First there was Swedish Meatballs, then there was Banh Mi Bowls and finally we have Greek Stuffed Pitas. One recipe, three dinners. This may be my favorite “Cook Once, Eat 3 Times” so far. Each dinner was so different and I never felt like I was eating the same meatball over and over.
The Greek Pitas are by far the easiest of the three recipe. Tzatziki is made my combining 2% Greek yogurt (you want a little fat in the yogurt for thickness and tang), grated cucumber, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. Cabbage is thinly sliced and then tossed with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Cabbage was an unexpected addition to the pitas but I loved the crunch and the lemon juice really tamed the bitterness that I think cabbage can sometimes have. The meatballs are simply warmed in the microwave with a little beef stock. The pitas are then stuffed to the brim with the cucumber sauce, cabbage, tomatoes and meatballs (I found slicing the meatballs in half made it easier to stuff).
So good! I adore the flavors in Greek cuisine and it’s crazy to think we were in Greece exactly one year ago today. And while we have no plans to return in the near future, it’s always nice to bring the flavors of Greece home.
As promised, I turned Monday’s Swedish Meatballs into Banh Mi Bowls for dinner on Wednesday. What I love most about this series is that every recipe is so different from the last. In no way did a feel like I was eating Swedish Meatballs again (though I would gladly eat another bowl).
This dinner comes together much faster than the meatballs because, duh, you meal prepped the first go-round. The most time-intensive part of this recipe is the quick pickling of the radish and carrot ribbons. Simply bring rice vinegar and water plus a little sugar to a boil and then add in the veggies. Allow to soak, off the heat, for 20 minutes. Drain and add in the cilantro. So see, the most labor intensive part is practically hands-free.
While the veggies were soaking, I made the sauce. Simply combine beef broth, soy sauce, sambal oelek, creamy peanut butter and garlic in a small bowl. Add to a pan over medium heat along with 12 of the leftover meatballs. Cover and allow to cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs, and allow the sauce to thicken by bringing to a boil.
To serve, fill your bowl with rice, top with your meatballs and sauce plus the veggies, a sprinkle a peanuts and a fresh lime wedge.
So much flavor. A little sweet and nutty plus a little spiciness. I loved the crunch from the peanuts and the fresh cilantro and lime juice really livened up the whole bowl.
Stay tuned for how I use the remaining meatballs…
I absolutely love the “Cook Once, Eat 3 Times” feature in Cooking Light. The first recipe is typically more labor intensive but it sets you up for a week of dinner. In a perfect world, I would have made these meatballs on a Sunday along with creamy mashed potatoes and a bottle of Pinot Noir. Hey, a girl can day dream during her wine hiatus. The recipe makes a huge batch of meatballs which will be used for two more recipes throughout the week (or you can freeze the extra meatballs and eat later – which makes me want to make this again and freeze for post-baby).
The meatballs are made by forming 1 1/2 inch balls from a mixture of beef, pork (you could totally use all beef but pork adds rich flavor), sautéed onion, and garlic with salt, fennel, red pepper, pepper, and torn bread. The meatballs cook on broil for 7-12 minutes depending on whether you broil on HIGH or LOW (I went with LOW).
While the meatballs are cooking, make your sauce. A little leftover raw meatballs mixture is sautéed before adding in allspice. Cook for 30 seconds then add in beef broth with cornstarch (I used 2 teaspoons instead of the flour). Bring to a boil and allow to cook until reduced to one cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the sour cream and butter along with apple cider vinegar and fresh dill.
Serve the meatballs alongside the delicious sauce.
To keep dinner on the lighter side (we had a late/heavier lunch), I served the meatballs with roasted broccolini. But like I mentioned before, the meatballs would be delicious over mashed potatoes. The sauce is screaming for them.
Big Guy and I both went wild over this dinner and were so impressed with the flavor and texture of the meatballs. The fennel, allspice and dill are all totally necessary and you can taste all three without them competing with one another.
Up next, turning the meatballs into rice bowls…
Our third and final dinner utilizing the caramelized onion burgers I made over the weekend. I can honestly say that all three dinners have been extremely different in flavors and textures and presentation. I also think it was helpful to spread out the meals, allowing for a day of leftovers here and there.
This dinner came together SO fast – I’m talking under 20 minutes. Diced red onion and jalapeño are sautéed in a little bit of EVOO before adding in the spices: cumin and chili powder along with a thickening agent (I used cornstarch, recipe called for flour). Stock is added and allow the mixture to bubble and thicken before adding in pinto beans (you honestly could use any bean here – black would be great) and the chopped burgers. Add in some of the cheese and mix before adding more cheese on top and broiling until melted. Before serving, top the skillet dip with diced tomato and avocado. Serve with tortilla chips.
