat. Then add the diced  onion cooking it to semi clear and soft state.  Then adding the garlic for a about 30 seconds and then the meat. Cook the meat till nice and brown, should take about 10-12 minutes depending on the type of meat being used.

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 Once your meat is in the pan cooking, start washing your lettuce leaves.

Rinse them in a slow stream of cold water and then place them in between layers of paper towels to dry till ready to use

 

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Once the meat is fully cooked, lay your lettuce leaves in pairs of about the same size on a platter or plate

(depending on if you are serving yourself or a group)

2 leaves stacked together hold better than 1 by itself in my experience

Then begin to assemble, layering the items you would like on your wraps

 In the end you have these fresh, colorful, and simple wraps which you can dress up or down as you see fit.

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Building a Better, Paleo, Gluten-Free Chicken Nugget

I am so excited to try this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Domestic Man

Gluten-Free, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet

I have always been proud of my Paleo “Chick-fil-A” nugget recipe from a couple years back, and it has definitely been a hit with readers. If fact, I’m sure a few of you stumbled upon my little blog because of them. But to be honest, I’ve never been satisfied with the texture of the nuggets themselves; while they are very similar to the thin coating that you’ll find at Chick-fil-A, I personally prefer a spongier breading around my chicken nuggets. So while experimenting with breading techniques for a different recipe (I’ll post the results of that one on Thursday), I happened upon my eureka moment – something I like to call “reverse battering.”

You see, I’ve always been taught to bread meats using a liquid-then-flour (or flour-liquid-flour/breading) method. Sounds logical, right? It’d be just crazy to not put flour or breading on nuggets before frying them. But after some YouTube…

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Crock Pot Lasagna

Being a full time student, 3/4 time employee, and having outside interests does not always leave room for tons of cooking.

I have fallen in love with my crock pot lately!

Allows me to make super delicious meals without all the work and time.

Here is the recipe I use:

6qt crock pot

8-10oz uncooked lasagna noodles (I use whole wheat or gluten free, but you could also substitute eggplant to make a lighter version)

1lb ground turkey (or lean beef or sausage if you prefer)

1/2 a medium sweet onion, in a rough chop

2 cloves fresh garlic – minced or 2 teaspoons crushed (from a jar)

1 Jar your favorite pasta sauce (I use Classico Tomato basil, not high in calories per serving and has no added sugar)

2 cups Added veggies, I used broccoli and bell pepper, but you could also use mushrooms or carrots if you like those as well.

Cheese mix:

2.5 cups low fat, low moisture mozzarella – shredded (reserve 3/4 cups for adding to the top once all the layers are complete)

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

3/4 cup non fat/low fat ricotta

Take all 3 cheeses (- 3/5 mozzarella) and mix in a bowl till well combined. This will look a bit dry but it melts really nice when its all put together.

Creation:

Start by putting the onion and garlic in a non stick pan and cooking till it is tender and the onions are starting to show through.

Add the meat and cook till brown, in most cases I do not use any extra oil, most meat has enough moisture or fat to brown once it cooks down a little.

Once the meat has browned add the jar of pasta sauce and allow the sauce to simmer (preferably with a lid on) for 30 minutes.

Layering in the crock pot:

For me these ingredients made about 3 layers, you can double if you have a large group or big family and it still bakes well!

Start with a layer of meat sauce

Break the noodles in half and layer so the noddles make a single layer

Spread on 1/3 of the cheese mix, 1/3 of selected veggies, then another layer of sauce (I usually make the middle layers of sauce lighter since there is sauce on the bottom and top which will condense down)

Add the rest of the ingredients, following the layer pattern above till used up (ending with sauce is best in my test cases).

Once everything is layered, add the reserved mozzarella on top.

Ready to go! Cook on low for 4-5 hours (could extend to more, if you made in the morning and wanted it to sit all day, use the warm setting in this case rather than low), or if you will be home and like something with a little more crunch on the edges(which is my style), cook on high 1 hour, and low 2-3 hours.

