Recipes

Three Fresh Salsa Recipes

There’s nothing better than a Taco party! Not only does everyone love tacos, but you can make it all ahead of time and be able to sit down with your guests and eat. You can’t have a Taco party without SALSA! And your chips, tacos and meats deserve the best! 

These fresh salsa recipes are super simple and crowd favorites! 

Let’s get the Fiesta preparation started!

Pico De Gallo is a classic Mexican recipe made from fresh tomato, cilantro, red onion, and lime juice..

Fresh Pico de Gallo Salsa

  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • I clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt & Pepper to taste 

Stir all together in a bowl.

Serve. 

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde is really easy to make from scratch, all you need are tomatillos, onion, jalapeño, lime, and cilantro. This salsa Verde is fresh, bright, and not too salty like store-bought versions.

  • 4-6 tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper
  • Salt to taste

Preheat the broiler with a rack about 4 inches below the heat source. Place the tomatillos and jalapeño on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until they’re blackened in spots, about 5 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, carefully flip over the tomatillos and  jalapeño with tongs and broil for 4 to 6 more minutes, until the tomatillos are splotchy-black and blistered.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the chopped onion, cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt. 

Once the tomatillos are out of the oven, carefully transfer the hot tomatillos, jalapeño and all of their juices into the food processor or blender.

Pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth and no big chunks of tomatillo remain, scraping down the sides as necessary. Season to taste with additional lime juice and salt. 

The salsa will be thinner at first, but will thicken up after a few hours in the refrigerator. 

Cilantro Lime Sauce

This Cilantro Lime sauce has incredible flavor and only requires a handful of ingredients. It’s a fresh, creamy!

  • 1 small bunch cilantro 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1  medium avocado 
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp each salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. 

Refrigerate and Serve. 

Recipes

Grandma’s Rum Cake

I’ll never forget the day I stopped by grandmother’s house to ask her to share the family recipes. I pulled up a chair at her kitchen counter, pen in hand and she asked “Where do you want to start?”

I remember being a little girl having family picnics at the lake down the street from her house and for dessert she always would make her famous rum cake. My cousins and I would always feel so grown up because we were eating rum cake. LOL

So I asked for her rum cake recipe. She laughed, opened her recipe box and handed me a recipe card. It was the Bacardi Rum Cake recipe card. “It’s that easy”, she laughed. We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing and writing down her recipes. 

This recipe makes the moistest cake you’ll ever eat. And it’s been popular since the 1970s, it’s soft, fluffy and super moist, bursting with rum and yellow cake flavor. Not to mention it’s easy to prepare, and perfect for any occasion.

You can use any rum. I use my favorite rum, 82°West 1911 Special Dark Rum. 82 West Distilling is a craft rum distillery in Tampa, right in Seminole Heights! 

It all starts with a cup of pecans sprinkled over the bottom of a bundt pan. Then you mix a package of yellow cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and half a cup of rum until smooth. I did make one adjustment and added a tablespoon of Vanilla and mixed until combined. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for one hour.

Once the cake is done, you prepare a simple butter-rum glaze made of butter, sugar, water and rum. Spoon the sauce all over the warm cake. Let it sit to soak in all the delicious butter-rum glaze and serve.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup chopped pecans 
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (You just use the cake mix as is, do not add other ingredients listed on the cake box.)
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix (92 g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup cold water
  • 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 cup dark rum 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla 

GLAZE INGREDIENTS

  • 1⁄2 cup butter
  • 1⁄4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup dark rum or rum

CAKE DIRECTIONS

Sprinkle nuts over the bottom of a greased bundt pan.

Stir together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, vanilla, water, oil and rum.

Pour batter over nuts.

Bake at 325 in the oven for 1 hour.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan.

Transfer onto a serving plate and poke top with a toothpick.

GLAZE DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in a saucepan.

Stir in water and sugar.

Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat.

Stir in rum.

Drizzle ½ of the glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cake.

Allow cake to absorb glaze.

Drizzle the remaining glaze over the top of each slice right before serving.

Cocktails

Homemade Strawberry & Citrus Shrubs

Have you made shrubs before? 

They are a beautiful sweet and tangy combination of fruit and vinegar. 

Shrubs add sweetness and tang to cocktails and mocktails. Splash some in ice-cold seltzer to make a mocktail or make a boozy beverage with vodka. 

