Category: Ground Meat


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1 package RPs Pasta Company or other fresh lasagna sheets

2-3 lb. ground meat, browned and drained (I cook and freeze cooked ground meat when it’s on sale)

2 onions, chopped

3 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 c. chopped sweet peppers

1 jar marinara

2 Tbsp. pesto

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

4 c. leftover cooked quinoa

1 container ricotta cheese (2 lb)

1 packet Knorr pesto sauce mix – or Italian seasoning and Parmesian cheese

1 egg

1 package (8 oz) shredded Italian 6 cheese

SAM_3070I bought some fresh gluten free lasagna noodles.  It didn’t say how many sheets are in the package, so I worried that I couldn’t make enough layers, so I decided to try something new, inspired by pastitsio. By the way, the package has 12 sheets, enough for three layers!

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I cook the sauce overnight in the crock pot.  This step isn’t necessary, but it certainly adds another layer of flavor that can’t be replicated any other way.

Day 1:  The Sauce:

2-3 lb. ground meat, browned and drained (I cook and freeze cooked ground meat when it’s on sale)

2 onions, chopped

3 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 c. chopped sweet peppers

1 jar marinara

2 Tbsp. pesto

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

Combine ingredients in crock put.  Cook overnight 8-10 hours on low.  The house will smell amazing.

Day 2:  The Lasagna –

4 c. leftover cooked quinoa

2 c. cooked sauce

Combine quinoa and sauce.  Add a little more sauce if it looks too dry.

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1 container ricotta cheese (2 lb)

1 packet Knorr pesto sauce mix – or Italian seasoning and Parmesian cheese

1 egg

Combine cheese, pesto sauce mix and egg.

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Spray DEEP lasagna dish, and spread quinoa mixture into bottom.  Top with layer of half of the ricotta.

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Place layer of noodles on top of ricotta.

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Top with sauce in a thin layer.

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Top with layer of noodles.

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Top with remaining ricotta.

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Layer the last of the noodles.

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Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

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Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

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We really loved this.  My daughter suggested stuffing peppers with a quinoa mixture like I used for the first layer and I can’t wait to try it.

I made garlic toast using Texas toast multigrain bread and premade garlic spread.

Yummy!

3 lb. ground turkey

1 package Chop Salad (any kind – keep the dressing and toppings for another time)

1 package frozen seasoning vegetables (onions, peppers, celery, and parsley)

1 can black beans

1 can white corn

2 pouches Frontera Lime Cilantro sauce – this is our favorite Rick Bayess sauce – all natural ingredients you can pronounce!

2 pouches Minute Multi-grain medley (uncooked)

Optional toppings:  Lettuce, tomato, avocado, red pepper, shredded cheese, black bean dip, etc.!

Brown meat.  Add veggies chop salad and seasoning and cook until softened.  Add sauce and cook in the crock pot 6-8 hours on low.  About 30 minutes before serving, turn crock pot to high and add in multi-grain.  It will absorb the extra liquid.  Heat tortillas and let everyone make their own burritos!

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Today was food preparation Sunday.  I did my shopping yesterday (following the great, inspiring sales this week), and prepared food today.  The meatballs are a combination of several meats and I made them jumbo, like mini meatloafs.

3 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground chicken

1 lb. ground turkey

1/2 lb. ground pork  (optional)

2 tsp. baking soda mixed with 2 Tbsp. water

2 c. crumbled cornbread

2 eggs

1/4 c. sweet pickle relish

1/4 c. pesto

3 Tbsp. steak seasoning

1 lb. ricotta cheese

1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used Gia Russa)

4 oz. each ricotta salada and fontina cheeses, shredded

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Combine meats with baking soda water and add in relish, pesto, seasoning, ricotta cheese, and seasoning.

Prepare 13 x 9 baking dishes by spraying with cooking spray.

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Using large scoop, form meatballs and put into baking dishes sprayed with coconut oil.

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Bake at 375F for 40 minutes until internal temperature is 165F.

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Pour  spaghetti sauce over cooked meatballs and top with shredded cheese.  I used ricotta salada and fontina.

 

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Meanwhile as part of food prep Sunday, I browned the remaining ground meats I bought (about 3 lb. total) to freeze and use in a future meal.

I bought a variety of sauces on a clearance sale at the local market and put boneless chicken breasts and thighs into large containers and coated them with the sauces and froze the chicken for future meals.  I only used half of the meatballs I made for tonight’s dinner.  I froze the rest for another night.

