Posts Tagged ‘spinach’
What I’ve come up is PERFECT for an appetizer, main meal, on a buffet table during the game or for upcoming graduation parties and summer picnics. These meatballs were absolutely FANTASTIC! They are packed with protein from the chicken, cheese and egg (or egg whites) on it’s own. But with the addition of Nectar™ Medical – Whey Protein Isolate, it POWER BOOSTS THE PROTEIN in these delicious meatballs!
I’m taking Protein Powder beyond the shake!
Whether you hit the gym during your lunch or right after work, you can pack these with you and eat on the go. Just heat ‘em up for 30 seconds to a minute and you have a FANTASTIC meal!
Just look how yummy these meatballs look!
I mean seriously.. meatballs that are GOOD FOR YOU!!! Genius, I KNOW! Marrying into an Italian family, having an amazing meatball is law. While I love traditional meatballs (trust me, my Italian meatballs are SUPREME) but I also love a variety. One thing that is essential as well in my house is Chicken Parmesan. Normally you egg wash-flour dredge-breadcrumb dip then pan fry. I’ll still do that from time to time but having all that extra carbs is not conducive to my thighs *wink*. With this recipe I wanted to replicate that awesome flavor of traditional chicken parmesan into a healthier style. Of course I can always bake the traditional chicken parmesan *hint hint! Keep an eye out on the site for that soon but Shhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!* but that’s later on.
Now to add even more good-for-you-stuff in these, I added spinach which is packed with antioxidants.
When working with these meatballs there is something VERY important to know.
- You don’t roll these in your hands like traditional meatballs. Why? Ground chicken, without ‘fillers’ (bread) in them is rather sticky. HOWEVER if you lightly wet your hands before you scoop some of the mixture up and almost toss them from hand to hand in a twisting motion to form the ball. I re-wet may hands after every 3-4 meatballs.
I baked these 100% in the oven (meaning I didn’t pan-sear them first) though if you prefer that meatball caramelization feel free to. I have directions on how to do that below.
As you can see, these babies cooked up nice and brown. Now I’ll admit, I ate a nekkid one and WOW they were so good! So full of flavor. The spinach was a fantastic addition! These were so tender and moist.
I had some Marinara Sauce warming so I put some on top of each meatball, followed by some fresh mozzarella cheese and then broiled for a few minutes to melt the cheese. People the SMELL that emanated from my oven when I took these out was incredible! The cheese was all bubbly, the sauce was steaming and you could hear that ‘sizzle’!
Just look how scrumptious these look! Now you could easily serve these as appetizers, on top of some wheat pasta, in lettuce cups (I had that actually for lunch – TO DIE FOR!!!), as a slider an so forth!
These were so juicy that after you finished the first one, your stomach BEGGED you for another.
Now I couldn’t eat a third one as these are really filling BUT what I loved the most is that they, while truly decadent, they were GUILTLESS!
So after I made these, and ate 2, Mr. Fantabulous came out into the kitchen sniffing - which means the aroma hit him. I got the puzzled look as he looked at them, then at me and said “Hey, those are your normal meatballs, are they? And can I have one?”
As he was eating it I was watching intensely. One ‘ting I’ve learned from this Italian man is that they take meatballs pretty seriously. Trust me, it took me a few years to master mine. As he put the fork down and took a drink he said “Hmmm, let me try another one. I’m not sure honey.” Now normally when he says that it means he’s on the fence. He’s my biggest critic so I trust him, obviously. As he inhaled the 2nd… and 3rd one I caught on! That man was soooooooooo playing me! He LOVED them and my tricking me into thinking he was on the fence he got to stuff his beautiful face! LOL
He then said “Hey it’s weird. They taste like chicken parmesan but it’s not. What is it?” I said “Um, Chicken Parmesan Meatballs”. I then told him that I put protein powder in it and he was in heaven! He said “Whoa wait! You mean these are healthy AND after we work out tonight I can eat these???” LOL He’s so pretty Love that man!
Plus check out these great nutritional benefits!
