Spanikopita Chicken Meatballs

 

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Guys, meatballs are kinda my thing.  As much as I love good old fashioned Italian-style meatballs in “gravy” (if you don’t call red sauce with meat gravy in Philly you just don’t belong here), the kind of meatballs I like to make are not what your Nonna might expect.  I’ve made meatballs that are stuffed with cheese, meatballs that taste like Chinese orange chicken, and most famously, my Raspberry Chipotle Meatballs– those bad boys won me a meatball contest at work last year.  Not kidding.  I even got a trophy!

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Photo Cred: Krissy Iaci 

There are so many different types and so much you can do with meatballs.  This recipe that I’m sharing with you today was inspired by an appetizer dish from Rachael Ray.  Instead of serving them as an app, I updated the recipe a bit, added a serving of rice, and voila it was our dinner!

These Spanikopita chicken meatballs are so delish, and they are not bad for you at all!  They are jam packed with spinach and using ground chicken breast limits the fat in the meatballs too.  When I originally tried this recipe, I used real (whole fat) feta cheese, but I recommend if you’re trying to be “good” to use fat free or reduced fat feta.  The feta texture and flavor is still there, but won’t cost you as many calories (or points if you’re on Weight Watchers like me!).

Spanikopita Chicken Meatballs

Recipe Adapted from:  Rachael Ray 
Serves: 3 (18 meatballs total plus sauce)
WW Smart Points (with real feta): 7
WW Smart Points (with fat free feta):  3 (omg right)

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
  • 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry (I use cheesecloth)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese *see note*
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
  • 3/4 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons, cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons, coriander
  • Salt

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Chicken & Broccoli

Dave and I always say we would probably pick Asian food if we only could have one type of food for the rest of our lives.  It’s too hard to decide within that realm… we LOVE spicy Thai food, Szechuan, good old Chinese takeout, Vietnamese, Sushi… it’s all so good!  I try really hard to not order takeout during the week, so sometimes I end up picking recipes during my menu planning that are healthier versions of some of our favorite takeout dishes.  And subsequently needing to buy a Costco size jug of low sodium soy.

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Good Eats Meatloaf

So, having a food blog creates a lot of pressure to make interesting new food all the time.  While at times, this can be fun and delicious, the other nights when my food doesn’t turn out according to plan, it can be quite stressful.  Just what I need, more stress!

Now, here’s where my meatloaf anxiety (MA as my sister would probably say) comes into play.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Continue reading

Apple Cheddar Squash Soup

Alright people, it’s officially soup season!  It’s chilly out in Philadelphia, so I’m ready to start taking advantage and make some yummy soups.  Believe it or not, the recipe I’m sharing with you today was a recipe that Dave, my husband, made for me!  I was so impressed.  I had flagged the recipe and bought all the ingredients, and by the time I was home from work, he had already almost finished making it!  I was so happy 🙂

This soup was really delicious, and the apple and squash go so well together.   Continue reading

Bobby’s Red Sangria

sangria

Our wedding is in 103 days.  OMG!  Can you believe it?!

This past weekend, I was showered with lots of love and amazing presents at my bridal shower.  It was so much fun!  I was able to be joined by all of my bridesmaids, lots of friends and family, and had a wonderful time.  (there was lots of good food too of course!)

Since the shower is really for the gals… Dave and I decided to have a really fun night out before the shower with all of our friends.  We decided to go to our absolute favorite restaurant in Philly- which happens to be a BYO.  I made an awesome Sangria recipe (my first!) and wanted to share it with you today.  It was delish!

Dave and I at our dinner :)

Dave and I at our dinner 🙂

Bobby’s Red Sangria

Ingredients:

2 bottles Spanish Red Table Wine

1 cup Apricot Brandy (or other)

1/2 cup Triple Sec

1/2 cup Raspberry Liquor (I used Framboise)

1 cup Orange Juice

1 cup Pomegranate Juice

3/4 cup Simple Syrup, or more to taste (equal parts sugar and water, heated until sugar dissolves, cooled)

Orange slices, Apple slices, Blackberries, One Cinnamon Stick

Directions:

1.  Mix the brandy, triple sec, and raspberry liquor in a large pitcher.  Cut half of the fruit and add to the boozy mixture.  Add juices and simple syrup.  Add the two bottles of wine and seal the container.  Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving.  

2.  Before serving, remove the old fruit and cinnamon stick and add the remaining chopped fruit.  
Recipe adapted from:  Bobby Flay’s Red Wine Sangria

This is the wine I used

This is the wine I used

Lots of booze, ready to rock and roll!

Lots of booze, ready to rock and roll!

I was confident that I couldn’t go wrong with a Bobby Flay recipe and started there.  With a few suggestions from friends, I added the raspberry and cinnamon which worked out great.  A great piece of advice is that the Sangria gets better with time… don’t try it right away and expect it to be good!  It has to sit with the fruit for a good amount of time before it is just right.  ENJOY!

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End of Summer Thai Slaw

Well my friends… it’s about that time.  As far as I’m concerned, as of last night, Summer 2013 is over!

