Garam Masala Meatballs with Turmeric rice

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Imagine my evenings (I’m sure for some it’s not hard…)

Tired mom drives close to the speed of light down the highway, racing to her destination… day care. Upon arrival, some polite chatter with the person entrusted to mold and meld my babes, inquiring about their their day. Hopefully no apologies required, (a few F bombs have dropped).

I then try to quickly and calmly stuff them into the car as they run around appearing like a cross between squealing hyenas and an octopus (hyocs, octayenas…???).

Fortunately, this often involves lots of hugs. Unfortunately, they seem to grow thousands of arms competing for body area to hug. I’ve fallen when not braced properly.

The ride home is half filled with happy chatter and half filled with a chorus of “mom, we’re hungry”, “can we watch ponies?”, “mom, she keeps touching me”.20140723-224702-82022154.jpg

We arrive, I unlock the door, the dog charges us and the octyenas sort of quickly make their way inside as I herd the dog and the cat, carrying bags, my purse and backpacks.  I then either try to be super woman getting snacks and lovely brain enriching activities out and on the go, or I say f*@k it and put on the bloody ponies…again.

Sashay  into the kitchen, ready to prepare yet another perfectly balanced meal of both flavour and health.

I manage to get supper organized with only 6 interruptions, one involving food, two settling disputes, at least one accident and one boo boo that needs kissing, (of course something else happened too). Finally  presenting my masterpiece to the adoring family and pretending that a bomb hasn’t exploded in the kitchen.

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Miraculously all is well. The kids come to the table and happily shove nourishment into their little pieholes,  babbling about Pokemon cards and colouring. I breathe for the first time since I got in the car and we settle into the rest of our nightly routine.

For obvious reasons I need food to be quick, easy and tasty. I also want to enjoy my dinner so it needs to be kid friendly and manageable by little hands. Hence my love of tacos and meatballs. However, combining the two could be weird or boring or both.

But, I have been blessed to live in a country that has given me global inspiration and grocery stores that stock spices and flavours to play with. Even in the small town I live in I can still created ethnically inspired dishes that open up my kids experience of the world through food. Giving me hundreds of ways to create new versions of a meal that fits my families needs.

This dinner is such a perfect example of that. I have been making  chicken meatballs for my family as a staple meal for years. Recently I started using them in tacos and then somehow that morphed into trying different ethnic variations, including spices like curry powder, ginger and turmeric. I’ve never eaten a lot of meat so I also  have what my husband calls ‘filler’ to go along with the meatballs. In this case it became a rice dish that I actually think almost steals the show and makes an amazing side or a great vegetarian option for your tacos :). I love it. The raisins are a bit sweet and the rice is so fragrant. Plus the turmeric makes it an absolutely gorgeous colour.

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I can have everything ready in about 45 minutes too. And part of that is in the oven cooking time so I don’t feel tied to the kitchen or like I’m missing out on my family.

For my tacos I make the meatballs and rice then slice up tomatoes and cucumbers. Plain yogurt mixed with cilantro, mint or even basil, plus a bit of salt and olive oil make a super easy sauce to top it all with. For a salad just toss that all in one bowl.

And if the idea of tacos is just too weird, ixnay (say no to) the tortillas and serve your meatballs on the rice with the salad instead. That was my lunch today… People were jealous.

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Garam Masala Meatballs

2 packages ground chicken thigh or ground turkey (around 900 g)
1/4 cup panko
1/4 chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano, chives)
1/4 chopped feta
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tsp curry powder
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350
Mix all the ingredients gently together and form into small balls. About a tbsp scoop.
Place the meatballs in a baking dish and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes and cooked through .

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Turmeric Rice

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 an onion finely diced
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt (omit if you are not using a salt free stock)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups veggie stock or 1 cube salt free veggie bouillon and 2 cups water

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a medium sized pot add the olive oil and heat over medium low heat. Add the onions and sauté until they soften. Add all the ingredients down to and including the salt, cooking for only a few moments. Add the rice, stirring regularly cook for a minute or two. Toss in the raisins and then pour in either the bouillon or stock and bring to a boil.
Once boiling reduce to low heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to sit another 5 minutes. Fold in the cilantro and serve

 

 

 

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What can I say. We’re a family that likes our food and when hubby’s ashore he makes sure to get his fill 🙂

I hope you all enjoy these as much as I do and please let me know what you think. I also have a Facebook page where I post nightly meal ideas, photos and meal prep www.facebook.com/myweeklydish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spaghetti and Meatballs with Veggie Fortified Sauce

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One of my favourite meals is spaghetti and since my son is a meaballaholic this dinner is a guaranteed hit in our house. This is not a super fast dinner, even with a few short cuts so I save it for a night I have lots of time or a weekend and then freeze the leftovers for a meal later on. The sauce freezes fabulously so I divide it up into dinner size portions with the meatballs in it. I find the meatballs are slightly dry if frozen on their own so a brilliant person (my mom) suggested freezing them in the sauce, Genius!

