Tomorrow is “Back to School” for my crew. We are among the final holdouts and this coming week will be tough, to say the least. Summer has been spectacular. Lots of travel, new experiences, quality family time and as always, I am reminded that life is bigger than our day to day.
With the craziness of carpools, homework, practices, games, tournaments and “play dates” (does anyone have a better phrase?; my kids hate that I still refer to their social endeavors as “play dates!”), it can be hard to breathe, let alone be strategic about what’s for dinner. It is for this reason that several of my friends have asked me to launch this season’s Sly Rooster with a quick list of my favorite weeknight meals. Without realizing, these friends have basically asked me to choose my favorite child because as I peruse the Recipe Index, I find myself crooning, “Oh, but this one’s so good…” “This one’s so easy…” “And, this one is so worth the effort…” but I have compiled a list of the recipes that all of my kids are happy to hear mentioned when they get home and ask the inevitable, “What’s for dinner?”–to which I reply, “Why, hello! How are you? How was your day?”
So here goes nothing. My list. But please (I beg) put your favorite Sly Rooster recipe in the comment section below. I love lists and would enjoy hearing what works for your families. It will also help me know what types of recipes to focus on during this coming year. And while you are at it, take a minute to travel through my Recipe Index on your own. There are so many great, easy dinner recipes but also some really fantastic side dishes that if made along wth one of your go-to’s (hamburgers, for example) would really brighten up the plate and give a new spin to your meal. I always say, introduce one new recipe at a time (both as a realistic expectation of time and patience for the cook, and to not overwhelm your audience) and sides are a great place to experiment.
Deconstructed Lettuce Wraps (served in lettuce leaves or in a bowl over rice; using ground, beef, turkey, chicken or pork)
Basic Chicken Curry (don’t let “curry” scare you, this is safe for even timid palates)
Cheese Lasagna (because who doesn’t like a lasagna that doesn’t take all day and isn’t bogged down by heavy ricotta cheese)
Thai Pork Burritos (just trust me–and if you are vegetarian, soy crumbles work well as a meat substitution)
Fish Tacos (can be done with any fish that your family enjoys)
And finally…because I would be remiss if I didn’t share a new recipe after such a long hiatus…here is a new favorite from none other than Jennifer Segal of Once Upon A Chef. As I’ve mentioned countless times before, Jenn is my go to source for reliable, delicious, recipes that everyone loves and these Turkey, Spinach & Cheese Meatballs are no exception. They are moist, flavorful turkey meatballs that can hold their own against their ground beef counterparts.
Jenn’s recipe for Turkey Meatballs gets its moisture from the combination of ground turkey and turkey sausage, in equal parts. The flavor boost comes from the inclusion of spinach, scallions, garlic, parmesan, mozzarella and breadcrumbs in the mixture. And as far as meatballs go, the prep is two step but without splatter. You start cooking the meatballs under the broiler and then finish the cooking in a pot of sauce (use a good quality jarred sauce like Rao’s if you don’t have time to make your own). Serve these meatballs with spaghetti (or spaghetti squash), sub rolls, sautéed spinach or on their own.
It’s good to be back. Share Sly Rooster with five friends today, encourage them to subscribe, spread the love! Enjoy!
- 1 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg (I have omitted due to an egg allergy and meatballs still held together)
- 3 oz baby spinach, chopped (3-1/2 cups whole; 1-1/2 cups chopped)
- 3 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1.25 lbs 93/7 ground turkey
- 1.25 lbs Italian turkey sausage, removed from the casings
- 1 c shredded mozzarella (preferably whole milk but low-fat will work)
- 1/3 c grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving
- 1/2 c Italian seasoned bread crumbs (or plain with an added pinch of dried oregano)
- 1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce, homemade or good quality store-bought
- Preheat the broiler and set an oven rack on the second-highest rack. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil and grease with the olive oil.
- In a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients, beat the egg (if using). Add the chopped spinach, scallions, and garlic and stir until evenly combined.
- Add the ground turkey, turkey sausage, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and bread crumbs.
- Using your hands, mix until evenly combined.
- Shape the mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Broil the meatballs until golden brown on top, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce in a large pan on the stovetop.
- Add the broiled meatballs and simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked.