Saturday, April 28, 2012

Meatball Subs

So blogger redid their site so you can now see the stats of your blog and how many people visit each post and page (but don't worry, it doesn't say who!). It's cool, but also a bit depressing. If you have ever seen Princess Diaries, I totally feel like Mia's best friend Lilly right now. "I just found out my cable show only reaches 12 people. Wanting to rock the world, but having zip power, like me - now that's a nightmare!" I've gotta do something to get my blog out there....but what?... any ideas?

So about the subs - Before this, I had never made homemade meatballs or marinara sauce. I think I was just afraid because making a perfect sauce and an amazing meatball is actually a science. People spend their lives trying to come up with the perfect recipe (ok maybe that's a bit dramatic, but I'm sure there's someone out there like that). I had been admiring a recipe from a blog called The Yummy Life for ages, so I thought I'd give that a try. All I knew about making meatballs before this was that you absolutely have to use both pork and beef.  It's the only way to make it tender and not tough. I just played around with the sauce until I thought it tasted good, mostly because I didn't want to use some recipe that had a million of expensive ingredients.

All I have to say is make these meatballs! They are so delicious! Just make sure you add enough salt. I didn't the first round and they weren't as good. (but it's not like you can taste the raw meat, so it's tricky) It's amazing the difference a little salt can do. The sauce was also really good. I personally prefer a really fresh sauce with minimal ingredients. It's less overwhelming and doesn't mask the flavor of the meatballs, so I think I did a pretty good job. It's also just fun to say you made it yourself instead of using a jar (even though that stuff is good, not gonna lie. I'm a Classico fan myself) 

Homemade Meatballs and Marinara 
The meatball recipe is adapted from a blog called the Yummy Life It's set up a lot like mine in that she takes a lot of pictures and gives a step by step tutorial on how to make them yourself. She also has a feature where you can print the recipe, which is seriously cool. I wish I could figure out how to do that! I cut the recipe in half and still had enough to feed three people for two separate meals. The first night I made spaghetti and the next I made subs - the subs where definitely the winner!


2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablepoons water
½ cup buttermilk
¾ cup Italian bread crumbs
4 cloves of minced garlic
½ medium onion, finely minced
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ tablespoon dried leaf oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ tablespoon ground black pepper
About ¾ lbs. ground pork
About 1 ½ lbs. ground beef

(my pictures came out really dark of the process so I don't have as many as usual)
Preheat the oven to 375˚.

In a small bowl, mix together the eggs, water, buttermilk and breadcrumbs and let sit for 10 minutes. The breadcrumbs will absorb the liquid and the mixture should become thick.

After the mixture has thickened, mix in the garlic, onion, parsley, cheese, oregano, salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the two meats and gently mix them together with your hands (you can use a fork but I think using your hands is most effective).

('s small raw b/c meat pics are gross)
Pour the breadcrumb mixture into the large bowl and mix together with your hands until fully incorporated. (don’t do this too much though because you want the meat to stay tender and as underworked as possible – it’s just like making cake batters or cookie dough)

Form the meatballs using an ice cream scoop (or just your hands) and place them on a cookie sheet covered in tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. 

After the meatballs are cooked I used a spatula to lift the meatballs off of the tin foil before they had time to stick. (They stuck the first time and it was harder to get a full meatball off the foil without it tearing in half)

This is only half of my recipe by the can even half mine if you wanted. (which would be 1/4 the original)

Marinara Sauce
(notice the ingredients are a lot like the meatballs - that's why I didn't want to use a recipe for this. I'm kinda cheap...)
½ can peeled, whole tomatoes
2 cans tomato puree
6 cloves of garlic, minced
½ onion, finely chopped
About a tablespoon of chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
6 tablespoons olive oil
½ tablespoon of garlic powder
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
Salt and pepper to taste  

In a large pot over medium heat, lightly brown the garlic in olive oil. Then add the chopped onions and sauté until they are translucent.  