Well having brunch at the C House in Seminole Heights, I learned about shrubs. I tried one of their signature cocktails that uses their homemade Strawberry shrub. It was delicious! I was inspired to try my hand at making my own shrub. 

Ingredients

Strawberry Shrub

  • 1 cup strawberries, halved  
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 (1 inch) strip lemon zest

Citrus Shrub

  • I cup lemon, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup orange, peel and chopped 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Directions

Strawberry Shrub

  1. Combine strawberries, sugar, vinegar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. 
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  3. Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes. 
  4. Pour into a mason jar.
  5. Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours or up to 1 week.

Citrus Shrub

  1. Place all the fruit flesh into a blender and pulse until smooth. 
  2. Pour puree mixture, sugar and vinegar into a saucepan. 
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  4. Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes. 
  5. Pour into a mason jar.
  6. Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours or up to 1 week.

For the cocktails

In a cocktail shaker, add 1 ounce of vodka, ¾ ounce of Shrub, and ice. Cover and shake until cold, about 30 seconds. Strain into a glass of ice and top with Prosecco. Garnish with mint.

For a mocktail, serve Shrubs over Seltzer water and ice.

Recipes

Family Pizza Night

Did someone say Pizza? Brian and I love making homemade pizza with the girls! 

Now of course, you can just go to the grocery store and buy the pre-made pizza dough but what’s the fun in that! While we practice the Stay at Home Order, get in the kitchen and make your own pizza dough. It’s super fun especially to do with loved ones! 

I have two recipes listed below; one for your regular pizza dough and one for deep dish pizza dough. They both are delicious!

Basic But Delicious Pizza Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for bowl to rest dough
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups All purpose flour, plus more to roll dough

Mix 1 cup warm water with the package active dry yeast and let the yeast bloom and foam, 5 minutes. Add EVOO, honey and salt and whisk together. 

Whisk together the 3 cups of flour and salt. 

If you have a food processor, slowly pour the honey mixture, to the food processor and pulse until the dough comes together in a sticky ball, about 20 to 30 seconds. No food processor, no worries, you can use a rubber spatula! 

Place the dough onto a floured work surface and knead, using the heel of your hand, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. This can totally count as your arm workout for the day!

Using a paper towel, pour a small amount of EVOO into a large bowl and coat the bottom and sides. Add the dough, turning to coat. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let the dough stand until it is doubled in size, about ten minutes to one hour. The longer you allow it to stand and rise, the more flavor you will have.  I totally just sounded like Yoda! LOL! Okay back to the recipe. 

After ten minutes, plop the dough onto a floured cutting board. Punch the dough, literally, punch down on it and then puff it back up. 

We like to make several different types of pizzas so we usually make 3- to 4-inch mini pizzas. If you want just one big pizza, skip this next step. 

To make 3- to 4-inch mini pizzas, cut each dough ball into 4 piece wedges, then press or stretch into shape into a ball.

Want one big pizza? Press the dough out on the work surface into a 9 to 12 inch round, a long rectangle or an oval. Now if you used to work at a pizza place like Brian, you can get fancy and toss the dough up in the air. Or you can be like me and start at the center and work outwards, using your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick.

Here’s a little tip: let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter. 

Use your fingertips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent it from getting soggy from the toppings). Let rest another 10-15 minutes.

Looking for Deep Dish?

Brian is from Chicgao and he absolutely loves Malnatis! So one night, we tried to recreate their famous pizza. I’m not saying we nailed it but we came pretty close! If you are looking for a Deep Dish Chicago style pizza, here you go!

Ingredients

  • 3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups slightly warm water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup melted, 1/4 cup softened to room temperature)
  • olive oil for coating

Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, use your hand mixer and a very, very large bowl. If you do not have any mixer, you can do this all by hand. 

Make sure you are using a LARGE bowl! The first time, we made this pizza dough, flour flew everywhere, which the girls and I turned into a flour food fight! I’m pretty sure Brian is still finding flour in places in his kitchen that flour should not be. 

Give those ingredients a quick toss with your mixer on low or with a large wooden spoon. 

Into the flour mixture, slowly pour the warm water and 1/4 cup of melted butter. Make sure it is not very hot or it will kill the yeast. Likewise, make sure the butter isn’t boiling hot. If you melt it in the microwave, let it sit for a few minutes before adding into the bowl. On low speed, beat (or stir) the dough ingredients until everything begins to be moistened. Continue on low speed (or remove from the bowl and knead by hand if you do not own a mixer), beat the dough until it is soft and gently pull away from the sides of the bowl and falls off of the dough hook- about 4-5 minutes. If the dough is too hard (it will be textured from the cornmeal), but if it feels too tough, beat in a teaspoon of warm water. Alternatively, if it feels too soft, beat in a tablespoon of flour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside, turning it around so that all sides of the dough are coated.  Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 1-2 hours or until double in size.

