cooking for 10

My Aunt and I planned to cook a meal for the whole family with all of the food we bought at the West Side Market the other day.  I wanted to cook a few different things and just kind of have a buffet.  There was no rhyme or reason to any of the food until I thought to make meatballs and sauce to go with our fresh pasta.

We had spinach, fine herb, wild mushroom, and roasted red pepper pasta.  They were all fabulous!  I tried a little of each one with dinner.

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I found a recipe on The Food Network website.  I usually don’t check there, but when I typed in “turkey meatballs,” this was the first recipe to pop up.

Turkey Meatballs + Sauce recipe

Unlike usual, I decided not to make any changes, since the reviews were so good.  I used 93% lean ground turkey for the meatballs.  They had a great texture and were extremely flavorful.  Everyone raved about the sauce and it was all really easy to make if you have a little time!  The recipe says they make about 40 meatballs. This is completely false.  It says to roll them at about 1 1/4” but I only got 24 out of them.  So just an FYI on that…it would be REALLY easy to double the recipe. [for meatballs or both!]

The mixture seemed a little on the wet side, but they were still roll-able.  I thought about adding more breadcrumbs, but was glad I didn’t.  The last thing you want is a mealy meatball! The texture was perfect.

Meatball mixture before adding the ground turkey. 

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When I make pasta sauce I normally have to end up adding quite a bit more s+p than it calls for, or more garlic, or even a little sugar.  This was perfect as is…I guess if you wanted to make it spicy you could add red pepper flakes.  It says in the recipe if it’s too acidic to add 1T of butter until it’s to your liking, but I didn’t even need to do that.

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The sauce called for 64oz. can of crushed tomatoes.  I used: 1, 24oz can of fire roasted WHOLE tomatoes – 1, 24oz can whole peeled tomatoes, and 1, 15oz. can diced tomatoes.

The fire roasted added an extra layer of flavor.  I got whole tomatoes so I could easily pull the skins off.  It’s kind of gross when you chew on a bunch of skin in pasta sauce and the fire roasted didn’t have the “peeled” option.  The skin was pretty much falling off already, and I just took off as much as I could.  Then I mashed them with a potato masher before cooking.

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2 similar products – 2 TOTALLY different things!!! This disgusts me and is such a good example of eating something that is “real food” as compared to “franken-food.”  Who would ever even think to look at the ingredient list for breadcrumbs?? Should just be bread and maybe some salt, right?

WHY!!!?????? Why is this list SO LONG? 

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Whole Foods bread crumbs - $2.99

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Pleas check your ingredient lists!!!! It can be quite disturbing to see what is being added into your food. =) 

While I was cooking with my Aunt, I was introducing her to a bunch of things that are on my regular grocery list.  She was really excited to give everything a try and couldn’t believe some of the things I was telling her about food!

ie: the process to make brown sugar as opposed to the process of making pure can sugar

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Left row front to back –> hemp granola/millet/quinoa/whole wheat pastry flour

Right row front to back –> pepitas/organic rolled oats/dried apples/pure can sugar

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Oooh ALSO very exciting!! As you may know I am not the biggest fan of soy…I will go over my views on this at some point!  The thing I hate the most is how Soy Lecithin [soy sludge] is in EVERYTHING.  It is sooo hard to find chocolate without it…and I just think it is completely unnecessary!  I have found some chocolate without it and it tastes just the same…so I’m not sure what the deal is with adding it in.  It is even in most organic chocolate.

Well, Whole Foods [love them!] has their own 365 brand of chocolate candy bars with NO soy lecithin! They are $1.99 compared to most high quality bars that are $3.50+.  They have a bunch of different varieties including dark chocolate with mint crisps! mmm

Okay…back to dinner!  I wanted everyone to try some different veggies that get a bad rap.  Brussel sprouts!!! mmmmm

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These little suckers are SO good and SO good for you.  I promise they can be tasty! My favorite way to cook them:

  1. Wash – cut stem off – chop in half or in 1/4’s
  2. heat pan on medium with 2T olive oil
  3. add sprouts with s+p
  4. Let sit for a 5min and then flip to the other side for another 5..I usually just kind of monitor them for about 20+ minutes.  Some people like them softer/harder so just test them after 20min and see where you’re at.
  5. At the end I usually pour in about 2T balsamic vinegar and it helps to caramelize the sprouts and add a little sweetness.

I let them get pretty dark brown if not a little blackened.  Even my 11yr old cousin said, “I like these!!”  She was very skeptical at first..but tried it and said she would for sure eat them again.

Not the best photo…but I wanted to get the whole spread of food!  I also made sweet potato fries.  They don’t really “go” with this meal, but it was another food that is nutrient rich, and I wanted to show them a really easy/healthy/yummy way to cook them.  Everyone liked them, even ones that don’t normally go for sweet potatoes. Yay!

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  1. Preheat oven to 400* [use middle rack]
  2. Slice potatoes into strips
  3. Toss with a light coating of EVOO, s+p
  4. Put on baking sheet for about 40min [time varies] and turn a few times throughout cooking.
  5. When soft enough to eat – put the oven on broil @ 500 until desired crispiness is reached.  Mine took about 10min on broil, believe it or not!

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My plate! No I didn’t use a flash, it was bright overhead lighting =)

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Will definitely be making the meatballs and sauce again.  It’s so easy to double the recipe and freeze 1/2 of it.

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For dessert I prepared the peanut butter krisp treats from 101 cookbooks. The only substitute I make, is using Brown Rice Syrup instead of Maple Syrup and Tapioca Starch [$2.50 for a box at WF] instead of agar agar flakes.  The brown rice syrup works perfectly 1:1 and will not spike your glycemic index levels in the same way sugar/honey/maple syrup do.  So you won’t get the “high” and “crash” feeling…I use it whenever I can!

Again…so easy…so good!!

Niiiight all…I’m pooped!

Ashley

5 comments:

Laura said...

it all looks sooooooooo good. oh, i made your *original* pasta bake recipe the other day! YUM! I will have to try the brussel sprouts...I'm skeptical though. =) xoxo

Fallon said...

Wow nice food spread! I just had roasted brussel sprouts tonight, they are so good that way! I'm going to try your version next time with the balsamic vinegar, that sounds awesome!

MaryMoh said...

that looks gorgeous and delicious. Love all the different types of pasta and the sauce looks so yummy. Thanks for sharing.

Jenn/CinnamonQuill said...

What a magnificent meal! It looks like you approached the whole gathering with grace and ease--I tend to freak out if *anyone* comes for dinner. I'm working on it :)

MackAttack said...

Oh this looks soo good brussel sprouts freak me out. I guess it's time to try them though.

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