Green Onion Ginger Meatballs

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Here is a variant on the plum sauce meatballs, which you can make for a quick and tasty weekday meal.  These have chopped green onion and ginger to add a bit of spice.

 

Green Onion Ginger Meatballs

Yield: 20-24 meatballs

  • 1 lb ground chicken OR pork
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plum sauce (optional)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Combine ground meat, sugar, corn starch, oyster sauce, rice wine, and pepper in a large bowl (preferably metal or plastic).
  3. Stir in ginger and green onions.
  4. Place the bowl in the sink.  Scoop up the meat mixture in one hand and throw it back down in the bowl hard.
  5. Repeat 10-20 times until you feel the texture change; the mixture will become more cohesive.  (My mom recommends going up to 100 times if you’re in the mood.)  You’ll want to do this step in the sink because until you get the hang of it, you might have bits of meat flying off.
  6. Shape the mixture into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter.  I like to grab a handful of meat in one hand, squeeze out a rounded portion between my thumb and forefinger, and use a spoon in my other hand to cut off the meatball and place it on the baking sheet.
  7. If desired, drop about 1/2 teaspoon of plum sauce on top of each meatball.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.  You can cut open a meatball to check for done-ness.
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Onion Mushroom Tomato Pizza

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This is one of our favorite veggie pizza topping combinations.  The fresh minced garlic in the tomato sauce really makes a big difference to the flavor.

 

Onion Mushroom Tomato Pizza

Yield: 12-13″ pizza

  • 1 portion Quick and Easy Pizza Crust
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz Italian shredded cheese mix
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced

 

  1. Prepare pizza dough (you can even do this the night before, and store the dough in a covered bowl overnight in the refrigerator), roll out into a crust, and place in pizza pan.
  2. In a bowl, stir together tomato paste and minced garlic.  You may need to add a little water to thin the paste to a spreadable consistency.
  3. Spread tomato paste over crust, leaving 1/4-1/2″ border around the edge.
  4. Sprinkle about half of the cheese evenly across the top.
  5. Scatter sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions across the top.
  6. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese across the vegetables
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
  8. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Squash Ribbon Pasta with Herb Cream Sauce and Sausage

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If you like pasta and summer squash, you have to try this recipe.  The pasta and squash ribbons match perfectly with the creamy sauce and the crumbled sausage.

Original recipe

 

Squash Ribbon Pasta with Herb Cream Sauce and Sausage
Adapted from MyRecipes

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 medium (about 8 ounces) zucchini
  • 1 medium (about 8 ounces) summer squash
  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh tarragon, basil, or parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

 

  1. Shave zucchini and squash into thin strips using a vegetable peeler, until you hit the seeded portion.  Place strips in a colander.  Cut seeded portion into slices and set aside.
  2. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook 6 minutes.
  3. Add red onion and cook 2 minutes.  Drain pasta mixture over squash in colander.  The residual heat will cook the squash strips.
  4. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add milk and flour; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in cream; cook for 1 minute.
  5. While cream sauce is cooking, sautee garlic in a little oil.  Crumble and brown sausage in a separate saucepan.  Add the slices of the seeded portion of squash about halfway through.
  6. Pour cream sauce over pasta mixture, stirring to coat.  Stir in the sausage mix, herbs, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.

Pork Chops

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This is one of my favorite pork chop recipes, which comes from an ancient newspaper clipping.  You can make the spice mix and store it in an airtight container for use on other types of meat, such as chicken drumsticks.

 

Pork Chops
From Paul Prudhomme

Yield: 8 pork chops

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 (4.5-oz) pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

 

  1. In a small bowl, combine salt and spices.
  2. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon spice mixture on each side of the pork chops and rub it in.
  3. In a heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat for 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, dredge half of the pork chops in flour.  Just as oil begins to smoke, shake off excess flour and slide each pork chop into oil, making sure bottom of each chop is well coated in oil.
  5. Cook 2.5 minutes then turn chops and reduce heat to medium.
  6. Cook about 3 minutes and turn again.
  7. Cook 1 minute longer and turn.
  8. Cook 1 minute, then remove chops to serving plate.  Keep warm.
  9. Discard oil.  Loosen browned bits on bottom of skillet and discard.  Wipe skillet and pour in 1 tablespoon oil.
  10. Flour and cook remaining pork chops.