 

I served the Jumbo meatballs tonight with a tortelloni that was on a BOGO sale at my local supermarket.  I also bought their spinach ricotta ravioli, and everyone loved the freshness of this delicate pasta.  I will go buy more before the sale ends!

rana-tortelloni

All in all, a successful food preparation Sunday, ending with a delicious, easy meal made of ingredients bought on sale!

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Florida is an interesting place to live during hurricane season.  Anytime one heads our way, folks clear the shelves in the local stores of water, canned goods, bread, etc.  The threat of at the very least losing power makes the thought of what’s in the fridge and freezer going bad!  I feel so fortunate that we dodged the bullet this time.  When I see reports of the devastation, I know just how lucky we are that it skirted by us.

My daughter and son in law made a huge batch of taco meat and rice in case they had guests (since their house is inland and has hurricane shutters).  I was blessed with the leftovers, and we had a fantastic dinner thanks to them.

4 cups leftover taco meat

4 cups leftover cooked rice

1 jar salsa

1 can of black beans

1 package (20) fajita style flour tortillas

Shredded Cheese

Tomatoes

Shredded Lettuce

Diced Onion

I added salsa to the taco meat and heated it up.

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I added black beans to the rice and heated it up.

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Meanwhile, I put the tortillas on a large baking sheet in a 200F oven to heat.

Toppings included cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and onion.  We were missing sour cream and avocado, but the tacos were so yummy, we didn’t miss them.

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The kids all voted for tacos more often!

 

Pasta alla Norcina

Okay, so I am totally food obsessed and spent the last couple of days binge watching America’s Test Kitchen.  I already know it will totally be worth it, even if I just try the Pasta alla Norchina!  The picture above is from the America’s Test Kitchen website.  I haven’t actually tried the complete recipe, but I have tried the trick about cooking the ground eat as a burger and then chopping it up and finishing the cooking of the meat in the sauce.  I made a lasagna that had ground pork and turkey that were cooked according to the directions for the meat in this recipe and will never again suffer through chopping ground meat as it cooks with a spatula.

Here is the America’s Test Kitchen recipe for Pasta alla Norchina.  If you get a chance to watch the video, it is worth watching!

4 tsp water

1 ½  tsp. salt

¼ tsp. baking soda

Incorporate water, salt and baking soda into 1 lb. ground pork.

Let rest for 10 minutes

Add the following to the pork:

1 tsp garlic

¾ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

¾ tsp. black pepper

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Smear the meat up against side of the bowl  for approx 15 seconds to blend all the seasonings all the way through.

Form into large patty – place on greased dinner plate and set aside.

Place  oz. cremini mushrooms in food processor and chop finely about 10 pulses.

Heat 2 tsp oil in skillet

Brown both sides of the pork patty, but leave raw in middle – about 2 minutes per side

Meanwhile cook pasta.

Transfer patty to cutting board and chop into fine pieces.  Place in bowl and add ¾ c. heavy cream.

Add oil to skillet and cook mushrooms w/ 1/8 tsp salt about 8 minutes till nicely browned.

Add 2 tsp oil, 2 tsp garlic, ½ tsp. rosemary, ½ tsp. black pepper.  Cook 30 seconds.

Add ½ c. dry white wine.  Cook until wine completely evaporates.

Meanwhile drain pasta and reserve ¾ c. pasta water.

Once wine is evaporated, add sausage cream mixture and ¾ c. pasta water.  Simmer approx 3 minutes until pork is fully cooked.

Turn off heat and add in ¾ c. pecorino until melted and smooth.

Pour over pasta.

Add 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Add more pasta water if it looks too thick.

Serve immediately.

 

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1 Jar sauce (I used Gia Russa low sodium again) YUM

1 box Barilla no boil lasagne noodles

4 c. leftover bolognese and veggies.

2 lb. ricotta cheese

1 c. shredded cheese (fontinella is our fave)

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Spread part of a jar of sauce in bottom of a deep 13 x 9 baking dish.

Put four sheets of the lasagna on top and then spread 2/3 of the bolognese and veggies over it.

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Again put a layer of four sheets of noodles.

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Mix remaining bolognese and ricotta.  Spread in a layer over noodles.

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One more layer of the noodles, then sauce (to which I added some more leftover veggies I had on hand) and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

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Cover with foil.  Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.  Let stand 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

No one complained about eating “leftovers” and this time, there were none!

