30 Day Simplicity Challenge- Day 12

Does anyone else obsess and stress about the mess (!) between Christmas and the New Year?  During the few days I take off that week, I often go into full-on cleaning mode, clearing out the refrigerator and freezers, tackling the cabinets and pantry and organizing the drawers. Speaking to my Jewish friends, it’s similar to preparing for Passover, searching for “chametz” and “kashering” the appliances.

While I was cleaning out the freezer this year, I kept finding more and more dubious bags of…stuff. Stuff so covered over with ice that it was impossible to make out if it was meat or veggies. Or both. Heart breaking, I threw out tons of food and vowed never to let that happen again.

(Last night I pulled out what I thought was frozen eggplant and it turned out they were roasted hot peppers. SMH.)

My pantry is actually an 18″ wide closet on the side of the refrigerator. Which is great because everything is right there while I’m cooking. Not so great is the fact that it’s 24″ deep, which means stuff gets pushed to the back and forgotten until the week between Christmas and the New Year. I’ve been after MR to build me shelves that can be pulled out and the stuff in the back can be accessed. Remember, ladies, if a man says he will fix it, he will. There is no need to remind him every six months about it.

(My favorite meme. Even MR liked that one.)

I can’t do anything about the black hole in my pantry right now, but I did do something about the black hole residing in the freezers. The door on the pantry cabinet is about four foot high, so I painted a large portion of the inside of that door with black chalkboard paint and noted each shelf and the downstairs freezer and inventoried each and every item in the freezer and marked it down on the blackboard. Now I’m able to see at a glance what we have and can erase and rewrite as we use and add food.

No more wasted food. And it’s easily found when we need it.

I tried to do an inventory on the stock of food in the basement, but I haven’t come up with an efficient way like the blackboard. I tried keeping a book on top of the fridge, but if I don’t see it immediately, I tend to ignore it. The stash downstairs is mostly canned food, bags of sugar and Costco-sized boxes, larger things that won’t fit in the pantry upstairs, but there are things down there that are used pretty often. So I came up with this idea:

DAY 12 of 30:

Make a list of 20 things you use often and put them in the note section of your phone. Whenever you see a sale on any of these things, stock up. 

Here’s mine:

  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Flour
  • Rice
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Veg Oil
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Laundry detergent
  • Mozzarella (blocks or shredded or both)
  • Cheddar cheese (blocks or shredded or both)
  • Seltzer
  • Orange juice
  • Chocolate almond milk (freezes better than regular almond milk)
  • Toothpaste
  • Tuna
  • Pasta

Mark on your phone list how many of the items you bought. If you use one, delete it from the number on your list. Keep a running tally even if it’s in the freezer and on the blackboard.  Keep an eye out for coupons for extra savings!

Do you have any other suggestions for pantry staples? What’s in YOUR freezer?

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Eating With Pinterest, Maybe

If you’re my friend on Facebook, or if you follow me on Pinterest you would have a pretty good idea how much time I spend pinning things to my 71 boards (four of them SECRET!  Shhhh!  lol!).  It’s the one place on social media I actually have more than 10 followers who aren’t my friends in real life. Before Pinterest was banned at work, I’d average a hundred pins a week.  I really try to go through my boards periodically and weed out my double pins (it happens) and those pins that I pinned in a fit of hopeless optimism (yeah right).  Several of my boards are food related- bread, chicken, deelicious deserts, muffins, soups and cookies, to name a few.  I also have a board of “Pins I’ve Tried” and there are a few successes in between quite a few flops.

After my half-hearted attempt at cooking off the Serious Eats website back in November and a dismal attempt to follow my meal plan for February (Snowmaggedon!  Thundersnow!  Snownado and other flimsy excuses not to cook) I started looking through my food boards and decided to cook from my pins on Pinterest for the month of March.  I needed something to get me off my ass since February regularly kicks it hard- it’s a short but cruel, cruel month.  So, my rules are simple- meatless Monday, pizza Wednesday and leftovers on Friday.  And every other Sunday I cook my Serious Eats sauce which has become a staple in my recipe repertoire.

