Meatball Curry with Cilantro Coconut Sauce

Meatball Curry with Cilantro Coconut Sauce

Inspiration: We cook with cilantro more than any other herb. I’d say that about 90% of the time, it’s our herb of choice. We do use a lot of basil, rosemary, and thyme, too, but there’s just something about cilantro. It’s bright, it’s fresh, and it goes so well with many cuisines (including Mexican, of course, which is just about our favorite). Anything cilantro-based is  usually a go in our house, and when the recipe is an Indian curry, well, that just puts it over the top. We really do love curry in just about any form.

What We Loved: The sauce in this curry was earthy and wonderful. It was characterized mainly by the flavor of cilantro, with a great kick of heat from serrano peppers and a touch of sweetness from the coconut oil and coconut milk. Like all great curry sauces, it was rich, complex, and full of earthy spices. I really love meatballs, too, so I enjoyed that aspect of the dish as well. It’s nice to experiment with meatballs in recipes other than those that are Italian or marinara-based.

Tips: This recipe makes a lot of sauce. I would think that you could double the meatball recipe and still have enough sauce (or maybe make half as many more meatballs). I froze the leftover sauce and then served it atop sauteed chicken breasts for another Indian meal later in the week (bonus!).

Meatball Curry with Cilantro Coconut Sauce

Meatball Curry with Cilantro Coconut Sauce
Source: Slightly adapted from Girl Cooks World
Serves: 2-4 

For the Meatballs
1 pound ground beef or lamb
1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste

1. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl, and mix together. Form into 16-20 meatballs and set aside on a plate.

For the Sauce
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves
2 handfuls baby spinach
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion, and cook until softened.

2. Add the ginger, garlic, and serrano. Cook for a few minutes until everything begins to brown.

3. Add the cumin, coriander, and garam masala, and stir to coat the vegetables.

4. Add the coconut milk, cilantro, spinach, and salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes.

5. Use an immersion blender to process the mixture until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil again.

6. Add the meatballs, and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

7. Stir in the vinegar and serve.

Strawberry Orange Salad

Strawberry Orange Salad

Inspiration: Well. With a nine month old who just learned how to crawl and having just purchased a new house, we certainly haven’t had as much time as we’d like to try new recipes and work on the blog. Things are finally settling down a little bit for us here, though (just in time for spring and summer!), so we’re hoping to get back into some semi-regular posting habits. This salad was born out of a bunch of random ingredients left in the fridge, and it turned out to be just the colorful, pretty, and simple dish that I needed to get back into the blogging spirit.

What We Loved: I think that this is the first time that I’ve had an orange in a salad, and I really loved the juicy citrus flavor. That bright summer flavor was my favorite aspect of the salad, and it really combined with the sweet strawberries and creamy avocado for a myriad of fresh flavors. With just a hit of salt and pepper, a touch of olive oil, and an herbal garnish of cilantro, this salad was just so light and refreshing. I enjoyed it alongside some cottage cheese for a nice lunch.

Tips: If you’re particularly hungry, I’d go ahead and throw in a whole avocado. This is not a filling salad, so that extra avocado might be nice. I also think that cashews would be a nice addition. I was going to throw some in, but I ate them all before I got the chance to make the salad (….I seriously have zero control with cashews….).

Strawberry Orange Salad
Source: Original recipe to serve 1

Couple handfuls salad greens
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 strawberries, sliced
1/2 navel orange, peeled and sliced
1/2 avocado, diced
Handful cilantro, minced

1. Drizzle the salad greens with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together.

2. Top the greens with the strawberries, orange slices, avocado, and cilantro.

Chicken and White Bean Burgers with Ham, Avocado, and Cheddar

Chicken and White Bean Burgers (Two Ways)

Chicken and White Bean Burgers with Ham, Avocado, and Cheddar

Inspiration: I’m a planner. I’ve been trying to break myself of that trait, but it sure is dying hard. When I go shopping, I like to have my grocery list all ready (organized by department, no less) with everything that I need for whatever meals that I have scheduled for the week. It’s just what works for me and my slightly ridiculous brain. Anyway, lately I’ve been trying to go to the store without my list and shop for dinners according to what’s on sale. While in a way it stresses me out (….why?), it really has resulted in a bit more creativity in the kitchen, which is always a great thing.

