Monday, 28 October 2013

Carol's Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Do you have a favourite food or cooking smell?  You know the hits you as soon as you walk in the kitchen (or house), and you are instantly transported to a time long ago, one that envelopes you in a cocoon of warmth, comfort and safety?

Growing up in a household with a mother who cooked a lot meant that there were a lot of foods that evoked warm fuzzy, happy, feelings for me.  Now, as I prepare and eat these dishes, I am reminded of the happy moments of my childhood...the excitement that kicked in whenever we'd return home after a long day at school (8:30a to 4:30p plus travel time - it was a long day!) and be greeted by one of Mom's treasured cooking smells as we walked through the front door.  

One of these dishes was Mom's Sweet and Sour Meatballs.  They tasted just like the recipe name suggests: sweet...and sour.  What a fantastic combination!

Mom would let them cook, simmering slowly on a low temperature on the stove, so that the meatballs could absorb all the delicious flavours of the sauce.  It was so hard not to steal a spoonful when she stepped out of the kitchen!  

Now I am the mom, and Sara and Becca are the ones to walk into the kitchen sniffing and guessing what's for dinner.  There is no greater satisfaction for me than those moments when my kids think I'm not looking and they sneak a taste of dinner from the pot.  No worries though, there is absolutely no double dipping in our house...which means that I usually find a collection of spoons in the sink (a dead giveaway that dinner will be a hit!).  

These sweet and sour meatballs are best served piping hot, on a bed of fluffy white rice, with a fresh rye bread and...Baba Dora salad, of course!

From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.  

Until next time, I wish you a wonderful day filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.  B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

Carol's Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Meatball ingredients:
1 lb. ground meat (beef, turkey, or chicken)
1 small onion, chopped very fine 
¼C breadcrumbs (or more if needed to hold the meatballs together)
2 tbsp ketchup
1 egg
½ tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper (or to taste)

Sauce ingredients:
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 28 oz tin diced tomatoes
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp canola or olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Sauce - Crock pot version: Saute onions in olive oil until they are golden and translucent, not browned. Add to tomatoes, salt and pepper (already in the crock pot). Turn heat to high until sauce reaches a boil, then reduce temperature to low.
- or -
Sauce - Stove top version: In a large stock pot, saute onions in olive oil until they are golden and translucent, not browned. Add to tomatoes, salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium high (7) until sauce reaches a boil, then reduce heat to medium low (3 or 4).

Meatballs -  Once the sauce has reached a boil, and the stove or crock pot temperature has been reduced,combine ingredients for meatballs and roll into small balls, adding them to the sauce as you roll them - remembering to gently stir the sauce every few minutes.  Allow meatballs to simmer for 1½ hours, then add the sugar, and simmer for an additional 1½ hours.  

Serve on a bed of fluffy white rice and enjoy.  Leftovers can be frozen in the sauce.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Carol's Chicken Salad

Some of the simplest recipes are the best...and Mom's chicken salad is one of them.

As far back as I can remember, Mom would make this salad every year during Passover to use up the tons of leftover chicken.  Funny, we never thought of it as eating was just a treat that we always looked forward to Mom serving.  Looking back, I would have to say that my mother was a professional at making the ordinary seem extraordinary...a trick I am still working to master.  

Things are so hectic around here...the busiest and most pressured they've been for a while.  We are moving in November, and between: packing (a task I have done many times, but this time I am finding it particularly annoying); arranging for all services to be moved to the new house; and keeping up with all the usual pressures and time constraints of a young family with 2 working parents, meals are becoming a real challenge in our household.

Between the girls' schedules and our own, our standard "family meal-time" has dwindled from 7 nights a week to 4 or 5.  I know that 5 nights together each week is still a good thing...but hey, a girl can always strive for more, right?!

With all this rushing around, meals that take longer to prepare, like 1-pot roasted chicken (a Shabbat favourite), just haven't been on the menu lately.  I miss having left-over chicken to transform into something else, and so I jumped at the opportunity to take home turkey leftovers from the Bruni Thanksgiving celebration last weekend.

I had enough for 2 meals: turkey pot pie and turkey salad.  Becca was thrilled and Sara....well, Sara had other leftovers (she's not a fan - you can't win 'em all!).

This salad is great for so many reasons: it is healthy, is light but filling, and it calls for whatever ingredients you have handy in your refrigerator crisper!

I made a huge salad, served with hummus and pita on the side, and although I made extra for Becca's lunch the next day, every last bite was eaten and there were no leftovers to be had!

From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy this Chicken (or Turkey) Salad recipe as much as Becca and I do.

Until next time, I wish you a wonderful day filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.  B'Tayavon  and Buon Appetito!

Carol's Chicken Salad

Salad ingredients:

  • 1C-2C cooked chicken, cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 5 celery stalks, diced
  • ½ yellow pepper, diced (you can use any colour pepper you like)
  • 3 green onions (or ¼C red onion), finely chopped
  • 1 head lettuce (iceberg or romaine), cut/torn in bite-size pieces
  • 2 - 3 radishes, cut into thin rounds

Dressing ingredients:
  • ½C mayonnaise 
  • ¼ -½ tsp onion powder (or to taste)
  • ¼ -½ tsp garlic powder (or to taste)
  • ¼ -½ tsp paprika (or to taste)
  • ¼ -½ tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • ¼ -½ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ -½ dill (or to taste)
Combine all salad ingredients in large bowl.  You can add or omit any fresh veggies that you like to this salad.  In the spirit of the shitarein recipe (Yiddish for "thrown it in"), I just squeeze the mayonnaise on the salad, then sprinkle the seasonings over top, toss and serve.  If you prefer a more precise method, combine the dressing ingredients in a measuring cup, mix, add to salad and toss.  It's delicious either way!