Tag Archives: tomato

Giada’s Meatloaf (tweaked) and Rachael’s Orzo (tweaked)

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Everyone in my household is out of sorts today. One out of the four of us is smiling, sweet, and caring. The rest of us need a reset button.  Good thing there’s always tomorrow.

Today would have been my mother’s birthday. I didn’t have a very good relationship with her, and she was a very broken woman, but over the past couple weeks, I have caught a glimpse of her in my daily activities. The good parts. Like the flash of a smile or perfume on a breeze, these good memories come and go and make me wonder if I just imagined them in the first place.

I spent a great deal of my life trying to not be like my mother. Every thing I did was an act of defiance, a protest. I was determined to never have kids, because she had kids and she hurt us. But time smooths over rough edges and life rarely happens according to plan or protestation. One day, I stopped running from my mother’s nature and nurture (or lack thereof), embraced the stepkids at my feet, wiped sticky faces, scolded, read a book, danced, and cooked for this family I never planned for.

I still fold towels like she taught me. And I can make a damn good meatloaf.

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That being said: here’s a meatloaf recipe. And an orzo recipe. It’s what for dinner!

Giada’s Meatloaf, also known as Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sundried Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, diced fine
  • garlic, diced fine
  • 1 cup plan bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup diced feta cheese
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper

Method: Mix it. Form it. Bake it at 375. It’s really good.

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Rachael’s Orzo, also known as Cheese Orzo

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups orzo
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • fresh basil and dried oregano
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan

Method: Saute onion and garlic. Add liquid and bring to a boil. Add orzo. Stir well to make sure it doesn’t clump at the bottom. Add oregano and salt and pepper. Cook pasta in liquid until the orzo soaks up the stock and sauce. Finish by stirring in cheese and basil.

 
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Whole Wheat Rotini with Basil, Mozzarella, and Tomato Sauce

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of pasta
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • half of large onion, or one small onion, diced
  • lots of torn basil
  • fresh shredded mozzarella
  • Parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar, wine to taste

Method:

Saute the onion and garlic until soft. Salt them a bit. Add tomatoes. Simmer for awhile, then taste. If it’s too salty because your canned tomatoes were salty, then add a pinch of sugar and a splash of wine or balsamic vinegar. That’s my trick for homemade tomato sauce. They always taste a bit off at first, but with the right combination of salt, sugar (or honey), and vinegar or wine, it’ll be amazing. Simmer, simmer. Add some torn basil. Boil your pasta half as long as you normally would because it’s going to be baked in the oven.

When the pasta is done enough, drain it, and add sauce. Grab a casserole dish and layer the pasta, mozzarella cheese, and basil until you’re out of ingredients. Sprinkle the top with a generous amount of Parmesan.

Cover and bake in the oven on 350 for 20-30 minutes. Take the cover off, crank up the oven, and brown the cheese after your 20 or 30 minute mark.

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Caponata with Israeli Couscous and Spinach and Feta Meatballs in a Yellow Tomato Sauce

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Remember the eggplant I bought a couple days ago? While we’ve been slowly eating leftovers, I’ve been devising my eggplant plan. What did I come up with? Jamie Oliver’s “Incredible Sicilian Aubergine Stew,” also known as caponata. I am also making Spinach and Feta Meatballs to go alongside.

Deviations: 

  • Used kalamata olives
  • Used balsamic vinegar
  • Used 1 red bell pepper
  • Used 2 zucchini and only 1 eggplant

Ingredients:

• olive oil
• An eggplant, cut into
large chunks
• teaspoon dried oregano
• kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 small red onion, peeled and finely
chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley,
leaves picked and stems finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons  capers
• a handful of kalamata olives
• 2–3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 5 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
•  2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Method:

In order to make sure that my eggplant and zucchini were browned and toasty, I did several batches. I think I fried four pans full of eggplant and zucchini–and I’m glad I did. The roasted flavor really came through in the final dish. Between each pan full, I dumped it into a plate to rest.

When I was done doing the eggplant and zucchini in batches, I added them all back to the frying pan and added a bunch of dried oregano. I sauteed this for awhile, then I added the onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and parsley stems to the pan.

Five or ten minutes later (I really let this cook down quite a bit), I added olives, capers, and vinegar. Then the chopped tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. I cranked it up for about five minutes, then lowered the heat and put a lid on it.

 While the caponata was simmering away, I began making the meatballs.

Spinach and Feta Meatballs in a  Yellow Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • spinach, microwaved and squeezed dry
  • feta cheese

I hand mixed these ingredients together and pan fried the meatballs, a few at a time. When all of the meatballs were done, I took them out of the pan and let them rest on a plate. I drained the grease from the frying pan and added a pint of yellow cherry tomatoes. I let the tomatoes cook until they burst, gave them a drink of wine, and let them reduce for a couple minutes.

Then, I put the meatballs back in the pan with the sauce and let them simmer with a lid on for a few more minutes.

While everything was simmering away, I made a cup of Israeli couscous.

When the couscous was done, I poured a good deal of the yellow tomato sauce into it to finish it off.

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Mexican Steak Sandwiches

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  • 1 steak
  • half of an onion, sliced
  • 1 Roma tomato, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • cumin (some)
  • mexican oregano (enough…don’t you love how exact I am?)
  • juice of half a lime, juiced
  • one chipotle, minced and deseeded
  • s and p
  • baguette
  • pepper jack cheese
  • beer (some Widmer Dark Saison Brewmasters’ Release)
  • garlic, minced

Marinate the steak in the lime juice, salt and pepper, cumin, and Mexican oregano.

While it’s doing it’s thing, saute the onions, garlic, and red pepper.  Add the chipotle pepper, minced, but make sure to scrape out the inner seeds and membrane so your final dish isn’t ridiculously spicy.

After the veggies are nice and caramelized, take them out of the pan and set them aside in a bowl.

Fry the steak in some butter in the pan you sauteed the veggies in.

When the steak is done, let it rest.

Add the peppers and such back to the pan and pour in some beer. Throw in a sliced Roma tomato. Let it simmer and reduce.

Slice the steak.

Cut the bagette in half and open it up. Butter both sides and broil it, cut side up.  Add the cheese slices to the bread after a minute or so. Watch it carefully–broilers can take some from toasty to charred beyond recognition in seconds.

Assemble the sandwiches once the bread is ready to come out. Layer the peppers and onions with the steak.

Delicious sandwiches. Would be good with chicken, shrimp–any protein, really. That marinade lends itself well to whatever you slather it on. If you decide to try it, you may want to marinate your meat longer than the 45 minutes I did. Overall, I’m really pleased with how the meal turned out. Perfect for a night watching Battlestar Galatica, curled up on the couch.