Mozzarella Filled Meatballs with Pesto

11951132_10207197313749278_3141163015154640926_n-1

Not only are these extremely easy to execute but they are also wildly delicious. This recipe has a lot of different flavors that range from bold to simple. They all work really well together. The pesto is very fresh and robust, whereas the gooey mozzarella adds an amazing creaminess. The chicken meatball “shell” ties it all together with crunchy garlic bits and a bread-y base. I wouldn’t recommend serving these with anything too heavy because they are really the star of the show. I served them with steamed vegetables and found them to be the perfect “supporting actors.” By some miracle, we did not eat all of these in one night and were able to get two dinners out of them. They reheat really nicely. This will be a repeat recipe and I can’t wait to get creative with what we serve alongside them.

Serves: 5     Calories: 385.4 per serving   Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh or store bought pesto, (My Fresh Pesto Recipe )
  • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella or 1/4 of a roll of mozzarella cheese, to roll into small balls
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mozzarella is a pretty melt-y cheese so if you are using shredded cheese mold the cheese into about 20 small/medium balls. If you’re using a block of mozzarella, cube about 1/4 of the block and roll into 20 small/medium ball shapes. Put these into the refrigerator while you mix up the meatball ingredients. This shouldn’t be too difficult as the warmth of your hands should make the cheese pliable enough.
  3. Mix together the ground chicken, panko, egg, garlic, salt, pepper, and 2-3 tbsp of the pesto.
  4. Form a small/medium sized meatball and press one mozzarella ball into the center. Roll the filled meatball in your hands to make sure the mozzarella is completely covered by the chicken mixture. If you don’t do this well enough the mozzarella will just ooze out in the oven. Repeat until meatball mixture is all used up.
  5. Bake for 13 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked.
  6. You can either toss the meatballs all together with the pesto or you can spoon a bit over each meatball. I chose to spoon a bit over each because I love pesto that I didn’t want any to go to waste. I ended up with quite a bit left over (scrambled eggs anyone 😉 )
  7. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.sweetandsavorybyshinee.com

Advertisements

Thai Basil Beef “Fake-Out-Take-Out”

11888016_10207161477453393_1262160461549669789_n

It only took one bite to know that this recipe would become a regular in my kitchen. Traditionally Thai dishes don’t use ground beef but since I have two very busy little boys I needed to make it easy and affordable. Ground beef or beef strips, this recipe is a show stopper. The flavor is savory, spicy, and sweet. I think the fresh basil is really the highlight here. It adds a crisp fresh element that really blew us away. We spooned the beef over a mound of brown rice that added a nice chewy texture. We declared that from now on we will be doubling this recipe because two dinners just isn’t enough!

Serves: 5     Calories: 423 per serving (includes 1 cup brown rice)     Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil, I used Canola
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1-2 cups basil, I used 1.5 cups of basil from my garden
  • Brown rice, cooked (optional)

Directions:

  1. If you’re serving with rice start cooking your rice now.
  2. Crush garlic with the flat blade of a knife. If you have a mortar and pestle you can use them to make a paste with the crushed garlic, pepper flakes and salt. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle continue using the flat blade of a knife and crush together the garlic, pepper flakes and salt to make a garlic-y paste. Once you’ve made the paste let it sit for a minute or two to allow the flavors to meld together.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan and cook the garlic paste with shallot for a minute over medium heat.
  4. Add the beef and continue to cook until just browned, approximately 6 minutes
  5. Stir in your bell peppers. I like to leave my bell peppers still a little crunchy so I immediately moved onto the next step. If you like your bell pepper more soft allow them to cook for a minute or two before moving onto the next step.
  6. Add the soy sauce and brown sugar. Cook for a minute or two longer
  7. Add the basil and cook until just wilted, about a minute.
  8. Spoon beef over a bed of rice or other steamed veggies. OR eat it straight out of the pan, I will not confirm nor deny that I was tempted..
  9. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe is adapted from http://www.littlespicejar.com which is an adorable food blog with many many more delicious recipes!

Spinach Muffins

11889607_10207135361200503_7959142779445121194_n

In trying to get Chance to eat fruits and vegetables I thought it would be genius to essentially lie to him and tell him I dyed these muffins with food coloring. He ate the first one with no problems but the second time around he started noticing the flecks of green. Looks like I need to be more sneaky with this one. Nonetheless my husband and I are loving these and who knows maybe I’ll get my picky little monster to try them once more. You cannot taste the spinach at all and I think this is because the vanilla extract masks the veggie-ish smell overpowering it with sweet vanilla. I thought these tasted like cupcakes so I’ll enjoy every last one!