And here it is, March 2nd and I haven’t deviated yet!  Watch out, World, I’m on fire!

Pfft. lol!

Last night, I made the roasted chicken recipe from Taste Love & Nourish.  It’s actually the second time I used this recipe- the first time MR declared it the best roasted chicken he ever had (and he hates the WHOLE chicken experience-the bones, the insides, the shape of the chicken, even).  This recipe is stupid easy, really delicious. And tons of leftovers for lunch.

Tonight I made something I’ve had my eye on since I found it a couple of weeks ago on Pinterest.  Spicy Siracha Ramen Soup by Baked by Nature.  Holy crap.  Stop what you’re doing and make this soup. Now. I’ll wait because it’s freaking incredible!  I halved the recipe for Zombiegirl and myself and I’m sorry I did because now I don’t have any left to bring to work for lunch tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next day.  I would eat this soup everyday it’s so good.

IMG_6197

Photo cred- Zombiegirl, after it was half-eaten.

See what’s on top? A poached egg, Zombiegirl’s new favorite way to eat eggs (her previous way was Egg-In-A-Hole.  If you don’t know what that is, don’t feel bad, I didn’t either until her friend came over and taught us how to make them.)  No kidding, I didn’t remember how to poach an egg and I had to look it up.  The last time I HAD a poached egg was when my Nana Ethel made them for breakfast.  They were perfect (I appreciate this now, 40-some odd years later) and round and burst when you poked them with the tine of your fork.  Mine lately are usually rubbery and it takes some stabbing to get a drop of yolk out.  BUT. NOT. TONIGHT.  Soup was perfect and egg was perfect.

Sorry.  If you knew me or have tasted my cooking, you would understand this soup/egg adoration.

Hopefully there will be no weird, extreme, stupid weather to prevent me from cooking from Pinterest in March.

I can’t wait for Spring.

 

Serious Eats for One Month- Bye Bye Baked Pasta

Oops, I forgot to blog last night.  Send the NaBloPoMo police.  I got caught up in things and I had a headache.  My migraine concoction was used and it worked, but I’ll tell you about that another time.

Do you like plays?  Musicals?  I’m thrilled that I raised three play-lovers.  Working in the heart of midtown Manhattan, I can walk through Times Square at lunch and happily point out plays I’ve seen or ones we need to see.  Instead of giving the girls more crap they really don’t need on their birthdays and Christmas, we give them play tickets.  Utah and her Kevin went to see The Lion King (again) for her birthday.  I sent all three of the girls in to see Aladdin for Christmas last year.  Beena and John want to see Matilda for Christmas.  If you recall, the girls gave me tickets to see Rock of Ages on my 50th and I turned around and gave the same thing to Utah for her birthday that year.

MR gave me my long-awaited for tickets to Kinkyboots for our anniversary.  And I didn’t even have to take him! lol!

It’s not only Broadway shows we love to see.  We haven’t missed a middle/high school production in about six years.  We will go to a church play is we see one.  We passed a High School in another neighborhood, saw they were putting on Seussical the Musical, bought tickets and loved it.  That was a talented bunch of kids.

Tonight the Middle School put on Bye Bye Birdie, and Zombiegirl didn’t even have to ask if I wanted to go- it was understood.  This play holds a special place in my heart because it was MY high school play, I think when I was a freshman.  I didn’t remember who I played until Kim McAfee and her best friend Ursula sang together. Bam! It all came back to me…I was Ursula.  I recited the lines right along with the (very talented) middle-schooler.  Yet I can’t remember to take the damn chicken out of the fridge in the morning.

All this is leading somewhere, promise.

I get home at 6 every night and the play started at 7.  I’ve been slacking in the cooking department so I enlisted MR’s help and made Crispy Baked Pasta with Mushrooms and Sausage in Creamy Parmesan Sauce.  They promised it would only take a half hour.