Pasta alla Vodka

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This is my new favorite pasta dish.  The sauce is so creamy and delicious that it’s hard to stop eating.  It only takes about half and hour to make, too, so it’s great for a weekday dinner.

Original recipe

 

Pasta alla Vodka
Adapted from SimplyRecipes

Yield: 4 servings

  • 12 ounces fettuccine pasta
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, about 4 teaspoons
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

 

  1. Bring large pot of salted water (1 tablespoon salt for every 2 quarts of water) to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Crumble sausage and brown it in a large, thick-bottomed pan over medium heat.  Set aside.
  3. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat, add the onion, and sauté 5-7 minutes until lightly browned.
  4. Decrease heat to medium, add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute longer.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes to pan and stir in vodka, heavy cream, and lemon zest.
  6. Increase heat and bring mixture to a simmer.  Lower the heat to maintain a simmer.
  7. Once sauce is simmering, add pasta to boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes.
  8. After the sauce simmers for about 5 minutes, add browned sausage.  Cook until pasta is done.
  9. When pasta is done, strain and stir it into the pan with the sauce.  Sprinkle with parsley and black pepper.

Pepperoni Pizza

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If you don’t know what pepperoni pizza is, try it out!  It’s the quintessential pizza American kids grow up eating.

 

Pepperoni Pizza

Yield: 12-13″ pizza

  • 1 portion Quick and Easy Pizza Crust
  • 1/2 (15-oz) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 oz pepperoni
  • 8 oz grated mozzarella
  • 1 Roma tomato

 

  1. Wash, dry, and slice tomato.
  2. If you feel motivated, fry pepperoni briefly in a pan and pat off the grease with a paper towel.
  3. Prepare pizza dough (you can even do this the night before, and store the dough in a covered bowl overnight in the refrigerator), roll out into a crust, and place in pizza pan.
  4. In a bowl, stir together tomato paste and oregano.  You may need to add a little water to thin the paste to a spreadable consistency.
  5. Spread tomato paste over crust, leaving 1/4-1/2″ border around the edge.
  6. Scatter about half to two-thirds of the pepperoni over the crust.
  7. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly across the top.
  8. Scatter remaining pepperoni across the top.
  9. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
  10. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Spaghetti Bolognese

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This recipe comes from my mentor, who is part Italian.  It’s really tasty, and you can easily double it for dinner parties.

 

Spaghetti Bolognese

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork OR beef OR chicken (whatever you have, really)
  • 1 cup half and half OR milk
  • 5 (28-oz) cans crushed tomatoes in tomato purée
  • 1/2 cup white wine OR 1/2 cup water+1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 lb spaghetti noodles

 

  1. Grate carrots.
  2. Finely chop celery until the pieces are about size of the carrot bits.
  3. Finely chop onion.
  4. Cook carrots, celery, and onion in a large pot with a little oil or butter, until vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add ground meat, breaking up clumps with a wooden spoon.
  6. Cook, stirring constantly and breaking up clumps, until meat is no longer pink.  It takes 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add half and half OR milk.  Continue to stir and break up any clumps of meat.
  8. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until liquid reduces to about ½ inch left in the bottom of the pot, about 10 minutes.  Stir from time to time.
  9. Add white wine (or water+lemon juice) and salt and pepper, to taste.
  10. Bring mixture to a simmer again and cook until liquid reduces to about ½ inch left in the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes.  Stir from time to time.
  11. Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil.
  12. Cover and simmer until sauce is thick.  Stir from time to time.  If you dip a wooden spoon in it and pull it up, the sauce and meat bits should cling to the spoon and drip off it slowly.
  13. While sauce is simmering, heat a pot of water until it boils.  Cook spaghetti noodles to desired doneness, about 11 minutes.
  14. Serve noodles topped with sauce.