The Syntrax Nectar Medical Unflavored Protein Powder:
♥ Mixes instantly and completely with a spoon
♥ Has Promina™ Whey Isolate
♥ 100% Natural Ingredients
♥ Mixes with Foods or Beverages
♥ 10 grams of protein per serving
♥ Lactose and Gluten Free
♥ Aspartame Free
Nectar Medical is a 100% natural protein formula designed to exceed even the most stringent and demanding requirements of the medical community. It is designed around Promina, a pharmaceutical-grade whey protein isolate that is known for its utmost purity, unwavering consistency and pleasant taste. Whey protein isolate is considered by most experts to be the single highest quality source of protein for human nutrition. Its bioavailability is without compare and its amino acids are utilized more efficiently than any other source of protein.*
Because Nectar Medical has a bland taste and is instantly soluble and dispersible, it can be mixed unnoticeable and easily into nearly any beverage or food item, such as milk, tea, juice, flavored water, cereal, soup pudding or mashed potatoes. Likewise, Nectar Medical is an ideal product to be used in tube-feeding applications due to its ease of use and health-promoting benefits.
Nectar Medical is specifically formulated to be used as a medical food for renal (dialysis) patients. Meeting the distinctive needs of these individuals, Nectar Medical provides a superior protein source with low levels of potassium and phosphorous.*
Nectar Medical is specifically formulated to be used as a medical food for bariatric surgery patients. Meeting the distinctive needs of these individuals, Nectar Medical provides a easily digestible, superior protein source with low levels of fat, sugar and total carbohydrates.
Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to make dinner and these are calling my name in a BIG way!
|Protein Packed Chicken Parmesan Florentine Meatballs|
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 3/4 cup ground rolled oats (like breadcrumb texture) *I ground mine to a coarse mixture. Do not grind to a flour. To make gluten free, use gluten free oats
- 1/4 cup Syntrax Medical Unflavored Protein Powder
- 2 Tbl sweet yellow onions, minced
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp basil (dried) or 1 tsp fresh, chopped
- 1 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
- 1 large whole egg (or 3 Tbl egg whites)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves, pulsed in the food processor (should render almost 3/4-1 cup)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire
- 3/4 tsp coarse salt
- 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (you don’t want the powdery stuff. You want it either grated or even pulsed to little chunks. You want texture.)
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups Marinara Sauce, divided
- 10-20 fresh mozzarella slices (it depends on how big your slices are. They should be 1”wide by 1-2” long)
- Olive Oil for misting
- Preheat oven to 400F, setting rack to upper third part of oven.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- In a large bowl, add the chicken, oats, protein powder, onion, oregano, steak seasoning, egg, Worcestershire, salt, black pepper, parmesan and 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup marinara sauce.
- Shape into 2” round meatballs (can make 1” for appetizers). I find it’s best to lightly wet my hands to shape these and you don’t really ‘roll’ them but rather toss them from hand to hand in a twisting motion to form the ball. The mixture is wet and very tender.
- Spray the foil pan with cooking spray.*note: you can pan-sear these first in a sprayed non-stick skillet for ~3 minutes per side to get that browned sealed exterior.
- Place the meatballs about 1” apart (they don’t really spread) on the pan.
- Spray/mist each meatball with extra virgin olive oil. It’ll help them ‘brown’ and get that great pan-seared exterior.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temp is 160 (yes I know they aren’t up to temp yet). *Note: if you pan seared them then only bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and turn on your broiler.
- Top each meatball with 1 Tbl of sauce.
- Top with a slice of cheese and place back in the oven.
- Broil for 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.
- Heat remaining sauce in a small saucepan and serve on the side.
If you make these as appetizers, make the meatballs 1″ round.
You can make these as sliders for parties.
I personally love these in lettuce cups and then use the lettuce as the ‘bun’.