While we wait for the basic or deep dish dough to rise, we usually make the sauce but I’ll tell you more about the sauce soon, below.

After an hour, remove the dough and place it onto a floured surface. Roll it out into a 12-inch circle. You want to stretch it out as much as you can to make a large circle. The dough needs to be stretched out enough to cover the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Remember we are making a deep dish dough! 

Using a rolling pin as a guide, place over a 9×2-inch (23×5 cm) deep dish cake pan or cast-iron skillet. We use our cast iron. We love cast iron, check out my blog in the Tips & Tricks section and you’ll understand. : )

Using your fingers, press the dough into the skillet or pan. Make sure it is nice and tight fitting inside the pan. Trim any excess dough off the edges with a small knife. Brush the top edges of the dough with a little olive oil. 

Now for the sauce!

The sauce is just as important as the dough! Yes, you can buy the jar stuff but come on! Why not go all the way! I’m going to share with you my Sicilian Pizza sauce and then I’ll share with you the best replica Malnati’s sauce. 

Sicilian Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp butter 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic, chopped
  • 3 14 oz cans Italian tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 1 tbsp Italian herb
  • 1 bay leaf

Best Replica Malnati’s Sauce Ingredients. 

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, grated (about 1/3 cup)*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but recommended)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes*
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

Sicilian Sauce Directions

Melt the butter and the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.

When all the butter is melted, add the onions and garlic, salt well, and saute over medium heat for about 7 – 8 minutes, until the onion rings begin to lose their shape and soften.

Add the canned tomatoes (with their juices) and bring to a simmer.

When simmering, reduce the heat and maintain a slow simmer for about two hours, stirring frequently.

Add the sugar, tomato paste and Italian herbs (if using dried herbs add now, if using fresh, add about 10 minutes before blending), stir and continue to simmer for about another hour.

Best Replica Malnati’s Sauce Directions

Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and allow it to melt. Once melted, add the grated onion, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Once the onion has slightly browned after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, tomatoes, and sugar. Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow it to simmer until it’s hearty, fragrant, and thick- about 30 minutes. You’ll have about 2 and 1/2 cups of sauce at this point. If you have more than that, keep simmering until the amount has reduced. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to be used. 

Now for the Pizza toppings, get creative! Brian and I have tried several combinations, I listed our favorites but honestly anything goes! 

Malnati’s Toppings

  • ½-1 cup of Malnati’s sauce, or more depending on how thick you like your sauce 
  • 2  cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Crumbled Italian sausage (about ½ lb)
  • Thinly Sliced Pepperoni 

Margherita Toppings

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pizza sauce
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Parmesan cheese
  • A few fresh basil leaves

Veggie Toppings 

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper 
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion 
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

Prosciutto Pizza

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto
  • A few big handfuls of arugula

Lemon Arugula- no red sauce for this one.

  • EVOO, for drizzling
  • 6 ounces grated fontina cheese
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4-6 Prosciutto slices 
  • 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
  • 2 1/2 packed cups baby arugula
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • Fresh lemon zest, for garnishing

Recipes

Dutch Oven Bread

Who doesn’t love the smell of bread baking? 

Even if you’ve never made homemade bread before, this homemade crusty bread is for you. It’s the perfect beginner recipe because it only requires 4 ingredients, there’s no kneading, and 95% of the work is hands-off. This recipe delivers delicious flavor, and a slightly crisp crust.  Not to mention the loaf is as big as your head… Brian and I had some fun taking pictures of how big it turned out. LOL

You can also add herbs and seasonings such as garlic, rosemary, dill, chopped onion, jalapeño, shredded cheese, chopped nuts, dried cranberries, etc. Get CREATIVE!

So let’s get right to it!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups warm water 105 degrees F

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. 

Optional: If you are using herbs and seasonings add them to the bowl and combine with flour mixture

Add the water and mix until the dough forms a ball.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel.

Let dough sit covered at room temperature for 18-24 hours.

After 18-24 hours (or at least 1 hour before you want to serve) preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place a 5 quart dutch oven (or a baking dish) with a lid in the oven while it is preheating. 

While the oven is preheating, transfer the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface.

Form the dough into a ball, adding a few tablespoons more flour if needed. The dough should still be slightly loose. Then cover it with a floured towel while the oven is preheating.

Carefully remove the hot baking dish from the oven. Remove the lid and spray the dish with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.

Gently put the dough ball into the baking dish so it’s evenly distributed.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown.

Remove the loaf from the dutch oven and let it cool on a rack before slicing.

Recipes

NUTELLA SWIRLED BANANA BREAD

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread is the ultimate banana bread recipe. It is extremely easy and moist with swirls of nutella spread throughout. It’s perfect at breakfast served with your morning coffee or for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

The best bananas for this recipe are ones that are over-ripe. The peels should be at least half brown and easy to remove. The insides should be squishy and browning. I find myself buying bananas and never eating all of them so this recipe is a great way to save the bananas and my wallet. 

There is no need for a mixer. You can mix everything together in one large  bowl. The first step is to mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl! I use the back of the spoon or you can use a potato masher. Then, I just throw everything else into the same bowl and mix it together. I told you it was easy!

Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Grab your Nutella jar and microwave it for 10-20 seconds. Pour half of the banana batter into the loaf pan, and drizzle two spoonfuls of the warm Nutella over the banana batter. Add the rest of banana batter and repeat with the drizzle of warm Nutella. To achieve the marble look, take a knife and swirl it through the loaf pan.Bake in your pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes until golden on top and a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the loaf pan and serve in slices. I like to cut mine into thick slices but that is totally up to you! 

ENJOY!!!

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup Nutella

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the sugar, butter, egg & vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  4. Gradually add the flour and baking soda, mixing until all combined.
  5. Pour half the batter into your pre-lined loaf pan and smooth into the corners.
  6. Warm your Nutella in the microwave for about 10-20 second to soften it slightly. 
  7. Drizzle a couple of spoonfuls over the batter in the loaf pan before adding the remaining batter on top.
  8. Drizzle the remaining Nutella to the top of your loaf before stirring the batter with a knife to create the marbled effect.
  9. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 40 minutes until golden on top. 
  10. Leave to cool in the loaf pan and serve in slices.

Recipes

PAN-SEARED CHICKEN PAILLARD WITH ARUGULA AND SHAVED PARMESAN

When the weather starts to warm up, I like to make lighter dishes. But I never sacrifice flavor! I love to use citrus in my recipes during the spring and summer.

This Pan-seared Chicken Paillard with Arugula and Shaved Parmesan embodies light and flavorful perfectly.
Paillard is when you take a piece of meat that is pounded out thin and cooked quickly.

This recipe keeps the seasonings simple. You top the lemon marinated chicken with delicious, peppery arugula drizzled with a truffle balsamic vinegar dressing. It’s fresh, and full of flavor. It’s the ideal spring or summer lunch or dinner. Pair it with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite white wine), and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal!

First you want to start by pounding out the chicken. Place the chicken onto a cutting board and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Now take out all your aggression and pound the chicken with a mallet or you can use a rolling pin, that’s how my Meme used to do it. Pound the chicken until it is about ¼ inch thick.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.

In a mixing bowl combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder. I love using lemon zest in my dishes, especially homemade rubs or salad dressings.
Grab your zester, if you do not have a zester, you can use a box cheese grater on the fine side.
Zest half of a lemon, and juice half of a lemon in the bowl with the spices. Whisk all ingredients until well combined. Rub the mixture all over both sides of the chicken. Let the chicken marinate while you make the salad dressing.

The salad dressing calls for truffle oil which can be a strong flavor. I love truffle oil, but I know it’s not a favorite for all. So if you are not a fan of truffle oil, you can replace it with EVOO.
In a small bowl, add 1 chopped shallot, zest and juice of half a lemon, ½ teaspoon truffle oil, 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper, whisking until combined. Set aside.

Drizzle about a tablespoon of EVOO into the hot skillet. Place each flattened chicken breast into the hot oil. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes or until fully cooked and golden brown.

Now for the plating!
This turns into a fresh beautiful plate!
Place the cooked chicken breast onto a plate and pile on the arugula. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan cheese over top of the arugula and chicken. Drizzle the Truffle Balsamic Vinegar over the arugula.

Enjoy!!

