Posts Tagged sundried tomatoes

4 Years of … Blogging?

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

It’s anniversary day folks. And when I look back on the past year I have tons of fond memories; we’ve been busy, we’ve done tons, we have clearly cooked and eaten in that time and … I’ve posted once. Trust me, I wasn’t ignoring the blog on purpose. I thought about it nearly every time I entered the kitchen or became inspired by something food-related that I read. But I’m not going to make excuses. The past year has been amazing for me and my family in spite of the lack of blogging. Hopefully I can sometimes still make room for a post every once in a while.

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

If I did have to give one reason for the slow down in recipe sharing, I would say it’s that food has become simplified in the house. There’s not much time for leisurely cooking, we can’t wait to eat until 8 or 9 like we used to when I was testing new recipes. There’s a tiny person that demands food. And she demands food that tastes good … so there’s also not a lot of room for error. So honestly, I’ve stuck to cooking staple recipes the past year. Ones we can get on the table fast and that will be slurped down without any complaints. We still try new recipes, but they are typically ones other people have written and shared.

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

However, I got one of those fancy looking spiralizers from my mother-in-law for my birthday last year. And now we can’t get enough of zucchini noodles. I just thought it was a weird fad that was sweeping Pinterest, so I ignored these long green zoodles for a while. But when I got my gift I tried it out right away. And holy crap guys: zucchini noodles are amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade good pasta for anything. But we aren’t eating zucchini noodles as a substitute, we’re eating them because they taste great. Once I paired them with these moist, flavourful meatballs; now we rarely eat zucchini noodles with anything else.

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs

Don’t have a spiralizer? Just serve the meatballs with your favourite long pasta. Shred some zucchini into the sauce if it makes you feel better. 

Meatballs

8 oz lean ground beef

8 oz ground turkey

2/3 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated

1 egg

1 Tbsp sundried tomatoes in oil, drained & chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/8 tsp pepper

4 cups of your favourite marinara sauce

 

Zucchini Noodles

3-4 zucchini (I would use 1/person; not kidding)

olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Prepare a sheet pan by spraying with olive oil (or you can cover with tin foil). Place all of the meatball ingredients into a large bowl. Mix gently to combine. Don’t overmix, or you’ll end up with tough meatballs. Form into approximately 32 meatballs, placing them on the sheet pan as you go. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, spiralize that zucchini.

Heat the 4 cups of marina in a large sauce pan. Once the meatballs are cooked, gently dump them into the marina sauce. Simmer the meatballs and sauce together for an additional 10-15 minutes or until your ready to eat.

While your meatballs enjoy their tomato bath, heat a large, non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a scant Tbsp of olive oil to the pan, followed by the garlic. Let the garlic simmer for about 30 seconds, then add he zucchini noodles. Season generously with the salt (start with at least a tsp. You can add more if needed). Cook the noodles to your desired degree of doneness. I’m not going to tell you how to eat your noodles. Maybe you just want them warm with nearly all their crunch. Maybe you want those things so cooked you could slurp them down without chewing. I’m not here to judge. Important step learned after eating wet noodles: drain those zucchini noodles when they are cooked to your liking. Add them back to the pan or plate them.

Top bowl-fulls of zucchini noodles with meatballs and marinara. Sprinkle with more pecorino if you like. Or just devour.

Serves 4.

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Sundried Tomato & Feta Stuffed Pork

In a week where I found out I will have to be living without gluten in my life for around a year (the horror!), I take comfort in knowing that I Will Always Have Pork. My taste buds are thanking my body for not being a complete failure. (I kid. I realize gluten intolerence/celiac disease are serious conditions)

This recipes combines some flavours that by now I’m sure you know I adore: sundried tomatoes, salty feta, and of course, pork. Oh, but I didn’t just stop at one type of pork. Even though this porky tenderloin would have been fantastic just stuffed, seared, and roasted, I decided to make it all the more delicious by adding more pork. So it was cradled in a proscuitto blanket before being sent to the saute pan to seal in the juices. And it was good.