More or less.

Crispy Baked Pasta with Mushrooms, Sausage, and Parmesan Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Panko-style bread crumbs
  • 6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh chives
  • 2 small shallots, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage (mild or hot), removed from casings
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms (such as portobello, shiitake, and oyster), cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces fresh or 8 ounces dried ridged pasta such as rotini or campanelle

Procedures

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and keep at a bare simmer. Combine bread crumbs, 2 ounces cheese, half of parsley, half of chives, 1/4 of shallots, 1/4 of garlic, and olive oil in a medium bowl and massage with hands until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I really need to read through a recipe first.  I added all the cheese.  It’s okay, we like cheese.  I also didn’t use my hands- I was on my way out.)

Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until foaming. Add sausage and cook, mashing it with a potato masher or a wooden spoon until broken up and well browned, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a small bowl, leaving fat behind. (MR’s job.  He’s meticulous.)

Increase heat to high, add mushrooms to skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until moisture has evaporated and mushrooms are well-browned, about 10 minutes. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add soy sauce and lemon juice and stir to combine. (Okay, we deviated big time here.  No one in this household likes mushrooms.  They’re poison.  Like the floor is lava.  I like a grilled Portabello sandwhich, but that’s about it.)

Add flour and cook, stirring, until a thin film begins to form on the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in chicken broth followed by heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining grated cheese until melted. Stir in remaining parsley and chives. Stir in sausage. Season to taste with salt and lots of black pepper. (Somehow, I forgot the cream, which pissed me off because I actually HAD cream from the Fettucine Alfredo.  I added a little more cheese because…it said to.)

Adjust rack to 10 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions, removing it when still just shy of al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Return to pot. Add mushroom mixture and stir to combine, adding liquid to adjust consistency. Pasta should be very loose but not soupy. Return to cast iron skillet and top with bread crumbs. Broil until golden brown, rotating pan as necessary, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately (I didn’t cook this in my cast iron pan because I have yet to season it from the last time I used it.  I didn’t want everything to taste like rust.  MR threw this in the oven and Z-girl and I ran out to the play.)

I sat through all the squeaky singing, bad acting, wonderful acrobatics (go Monster and Jamie!) and cute tap-dancer (Yay, Grace!) thinking about dinner.  It didn’t distract me enough not to hum the tunes under my breath, however.  They did a great job but damn, we needed to get home and eat.

This dish was really good.  I’m kind of glad the cream was forgotten- it was creamy enough without it.  I would have added more sausage and maybe a little less parmesan, it had a bite to it.  MR ate two helpings but Zombiegirl wouldn’t eat it…two things she hates, pasta and sausage.  And she’s 1/4 Italian.

What’s the story, Morninglory?  What’s the tale, Nightingale?

This one’s a keeper.

 

Serious Eats for One Month- Fettuccine George

Did you ever have one of those days where you wanted to rip someone’s head off and hurl it through the window?  When the injustices were stacked so high against you that you felt you couldn’t take a breath because you might scream?  When the stupidity level was so far off the charts you needed to go into the next room to see them?

Every time I meet with my team, I feel this way.

We just finished up an auditing project, one to raise the accuracy of our database and our floor plans.  My grade was better than I thought- my plans needed a little cleaning up since I’ve been so busy this past year- but it was a good exercise in standardization and mastery.  Yes, I do my needlepoint and Christmas cards and plan bridal showers and weddings at my job, but I never shirk my responsibility and my work never suffers for it.  I’m good at what I do, I know how to budget my time and I know how much I can get away with.

