Turkey & Zucchini Meatball Sandwiches

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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. 

Game Day Eats

Tags: , , , ,

While we aren’t really football watchers around here (Sean’s die-hard for fútbol), we do get down with some game-day fare. I mean, I’m into game days and the Superbowl…if there are snacks and treats galore. Below are just a few recipes that I think would totes be Big Game appropriate.

Roasted Pepper Cheese Dip

QUESO, y’all! It’s a cheesy, spicy, gooey hot tub for chips and other dip-ables. It’s a processed-cheese-free dream.

Beer Battered Pickles

There isn’t much to say here, I mean it’s pickles dipped in beer batter, then deep fried. These are arguably the best-ever snack to accompany a super chilled beer. Photo below by me, recipe on my girl–Megan’s–blog.

Corn Dog Pops

All the goodness of a corn dog, miniaturized on a stick. These pretty much eliminate the awkwardness that is eating a corn dog. Plus, you can have like, half a dozen or more!

Easy + Light Potato Soup

In case you want another option besides the standard chili (I know I’m not kidding anyone here, chili is the business), this potato soup is just a bit lighter, totally filling and warm, and can be topped with all kinds of goodness…just like chili.

Streusel-Topped and Rocky Road Brownies

Brownies from scratch are among the easiest, most satisfying desserts around. They can feed a crowd and adaptations are endless. I love these two brownies–I mean, crunchy streusel or gooey, nutty rocky road. It’s a tough choice, but one could totally make both!

Easy + Light Potato Soup

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy 2013, y’all!

As always, I am striving for balance in the new year. After weeks of hearty meals and many cookies, I’m realistic enough to know that while a few weeks of lighter meals may be on the horizon–I’ll never give up dessert.

So, in an effort to find and maintain some balance, I made you this soup. Actually, I’ve made this soup 5 times in the last 3 weeks. It’s so dang good and filling! It’s the first potato soup I have ever made, myself. A lot of recipes call for cream or half-and-half, but when it comes to dinner, I struggle with the thought of consuming cups of either as part of a balanced meal. Instead, I subbed in reduced-fat milk, making the bulk of the soup with stock. There are some vegetables in there for good measure–and I bet you could sub some of the potatoes with cauliflower with great results. Even without the heavy dairy, this soup is creamy and satisfying. Topping the soup with some choice garnishes–bacon, green onions, and greek yogurt, in this case–make this simple potato soup a totally flavorful and filling meal.

Easy Potato Soup

Serves 4-6

I use reduced-fat milk in this recipe with great results, but to keep it from separating once it boils, I mix the cold milk with cornstarch to bind it. 

2-2.5 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-1/4 inch cubes

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 celery stalk, diced fine

1 carrot, diced fine

1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, diced fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

4 cups stock (I like to use either vegetable or chicken)

2 cups reduced-fat milk (I used 2%)

1.5 Tablespoons cornstarch

Garnishes I’m into: crisp bacon, green onions or chives, cheese, sour cream or greek yogurt, roasted tomatoes, croutons.

Place the peeled and diced potatoes in a large bowl of cool water, to prevent from oxidizing. Set aside.

Measure out the milk and whisk in the cornstarch, to combine and dissolve completely. Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion, sprinkle lightly with salt and sweat until translucent and tender–about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and cook another minute. Drain and add the potatoes, followed by the stock. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer–taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if desired–and cook for about 15 minutes–or until the potatoes are very tender. Turn off the heat and using an immersion blender (or regular blender), blend the milk/cornstarch mixture into the soup. Continue to blend until the soup is smooth and creamy. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer to keep warm until ready to serve.

Garnish as desired.