Moroccan Spicy Lamb Soup

DSC_8191 (1600x1060)We roasted a boneless leg of lamb for Easter dinner and had a lot leftover.  I remembered looking at recipes for lamb and thought they sounded pretty good so I did a search and ran across this recipe.  I used it as an ingredient guide for the proper amounts of the spices and kept with the spirit of the recipe although I made some additions and subtractions.  I did have some canned chickpeas, but no lentils of any sort so I left them out, as I did with the cilantro.

I used a can of San Marino tomatoes with their juices, roughly chopped, and added some garlic, orange and lemon zest, and a half teaspoon of Madras curry powder that has been lonely in the cupboard.  I dithered a bit on the pasta, thinking ditalini, but went with the pearl couscous.  I’m not a huge fan of the tri-color pastas but that’s all I had in the larger sized couscous.  It was very good.  We don’t often get out of the familiar spice “comfort zone” but I think we will try something like this again.

Chicken with Couscous

DSC_7832 (1600x1060)We like Chicken Marsala so much that we made a variant of it tonight.  This has boneless skinless thighs dredged in seasoned flour and then browned in olive oil.  Remove the chicken and deglaze with the Marsala wine, scrape the bottom with a flat wooden spatula to break the nice browned bits up.  Add a cup and a half of chicken stock to it and bring to a simmer.  Add the browned chicken back and cover.  I used butter kneaded with flour to thicken the gravy before serving.  The couscous was from a box mix, this one was flavored with dried mushrooms.  I squeezed lemon juice over my chicken and liked it well enough, optional.

We don’t eat much couscous, but it is being stocked regularly and we may step up the pace.  I see from the Wiki that we had the instant variety which is quick and easy.  I may browse the International Grocery next town over for the regular stuff.

Dinner Menu: Grilled Pork Chops and Peach Chutney

I linked to the grilled pork chops with last Friday’s Recipe Exchange, but thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and post the full menu today. For more peach recipes, check out Friday’s post here.

Grilled Pork Chops
Peach Chutney
Green Beans
Couscous
Sliced Melon

Grilled Pork Chops w/Peach Chutney:

  • 4 pork chops, medium thickness
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup Peach Chutney

Mix together garlic, salt, pepper and oil and brush over both sides of chops.  Grill over medium-high coals for 5 to 7 minutes on one side, turn and top with ¼ of chutney on each chop.  Grill additional 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked to desired doneness.  Serve immediately, with additional chutney if desired.

Peach Chutney:

  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste

small sauce pan

Add all ingredients to sauce pan, heat to boiling – stirring constantly, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, until slightly thickened.

Shopping list:

  • 4 boneless pork chops (medium thickness)
  • 2 large peaches
  • 4 green onions
  • 4 oz golden raisins
  • 16 oz green beans
  • couscous (usually a 6 oz box works fine)
  • favorite melon –  Cantaloupes are in season right now here

Also: crushed garlic, olive oil, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, ground ginger, chili powder

Friday Recipe Exchange: Meatballs

Meatball Subs1

A few weeks back I made meatball grinders – subs to most people – and was talking to my mom about them, because after all I used her recipe. She told me that one of her favorite things to do is to buy ground beef when it’s on sale and make and freeze a whole bunch of meatballs. Then they are available to make all kinds of good stuff, like meatball soup and various meatball sandwiches.

Until that moment, I hadn’t given meatballs much thought. I mean they’re good, but beyond the occasional grinder, I didn’t really use them. Then I went tripping around my own blog and found that JeffreyW had a whole bunch of meatball ideas. And that’s how we got to tonight’s recipe exchange idea: Meatballs!

I’ll post a basic meatball recipe below and include the grinder/sub recipe. But first, let me point you to both JeffreyW’s basic meatball recipe and how he’s used them:

“Not Your Mama’s Meatballs” (recipe here)

Meatball Soup (recipe here)

Couscous with Meatballs (recipe here)

For all of JefferyW’s meatball recipes, click here.

Your turn. Do you have a favorite meatball recipe? Beyond spaghetti and meatball subs, what do you use meatballs in? And does anyone have a good vegetarian meatball recipe? Hit the comments and share your ideas.

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Photo by JeffreyW

A quick tip, cookie scoops make meatball production easier and quick.

Now for the featured recipes:

This is a DOUBLE recipe that makes 8 to 10 subs, you can easily halve the ingredients or you can freeze extra meatballs and sauce for later.

Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef*
  • ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp basil

baking sheet

Mix all ingredients together and mix well. You’re going make 1 ½ inch balls. The easiest way to do this is to use a cookie/muffin scoop (see photo above). Place on the baking sheet and bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Don’t overcook, as they will finish in the sauce.

*For spicier meatballs you can substitute 1/4 to 1/2 of the ground beef with spicy Italian sausage.