Some of my teammates don’t understand that.  If one gets a grade of “F” (fail) on practically every aspect of the audit, do not have the audacity to tell us (US!) that you’re too busy to do your walkthroughs.  We see you on the internet watching soccer, reading the paper and ordering parts for your hot dog truck business.  Do not tell us (US!) that you can’t get your reports done on time (they’re due on the 15th of every month, it’s been that way for years) because you’re “in love”.  Don’t try to baffle us (US!) with your bullshit.  It may work on your business managers, your move managers and your project managers, but We. Know. Better.

What we don’t know if what you have over your boss.  The same boss that will joke about you being on the internet (or phone…or late…or just not there).  The same boss who, when learns about your failing grade will take certain aspects of your responsibilities away and make someone else responsible for them.  The same boss that gives your day to day work to someone else to “save her job”.  You know something about this person, you must.  Why else are you still employed?

So when you have a day like this, seven hours of banging your head on the table and drawing “stupid” buttons to press whenever the stoopid gets too thick, you need to go home and either a) drink heavily, b) break every dish in a fit of rage c) eat all the Halloween candy or d) make comfort food.

I chose “d”.

It was quick, it was easy and it was delicious.  It was the Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo recipe that didn’t taste light.

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh fettuccine, or 12 ounces dried fettuccine
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 medium clove)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Minced fresh parsley or chives

Procedure:

Combine cheese, heavy cream, egg, cornstarch, olive oil, and lemon zest (if using) in a large bowl. Season lightly with salt and heavily with black pepper and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until cooked but still very firm (not quite al dente), about 45 seconds for fresh pasta or 1 minute less than package directions for dried pasta. Drain pasta into a colander set over a large bowl. Transfer 2 cups of cooking water to a liquid measuring cup and discard the rest. Transfer pasta to the now-empty bowl. Add the garlic and butter and toss to coat.

Whisking constantly, slowly add 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water to the bowl with the cheese mixture. Transfer the cheese mixture to the now-empty pasta cooking pot, scraping the bottom to make sure you get everything. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 45 seconds. Season sauce to taste with more salt and pepper as desired. Transfer pasta to sauce mixture and turn to coat. Just before serving, stir in more pasta water to thin the sauce out as necessary. Serve immediately, sprinkled with minced herbs, black pepper, and cheese, and drizzled with additional olive oil.

I followed the recipe exactly and it was delicious.  Redemption from the enchilada escapade.

Now to have a beer, smash a dish and eat a Kit Kat. Because I have to do this all again tomorrow.

Serious Eats for One Month- My First Failure

Tonight we had the Sweet Potato and Chicken Enchiladas that I made last night.  No one was happy with it.  MR fed the last of his to Lola.

On second thought, Lola was pretty happy with it.

It started with the dried chilis I couldn’t find. I couldn’t make the chili sauce as per the recipe because I used a couple of jalapenos from Mr. Murphy’s garden and the only dried chilis I did find- which were probably hotter than what was in the recipe.  The chili sauce was so hot, I couldn’t use it on the enchiladas, resulting in dried tubes of meat.  Both Zombiegirl and MR said the enchiladas would have been better with good old-fashioned taco-like meat.  Z-girl just shook her head when I told her there were sweet potatoes in it.  Then she immediately didn’t like it.

So now I know HOW to make enchiladas, just won’t make it this way.  Lesson learned.

Sweet Potato and Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 3 dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 3 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated with a box grater or the shredder plate of a food processor
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 small)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Sour cream

Procedures

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chiles and toast them about 2 minutes on each side, just until they are fragrant and beginning to darken (do this in batches if you can’t fit all six at once). Set the sauté pan aside.

Put the water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add the toasted chiles, half of the sliced onions, and 3 cloves of garlic cut in half. Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

While the chiles simmer, add the vegetable oil to the sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining sliced onion and the grated sweet potato. Sauté for about 10 minutes until the onions and potatoes are very soft. Mince the remaining cloves of garlic and add to the onions and potatoes, stirring for about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside. If a crust formed on the bottom of the sauté pan while the potatoes cooked, deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of the chile liquid.

