October 4, 2015

Dairy Free Italian Style Meatballs

Italian Style meatballs are almost always done with some type of dairy (Parmesan cheese, milk, etc) - which is not kosher to mix with meat.

I have always done meatballs the way my mom has, which was to just season them as I would most meats, form them and cook them right in the sauce. Not only was it practical, but they were always delicious.

When hearing about Italian style meatballs and how they were seared on the outside, I was intrigued. 

I was always taught in culinary school, that you don't typically sear something to achieve a perfect crust, only to cover that up and ruin it with sauce that will inevitably make it soggy.

However, I overheard a friend talk about how it really locks in the flavor - and that made sense.

I was determined to make them kosher, (therefore dairy free) and still have them come out juicy, tender and flavorful. My husband and daughter's empty plate proved I succeeded.

Dairy Free Italian Style Meatballs

1 lb ground meat, (80/20 mix)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup rolled oats (or bread crumbs)
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, grated on a box grater
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil

Mix all ingredients well until incorporated, but do not over mix. Form into 2 1/2 inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment. Cook in a 350 F oven until golden brown. Rotate them halfway through cooking.

September 27, 2015

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cake

I wanted to make something different for my daughter for breakfast, or even to take to school for a snack. She doesn't get much veggies in her diet, and I remember her liking a frozen muffin that had zucchini and chocolate chips in it. The chocolate chips are sweet enough and mask any of the subtle zucchini flavor which is why it works great for toddlers. (and me)

To make it easy, I just used a pancake mix where I just needed to add water. Once I got the consistency right, I added the rest. 

If you follow my blog at all, you'll notice a running theme of bananas. Besides the fact that I LOVE them - I have a ripened stash that I keep in the freezer that I am always trying to use up. You could certainly omit them here.

I added a few slices of banana on top to show that there are bananas in the recipe. It was a pretty wet batter and therefore took about an hour to bake, but most banana breads take that long anyway. Trust me, it is worth the wait.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cake

2 1/2 cups, pancake mix - (just add water mix)
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (save some slices for garnish
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup mini semi -sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, and grease a loaf pan.

2. Mix pancake mix with water until a regular pancake batter forms. Somewhat watery is fine - since the rest will thicken it.

3. Mix in bananas and zucchini and incorporate well. Fold in chocolate chips and season. Pour into loaf pan and bake for approximately 1 hour or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when dipped in the middle of the loaf.

September 10, 2015

Banana Coconut Muffins

I just came back from a week at the beach in Delaware and there is this nearby cafe that makes the most delicious muffins that they serve before your meal - instead of bread.

One of them tasted like a mix between cornbread, banana, vanilla and coconut and I kept asking a couple waiters to share the recipe with me. 

I guess 3rd time's a charm, because when I went back for the breakfast buffet - I saw a cook refilling a few things on the buffet and I asked her....jackpot!

She didn't give me a recipe, but she did give me some ingredients and the key - which is that they used a boxed "muffin mix" I figured I would try it out and came up with these. 

They are definitely different than what they serve, but that's okay because I put my little twist on them.

The cook mentioned banana extract and coconut extract and I used both fresh. Mine didn't come out as sweet as I remembered theirs to be, which is why I glazed the top and added some toasted coconut for a finishing touch.

Banana Coconut Muffins

Krusteaz Southern Corn Bread & muffin mix
ingredients as per box instructions:
1 1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 ripe banana
1 heaping cup toasted sweetened coconut (and a bit more for the topping)
For glaze:
confectioner's sugar
squirt of lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly spray mini muffin tins.

2. Mix boxed ingredients until fully combined and mash in banana and fold in the toasted coconut - reserving some for the topping. 

3. Pour batter 2/3 of the way and bake for about 20 minutes or golden brown.

4. Pull out and allow to cool. Mix together confectioner's sugar, water and a squirt of lemon to form a silky glaze. Keep playing with the amounts until you reach a "glaze like" consistency.

5. Glaze the tops of the cooled muffins with a spoon or fork and top with toasted coconut.