I hope you all had a fabulous summer!  Dave and I spent our final summer weekend at the shore house with the fam.  It was such a great way to end this crazy summer we’ve had.

A cute photo from our date night in Atlantic City :)

A cute photo from our date night in Atlantic City 🙂

I wanted to make one last summery side dish before my mind starts wandering off in pumpkin land!  The recipe for this slaw was from the Food Network’s 50 Slaw Recipe booklet.  The Thai version stood out to me since I was able to use my brand new SPICY peanut butter from Peanut Butter Co!  I love the Food Network’s 50 recipe booklets, they always inspire me… I want to make so many more too!

Thai Slaw w/ Spicy Peanut Butter

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Peanut Butter

1/3 cup Rice Vinegar

Juice from 2 Limes

1 Tablespoon Grated Ginger

1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce

1/4 head of Napa or Green Cabbage

1/2 cup Shredded  Carrots

1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped

2 Green Onions, chopped

1/4 cup Dry Roasted Peanuts, chopped

Directions:

1.  Stir or puree the peanut butter, rice vinegar, lime juice, ginger, and low sodium soy sauce.  

2.  In a separate bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, herbs, and peanuts.  Mix the dressing into the slaw and toss when ready to serve.

Recipe from:  Food Network Magazine

Ready for the dressin'!

Ready for the dressin’!

The star of the show!

The star of the show!

MMM!

MMM!

Thai Slaw

I love love loved this slaw!  I’m not a huge cole slaw fan because of the mayo that’s normally in it, so I really enjoyed this variation!  And I do have to tell you how delicious the spicy peanut butter made it.  There was nothing else spicy in the slaw and boy did it have heat!  It’s amazing how much flavor the spicy peanut butter brought to the table.  I might have to buy myself another jar already!

Well here’s my goodbye to you Summer 2013!  Excited to see what the fall will bring us 🙂

Shrimp & Couscous w/ Yogurt-Hummus Sauce

This recipe reminds me of Israel.  Sighhhhh…. everything with hummus does.  Really.  That might be because hummus is all I ate there.

Anyway, this “20-Minute” simple recipe didn’t seem so simple to me at first.  I rarely make shrimp (Dave will. not. eat it) and I’ve never made couscous before.  So on the recipe anxiety scale of 1-10 (1 being toasting bread and 10 being a Baked Alaska) this shrimp dish was at a 6… I was worried!

To make matters worse, I even had to make this dish with shrimp… and another with chicken for Dave…

But (would you believe it) it all turned out fine.  The Food Network knows their shit.  This IS an easy recipe, and it DID take me 20 minutes.  LOL.  All that worrying for nothing.  That’s never happened to me before… totally new experience……… ………

Anyway, let me just tell you… it’s freakin’ delicious.  So good.  It’s like, lick the bowl good.  And- yes, I did.

Shrimp & Couscous w/ Yogurt-Hummus Sauce

Makes 4 Servings of couscous salad and sauce.  I made 1 serving of shrimp, 1 of sliced chicken breast for Dave, and the rest of the couscous salad I used for another meal!

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat couscous
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup Fat Free Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon Hummus (I prefer Sabra if I didn’t make it myself)
1 teaspoon dried Dill or 1 Tablespoon Fresh 
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
4oz Shrimp per Serving (I used frozen that I thawed)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon Hot Hungarian Paprika (or regular if you don’t have hot… and add a dash of Cayenne!)
Juice from 1/2 a Lemon
Directions:
1.  Make the couscous.  Combine the couscous, raisins and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups very hot water, cover with plastic wrap and let sit until all of the water is absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 5 minutes.  It’s magic!

2.  Make the sauce.  Stir together the yogurt, hummus, dill,  and 1 to 2 tablespoons water in another bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside in the refrigerator.

3.  Cook the shrimp.  Toss the shrimp, tomatoes, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and hot paprika together.  Cook in a small saute pan over medium heat until the shrimp is cooked through (maybe 4 minutes?  It does not take long.  If you’re using pre-cooked shrimp, just heat through.)  Drizzle the lemon juice ontop of the shrimp-tomato mixture.  

4.  Assemble!  Fluff the couscous with a fork.  Place the couscous in a bowl or plate, add the shrimp mixture ontop.  Scrape any of the saucy drippings from the pan into the sauce and stir.  Place a dollop of sauce ontop of the shrimp/tomato mixture.  ENJOY!

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Food Network Kitchens

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Cookin' the shrimp/chicken and tomatoes

Cookin’ the shrimp/chicken and tomatoes

One chicken and one shrimp (with a few pieces of chicken snitched!  :) )

One chicken and one shrimp (with a few pieces of chicken snitched! 🙂 )

YUM!  I topped mine with some parsley.

YUM! I topped mine with some parsley.

Mixed all up, this is one delicious meal!

Mixed all up, this is one delicious meal!

 

See, that totally wasn’t hard at all!  Once you think about it in four simple steps:  Make the Couscous, Make the Sauce, Cook the Shrimp, and Assemble!  That’s all!  It was so tasty and different than anything I’ve ever made before.  I really enjoyed a break from all of the spicy food we normally eat.