Oven roasted pork chops

Start with:

2lbs thick cut boneless loin chops
Cast iron skillet
Salt
Pepper
Garlic and/or onion powder
Cayenne pepper
2 tbsp oil of choice ( I usually use grape-seed oil cause it withstands high temperature without burning)

Start by pre heating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Place skillet on stove over medium/ high heat. Warm up 1-2 minutes then add oil.

Season chops and place in skillet.

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You want to cook the chops about 3-4 minutes per side (all 4 sides) until mostly brown.

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Once you’ve browned the sides pick the side you started with and place it down on the skillet.

Place the skillet in the oven and turn the oven down to 375 degrees.

You will cook the pork chops about another 20 minutes for thick cut ones like pictured above (for thinner or hand cut pork chops you will want to cook them till you press down gently and the juices run clear, usually about 150 degrees internal temp on a meat thermometer)

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Once they are cooked allow for at least 3-5 minutes resting time for juice redistribution.

Then plate and enjoy with your favorite sides. Pictured here with twice baked, stuffed potatoes with vegan cheese and broccoli, and the recipe for mom’s home made chunky applesauce.

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Spicy Cilantro Chicken & Tomatoes

  • 2lb chicken breasts – no skin, off the bone
  • 1/2 cup Orange juice  (plus 2 tablespoons – set aside – for cooking)- low sugar varieties work well
  • 1 can (14 oz) crushed, or diced no salt added tomatoes
  • Non stick spray (like Pam)
  • ¼ cup minced onion (if using dried minced onion use about 1 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne or Mexican chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh Cilantro (or 2 tablespoons dried cilantro leaves)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Take 1/2 c. Orange Juice & Chicken, place in a heavy duty freezer zip-lock bag, let marinate in fridge 1-1.5 hours

Spray glass Pyrex baking dish with non stick spray (lightly), then add marinated chicken

Add additional 2 tablespoons OJ, and the rest of the spices to the salt and pepper. Mix around in the glass dish to make sure everything is coated on the chicken.

Sprinkle with Cilantro (I use a lot cause I like a strong flavor, dried cilantro is more mild)

Cover with tin foil, and poke a few wholes for additional steam venting

Place in the over and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the tin foil, turn up the heat to 400 degrees and cook another 15 minutes (or until chicken juices run clear)

Remove from the oven, and let the dish rest about 5 minutes, so the chicken can absorb the tomato sauce its sitting in,  Then enjoy!

This dish serves well with roasted rosemary potatoes, rice, quinoa salad, and my favorite is Spanish rice and tortillas.

Mini Meatloaf

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This super delicious meatloaf, is really moist and surprisingly light. I figured out that it is about 60 calories +/- (depending on how big you make them) per Mini meatloaf.

They go great with a Greek style yogurt sauce, a little extra ketchup, or even some bbq sauce with a smoky bite!

  • 1lb – lean ground meat (turkey, chicken (breast meat preferable) or beef 95% lean)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ c. reduced/no sugar natural ketchup (Heinz makes a pretty good Red. Sugar version)
  • ½ c Non Fat Greek yogurt ( I use fage 0%)
  • ¼ minced onion (if using dried minced onion use about 2 tbsp)
  • 2 tsp fresh crushed garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Fresh sage and rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (pre-heat about 7-10 minutes)

Take 1st 6 items (meat through garlic and place in glass bowl and mix a few times with your hands)

Then add all the spices to your liking I used about 1tsp each of the dry and 1 tbsp each of the fresh)

Mix until well combined, it will look really wet but that is good.

Spray a muffin tin with non stick cooking spray  (not a lot just 1 spray per cup) and fill each muffin slot to the top (or a little over as it will shrink down)

Once the oven is hot place the tin on the middle rack for 1 hr to 1hr 10 min (until a toothpick when inserted comes out clean). Then enjoy!