I loved how I felt like I was eating a “cheat” meal – we usually doing eat nachos during the week.
So dippin’ good.
I present to you another edition of “Cook Once, Eat 3 Times.” Cooking Light has been printing this monthly feature in their magazine for a while now and I absolutely love the concept. The first night you spend a little more time in the kitchen and then the second and third meals come together a little faster because you utilize a major ingredient from the first night.
On Saturday night we made Smoky Caramelized Onion Burgers (they were DELICIOUS but my pictures turned out incredibly dark) and I’ve been using the four leftover patties all week in our other meals. On Monday night the burgers were crumbled and transformed into a Thai Beef Salad that was so unique and I honestly felt like I was eating a completely different meal – not just a burger crumbled up.
To make the dressing, whisk together lime juice, light brown sugar, fish sauce and Sriracha. This dressing is used to flavor the meat as well as dress the greens when a little EVOO is added. Like I said, crumble the burgers and sauté in a little but of EVOO until crispy and warmed. Then add in some of the dressing and allow the liquid to be absorbed. I made a few changes to the recipe and used romaine lettuce instead of cabbage and I used red onions instead of green onions. The greens are tossed in the remaining dressing along with steamed haricot verts (French green beans). Top the greens with the crumbled beef and peanuts for some extra crunch and nuttiness.
Big Guy and I both loved the flavors in this salad. Completely different than the burgers. So refreshing and you guys know I love a meal with a huge portion size.
Tomorrow I’ll show you how I used up the last two patties…it might just be my favorite.
Oh, hi! Sorry about the disappearing act. I know I say it every Monday (or in this case, Tuesday) but why, oh, why do the weekends go by so fast? This past weekend was a blur including a visit from three of my favorite little people and an overnight stay in Raleigh filled with yummy sushi. I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon straightening up the house as well as planning workouts for the week before going on a walk with a friend (the weather here is AMAZING…I really hope winter is over).
This soup was dinner on Friday as I finished up the last of the risotto. We managed to use the risotto in three different dinners and each one was incredibly different so I really did feel like I was eating risotto all week long.
The Italian wedding soups is by far the easiest of the three recipes. Mini meatballs are made using Italian sausage (about two links) and when I say mini, I mean mini. Each meatball is about one teaspoon of sausage. Once you’ve formed your meatballs, sauté onion (instead of shallot), garlic and red pepper flakes in a little bit of EVOO. After about 5 minutes, add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Gently drop in the sausage balls along with the last bit of risotto and lower to heat to simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes, add in the greens (I used baby kale) and a little bit of salt. Once the greens have wilted, it’s dinner time.
Each bowl is finished with a little bit of grated Parmesan. I loved the small amount of heat that came from the red pepper flakes and I loved the sausage meatballs. Like I said, I didn’t feel like I was eating risotto at all.
And while Big Guy and I really enjoy leftovers, I know there are some leftover-haters out there. BUT I feel like this is a way to utilize leftovers without feeling like you’re eating the same thing over and over.
Hope you’re having a great week!
I had all intentions of getting this typed up this morning before I headed out for the day but that just didn’t happen. It is an absolute gorgeous day. I walked for about an hour and a half today and I was in a tank top. Loving all the vitamin D I’ve been getting lately.
Last night’s dinner was the first (yes, there will be a third and final one) transformation of the risotto that I prepped on Monday night for dinner. Creamy risotto is mixed with roasted cauliflower, breadcrumbs, parsley, an egg, S&P, plus some cheese before being shaped into cakes and sautéed in a little EVOO. If you want to save yourself time (and I think it’s totally the right thing to do), purchase pre-“riced” cauliflower. My local Walmart carries it where you’ll find the bagged salads and it’s a LIFE saver for this recipe. The cauliflower is roasted (beware, there’s a bit of a “funky” smell during the beginning of the cooking process) for 40 minutes before being mixed with all the other ingredients.
Also take my advice here – don’t make the cake mixture in advance. I was trying to be “wonder woman” and prep dinner so that when I got home at 6:15pm all I had to do was patty the cakes and cook ’em. Well I think the mixture dried out a little big and the cakes fell apart in the pan. Learn from my mistakes!
The cauliflower cakes are served with a tangy dipping sauce that’s so simple to whisk together. Duke’s mayo, lemon juice, chives, garlic and some S&P. Despite the fact that they fell apart, they were delicious. And if you don’t think you like cauliflower (I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite veggie raw), this may turn you into a believer.
I’m using the last of the risotto tomorrow nigh…
I can promise you, risotto will not be on the menu this weekend.