Posted by: dinainsuburbia | January 15, 2010

I’m cooking..

I’m back in the cooking saddle again.. and it feels good.  I’m not sure why I was so “off” cooking while I was pregnant.  Could be because I was tired (although really, I’m STILL tired as Joel’s midnight feedings have replaced the constant need to get up to urinate) or because my pregnant taste buds just had me thrown for a loop… but regardless, I’ve tried quite a few new recipes over the past two weeks.  It feels good to get back into the kitchen and cook some new recipes.  There’s nothing more tired than eating the same few dishes week after week.

I don’t know if I’ve ever written about my love affair with ground meat of all kinds.  To me, it packs a great punch for the price and it cooks up super quick (essential for week-night cooking).  I love it all:  beef, pork, turkey, and lamb (although we don’t “do” a lot of lamb around here… my husband can’t handle eating the cute animals..I am an equal opportunity carnivore).   Do yourself a favor, pick up extra packs of ground beef and ground turkey when it is on sale…. you can basically do anything to it:  American (meatloaf), Italian (meatballs or meat sauce), Mexican (tacos), Asian (lettuce wraps), to name a few.

This week I tackled two ground meat recipes:  Everyday Food’s stir fried turkey in lettuce wraps and Bon Appetit‘s spaghetti & meatballs all\’amatriciana.  Both recipes are keepers, but for different reasons and for different applications.

The stir fried turkey is light-cooking at its best; not a lot of fat, heart-healthy turkey, but packed with tons of flavor.  And best, it comes together rather fast- about 20 minutes.  Pair it with some brown basmati rice and some edamame and you’ve got yourself an awesome mid-week meal!  Even better, most of the ingredients you always have your pantry (well.. at least I do).  You can even swap out other ground meats in the recipe- pork, beef or chicken would work really well in the recipe.

Seems like I’m not the only lover of ground meat.. Bon Appetit lauded meatballs as the best dish of 2010!!! I couldn’t agree more!  Last night I tried the spaghetti and meatballs all’amatriciana…. so delicious it made the COVER!  I thought my regular meatballs were good (a spin-off of a Molto Mario recipe using 4 different ground meats- turkey, beef, pork, and veal.. a little milk and rosemary- a slightly different take on your average meatball) but these were divine.  Moist.. flavorful.  Hmm.. is it too early to heat some up for breakfast?

Sure- with the ground applewood-smoked bacon they were a little high maintenance (and I have a 14 cup food processor.. too big to ground a few slices of bacon- I had to use my coffee bean grinder- gross I know, but it works in a pinch).  Actually, I didn’t use applewood-smoked bacon- I used pancetta.. but I bet the meatballs would be even better with the smokiness of the bacon.  The roasted red peppers in the meatballs add to their moistness and I’m totally into the grated onion (so much better than having big chunks of onion distracting the overall cohesive taste of the meatballs).

Oh- and I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the fresh marjoram in both the meatballs and the sauce.  Marjoram isn’t a go-to herb for me.. and certainly not one I put in sauce like oregano or basil.  But it was delicious- the pine and citrus flavors really added something different.  Did you know that oregano and marjoram are related AND both related to mint?  I didn’t either.. you learn something new every day.

This is definitely a weekend dinner.. one I could totally see entertaining friends with.  Get some chianti, a good loaf of bread.. who wouldn’t want to sit down to a meal like this one?  Oh- and if you try it out- invite me over!

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