Category: Ground Meat


We all love empanadas at our house.  With my new no nightshade diet, I decided to search for sauces that are safe.  Korean BBQ Sauce from Ajumma Republic fits the bill.  Soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, pear, pineapple, sesame oil, and sesame seeds, all adding up to yum!

empanadas

1 lb. ground meat

1 lb. hot sausage, casing removed

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. oil (I used avocado/sunflower blend)

2-3 Tbsp. Korean BBQ sauce

2 Packages frozen empanada dough (large size) – this thaws at room temperature in about an hour.  We prefer El Sembrador brand, but any will do

1 egg for egg wash

Brown meat and onion in oil.  Break up into small pieces.  Add BBQ sauce and simmer 5 minutes.

Thicken with a little bread crumbs.  I used about 3 Tbsp.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Spray two large cookie sheets with coconut oil.  Assemble empanadas right on the sheet pans.  Place 2 heaping Tbsp. of filling on dough.  Wet edges with water to seal.  Press with a fork.  Brush with beaten egg.NOTE:

It will take about 30 minutes to assemble 20 of these.

Bake 10 minutes, switch racks.  Bake 10 minutes more.  They are ready when they are golden.

The filling gets really hot, so let them sit about 5 minutes before serving, and be careful not to burn your mouth!

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Tonight we had the burgers I prepared the night we had the Mediterranean Naan Pizza.  All that fresh spinach, feta, and black olives inspired me!  I bake my burgers, since I’m always cooking for a crowd.  It definitely beats standing over a hot stove.

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3 lb. ground chicken (makes 8 large burgers)

1 egg

1/2 can pitted black olives, chopped

1/3 c. crumbled feta

1/2 c. chopped fresh spinach

1/3 c. (or more, if it’s still too wet and sticky) Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.

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Approximately 45 minutes before you want to serve these, prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil and spraying it with coconut oil.  Preheat oven to 375F

Form meat mixture into patties.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Turn heat up to 450, and cook 5 minutes more to brown the burgers.

I’ve made a lot of burgers in my day, and these just might be my favorite!

Pizza without tomatoes?  How about garlic naan bread topped with amazing Mediterranean ingredients?  These were delicious and easy to make.  I also mixed up a batch of Mediterranean burgers for another night!

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8 garlic naan bread

2 lb. ground chicken

1 container hummus (we like Boar’s Head)

1 can pitted black olives

1/2 seedless cucumber

1 bag baby spinach

1/3 c. crumbled feta cheese

Olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Brown ground chicken in a large skillet and break up into small pieces.  Remove from heat, and stir in hummus.

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Prepare two large baking sheets by covering them with foil and spraying with coconut oil.

Lay out naan and bake 4-5 minutes to crisp it up.

Meanwhile, chop spinach and slice olives and cucumber.

Topped crisped naan with hummus mixture.

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Add toppings – olives and cucumbers first, then spinach, and finish off with feta.

Drizzle with olive oil and bake 15-20 minutes.

 

I had some ground turkey and pork on hand for meatballs I am making for tomorrow nights meatball subs (a Donnie special request for his birthday month).  Due to a sale, I had more than I would need for the meatballs, and went to the local market on the way home from work in search of inspiration as to how to use the remaining ground meats.  It wasn’t long before low-sodium gravy mix caught my eye, and I realized it’s been a long time since we had shepherd’s pie.  I know that ideally, homemade gravy and mashed potatoes, as well as fresh veggies is best, but due to the time crunch, I opted for convenience ingredients.  It was still delicious!

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1/2 lb. ground pork

3/4 lb. ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 packets low-sodium gravy mix (I used one brown gravy and one chicken gravy)

2 c. water

2 cans no salt added mixed vegetables, drained and rinsed

1 package Ore Ida Steam and Mash Potatoes

2/3 c. sour cream

2 Tbsp. butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Shredded cheese to sprinkle on top (I used Mexican 4 cheese mix).

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray 13 x 9 baking dish with coconut oil.
  2. Spray large skillet with coconut oil and cook onions and ground meats over medium heat until onions are softened and meat is cooked through.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in microwave.
  4. Sprinkle with gravy mix into meat mixture in skillet and toss until evenly distributed.
  5. Add water, and simmer until thickened.
  6. Add vegetables.
  7. Mash potatoes with butter, sour cream, and salt and pepper.
  8. If meat mixture is still too loose, add a little bread crumbs to thicken.
  9. Pour into prepared baking dish and top with mashed potatoes.
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle with a little cheese and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more at 400 to melt cheese.
  12. Enjoy!

You can easily substitute leftover meatloaf for the browned ground meat and onions.  Just chop it up and add in gravy.  As for the veggies, this is a great meal no matter what veggies you use.  Broccoli and Cauliflower work well.  So do summer squashes.  Some folks like to top this with mashed sweet potatoes, but I’ve got one who’s not a fan in the family, so I stay away from sweet potatoes.

 

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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 Bayless 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!

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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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