So the other day the Fantabulous in laws came up to spend the day. And as expected Mama Fantabulous said “Now don’t go making a fuss and making stuff. We’re fine with bread and water.” HA! I so ♥ her! Me… serve bread and water! That made me giggle. I then named off somethings asking if she needed more of (cookies, desserts, breads, etc) for their freezer. Bread… now that got her attention. I swear I’m part her biological daughter as I love bread as much as she does. She did ask for a small loaf of my pumpernickel. Again she emphasized small. Um yeah sure Ma!
They arrived around 8am and they were met with Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes and Florentine Breakfast Birdsnests, hot coffee and juice. Mr. Fantabulous started working on some stuff for them while Mom and I spent the day in the kitchen. Around 11:30 I knew the boys would be hungry soon so I sat at the kitchen table trying to think what I could make as a light lunch since I knew they wanted Pizza for dinner. I had chicken defrosted and a jar of my most awesomest Pesto in the fridge so I wanted to incorporate that. I opted to go with a Roulade since my Harvest Medley Loin of Pork Roulade turned out so fabulous! I got to pounding the chicken to which Mama Fantabulous came over to watch. As I assembled she was chattering how I “do too much” and that I “go to too much trouble and they aren’t coming up again if I keep doing this”. I just smiled, told her I loved her and giggled. I put down some Prosciutto, cheese and then smeared some pesto on it. Wrapped them puppies up like a roll and twisted the ends of plastic to make it look like a Tootsie Roll. I popped them in the fridge to chill (plus it helps hold their shape). Hmmm.. I wonder if I wrapped myself in plastic wrap and sat in the fridge if that would help me keep my shape? It would cut back on my working out so much *wink*
As they were chilling I knew this wasn’t ‘enough’. I mean I was making a light lunch so these were on the smaller side. I didn’t want to go with corn or potatoes; I wanted something a bit more ‘fancy schmancy’. Okay fine, I wanted to show off. I love to get a reaction and the smile of “Mmmmmm”. Plus I only want the best for them and all those I cook for. I’m like that I guess. Anywho I had bought some of that party rye bread the other day in the store (I seriously LOVE this stuff). I mean it’s nothing special other than say standard rye and pumpernickel bread but I think honestly it’s the shape that I’m drawn to more than anything. It’s just so damn cute! I need Mr. Fantabulous to fabricate me a pan like that so I can make my own. I opted to make a hot dip to go with those cute little breads and to accompany the chicken.
I ended up caramelizing onions (thanks to Mama Fantabulous and her most awesome onion stirring skills cause she rocked the onions), grating some Jarlsberg, adding some stuff to it and popping that bad boy in the oven for 30. This dip was so OVER-THE-TOP-INSANELY-FRIGGEN-FANTABULOUS that I am half tempted to make a kiddie pool size of it next time just for me! Wanna know the kicker too? I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE chunks of stuff, especially onions. But I kid you not I think the onions could have been whole and I wouldn’t have cared one bit. No worries, that recipe will be coming up in the next few posts. Please, Mama Fantabulous already said she’d put a hit out on me if I didn’t share it. And one thing I learned is that you never EVER mess with Mama Fantabulous!
Anyway, about 10 minutes into the dip baking I took the chicken out, unwrapped it and put it on a baking rack/sheet. Mama F set the table and when the food was done we debated on calling the boys. Seriously the food looked incredible. We didn’t want to share. LOL I know, we’re mean!
Now to make it appear to be a light lunch we used the small plates. I mean 2 things for lunch is small, right? And the roulades were only about 3-4″ long by about 1.5″ round. Of course Papa Fantabulous in his New York accent gave me “Oh honey, what did you do? You make too much! We’re not that hungry…um, can you pass the chicken?” LOL I love him!
This is a definite keeper for me. If you don’t like pesto keep it out, maybe stuff with fresh spinach instead. This can EASILY be used is a variety of settings – parties, appetizers, buffet, fancy schmancy dinner, football games (Superbowl), hockey gatherings (GO PENS!!! Thank you hockey Gods for SETTLING! I’ve been going through withdrawal!), graduation parties and so forth.
