Turkey & Zucchini Meatball Sandwiches

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One of my ultimate comfort foods is the humble meatball. The funny thing is, we NEVER had them growing up. My mom, grandma, and aunts never really made them. Sure, we had spaghetti with meat sauce, but never meatballs. I always longed for a plate of pasta and meatballs, a la Lady and the Tramp. It’s just that kind of nostalgia evoked via cinema and whimsy that you sometimes crave. You know? As an adult, I have made certain meatballs have become part of my cooking repertoire.

Recently, I was contacted by Le Creuset and Williams Sonoma inquiring if I’d be interested in participating in a traveling potluck, dubbed #lapispotluck, using the exclusive Lapis French Oven. My answer was obviously, YES…duh. I have a Le Creuset Braiser that I treasure and use often, so I knew I would love a chance to use the French Oven. I’m just a sucker for enameled cast iron.

When I was thinking of what to make with this beautiful oven, I really wanted something with a color that would pop against that deep blue. Enter these Turkey & Zucchini Meatball Sandwiches. I love meatballs a top a pile of spaghetti, but there’s just something so irresistible about a messy, meatball sandwich. I knew the red sauce with bits of bright-green basil would compliment the Lapis hue perfectly, plus it would make a delicious dinner.

I made these meatballs with turkey, since it’s spring and some of us may be seeking comfort foods on the lighter side. Even though these are turkey meatballs, they are still juicy and full of flavor thanks to the sausage, aromatics, parmesan, and plenty of fresh zucchini. I like to brown my meatballs a bit before dropping them into the sauce for an extra layer of flavor, plus those brown bits leftover are perfect for helping to season the sauce–all made in the same pot! The meatballs are great on their own, but piled on top of a lightly toasted roll and topped with plenty of melty cheese and fragrant basil is absolute meatball sandwich perfection.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Turkey & Zucchini Meatball Sandwiches

Makes several sandwiches (at least 6).

For the rolls, I used some sausage rolls made in the bakery of my favorite market. Small hoagie or sub rolls, or even portions of a baguette would work perfectly.

1 lb. ground turkey

1/2 lb. turkey Italian sausage (hot or sweet, depending on your preference)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

1 heaping cup shredded zuchinni

1 heaping cup minced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

Sauce:

1 onion, diced fine

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1, 28 ounce, can crushed tomatoes

salt to taste

For sandwiches:

basil

shredded mozzarella

parmesan

sandwich rolls

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs and mix well. I like to use my hand in a claw-like motion, stirring in one direction vigorously until well combined. Scoop meat into golf-ball sized portions and set on a sheet pan or large plate. Heat your French oven, or other wide pot, over medium-high heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the meatballs in batches, on at least 2 sides, remove the browned meatballs back to the plate or sheet pan (they do not need to be cooked through, cooking will continue in the sauce.

Once the meatballs are done, lower the heat to medium and add the onions for the sauce to the pot, adding about 1 tablespoon of olive oil if needed, plus a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan as the onions become soft and release some liquid. Once the onions are translucent, add in the garlic, and cook for about 60 seconds. Add in the tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook until the tomato paste becomes a rusty-red color, about 1-2 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, stir to combine, and add a pinch of salt. Bring the sauce to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and add in the meatballs plus any juices collected on the sheet pan/plate. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Taste for seasoning before building your sandwiches.

Preheat the broiler, split your sandwich rolls, place on a sheet pan, and toast lightly under the broiler. Top rolls with a few meatballs, mozzarella, and parmesan. Place under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly, remove from under the broiler and scatter with some torn or shredded basil. Serve hot and melty! [/recipe]

I was compensated by Le Creuset & Williams Sonoma for the development of this recipe. As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

Mini Pizza Pancakes and BLT Breakfast Pizza

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Mini Pizza Pancakes for Brinner

Did you know that today is Backward’s Day?

To celebrate maybe you’ll talk backwards and wear your ponytail in the front…no? I didn’t really think so, but maybe you could celebrate by having everyone’s favorite backwards meal, BRINNER!

These Mini Pizza Pancakes and BLT Breakfast Pizza are perfect for throwing a Backward’s Day Brinner Bash, using convenient Bisquick mix and mashing together some breakfast and dinner flavors.

Mini Pizza Pancakes

The Mini Pizza Pancakes look just like mini pizzas but with a fluffy, tender Bisquick pancake as the base. Go crazy and top them however you want, whether it be classic pepperoni and cheese or maybe even sausage and gravy!