Pour in the tomato puree. Crush the peeled, whole tomatoes with your hands above the pot (and be careful because this part makes a mess!)

Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring until combined. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. (How long you cook it actually isn’t imperative. I just made it first and cooked it until the meatballs where finished.)

Seriously wanna take a bite of this one right now......

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Anginetti: Italian Lemon Drop Cookies

My friend Bella introduced me to Anginetti cookies at the beginning of the year. Her aunt made her a huge batch of them and I probably ate half. They are not your average cookie though. They are a lot less sweet and definitely more sophisticated. I probably wouldn’t have liked them as a kid, even though they have a somewhat childish appeal. I was also turned off by the vegetable shortening aspect as well, but eventually I gave in. It’s only a fourth of a cup after all, which is a LOT less fat than your average cookie (which in turn makes me feel a lot less guilty about eating them!). Overall, they are actually easier than I thought they would be. The only trouble is the icing aspect, but they are definitely worth adding to your repertoire.

The second I get home I am going to make them for my mom because they are totally her style. I’m sure my dad would love them too simply because they are Italian. I’m pretty sure Angelo Brocato makes these as well, which is a famous Italian pastry shop back in New Orleans. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if they have already had them before. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

If I didn’t have a meal plan, I don’t think I would make half as many banana recipes as I do. There just so free it’s really hard for me to resist. Not to mention my roommate refuses to break apart the banana (umm clumps? bushes? clusters?) at the grocery store, so we always end up with extras from that as well. The banana cupcakes were good, but I feel like I did something funky with the cream cheese frosting. I also felt like they tasted more like muffins than cupcakes, which made the frosting kind of unnecessary. I did use cheap cream cheese though, so maybe that made a difference? Who knows... Butterlane has a really good banana cupcake recipe, so I think I’ll try that one next time. It’s not online though. They gave me the recipe when I took a cupcake baking class there with my sister, so I’m not sure what the rules are about posting it on the internet. Something tells me I might need their permission first, but I’m not 100% sure.

Currently I have five more overly ripe bananas sitting on my counter and I feel like I have zero ideas as to how to use them. I guess I can make more banana bread? Maybe mash them up and make banana bread pancakes? Maybe a full cake instead of just cupcakes? What else can you do with old bananas?

If you have any ideas, let me know because I’m drawing a huge blank over here….

Click READ MORE for the recipe (my mom didn't realize until I showed her the link. It is a pretty small link though, so I can see how she missed it...)

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting 

I used a recipe I found off of by Gina from Down Home with the Neely's - which is actually a great show. I definitely want to try out some of their dinner recipes this summer.


1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
¼ cup sour cream
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large overripe bananas, peeled, and mashed

The night before baking I decided to smash the bananas and put them in a Tupperware container in the fridge. I wanted to see if it would ripen faster and make the cupcakes moister. Surprisingly I was right. I am definitely going to try this technique when I make bread as well. I tried this because when I recently tried making banana bread again, it came out a much denser and was a lighter brown than the first time. I think letting the peeled and mashed bananas kind of “ferment” themselves overnight will prevent this from happening. I’ll have to try it though and keep y’all updated with my results. 

Preheat oven to 350˚

In a separate bowl, combined the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the sour cream and extract.

Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.

I thought this was weird looking at first. It reminded me of cottage cheese. There was a lot more egg than most recipes but it turned out tasting good so don't be discouraged if it looks something like this. 

Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, rotate folding in the wet and dry ingredients until just incorporated, making sure not to over mix.

Fold in the smashed banana.  

Scoop into cupcake liners with an ice cream scoop and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry. 