 

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I have a new way of cooking spaghetti squash that is now going to be my go to!  Puncture whole spaghetti squash with a sharp knife and place in crock pot with an inch of water.  Cook overnight.  In the morning, put the squash in the fridge.   No more handling hot squash!  Also, I read somewhere that cutting it crosswise instead of lengthwise is the way to go, and I agree.

SAM_2510When I got home from work, I put the squash on a baking sheet and baked it next to some zucchini @ 350 F for 20 minutes.  I tossed them both with olive oil, a little pesto, some garlic, and cubed butter, and then roasted them.  You could also sprinkle with Parmesan, but I was out.

 

The bolognese cooked in the crock pot all day.  I cooked up ground meat and sausage and used the Gia Russa low sodium tomato basil sauce straight from the jar.  Amazing how low the sodium, sugar and carbs are, and how amazing it tastes!  No doctoring needed.  20 mg. sodium, 4 g sugar, 7 g carbs per 1/2 cup.

Gia Russa low sodium

 

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I was making some soup – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Leek, Potato to be exact – and I wanted to have sandwiches with it.  I remembered some frozen empanada dough I’d bought a while back, and decided to use some of the ground pork I’d bought and frozen to make empanadas.

1 pack frozen empanada dough (I used El Sambrador brand)

1 lb. ground pork

1/2 c. finely diced onions

2 Tbsp. garlic pepper seasoning

1/4 c. barbecue sauce

Cook seasoning, pork and onions until cooked through.

Pulse in food processor with barbecue sauce until no large lumps remain.

Lay out empanada dough.  Top with filling.  Seal with water. Press seam with fork.

Place on baking sheet and brush with beaten egg.

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Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Everyone really loved these and I should have made more!

The texture of the dough was flaky and tender.  I will buy these again.  I can’t wait to try them with other stuffings.  This would be a great way to repurpose leftovers!  I’m going to try the Chicken Anelli I posted from il Mulino’s restaurant recently.  They use pizza dough, but I think the empanada dough will be perfect.

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1 lb. ground pork

1 packet SunBird Hot and Spicy Szechwan Seasoning

1 package Sidari’s fresh angel hair pasta (part of the Fresh Market little big meal)

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. honey

1/4 c. each chopped onion, red pepper, green pepper, yellow pepper, and orange pepper

1/3 c. water

1/3 c. crunchy peanut butter

1/2 packet Dole Chopped Salad (kale, cabbage, chard, brussel sprouts, etc.)

1/4 c. oil (I used pistachio but sesame oil or any other nut oil works)

1/2 bottle Honey Ginger Miso salad dressing

Sesame seeds, chopped cashews, and sliced green onions for garnish

Heat water to cook pasta.

Brown pork in skillet with nut oil.

Mix seasoning packet, soy sauce, honey, water, and peanut butter.  Mix well with immersion blender.  Set aside.  Reserve 1/4 c. sauce for meat.

Cook noodles according to package directions – only 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Drain.  Combine with sauce, chopped salad, and dressing.  Top with seeds, cashews and green onions.  Set aside to cool.

Once pork is cooked through, add in copped veggies.  Cover and steam until veggies are tender, but not mushy.  Add reserved peanut sauce.  Spice up meat mixture with red pepper flakes to taste.

Serve meat over noodles.

Yum!!

 

I love, love, love these noodles.  Even after they are refrigerated, they stay tender, making them perfect for this dish!!

 

 

 

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I was originally planning to make some meatballs to freeze, but ran out of steam after mixing up the meat, etc.  Then I decided meatloaf would work, but it takes so long to cook, dinner would be late if I put it in after getting home from work.  I checked out recipes for meatloaf in the crock pot and all the recipes sounded like standard meatloaf.  After reading the reviews, I decided to line the crock pot with foil and spray it before putting the meatloaf in.  I wasn’t too worried about grease, since it was mostly ground chicken breast with a little ground pork.  This recipe makes a huge meatloaf.  I cooked in in my big oval crock pot on low for 8 hours and then it was on warm for 3 more hours before serving.

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4 lb. ground chicken

1 lb. ground pork

2 eggs

1/8 c. pickle relish

1/8 c. pesto

16 oz ricotta cheese

1/2 c. seasoned panko breadcrumbs

1 Tbsp. mango marsala curry salt

1 Tbsp. steak seasoning

1 small onion, finely chopped

Combine everything and shape into large football shaped loaf.

Place in prepared crock pot on low until internal temperature reaches 165 F.  Mine actually got up over 200, but it was still moist and delicious.

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