What We Loved: Chicken and white beans are a great combination, as both ingredients have very light flavor profiles that really play off of each other well. Combined together in burger form, there really is a lot of versatility with the toppings, as you can see from the two different ways that we prepared our burgers here. Mixed with cilantro and topped with shaved ham, avocado, and sharp cheddar cheese, the burgers were light and spring-like, with a nice tropical feel. And when we threw in some oregano and topped the burgers with marinara, mozzarella, and sauteed mushrooms, we ended up with an Italian-style burger that was rich and comforting. Using two simple ingredients as a base and building from there, we really ended up with two completely different but equally delicious meals.

Tips: Using ground chicken to make burgers is very messy. The burgers certainly don’t form together nicely as a beef burger would. Just shape it into a patty form as best as you can and throw it into the pan, though – it’ll come together and be easy to work with as soon as it starts cooking. Also – be sure to season the chicken mixture well with salt and pepper. Finally, I didn’t use any butter or oil to cook the burgers, and they cooked up just fine, but if you’d like more flavor imparted into the meat, you could certainly use your cooking fat of choice.

Chicken and White Bean Burgers with Ham, Avocado, and Cheddar
Source: Original Recipe

1/2 lb ground chicken thigh
1/4 cup navy beans, cooked
1/8 cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and black pepper
Deli ham, shaved
Avocado, thinly sliced
Sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded

1. Mash the navy beans with a potato masher or fork until they are about 2/3 mashed, leaving some of the beans in tact for texture. Add in a little water as necessary to get a creamy texture.

2. Mix the ground chicken, beans, and cilantro together with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Saute the burgers over medium heat until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. A few minutes before removing the burgers from the pan, top the burgers with some shaved ham, thinly sliced avocado, and sharp cheddar cheese. Let cook for a few minutes to heat the ingredients and melt the cheese as much as desired.

4. Serve the burgers garnished with additional cilantro.

Chicken and White Bean Burgers with Marinara, Mozzarella, and Mushrooms

Chicken and White Bean Burgers with Marinara, Mozzarella, and Mushrooms
Source: Original Recipe

1/2 lb ground chicken thigh
1/4 cup navy beans, cooked
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper
Garlic powder
Handful baby portabella mushrooms, diced
Your favorite marinara sauce
Mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded

1. Mash the navy beans with a potato masher or fork until they are about 2/3 mashed, leaving some of the beans in tact for texture. Add in a little water as necessary to get a creamy texture.

2. Mix the ground chicken, beans, and oregano together with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Heat some butter in a small sauce pan, and add the diced mushrooms. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and saute until cooked through and browned. At the same time, heat some marinara sauce in a separate sauce pan.

4. Saute the burgers over medium heat until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. A few minutes before removing the burgers from the pan, top the burgers with some of the marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella. Let cook for a few minutes to heat the ingredients and melt the cheese as much as desired.

5. Serve the burgers topped with the sauteed mushrooms.

Portabella Mushrooms Stuffed with Avocado

Portabella Mushrooms Stuffed with Avocado

Inspiration: I sometimes run across a recipe that’s been on the blog for years (like this one) that I never returned to after first making it. With how much I love to cook, I sometimes just get overzealous with new recipes and forget about the tried and true. Since we’ve been really busy around here lately, I’ve been making it a point to go through the blog and focus on remaking and remaking again all of the recipes that we already love. While new foods are great, I think it’s also important and so nice to have an arsenal of reliable recipes up your sleeve.

What We Loved: There aren’t many foods that can’t be improved by stuffing them with avocado. Right? And in this particular recipe, the earthy, hearty flavor of the mushroom really pairs quite beautifully with the light, fresh avocado. It’s rather an unexpected but delicious combination. Rich but light, earthy but herbal and fresh. With a good touch of salt (always necessary to really bring out the flavor of the avocado, in my opinion) and some chopped citrusy cilantro, this is a simple meal that works well for lunch or dinner (or breakfast, come to think of it).

Tips: These are great as a light main course, but I imagine that they’d also be wonderful served alongside some simply sauteed chicken breasts or something similar for a meal that’s a little heartier. They pair really well with fried eggs, and I’ve also served them alongside refried beans and pico de gallo salad for a meal with more of a Mexican twist. You can go a lot of different directions with this one!

Portabella Mushrooms Stuffed with Avocado
SourceSlightly Adapted from Sweet on Veg

2 large portabella mushroom caps
1 avocado
Kosher salt
Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

1. Heat a good pat of butter in a saute pan and add the mushroom caps. Cook, flipping occasionally, until most of the water is released from the mushrooms and they start to brown, about 10 minutes.