INGREDIENTS

For the Chicken:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Zest of ½ of a lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon

For the Salad:

  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • ½ teaspoon truffle oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 6 cups arugula
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS
Place the chicken breast on a cutting board and top with plastic wrap.
Pound out the chicken breast until it’s about a ¼” thick.
Place the chicken on a platter and brush a little olive oil on each side.
In a small bowl combine salt, pepper and garlic powder. In the same bowl add the zest and juice of half a lemon.
Generously rub the seasoning on each side.
Preheat your skillet with a swirl of EVOO. Turn down heat to medium-high and cook chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.

For the salad dressing
In a small bowl, add chopped shallots, truffle oil, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the middle of a plate. Squeeze the other half of the lemon over the top of the chicken.
Top the warm chicken with a nice big portion of the dressed arugula.
Take a block of Parmesan and, using a vegetable peeler, shave pieces right on top of the arugula.

Drizzle the truffle balsamic vinegar dressing over top.
Serve immediately.

Recipes

Springtime Chicken Meatballs with Garlic Yogurt & Chimichurri sauce

Today’s recipe is all about a vibrant Chimichurri sauce and creamy garlic yogurt that perfectly complement these flavored meatballs. You can serve this as an appetizer for Easter or as a light dinner. Trust me you are going to love this recipe!

I love making meatballs, it always brings me back to being a little girl, watching my mom and grandma, Meme in the kitchen. I loved helping roll the meatballs and watching them sizzle when they were added to the pan with hot olive oil.

First, you want to make the yogurt sauce and the Chimichurri sauce. The longer these two sauces have to marinate the better.

The garlic yogurt sauce is super easy. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, garlic and some salt and pepper. That’s it! 

For the Chimichurri sauce, you are going to want to use your food processor, no worries if you don’t have one, a blender will get the job done too. If you do not have either of those, a sharp knife and some muscle will work too.

To the food processor or blender, add the cilantro, basil, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Pulse until combined but still slightly chunky, adding more olive oil as needed to loosen. 

I absolutely love this sauce, I have a small jar of it in the refrigerator at all times. It compliments just about anything from these meatballs to an omelette or as a dip with some chips.  

Now for the meatballs!

Chop ½ of a yellow onion,4 cloves of garlic and one cup baby spinach. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and slowly add the onion and cook until translucent and just starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the spinach, garlic and some salt, cook until the spinach is wilted. Next sprinkle in the fennel seeds and cook for another minute, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the chicken, breadcrumbs, basil, cayenne, onion powder, dried parsley, paprika, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and some black pepper and mix with a rubber spatula. Make well in the middle of the chicken mixture and crack one egg into the middle of the well. Here’s the fun part, using your hands mix the egg and chicken mixture until well combined. Using your hands, roll into golf ball-sized balls. 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

In the same skillet, heat up a ½ inch of olive oil. Add the meatballs to the hot olive oil but make sure not to overcrowd the skillet, and brown the meatballs on each side about 6 to 10 minutes total. The meatballs should be a nice golden brown. Remember you are not cooking them all the way through, we will finish them off in the oven. 

Place the skillet into the oven and bake for 6 minutes, take the skillet out of the oven and slowly pour ¼ cup white wine into the skillet. Place back into the oven and continue cooking, 5 to 7 minutes.  

You can serve these meatballs as an appetizer or the main dish with a side of jasmine rice or even on a salad with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Chimichurri.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking meatballs
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped 
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds 
  • 1 pound ground chicken 
  • 1/2 cup Italian Panko breadcrumbs 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 1 large egg
  •  ¼ cup white wine

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chimichurri:

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  
  • Crushed red pepper

DIRECTIONS 

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cook until translucent and just starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the spinach, garlic and some salt and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the fennel seeds and cook for another minute, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the chicken, breadcrumbs, basil, cayenne, onion powder, dried parsley, paprika, thyme, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and some black pepper and mix. Roll into golf ball-sized balls.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with about 1/2 inch of oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the skillet, 6 to 10 minutes total. 

Place the meatballs in the oven, and set a timer for 6 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and slowly pour ¼ cup white wine into the pan.

Place back into the oven and continue cooking, 5 to 7 minutes. 

Serve with Yogurt Sauce and Chimichurri.

Yogurt Sauce

Add the yogurt, garlic and some salt and pepper to a small bowl. Mix to combine.

Chimichurri

To the food processor or blender , add the cilantro, basil, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and some salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Pulse until combined but still slightly chunky, adding more olive oil as needed to loosen. Taste and adjust the seasoning.