Sauce:

  • 4-15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2-6 oz cans tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 3 tsp basil, crushed
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated

In large saucepan or dutch oven, add ingredients, bring to a low boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add meatballs and stir gently. Let simmer for 10 minutes or longer.

Grinder/Sub Assembly:

  • 8 large hoagie/sub rolls
  • 2-4 oz parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz sliced mozzarella cheese

baking sheet

Slice rolls, but DO NOT slice completely in half.  Place 4 to 6 meatballs in each roll, add lots of sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan and top with slices of mozzarella. Place on baking sheet, cheese side up and bake at 375° for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bread is toasty. Keep a good eye on it, they will burn quickly. Serve with lots of napkins.

NOTE: My mom has this trick of slicing out a wedge on the top of the rolls (instead of slicing them in half lengthwise) to make the pocket (see photo at top). Then they actually sit on their natural flat bottoms while baking. This has the added advantage of creating instant breadsticks from what is cut out that you can brush with olive oil and garlic and bake.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Garlic Chicken

Photo by JeffreyW

Photo by JeffreyW

This has to be quick tonight. It’s been a crazy, busy week and I almost forgot put this up today. Tis the season – work and fun. It was a toss-up tonight between the garlic chicken recipes and a great slow-cooker recipe one of the guys at the office told me about this week. I decided on saving that for next week, after I have a chance to test it out.

For tonight I chose Jeffrey’s Lemon Garlic Chicken, which is the picture at the top and the recipe is here. (Recipe links are working again.)

I’m going for my favorite, fun recipe, Garlic, Garlic Chicken (recipe below) that always surprises me how good it is. I’ve featured it before, but it was several years ago, so I thought it was time to revisit it.  It’s quick and easy to prepare.

How are your holiday plans coming? Anyone have a special recipe they are doing this year? I’m not sure where Christmas Eve is going to be, my house or a friend’s, either way, we’ll be cooking, we just don’t know what yet. What’s on your holiday menu?

Now for our featured presentation:

This recipe is surprising in its flavors. The garlic is sweet and nutty, making a great dipping sauce for bread. The chicken is infused with flavor, but not overpowered by garlic. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad with a variety of greens and a light, tangy dressing to compliment the sweetness of the main course.

Garlic, Garlic Chicken

  • 5 lb roasting chicken
  • 1 cup of wine
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth,
  • salt & pepper
  • 40 cloves of garlic (unpeeled).

Roast in a cooking bag for about an hour. The garlic can be squeezed out of the skins at the table onto fresh bread. Or, you can take the broth from the cooking reduce it and then add the peeled garlic into that. It makes a very nutty, garlicy kind of gravy.

Sticky Chicken

I was all set to make lemon chicken with the couscous but I got a bit sidetracked when I ran across this recipe.  It looked pretty good so I gave it a shot.

Played around with the recipe some, added mushrooms and didn’t follow the directions in the recipe to the letter.  That’s what makes cooking fun for me.  The pictures will tell the tale.  You are supposed to cook the chicken in the sauce until the sauce is “sticky”-hence the name of the dish.  I chose to go with merely “thick”.

Protip:  Do not add a little water to the dirty pan and turn the gas on high to soften the mess as an aid to the cleanup and then walk away and start a blog post, forgetting about the pan.  Just sayin.  Good thing it isn’t cold outside because all the windows are open.

Enjoy!

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Couscous with Meatballs, Dried Tomatoes, and Mushrooms

I’ve been wanting to use some of the dried tomatoes in a recipe just to see how they were gonna look.  I used a pint jar I had in the fridge full of them, with thyme and garlic all through and all of it drenched in olive oil.  I had a big box of fresh mushrooms to use up, and a trawl through the meat compartment turned up some Italian sausage.  The couscous I made the other day sat well with everyone so I boiled up another batch using an herbed box mix.  Meatballs sounded good to me so I rolled out the sausage into some with a bit of bread crumb and some minced garlic.  Let’s get started.

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Lemon Garlic Chicken with Couscous

I picked up a box of couscous a while back and it’s been sitting in the cupboard since.  Decided to do something with it.  Went to the Googlizer recipe finder and turned up this from Rachael Ray. [link fixed]  It looked easy enough, and I had all the stuff.  I’ve made something similar to this before and remembered putting a few more spices in the dish.  A slow day so I cruised the Googlesphere a bit and ran across this web site for a spice mixture/recipe. No way I find most of those things but I did come up with a few:  Cinnamon, ground coriander, nutmeg, turmeric, paprika, and another one not listed but it called to me-ground ginger.  I added a pinch or two of each of those as the chicken simmered, maybe 1/4 teaspoon total of all those, not per each, for all combined.  Turned out pretty good.  The cooked lemon was surprisingly edible.

Enjoy!

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