Monday, April 16, 2012


Courtney got a waffle maker from her aunt for Christmas, and we have been planning on making waffles for ages now. To be honest, I never thought it was actually going to happen. The only time we would be able to make breakfast would be over the weekend. Considering the condition the both of us are usually in Saturday and Sunday morning as a result of the previous evenings festivities, there is no way we could rally ourselves to make them. I decided the best solution to this problem would be to make them for dinner/dessert. The dining halls serve breakfast for dinner sometimes, so why not us? I think over two thousand people liked this recipe (or some absurd number like that) so I knew these had to be a winner. Its a pretty fool proof recipe and doesn't require any specific ingredients (like buttermilk. I mean the stuff is good, but who has buttermilk hanging around on the reg?) It's also nice to be able to make something that I can basically put all of the ingredients in at once without having to worry about over beating, under beating, folding versus blending etc. Baking is such a specific science so its nice to get out of the lab every now and then.

Homemade Waffles
Find the waffle recipe here. Find homemade whipped cream recipe here.

2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

While the waffles iron is heating up, beat the eggs in a large bowl until foamy. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until no longer lumpy.

Cooking time depends on your iron, but I cooked mine for about 6.5 minutes on slightly higher than medium heat. (They probably could have been crunchier - slash cooked longer - but I couldn't really stand the wait...)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Honey Baked Chicken Thighs with Parmesan Crusted Asparagus

I have been so lazy recently. I just have zero motivation to do anything.  TV bores me, I’ve surfed every online shopping site I can think of (x2), and when I try to take a nap, I can’t sleep. It’s complete agony. Basically, I have the worst case of spring fever, and I have no idea what to do about it. Next weekend I plan on going shopping with some of my friends though at this incredible mall that’s 45 minutes away. It’s probably not that incredible compared to what a lot of people are used to, but considering locations like lakeside or even Alamance Crossing, this place is pretty nice. Not to mention its conveniently far from campus, has an really pretty outdoor component, a Panera, a movie theater and, most importantly, an Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom , Gap, J.Crew, and Banana.  It’s basically a little slice of heaven. Just thinking about it proves this is exactly what I need to get out of this funk.

I have been cooking quite a bit though which is good. It’s the only thing I can actually motivate myself to do. It’s the blogging part where I fall short. In the past few days I’ve made the NY times chocolate chip cookies, a delicious spaghetti squash (but the pictures didn’t look very appetizing so I probably won’t post them), banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, homemade waffles ,quesadillas, and the chicken and asparagus from this post. And now that I see the list, I can actually see how lazy I have been about the blogging. The problem is, the more I let it build up on my camera, the longer it takes to edit the pictures, and thus the more work I have for myself. Oh well! Hopefully over the summer I’ll be a lot better about it because I’ll have a little more free time….

Anyway, this chicken is SO GOOD! It’s so moist and tender and of course super easy to make. The hardest part is waiting 40 minutes for it to bake when you are already starving…Chicken thighs are also a lot cheaper than breasts and they are extremely versatile. I used one less than $5 package of thighs to make the quesadillas, the spaghetti squash and this dinner for both me AND my roommate. Pretty impressive – and surprisingly college friendly (I mean, Fontina, American and fresh parm in one recipe? Not exactly cheap to say the least…) 

Honey Baked Chicken Thighs

3 chicken thighs 
About a tablespoon and a half of honey
2 tablespoons margarine
Teaspoon of olive oil
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
¼ cup Italian bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt 

Preheat the oven to 400˚.

In a small bowl, melt the honey, margarine and olive oil in the microwave.

On a plate or in a cake pan, mix together the parmesan, bread crumbs, powder and salt. 

Dip the thigh into the honey mixture, and then dip into the drop, making sure it’s completely covered in seasoning. 

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top is crusted brown and the chicken is nice and juicy. 

Parmesan Crusted Asparagus 

Bushel of Asparagus  
about 2 teaspoons olive oil 
freshly grated Parmesan cheese   
about a tablespoon of bread crumbs 
Pinch of salt and pepper

(oven should already be preheated to 400˚.) 

Drizzle olive oil on top of the asparagus and toss around to fully coat 

Sprinkle breadcrumbs to your preference and toss around to fully coat. Sprinkle the freshly grated Parmesan to your preference.