2. Mash the avocado in a bowl with a good pinch of salt.

3. Serve the mushrooms topped with the avocado and garnished with cilantro.

Corned Beef Hash

Corned Beef Hash

Corned Beef Hash

Inspiration: Why not share another breakfast hash recipe? We’ve been enjoying having breakfast meals for dinner lately (see last week’s chorizo and sweet potato hash). Having breakfast for dinner is nice because night time provides a little more flexibility to make a breakfast that I normally wouldn’t make on an average weekday morning. Plus, Brandon loves anything and everything corned beef (….I think he could eat a reuben every day and be a happy man).

What We Loved: There’s something awesome about throwing all of your ingredients in a pan, sauteeing them up, and serving them in a big pile on your plate. It’s not very beautiful (to say the least), but it really is so comforting and tasty. This corned beef hash is a fairly standard recipe – just some nicely browned bacon, onions, corned beef, and potatoes with a good bunch of seasoning. It’s a great combination of rich and simple flavors, and the best part is the nice brown crust that you get on the pieces of potatoes and corned beef as you let it cook away in the pan.

Tips: I served this topped with sliced avocado, which was lovely, but I also think that a poached or sunny-side up egg would be a fantastic topping. Goat cheese would also be nice. A colorful topping works well – corned beef hash is not pretty.

Corned Beef Hash
Source: Original Recipe

5-6 slices bacon, diced
About 1 lb leftover cooked corned beef, finely diced
1 small onion, diced
1 large russet potato, grated
Kosher salt and black pepper
Garlic powder
1 avocado, sliced or diced

1. Heat a nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon, and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate, and set aside.

2. Add the diced corned beef, grated potato, and onion to the pan. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir to combine.

3. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are softened and everything is beginning to get nice and browned, about 15 minutes.

4. Serve topped with sliced or diced avocado.

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash with Pimiento Peppers

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash with Pimientos

Inspiration: I’ve seen a lot of chorizo and sweet potato hash recipes all over the web for a few years, and it’s one of those ideas that I’ve always wanted to try. It’s a recipe that could be great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Excellent.

What We Loved: This was one of those dishes that was a great contrast between spicy and sweet. The chorizo had a great spicy kick, and the sweet potatoes and peppers were both nice and sweet. I thought it was interesting that the two sweet ingredients provided different kinds of sweet – the peppers had a nice, tangy sort of sweet, while the potatoes were more in the line of sugary sweet. Combined with the spicy sausage, some browned onions, and a nice bit of salt, the flavor profile was really quite lovely.

Tips: I really went simple with this dish, which is good if that’s what you’re looking for. If you’d like to complicate things a bit, though, I think that cilantro or black beans would be a good addition, and sour cream or goat cheese would be nice toppings.

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash with Pimiento Peppers
Source: Original Recipe

1 lb chorizo sausage
2 small sweet potatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 4 oz jar pimiento peppers, diced
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Place the chorizo, sweet potatoes, onion, and peppers in a large saute pan over medium heat. Season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper.

2. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the chorizo is cooked through and the sweet potatoes are softened, about 15-20 minutes.

Cuban Pulled Pork

Cuban Pulled Pork

Inspiration: It’s a balmy 31 degrees here today, and it was something similar on the day that I made this recipe. Sometimes you just need a nice summery meal with a good island feel to it in the midst of winter, you know? It won’t be long until we’re back in flip-flops, celebrating Ben’s first summer with him. But until then….well, we’ll just eat some avocados and some citrus every now and then, right?

What We Loved: Usually with pulled meats or meats that are slow cooked in the crock pot all day, I think of the end result as being very rich. What was nice about this recipe was that the pork was citrusy light and summery, with a nice touch of sweetness. We really loved the bright orange and lime flavors. I served this with avocado slices and coconut ginger rice, which made lovely accompaniments and really complemented the pork well. I might just list a good pulled pork as my favorite meal, and this one didn’t disappoint. 

Tips: The pork mixture is very thin/watery at the end of cooking, so I would recommend cooking uncovered on high for about an hour to reduce the liquid. I have a stove top-safe crock pot insert, so I was able to just put the insert on the stove and boil away until the mixture was nice and thick. I will include instructions for a normal slow cooker below.

Cuban Pulled Pork
Source: Adapted from Elly Says Opa, originally from The Partial Ingredients

2.5 lbs pork shoulder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon oregano
1 large onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Juice from 2 limes
1/4 cup chicken broth

1. Rub the pork shoulder all over with oil and mustard. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Combine the cayenne, allspice, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and oregano in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the pork. Wrap the pork in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.

3. Place the pork in a slow cooker. Add the onions, garlic, honey, orange juice, lime juice, and chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for seven hours. Shred the meat, and then uncover and cook on high for about an hour, until most of the liquid evaporates and the mixture is thick.