The sauce has lots of veggies in it so it can also completely stand on its own as a vegetarian spaghetti. I start with a mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions, which is the base of any good sauce and sounds extremely cooky when you can throw it into a sentence, and then add zucchini and peppers as well. I have shortcutted the long cooking time a truly spectacular sauce needs by adding pre-made jarred sauce to the mix. This gives the sauce that ‘I’ve been making this all day’ flavour in a lot less time. I haven’t included it in this recipe but if you have any leftover red wine (leftover???) it brings a little more depth to the sauce  if you add it after the veggies and cook it for a few minutes before adding the tomato sauce.

Meatballs

400-500g ground beef
400-500g ground pork
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup shredded parm
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 cloves grated or finely diced garlic
2 tsp salt

Before beginning making the meatballs let the meat sit out for at least 15 minutes so your hands don’t freeze mixing the meat

Preheat your oven to 350

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Form into balls using your hands to form the shape. These can be browned first in a saute pan over med heat and then placed in a baking dish or if you have children running around they can be placed directly into the baking dish. Cover the dish with tinfoil and bake for 30 if browned or 45 if not. I usually “test” one to make sure they are cooked through.

 

Spaghetti Sauce with Veggies

2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1 cup grated zucchini
1 diced yellow or orange bell pepper
1 large clove crushed garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1 398 mL can of tomato sauce
2 cups of your favourite pasta sauce

Warm the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium low heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and saute until the vegetables are softened and have some colour. Stir in the crushed garlic, zucchini, pepper and herbs and cook until it all smells wonderful, (about 4-5 minutes). Pour in both types of sauce and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the meatballs and warm through. Serve over your favourite pasta and top with a little parmesan cheese.

If you have a bit more time I would suggest adding one cup chicken stock and continuing to simmer until the sauce has reduced and become thicker, about 45 minutes. The flavour will be intensified and that much better.

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

 

I hope this becomes a staple in your house too. It’s not a difficult meal to make and the sauce and meatballs can be used in other dinners as well. If you would like to see how spaghetti and meatballs fits into my weekly meal plan please click here

Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs with Tzatziki and Greekish Salad

9 Comments

I love Mediterranean food. The combinations of herbs and spices create amazing aromas and flavours that make my mouth water. Over Christmas I experimented and made a Lebanese meal for my family which featured different types of kebabs. It was an all day process and not something I want to take on again for a long time. So, I worked out a quick kebab like meatball, which shares the same amazing flavours but can be a week night dinner.

From start to finish I can have this one done in about 30 minutes give or take. To get this on the table that quickly timing and multi-tasking are key. My strategy is that once the meatballs are browning I throw together the tzatziki so its deliciousness can mingle. When I have the meatballs in the oven I prep the salad and get the table set. Then it’s only a few minutes to pull the whole meal together and my family gets to enjoy a meal that looks like I put in a whole lot more effort.

Meatballs

1 package ground chicken
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp rosemary
1 tsp parsley
¼ tsp allspice
½ cup small cubes feta
1 egg
1 tbsp chopped green onion
1 tbsp olive oil

MeatballsCombine all the ingredients except for the feta and olive oil in one bowl. Once all the ingredients are combined gently mix in the feta, trying not to break it up.

Form into small meatballs, about a tbsp size each, by rolling the mixture in your hand. I get about 20 meatballs.

Over medium heat warm the olive oil in an oven safe pan. Once the oil is heated, place the meatballs in the pan and cook about 5 minutes, turning once they are browned. Allow them to sear on the opposite side for about another 2 minutes then transfer into a 350F degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked and have reached an internal temperature of 165F.

Tzatziki

½ cup Greek or plain yogurt
½ cup grated english cucumber
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste

Squeeze out as much water as possible from the cucumber. I wrap mine in a thin tea towel and wring it until I can’t get any more water out. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy

Greekish Salad

1 large chopped tomato
1 chopped yellow or orange bell pepper
2 sliced small cucumbers or ¾ of an English cucumber
½ cup calamata olives
½ cup small cubed feta cheese
2 handfuls of salad greens
½ a sliced red onion (optional)

Dressing

2 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Pinch of oregano and basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Old baby food jars or other small jars are perfect for mixing dressings. Simply add all the ingredients to the jar and give it a shake.

Layer all the vegetables and top with the salad greens. Just before serving toss the salad with the dressing.

pita and chicken

I hope your family loves this Mediterranean inspired dinner as much as we do and I’d love to hear what you think. If you would like to see how this meal fits in to my families meal plan here’s the link, Weekly Meal Plan