BLT Breakfast Pizza for Brinner

This BLT Breakfast Pizza combines salty, crisp bacon, tomatoes, an arugula pesto (for the lettuce component in our BLT), and runny eggs. It’s a delicious twist for either breakfast or brinner!

BEAUTY_#3_Bisquick_Brinner_Pizza

To get these recipes and for even more Backwards Day Brinner Bash ideas check out this post or pop on over to Bisquick to get even more breakfast for dinner ideas.

 

Disclosure, I was compensated by Bisquick for the development of these recipes. As usual, all opinions are my own. 

 

Grilled Burgers with Troublemaker Wine Sauce + Blue Cheese

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Can we talk about TV? Specifically, can we talk about how goddamn amazing it is that Kristin Wiig plays young-Lucille on Arrested Development?! I think I shouted my approval at the TV, this happens when casting is just THAT good…or, you know, when the storyline throws me into a fit of tv-rage. Happens.

I, unabashedly, love TV and I will get sucked into a series and then re-watch it for eternity (i.e Arrested Development, the Office, Buffy, etc.)… Lucille Bluth was already pretty much my favorite character, Jessica Walter is ahhhh-mazing and Kristin Wiig just completes the character, full circle. I love it!

Maybe because I secretly have a sharp-tongued Lucille Bluth deep within me and maybe because the nice people at Jarvis Communications sent me some Troublemaker wine on behalf of their client, I made a wine-sauced burger. Though Lucille would never eat anything my thumb touched and to her this is probably considered pool-food, I’m pretty sure she’d ingest any booze-laced food item over anything non-boozed.

Enter this burger. That one, way up there…it was my dinner on Monday and it was amazing. Red wine and beef are known friends, and I just love ‘em together. I reduced the wine with some beef stock, sautéed shallots, a ton of coarse black pepper and spooned it over these serious grilled burgers. Rachel, from Jarvis, kindly included a special burger blend (including short rib, holla!), even though when we spoke on the phone I was a total spaz and apparently forgot how to be a human being. Wine AND phone skills beget major points from this girl…

ANYWAY, I’m not a patty-forming pro, as evidenced, but the flavor did not suffer! The rich beef paired with the lush wine sauce was perfection with a sprinkled of blue cheese.  I’m no wine aficionado  but I do love a dry, smooth wine anytime. Troublemaker is exactly the kind of red I’d want to sip with a beefy burger — it’s rich, yet smooth, with lots of fruit, but still dry. I’m not a sweet wine drinker, but I do love there to be some fruit in there and this wine delivered. I could totally see myself bringing this as a host’s gift, and it doesn’t hurt that the label is cool too…I’m a sucker for a good wine label!

*Jarvis Communications provided me with both the wine and beef to try at my leisure. I was not compensated for this post, and as always all opinions are honest and my own. I do not promote products I have not tried and do not love. Cheers! [recipe]

Print Recipe

Grilled Burgers with Wine Sauce

This wine sauce is inspired by a pan sauce I throw together anytime we have steaks–which is, like, once a year…on our anniversary. For a pan cooked burger, use the same pan to make the sauce–aka PAN SAUCE (duh!). It will rock your world, I promise. 

Makes enough wine sauce for several burgers. Refrigerate leftovers in a lidded container for 1 week.

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 shallots, sliced

1/4 cup beef stock

1 cup dry, red wine

1 Tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

2 Tablespoons butter

salt to taste

1 lb. ground beef

salt + pepper

3-4 split buns (I used store-bought brioche)

lettuce, tomato, crumbled blue cheese, sliced onions, or whatever other toppings you like.

In a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, sauté the shallots in the olive oil until tender and translucent  Add the beef stock, bring to a boil, and reduce until there is just a small amount of liquid left in the pan, add the wine, and bring back to a boil. Continue to cook until reduced by half. Whisk in the black pepper and dijon, then the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Season with salt to taste. Pour into a dish and set aside until ready to serve.

Heat your grill–I have a gas grill, but you could use charcoal or a grill pan indoors. Whatever works! I like to grill burgers on a screaming hot grill for maximum crusty-bits. While your grill heats, divide the beef into 3-4 equal parts, form into patties without compacting them too much, sprinkle liberally on each side with salt and pepper, and grill, flipping only once, for desired doneness. I am a fan of a medium-rare to medium burger — but do what you like/want/desire. Top the hot burgers with blue cheese and tent with foil while you toast the buns on the grill (be sure to watch them, as they will turn into charcoal in seconds). Assemble burgers however you like, topping with a generous spoonful of the wine sauce. [/recipe]