After the chiles have simmered for 30 minutes, transfer them, along with the onions and garlic, to a blender or food processor along with 1/2 cup of the liquid (reserve the rest in the pot). Puree until very smooth and then push the puree through a mesh strainer into a small bowl. Discard any solids that remain in the strainer. Stir in the cider vinegar and the salt and then set the chile sauce aside.

Return the pot and the remaining liquid to medium-low heat and bring to a bare simmer. Add the chicken, cover the pot and poach the chicken for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the liquid to cool slightly and then shred it with a fork. Stir the shredded chicken into the potatoes and onions and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Assemble the enchiladas. Lightly oil the bottom of a medium baking dish. Divide a few tablespoons of the chicken mixture among the 12 corn tortillas and roll them up into cigar-shapes about 1-inch in diameter. Arrange them, seam-side down, close together in the baking dish. Spread the chile sauce on top of the enchiladas and then top with the grated cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Top the hot enchiladas with the green onions and cilantro and serve with sour cream on the side.

***

What’s up otherwise?

  • The Dutch Oven I ordered came today- it’s a beauty!  I can’t wait to cook in it.
  • I’m trying VERY hard not to resurrect F*CK You Fridays here on the blog.
  • Crying at my Indian fast food place at lunch today was not cool.  The guy behind the counter confirmed I was a regular (he asked me if I didn’t want green sauce- he remembered) and I’ll never eat there again since it’s too far to walk from my new location on the West Side. So many things I’m going to miss.
  • I started Christmas shopping online with eBates.com.  How have I not know about this before?  I’ve already built up a nice little account!  I’m going to order anyway, why not get something out of it?
  • I’m in love with the Kilchers from Alaska: The Last Frontier.  I want a homestead.
  • Why can’t I make a sourdough starter?  I’ve killed the last three I’ve started.  More research I guess is in the cards.
  • I’m excited about week two of Serious Eats for One Month.

Serious Eats for One Month- I Am Tired

I’m pooped.

I got home late last night from seeing KINKYBOOTS with April. If you get a chance to see it, go! We quoted the movie lines along with the actors, we cheered for for the beautiful Angels, we cried at Simon’s secrets. Lauren, the co-worker was hysterical, I could have watched her all night. Going out with April is always a good time. At any moment, even in the restaurant, she would scream “KINKYBOOTS” and scare the crap out if me. She compared going to see this (long-waited-for) play to a kid waiting on line for Santa. With sprinkles. And candy canes. And hot elves.

Dinner was our usual Thai, at Pongsri on West 48th Street. We had almost three hours to kill before the show started. Appetizers, beer, Pink Valentines and curry dishes were a nice change of pace to the frantic pace of cooking I’ve been doing this week.

It’s also been crazy at work this week. We are vacating 299 Park Avenue, my home for the last five or so years. I’ve been packing and cleaning for the move tomorrow- how have I accumulated so much shit in five years? Granted, my line of work comes with a lot of baggage (plotters, rolls of paper of plans, cutters, binders and rulers) but all the personal crap- where did all this come from? I guess it’s time to throw all those ketchup packets away.

Tonight MR and I went to the local ethnic food store specifically for dried Ancho chilis, tortillas and dried guajillo peppers. We got the tortillas, but go figure, the Spanish store didn’t have the peppers. I started cooking as soon as I got home, but I literally ran out of steam. I stopped halfway through frying up the peppers and asked if we could finish up the Pot Pie we had at the beginning of the week.  I heated up the other half (that thing provided two dinners and one lunch) for MR, Zombiegirl and myself.  When Utah came home, she ate some of the pizza from Tuesday that I had cut and frozen.  Four meals cooked, five nights  of dinners.  And four lunches.  If I weren’t so tired right now, I’d calculate how much this cost me per meal.

Sorry, I think I just zonked out for a minute there.

I went back after dinner and finished up tomorrow’s meal so it’s all ready to pop into the oven before MR picks me up at the train station. I had to make a few changes on this one- i don’t know if it’s because I’m out of it or what-I couldn’t follow this recipe at all.

