Bacon & Mozarella Stuffed Meatballs

Homemade meatballs are so delicious and easy to make. You can mix it up and really make them your own! These meatballs are a pretty basic recipe with a twist. You can use any ground meat you like. Beef, pork, veal, turkey and chicken. I personally prefer beef meatballs and sometimes I add in ground pork as well. My recipe calls for little fresh mozzarella balls and bacon. When you cut into them you taste that salty bacon and the mozzarella is nice and gooey! They are delicious!

Bacon & Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Ingredients:
Meatballs:
2lbs ground beef (could use 1lb beef & 1lb of pork)
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
1/2-3/4 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 T Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 small onion, grated or very finely chopped
1/4 cup water or milk
1 T olive oil
2 t Italian seasoning
2 t kosher salt
2 t pepper

Extras:
6-8 slices bacon, cooked, chopped in half inch pieces
8-10 oz fresh mozzarella pearl balls
2 T olive oil, for frying

Directions: Preheat oven 350°. In a large mixing bowl add in all the ingredients above for the meatballs. Next using your hands mix meat until fully incorporated with ingredients. Using a large scoop or melon baller form meat into balls. Flatten out the balls and add in 1-2 pearl mozzarella balls and 1-2 pieces of bacon and roll into a ball. The meatballs should be golf ball size. Add to a baking sheet covered with foil. Continue with all the meat.

Options for cooking is either pan fry on the stove or you can bake in the oven. Sometimes I like to sauté in a pan to get a nice brown exterior and then finish baking through in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. To bake in the oven only cook for 30-35 minutes depending on the size. The meatballs should get nice and golden brown. Serve either on their own or with pasta.

Notes: You may need more bacon and mozzarella depending on how big the meatballs are. If you can’t find the pearl balls you can use any other cheese or fresh mozzarella and cut into small pieces.



Lemon Butter Chicken

This is my new favorite chicken recipe. If you like lemon this recipe is for you. It’s beyond simple and so fresh. The lemon really brightens up this dish. Even though it’s breaded it’s still light, which is what I love. Give this recipe a try!

Lemon Butter Chicken

Ingredients:
8 chicken thighs ( boneless & skinless)
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
2 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zest
1 t Italian seasoning
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t lemon pepper seasoning
2 t salt
2 t pepper
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 T chopped/dried parsley
lemon, for drizzle

Direction: Preheat oven 375°. In medium bowl mix together the bread crumbs, seasoning and lemon zest. In another bowl add in 2 eggs, 1 T lemon juice, salt and pepper, whisk together.

Grease a baking dish or baking pan with cooking spray. Pat the chicken thighs dry. Dip the chicken thigh into the egg mixture and then into bread crumbs fully coating the chicken add to baking dish. Continue with remaining chicken. Bake in the oven about 20 minutes.

In a small bowl add the melted butter, remaining lemon juice (1 1/2 T) and parsley.

After 20 minutes remove from oven and pour the lemon butter evenly over the top of the chicken thighs. Put back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°. Remove from oven drizzle with fresh lemon if so desired. Top of a slice of lemon for garnish. Enjoy!

Note: You can do this with chicken breasts as well. Cook times will vary due to the thickness of the chicken thighs. Use an instant thermometer for accuracy.

Shrimp with Garlic Alfredo pasta

As you know, I love my quick meals. This meal is nice an filling and very simple to make. This is a quick homemade alfredo sauce. If you don’t have the ingredients to make it fresh, you can use a jarred sauce. I know that’s completely frowned upon in the foodie community, but life gets in the way sometimes and you need a quick meal that taste delicious. Just do what’s best for you. This recipe is just, cook the pasta, cook the shrimp and make the alfredo and done! Can’t get much easier. I totally forgot to take pictures along the way of every step. I remembered to take a few though! Sorry! 🙂 Take a look!

Shrimp with Garlic Alfredo Pasta

Ingredients:
1lb pasta (I used Rigatoni)
1lb shrimp, cleaned & devined
1 T olive oil
1 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder

Alfredo Sauce:
1 t olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup Parmesan/Romano finely grated cheese
1 stick, butter
1 T flour
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Optional toppings:
shaved Parmesan
crushed red pepper flakes
chopped parsley

Directions: Cook pasta according to package. Don’t forget to salt the water! Drain and set aside.

Heat a large saute pan on high heat. Season the shrimp with chili powder, onion & garlic powder. Add oil to the pan and let heat 1-2 minutes. Add in the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. You want a nice golden crust on the shrimp. When cooked the shrimp should be pink and white in color. Remove shrimp, cover and set aside when done.

Lower the heat to medium high. In that same pan add in 1 t olive oil and scrap the pan to get all the flavor up. Add in the garlic and let saute about 1-2 minutes, mix often. Do not overcook the garlic. Next add in the butter and let melt completely, mixing often. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and mix well and let cook 2-3 minutes. Next add in the cream and whisk until smooth. Let the sauce simmer 3-4 minutes, until it thickens. Add in the cheese, salt and pepper to taste and mix until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Add in the chopped parsley and mix. (Note: taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed.)