But make this! Seriously you really need to make this! You will LOVE this! And yes for those bacon lovers out there, you could easily wrap bacon around the chicken and bake that with it. Seriously, what doesn’t bacon go with?? Is there anything?
Seriously just look how incredibly delicious that looks!!! And yes it was every bit fabulous taste-wise!
Taking this shot was so difficult for me. Why you ask? Cause I had to put down my knife and fork! Ugh! Things I do for you people *wink!*
Have I teased you long enough? Are you wanting the recipe?
No.. not yet, I want to tease you just a tad more. I HAVE to show you a picture of the most AWESOMEST DIP EVER!
Let me introduce you to Mz. Caramelized Sweet Onion Jarlsberg Spread! Oh yes, it’s a MZ! She’s got MAJOR attitude and she knows it!
|Chicken Prosciutto Roulade||
- 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
- 4-8 slices of Prosciutto (will depend on how large your chicken breasts are when flattened)
- 4 heaping Tbl Pesto
- 3/4 cup Gruyere, shredded (more if desired)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.
- With smooth side of a meat mallet pound each breast to 1/8-inch thickness.
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly over the breasts.
- Line each breast with 1-2 slices of Prosciutto; you want almost the entire surface covered.
- Spread 1 heaping Tbl of pesto over top of the prosciutto.
- Divide the cheese up evenly amongst the breasts; use more if desired.
- Starting at the edge closest to you, roll up the breast tightly, tucking the ends in as you roll.
- Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- minutes prior to taking the roulades out, preheat the oven to 425F.
- Line a baking sheet with a cooling rack.
- Spray the rack lightly.
- Remove the roulades from the fridge and unwrap gently.
- Place each roulade, seam-side down on the rack. If the chicken will not stay tightly wrapped, secure with toothpicks.
- Mist each roulade with Olive oil.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Test with a thermometer as you want the chicken to be at 165F.
- Turn on the broiler and broil for 2 minutes.
If you don’t like pesto, you could easily use fresh spinach leaves, or you could put in a spinach & artichoke spread.
For you bacon lovers, when you roll up the chicken, wrap a strip of bacon tightly around it and wrap in plastic wrap. When you unwrap if the bacon comes off, secure with a few toothpicks. Bake for ~16-20 minutes.
So last weekend in the midst of flour up to here *I’d point out where here was but you can see it by the floured hand prints on my body – don’t ask but I always manage to have flour on my butt, hips, thighs and chest*, batter on my face, chocolate in my hair (still no clue how that happened) and about 900,000 sprinkles on my fool Mr. Fantabulous had the audacity to ask me to make him lunch. I mean, some nerve, huh? LOL Nah.. just messing. I needed a break but the last thing I wanted to do was make some big meal. Now while my fridge was full of about 8 different go-to containers of food, I simply didn’t want him in the kitchen interrupting my flow. Now he’ll offer 9,000 times “Honey can I help? What do you need?” which is awesome but I’m a machine in the kitchen and having someone there under my feet is more of a distraction than a help. Perhaps it’s part of that “he’s not going to do it like *I* would” thinking which I’m going to have to get over when I open that TKW bistro. Or maybe I’m just being realistic as I know if he’s in the kitchen he’s going to eat half of whatever I make causing me to make even more… LOL
Well I decided to take some liberties from stuff I had made before and stocked up in the freezer. As I was perusing the freezer I recalled a picture my BHLS (black hearted little sister shared with me that her sister had made – feta cheese flatbreads with an egg) and I know I wanted something like that. (Thanks sis!) I had made a ton (literally like 40 or so of these in one fail swoop) of Grilled Flatbreads (in different shapes – oval and round) and figured that would be awesome as a Breakfast Pizza. I opted to make it pseudo healthy (the bad part was pretty much the garlic butter base I put on it as a sauce) with spinach, baked ham, smoked gouda (cause we needed that cheesy melty factor) and a fried dippy egg on top. YES… I call it a dippy egg. You have runny yolk, you have toast. You dip the toast in the what… fried egg? Over easy egg? NO! You dip it in the DIPPY EGG! *wink*
When I served this to us for brunch I got the ‘look’. Now I know that “um… there’s something foreign in front of me, what do I do with it???” look all too well. I just grinned, sat down and proceeded to pierce my what now DIPPY EGG with the tip of my knife and cut it like a pizza. The gooeyness of the yolk ran out like golden lava over the melty cheese, crispy edged ham and wilted spinach. Now combine that with the garlic butter sauce and the crunchy flatbread… HEAVEN!!! I’m thinking this will be in made again this weekend for sure! Maybe I’ll add some bacon, beer caramelized onions (yes, beer!) and bbq sauce.