I did end up with a killer hot sauce.  More on that tomorrow.

Rambling, disjointed post.  Just like old times, right?  Doesn’t matter, take one thing away from this post- go see Kinkyboots at the Al Hirschfield Theater.  Ask for Lola.

Serious Eats for One Month- Keep Calm and Meatball On.

My husband is a meticulous man.  I guess that’s why he loves watches- all the gears, the movements, the jewels- they all work in meticulous harmony in a little teeny tiny case to keep accurate time.

He’s meticulous to a fault sometimes.  He will research and draw plans and measure a billion times before he even thinks of starting a project.  That’s the point where his confidence says, “you know how to do this, you are prepared but if you even think of starting you will fuck this up.”  I’d like to kick his wimpy little confidence in the teeth sometimes.  I KNOW he’s capable of marvelous things but that self-doubt holds him back a lot.  He’s one of the smartest and talented persons I know but I can’t get him to do crap around the house until he’s damn good and ready.

Same thing with cooking.  He never used to help in the kitchen unless it was making tuna sandwhiches.  He makes a DAMN good tuna sammich, and I tell him that every time.  I don’t remember when it was that I asked him to make chicken cutlets (breaded and fried) but he mastered that, too.  Practically everyone loves MR’s chicken cutlets.  And venison cutlets.  Don’t ask me to do the venison.  Whatever I do is not to his standards, so I don’t even try (much).  Fine by me if he has specialties.  Less time at the stove for me.

Meatballs were a natural progression from cutlets.  He researched online, grilled his mom on how she makes hers and experimented until he perfected his meatballs to his and everyone else’s liking.  They’re moist, garlicky and actually the star of our spaghetti and meatball dinners because as you recall, my sauce is shit.  Well, it was.

When I asked him to make meatballs following a Serious Eats recipe for the sake of our experiment, he was dubious.  “Send me the recipe and I’ll look at it.”  I sent it to his office and a few minutes later he came out to the living room and declared these meatballs will not be good.  No garlic, no cheese, no oregano.  What the heck is Adobo, he asks me?  I hesitated before I told him it was a Spanish seasoning.  He turned and walked away muttering to himself.

But he made them, and they were good, they were just not the meatballs we love.  He makes them with love, and you can tell.  We will love them and continue to let him make them his way.

Super Simple Friday Night Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • For the Sauce:
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 to 8 cloves minced garlic (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 4 slices bread, crusts removed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons adobo seasoning (such as Goya), see note above
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Pasta and grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Procedures:

Tear bread into rough chunks and pulse in the food processor until reduced to fine crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the eggs and mix with your hands until combined. Add beef, adobo seasoning, and half of the parsley. Combine mixture with your hands, working the bread crumbs into the meat until meat mixture can form a ball that holds together when tossed back into the bowl. Do not over mix.

Place a small amount of mixture on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high until cooked, about 20 seconds. Taste and add salt and/or pepper to mixture to taste. Using wet hands, form the mixture into balls roughly 2 tablespoons each, about 1 1/2- to 2-inches across. Place the balls on a large parchment or wax paper-lined tray as you work.

Add enough oil to a large cast iron or stainless steel sauté pan to form a thin layer across the bottom. Heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add as many meatballs as will fit in a single layer and cook until well browned on first side. Gently turn balls with tongs or a thin metal spatula and continue cooking and turning until well browned on all sides. As the meatballs finish browning, add them to the pot of sauce and replace them with raw meatballs. Continue, adding more oil as necessary, until all meatballs are browned and in the sauce. (MR baked the meatballs because the sauce was not done yet.  I personally like baked meatballs over fried anyway.)

And btw- I ordered a Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven from Target yesterday.  It was only $57.99, free shipping!  It’s freaking orange, my favorite color!  I went through Ebates and got $1.43 back- woot woot!

KINKYBOOTS!