Makes: 12 muffins    Calories: 192/muffin    Prep time: 10 minutes    Cook time: 20 minutes per batch

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of spinach, pureed (We buy fresh spinach by the “bunch at our store. If this is not an option for you, a bunch is equal to about 2 very large handfuls)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a blender or food processor puree spinach.
  3. Add the rest of your wet ingredients to the blender/food processor and blend until smooth
  4. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients and stir it all together.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. You don’t want to over mix because that will change the texture of your muffins.
  6. Spray a muffin tin/mold with cooking spray or full muffin tin with muffin papers and pour batter 2/3 of the way into each cup.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes and do a toothpick check. If the toothpick comes out clean you’re all set but if it comes out with batter stuck to it you need to add a few minutes of bake time. Repeat toothpick test until it comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy warm with butter 🙂

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.messforless.net

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Noodle Soup

1912006_10206863251517931_5709989089077448467_n

With Football season upon us I think it is appropriate that I post a “game day buffalo chicken something” recipe. This is a great dish for game day because it doesn’t require a lot of fuss and will feed all your footballers. Be warned, that with everything else buffalo chicken, this soup is ADDICTING! It has a great spicy bite with tender shredded chicken and fill-your-belly veggies/egg noodles. This soup is so easy to throw together and such a pleasure to enjoy with family and friends! We love this recipe and cannot wait to make it again!

Serves: 10   Calories: 255 per serving    Prep time: approximately 30 minutes   Cook time: 4 hours

Ingredients:

  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 12 oz buffalo sauce
  • 6 cups of chicken broth, I used reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups wide egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Add carrots, celery, garlic, onion, chicken, buffalo sauce, and chicken broth to the crock pot. Cook on low for 3 1/2 hours.
  2. Add the egg noodles, raise the temperature to high, and cook for a half hour.
  3. Remove the chicken breasts, shred them and return them to the crock pot
  4. Turn off the crock pot and stir in the heavy cream.
  5. Serve hot and GO TEAM! 😉

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.wineandglue.com 

Banana Muffins

11709583_10206970008186781_4259378576832912015_n

My four-year old, Chance, has to be the most picky eater on planet earth. He has perfected the “gag and fake puke” when asked to take a nibble of a green bean. And Bananas? You’ve got to be kidding me, you would think I was asking him to eat a ghost pepper. I’ve had to start getting really creative in finding ways to get him to eat something nutritious. Chance is going to preschool in a few weeks so I really wanted to find something to offer him for breakfast that he likes and will give him a nutritious boost. Banana muffins! If you mush the banana enough there are no chunks to blow your cover. Added bonus: if your kid likes Spongebob tell him/her that the brown stringy bits (bananas have brown stringy bits no matter how good you mush it) are jellyfish jelly and that these are jellyfish jelly flavored muffins. My son went absolutely crazy for these and even wanted a second after gobbling up his first one. These are easy to make and what’s even better is that you make them ahead of time and you just grab one and go. No morning stress or mess.

Makes: approx. 12 muffins    Calories: 197 per muffin    Time: approximately 30 minutes (This will change if you need to make multiple batches. I only have one muffin mold with 6 cups so I need to make 2 batches to use up all the batter. This approximated time is for only needing to make one batch.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 large bananas, I used ones that were really ripe and covered in brown spots as they are easy to mash up
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • 1.5 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Chocolate chips (optional) for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. If you do not want any chunks of banana mash them up by themselves and then mix in the sugar and egg. If you do want chunks mash up the banana with the sugar and the egg.
  3. Stir in melted butter
  4. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Once combined add the dry mixture to the wet mixture.
  5. DO NOT OVER MIX THE DRY AND WET INGREDIENTS. LET THERE BE LUMPS! Sorry I’m yelling at you but if you get crazy with mixing these two together your muffins will turn out more like biscuits rather than moist muffins.
  6. Line muffin or cupcake pan with papers if you are using them. If not spray the pan with cooking spray. (I use a silicon muffin mold so I just spray instead of using papers)
  7. Spoon the mixture about 2/3 of the way into each cup and make for about 20 minutes.
  8. To make sure they are done stick a toothpick through the middle of a muffin and pull it out. If there is nothing on the toothpick and it comes out “clean” then your muffins are done. If the toothpick comes out with gooey muffin mix on it they need a few more minutes in the oven.
  9. If you are adding chocolate chips press a few into the muffin-tops after they’re out of the oven.

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.clockworklemon.com