Folks this was so simple, so good… if you haven’t made the flatbreads yet, you really need to. They are incredibly easy, make a ton and GREAT for that quick snack. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just grabbed a frozen flatbread, toasted it, added some sauce/cheese/toppings and had a fabulous pizza just for me in 5 minutes.
We started with this…
Look at that golden yolk lava begin to flow as I just pierced it with the tip of my knife…
LOOK at that yummy goodness just waiting on the fork! Seriously, right now my tummy is growling from these shots! This was SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD! I mean SO incredibly good!
And just to prove that I don’t actually inhale my food, I did stop to take a picture in the midst of stuffing my face.
|Day 4 – Countdown to Christmas Grilled Flatbread Breakfast Pizzas 2012||
- 2 Grilled Flatbreads *See note
- 2 Tbl soft butter
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp oregano *optional
- 4 slices of baked ham, thinly sliced
- 2-3 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 1 1/2 cups shredded smoked gouda
- 2 large eggs
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a small bowl mix together 2 Tbl butter, garlic powder and oregano to make a spread.
- Spread 1 Tbl of the garlic butter mixture on each of the flatbreads.
- Put 1 1/2 cups of spinach on top of the flatbread evenly distributing it leaving a 1/2″ space from the edge.
- Next top each flatbread with 2 slices of ham. It’s okay if they overlap a bit but try to make it so it covers the flatbread as much as possible.
- Sprinkle the cheese over top the ham and spinach.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for ~10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and flatbread is crispy (to your liking).
- While the flatbread is cooking, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Lightly spray with cooking oil (unless you’re one of those die-hard butter lovers then use a scant bit of butter).
- While the pan is heating up, crack 1 egg into a bowl (remove any shells).
- When the pan is hot enough, pour the egg in.
- As the egg is cooking use the edge of your spatula to make it as round as possible by gently nudging the edges into shape.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper (if you want).
- As the white part starts to set, put a lid on top of your pan and reduce the heat to low. What you’re doing here is steaming the egg to finish cooking while removing the need to flip it.
- Cook for about a minute or 2 (depends on how runny you like your egg).
- Remove the egg from the pan and repeat with the 2nd egg (or you can always do 2 pans at the same time to make it easier).
- When the pizzas are done, plate them and gently place a dippy egg on top of each.
- Eat while hot (don’t let the yolk set).
Grilled Flatbreads – I used this recipe but just made them plain omitting the Asiago and ranch. I also made them round but you can make them any shape you want.
Well okay, that’s not entirely true. I mean chili is always, ALWAYS better the next day. Same with lasagna. And okay, I LOVE cold pizza the next morning for breakfast (dipped in milk). SHUSH! Don’t make that shocked *OMG ARE YOU SERIOUS??? YOU DIP COLD PIZZA IN MILK??* Yes, yes I do. I’ve done it ever since I was little. See I’m a dipper… I dip almost most things.
ANYWAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.. back to leftovers. Last weekend we had BooFest at our house. For those that don’t know, it’s our annual Halloween party where we all dress up, eat tons of food and drink… a lot *blush*. Well, I had so much food out that I actually forgot to put some stuff out (thus is why you’re seeing it now).
I had some crusty Asiago bread I had made for my spinach dip, some extra mozzarella pearls, and other stuff. Well yesterday I “re-found” the bowl of tomatoes and onions that I had to use. So I pulled them out, grabbed some basil and spinach, the cheese and bread.