Add the pasta into the pan and stir until the pasta is fully coated with the sauce. Add to serving bowls and top with shaved parm, crushed red pepper and chopped parsley (if desired) Serve with garlic bread. Eat immediately.

Note: For a lighter version you can use half heavy cream and half 2% milk, or you can use all milk. This Alfredo recipe is great on it’s own with pasta. You can also adjust the protein to your preference. I used a rigatoni but you can use any pasta you’d like. You can omit the flour if desired. Once you add the cheese the sauce thickens pretty well on it’s own.


Chicken Francese

This chicken francese recipe is a pretty simple and basic recipe. I love a recipe that has simple ingredients. I enjoy making this and serving with a nice chunk of crusty bread for dipping in the juice. This is a great week night meal. It doesn’t take long to make and it’s sure to please the family!

Chicken Francese

Ingredients:
6 boneless & skinless chicken breast,
3/4 +2T cup all purpose flour
3 eggs
2 T water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lemons, 1 sliced, 1 juiced
1 1/2 cup chicken broth, low sodium
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 T butter
2 T flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt
pepper

Directions: Put the chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound chicken breast to about 1/4 inch thick. Add 3/4 cup flour to a shallow bowl/dish. Add in the flour and season with salt and pepper, mix together. In another shallow bowl/dish add in the eggs and water and beat together. Heat a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Add in the oil.

Dredge the chicken breasts into the the flour mixture on both sides, then dip in egg mixture to full coat. Make sure to let the excess egg drips off. Add to the heated oil and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden and then flip and cook 2-3 minutes. Complete this with all of the chicken breasts. Remove the chicken when done and set aside.

Add half of lemon slices to the pan and let cook until it becomes fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the butter and let melt slightly. Add in the 2 T of flour and whisk. Add in the chicken broth, wine and juice from lemon and mix well. Let simmer 4-5 minutes until lightly reduced. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the chicken back to the pan and let simmer about 3-minutes on low to warm the chicken through. Serve with sauce and slice of lemon on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish. Enjoy!

Zucchini & Onion Linguine with Olive Oil

I love making a new dish and especially when you make it and you are SO happy with the outcome.  I love sauteing zucchini and onion with a little olive oil.  That’s where this pasta dish comes in. I just turned it into a deliciously light meal.  Perfect vegetarians meal or those meatless Mondays! Give it a try. You will not be disappointed!

Zucchini & Onion Linguine with Olive Oil

Ingredients:

1 lb linguine
3 medium zucchinis, cut in half moons
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T butter
2 t onion powder
2 t garlic powder
2 t oregano
2 t parsley
1 t crushed red pepper, optional
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan/Romano cheese

Directions:  Cook pasta according to the package.  Set aside once done with a drizzle of olive oil.

Heat a large saute pan on medium high heat.  Add in 1 T of oil and let heat.  Next add in the garlic and onion and cook 2-3 minutes, stir often so the garlic doesn’t burn. Next add in the zucchini and let cook.  You will want to cook about 10-12 minutes over medium heat.  Stir often.  You want the zucchini to be very tender.

Season the zucchini mixture with garlic and onion powder.  Add in the pasta and season with oregano, parsley and crushed red pepper (if using.) Mix in the olive oil and butter. Let butter fully melt, completely tossing.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cheese and serve!

Note: You can omit the butter, it just give it a nice smooth finish.  I prefer the zucchini to be super tender. If you want it to have a bit just cook less time.  Cooking time will depend on the heat and size of the zucchini.  You can use fresh or dried herbs. I made this last minute so I used dried, since that’s what I had on hand. Also, I know I added garlic and onion powder as well as fresh garlic and onion….I always use that! 🙂
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Spinach & Mushroom Pizza

I love making homemade pizzas. I personally just buy the pizza dough from a local Italian shop and it cuts the prep time in half. I made this pizza and the dough wasn’t cooperating, so the crust totally came out wonky. I still had to share because the flavors were awesome. This is also my first time making a video while cooking. It’s new to me, so I’m learning as I go! 🙂

Spinach & Mushroom Pizza

Ingredients:
1 fresh pizza dough
8 oz sliced mushrooms, sauteed to remove moisture
10 oz fresh spinach
1 cup Italian shredded cheese
4 oz fresh mozzarella, diced
1 T grated Romano cheese
1 T + 2t olive oil
1/2 T Italian Seasoning
2 t garlic salt

Directions: Preheat oven 425°. Roll out pizza dough to your desired thickness. Use spray oil on a large cookie sheet and add the dough. Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Par bake the crust for about 8 minutes.

Remove the dough from the oven and assemble the pizza. Drizzle 1 T oil over the crust and use a brush to completely cover the crust. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the crust. Next layer with spinach and then top with mushrooms. Next add the fresh mozzarella. Sprinkle the Romano and Italian seasoning over the top. Lightly drizzle oil on top and bake in the oven for another 10-12 minutes depending on how crisp you like your pizza and how thick your dough is.

Once pizza is done remove from oven and sprinkle with garlic salt. Cut and serve.