Dinners

Recipe—Rustic One Pot Veggie Pasta

Are you noticing a trend with all my new recipes? I think quick and easy has become my thing. As you may recall reading on my post, “The Diva is Back,” my blog fell to the wayside for a couple of years because life was just too crazy. Juggling work, youth sports, and well… just life, I have been all about quick, yet quality, meals. Don’t get me wrong, I still love spending time in the kitchen cooking for hours but 5 days a week I find myself short on time and energy at the end of the day.

This recipe is great for so many reasons. It only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish and you end up with a veggie packed delicious dinner. This isn’t one of those “one pot” recipes where you cook something in a pot, transfer it to a plate, cook something else, transfer it back to the pot, you catch my drift. You literally throw almost all the ingredients into one pot and cook it all together. So to recap, you eat a delicious dinner and then have almost no dishes to wash. Win win! Now you can spend that extra time cozied up on the couch with a glass of wine (or beer) and unwinding from your crazy day.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb spaghetti noodles
2 c white mushrooms, sliced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced and halved
2/3 c frozen peas
2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt & pepper
1/2 c grated parmesan
1/2 c heavy cream

STEPS

  • In a large pot combine noodles, mushrooms, zucchini, peas, garlic, thyme, and 4 1/2 cups of water.
  • Season the water with salt and pepper.
  • Set the stove to high heat and bring the water to a boil.
  • Once boiling reduce the heat to medium high and simmer uncovered until the pasta is cooked through, about 9–11 minutes, making sure to stir every couple of minutes.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, remove the sprigs of thyme.
  • Stir in the parmesan and heavy creamy until well combined and the cheese melted.
  • Serve immediately topped with some extra parmesan.

 

Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious. 

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Dinners

Recipe—Melt in Your Mouth Italian Meatballs

What’s not to love about a big heaping pile of spaghetti topped with fresh parmesan cheese and some giant meatballs? It’s a hit with people of all ages and this is one of my family faves. These meatballs are so juicy and savory that you just won’t be able to get enough of them. I love them smothered in sauce or just by themselves. The Italian flavor really comes through and is better than you can imagine. This recipe is incredibly easy to make and practically foolproof. Not only are these phenomenal over your favorite pasta with marinara but are also awesome sliced up on pizza or in a meatball sub with mozzarella cheese melted over the top. My mouth is seriously watering as I write this and I just had them two nights ago. You really won’t be able to get enough and your family will be fighting for the leftovers if there are any. This recipe yields approximately 20 1 1/2″ meatballs .

There are three methods for cooking these meatballs. I prefer to bake them so that I am not getting as much grease from the meat. This is how the recipe is written. However, for extra tender meatballs you can cook them in the pasta sauce on the stovetop or in a crock-pot. See instructions for additional cooking methods at the end of the recipe.

Note: This recipe calls for 1/2 lb of Italian sausage, which is typically sold by the whole pound. I always double the recipe and freeze the extra meatballs for this reason. They freeze incredibly well and we can get about 3 dinners worth out of them. If you would like to freeze them follow the recipe as written. Place the cooked meatballs on a wax paper lined cookie sheet making sure they don’t touch and put them in the freezer overnight. Once the balls are frozen distribute them into freezer bags. To reheat I just put defrosted balls directly into my pot of sauce and allow them to simmer for 15–20 minutes or long enough to heat through.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb Italian sausage
1 large egg
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c breadcrumbs
2 tbsp fresh minced garlic
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl being sure that everything is evenly distributed.
  • Using an oversized spoon scoop about a ¼ cup worth of the meat mixture and shape into round meatballs. (Mine end up being about 1 1/4″–1 1/2″ in diameter.)
  • Place the formed meatballs in a large baking dish.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Method for cooking on the stove top: For this cooking method drop the uncooked meatballs into a pot of simmering sauce and do not stir for at least 20 minutes or the balls may break apart. After 20 minutes give the balls and the sauce a gentle stir and cook for an additional 20 minutes while simmering on medium-low heat and stirring occasionally.

Method for cooking in the crock-pot: Gently place your uncooked meatballs in the bottom of the crock-pot and pour the sauce over the top. Cook on low for 7–8 hours.

See my marinara recipe here for a great pairing with these meatballs: https://divadicucina.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/67/