I lightly toasted the bread to get it crunchy on the outside but soft enough to soak up the oil and herbs.
To make it all fancy schmancy I put it on a skewer. Yeah, skewers are fancy for some reason. Same thing with finger foods. Like baby cucumber sammichs are soooooooooo elegant but make a full sized sammich and well.. it’s just cucumbers between bread. Kind of blah.
Anyway, next time you have a party or want a really easy appetizer, give this a shot!
|Caprese Bruschetta Skewers|
- Baby Fresh Mozzarella Balls (they are often called Pearls)
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Cubed Onions *Optional
- Toasted Baguette Cubes (I used Asiago Bread)
- Fresh Basil Leaves (can sub in baby spinach leaves)
- Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper (just a light sprinkle per skewer)
- Olive Oil (just enough to lightly drizzle)
- Oregano (just a light sprinkle per skewer)
- Wooden Skewers
- Take a skewer and add 1 cube of bread leaving a 1″ space at the bottom for you to hold.
- Next, add a mozzarella pearl, tomato, piece of basil, chunk of onion.
- Repeat until you have filled up the skewer.
- Lay the skewers down flat and drizzle with about a Tbl of oil turning it as you drizzle; coating it generously (you don’t want it dripping but enough for the seasoning to stick).
- Sprinkle each skewer with about a 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper, turning the skewer as you sprinkle it.
- Add about a 1/4 tsp of oregano to each skewer.
These are super simple and simply scrumptious! You can pretty much add whatever you want to it – go American, Southwest, Italian, French.. sky’s the limit.
This time I went with a Florentine flair.. okay truth be told I bought another 5 pounds of spinach (seriously I LOVE this stuff) and wanted to incorporate it into our breakfast. The Fantabulous in-laws were coming up so I thought this would make a great brunch treat.
You can make these in a regular sized muffin tin however I prefer the jumbo-sized ones. They just have a prettier, less “squished” presentation. Plus it’s more for me!
Seriously.. look at that! I mean as soon as you cut into it, the egg was just runny enough that golden yolk just flowed out onto the crispy hash browns. Mmmmm! No worries though.. if you like your eggs completely firm, just bake a tad longer. Either way, make these!
So I make these and I was given rave reviews by Mr. Fantabulous and the Fantabulous in-laws. In fact, they were here yesterday and I had made these again. What was so touching was when Papa Fantabulous saw that I was making these again he said “Oh honey I was hoping you’d make these again! I wanted these really bad. They are incredible and so are you!”
That my dear friends is priceless…
|Baked Egg Florentine Breakfast Birdnests|
- 4 cups Hash Browns (defrosted or fresh potatoes that have been pressed to remove all liquid)
- 1 Tbl Butter, melted
- 1/2 cup Egg Whites (~2 eggs)
- To taste Salt and pepper
- 1-1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves (can leave whole or rough chop)
- 6 large eggs
- 6 thin slices of baked ham
- 6 Tbl of shredded cheddar
- In a bowl, mix hash browns, melted butter and egg whites together.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Generously grease 6 large muffin cups.
- Press 1/2 cup of mixture into bottom and up sides of muffin cup.
- Bake at 475˚F for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven.
- Line the hash brown cup with a slice of ham.
- Evenly divide the spinach on top of the hash browns.
- Add 1 Tbl of cheese to each cup.
- Crack one egg into each cup.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Place back into oven for 8 minutes or until the white is just set and the yolk is still runny. Cook for 10-11 minutes to have a completely cooked egg.
- Remove from oven.
- Use an offset knife and run around the outside of the hash brown cup.
- Gently using a fork or a rubber spatula remove from the muffin tin.
For a southwestern flair use chorizo, black beans, salsa and top with sour cream and chopped cilantro.
For bacon lovers (and who doesn’t love bacon) add cooked bacon strips in lieu of the ham and top with crumbled bacon.
For a veggie delight saute up some peppers, onions, mushrooms and spinach.
Make this an egg-white only dish and omit the yolk.