Sundried Tomato & Feta Stuffed Pork Tenderloin wrapped in Proscuitto

Umm…how is that for a recipe title? I think it encompasses the awesomeness that is this meaty meal.

1 lb pork tenderloin
1/2 cup feta, chopped
6 sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp basil, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt & pepper
4-5 slices prosciutto
1 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Remove any silver skin from the tenderloin. Butterfly the pork tenderloin (cut it down the middle vertically, but not all the way through – it should open up like a book), then place it between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound it thin with a meat mallet – you’ll want about 1 cm thickness. Set aside. Note: you can also use a heavy can of soup to pound the pork.

Preheat an oven-proof pan on medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine the feta, sundried tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir in 1 Tbsp of the the sundried tomato oil (or 1 Tbsp of olive oil). Spread out the feta mixture along the middle of the pork, vertically.  Starting at the short end of the pork, start rolling it up like a jelly roll. Place the prosciutto slices in a row on your work surface; you’ll want them so they are vertical to you. You will need 4-5 depending on the length of your tenderloin – you want enough that the length of the prosciutto slices lined up equals the length of your tenderloin. Place the tenderloin on top of one end of the prosciutto slices, roll up the tenderloin in the prosciutto.

Heat up the olive oil in the prepared pan. When it’s hot, place the tenderloin in the pan and sear both sides (as you can see above, my tenderloin had to be curved to fit the pan). When you’re done searing, place the pan in the pre-heated oven and roast for 25-40 minutes, depending on desired degree of doneness (we like ours a bit pink, so we only roast for about 25 minutes; but maybe you like yours well-done). Remove pork from oven to a cutting board and let stand, covered with foil, for 5-10 minutes. Slice into 1″ thick slices and serve.

Serves 4.

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Greek Chicken Pitas

This lunchtime creation was born because of two fixations: 1) my need to find more quick lunch meals. We’ve been slacking in the lunch department in this household lately. I’ve rarely been planning ahead and making meals, as I’ve been tired of the usual sandwiches & salads. And our leftovers have been scarce – too little food or are we just being glutons? I’m not too sure; and 2) my obsession with a “salsa” I’ve been making for the past few years. It combines 3 loves of mine: feta, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes into a lovely dip. I came across the recipe over at Smitten Kitchen, and I would marry it if I didn’t love my husband so much.

When thinking about a very quick lunch, my first thought was the roasted chickens you find at the grocery store. I figured I could just go ahead and make some chicken Caesar pitas and be done with it. But Kyle doesn’t have the luxury of being able to make his sandwich the moment before he eats it, so a soggy Caesar in a soggy pita sounded unappetizing. When I took a look in my fridge I saw my 3 stand-by salsa stars staring back at me, begging to be chopped, mixed and greedily eaten. So I combined the olives, feta and sundried tomatoes with the chicken and added a bit of a dressing to keep everything moist.

We made these the day we were eating them; mine only a few seconds before I tucked in and my mother-in-law’s and husband’s in the morning. The report back from Kyle was a soggy-free and delicious pita when eaten by the afternoon.

Greek Chicken Pitas

Inspired by Roasted Chicken & Smitten Kitchen

You could add cucumbers and peppers to further replicate a Greek salad if you wish. I don’t really think the pita needs it though. And to be honest, I find the combination of cucumbers and chicken to be rather disgusting. 

For the Chicken Salad
2 cups cooked & shredded chicken (I used a half-&-half combo of white & dark meat)
1/4 cup feta, chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted & chopped
1 Tbsp sundried tomatoes (packed in oil), chopped
1 Tbsp oil from sundried tomatoes (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste

For the Pita
3 pitas, cut in half
12 slices tomato (approx.)
about 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
lettuce (I used baby romaine)

Combine chicken, feta, olives, and sundried tomatoes in a bowl – gently stir together. Combine remaining chicken salad ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over the chicken mixture and stir to combine. You can now refrigerate this over night in a tightly sealed container. The chicken salad will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

When you’re ready to make your pitas, divide the chicken salad evenly among the 6 pita halves. Top with tomato, onions, and lettuce.

Serves 3 (2 pita halves each).

 

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