TGIF

A delicious burrata, blistered tomato, and basil crostini I made for date-night-in the other night!

A delicious burrata, blistered tomato, and basil crostini I made for date-night-in the other night!

Thank God It’s Friday. You’re almost to happy hour, so sit back, pretend you’re working, and have a spreadsheet open somewhere. Enjoy these links inspiring me this week from around the web!

If Your Piggy Bank Is Full:

  • Don’t know what to get your significant other for Christmas?  Here’s a starter pack of winter sweaters that any guy would love.
  • For those trying to build up their bar cart, like us, these festive shot glasses and awesome decanter are at the top of my list!
  • Because you can never have enough over the knee black boots.
  • I’m in the market for a cute, plaid shirt for my Christmas party outfit!  If anyone has recommendations, let me know!
  • I bought this red, pleated skirt for holiday parties, and it’s so versatile!  I might be sporting it on 4th of July or Valentine’s Day.  So many options!

Weekend Eats:

Link Love:

Enjoy your weekend! xo, Maddy

Recipe Review: Autumn Spiced Cider Sangria

Autumn Cider Sangria!

Autumn Cider Sangria!

It’s Thirsty Thursday!  With so many festivities up on us, times call for a great cocktail to share amongst friends.  I’m sure you’ve heard me rave about How Sweet It Is, one of the best food blogs out there.  She posted a fantastic recipe for Autumn Spiced Cider Sangria on her facebook page (follow!) and immediately knew I had to make it.

Work in progress!

Work in progress!

I’ve cheated in sangria recipes before and drank right after mixing.  These is NOT one of those cheating moments.  This recipe hits the nail on the head.  If you didn’t watch me make this drink, you couldn’t pin point exactly what is in it except for straight *AuTuMn*.  It tastes like leaves falling, fires crackling, apple pie baking, football watching.  The ginger beer, apple cider, brandy, and cinnamon meld into something WONDERFUL!

Garnish Game on POINT

Garnish Game on POINT

So you MUST MUST make this for your Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Football Watching Festivities!  10 points to you if you have mason jars to serve them in.  How cute!  If you’re more of a margarita fan, try her Apple Cider Margaritas, which are next on my list!

Special Thanks to How Sweet It Is for this delicious recipe!  Check out her blog for AWESOME food and drinks!  If you’re new to food blogs, this is MUST FOLLOW.

Recipe Review: Autumn Spiced Cider Sangria
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Try this delicious autumn sangria for a real crowd pleasure during this holiday season! Tested by yours truly, this recipe is definitely an annual favorite.
Ingredients
  • 1 750 mL bottle of dry white wine (chardonnay)
  • 2½ cups fresh apple cider
  • 1 cup ginger beer
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 3 apples sliced thin
  • 3 pears sliced thin
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, plus extra for garnish
  • Cinnamon sugar to rim the cups
Instructions
  1. Combine wine, cider, ginger beer, brandy, apples, pears, and cinnamon sticks in a large pitcher.
  2. Stir until well mixed. Let chill in fridge for an hour before serving.
  3. To make the best cinnamon sugar rim, fill one small bowl with sugar water and another with cinnamon/sugar combination.
  4. Dip an empty glass in sugar water first, then in the cinnamon/sugar combination until well coated.
  5. Fill glass with ice, sangria, and top with extra cinnamon sticks.
  6. Enjoy!

 

Healthy, Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Hearty Stew!

Hearty Stew!

Despite a week of crazy November weather – 70’s!? – we’re back to classic fall.  Rainy, cold, and cloudy.  Call me crazy, but at this point, I can’t wait for it to snow.  Plus, I can’t wait for Gino to see his first snowflakes!  Knowing him, he’s going to go nuts.  No better time to try making beef stew than now – especially when your slow cooker does all the heavy lifting.

If you’re like me, the holidays are a time for cheat meals galore.  I don’t skip a single dish at Thanksgiving, and no pie dish goes unturned.  I like to stay healthy on days surrounding the holidays, and beef stew is the perfect way to do it.  Hearty, filling, but low on calories and high on protein, this dish will keep you full all afternoon.

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Easy, Healthy “Bi Bim Bop”

Finished, Delicious Bi Bim Bop!

Finished, Delicious Bi Bim Bop!

I’m sure when everyone looks back on their college years, they have a few “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” moments.  For example, I wish I woulda snuck onto the Big House field like a few of my senior year companions.  I shoulda went to a Michigan hockey game.  I wish I coulda attend a few more biology classes – that would have helped during medical school.

But one of my biggest regrets is never going to the small Korean restaurant below my apartment sophomore year.  Every day, multiple times, I’d walk by Kang’s Korean Restaurant with its giant red sign.  My roommate, Hannah, LOVED Kang’s.  She’d frequent the restaurant, bringing back leftovers that smelled delicious.  But I never once took her word for it.  And I seriously regret it.

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Roasted Spaghetti Squash and “Albondigas” – Meatballs in Garlic Tomato Sauce

Healthified "spaghetti" and "albondigas"!

Healthified “spaghetti” and “albondigas”!

Given that it’s Halloweek, I am going to tell you a horror story about these delicious meatballs.  Like any horror movie, there are several plot twists when you *think* something terrifying is about to happen, but it’s just the cat, or a gust of wind.  This story is no different – I dodged quite a few disasters before the TRUE horror hit my kitchen!

Potential Scary Moment #1:  When I decided to try and copy Dan’s mom’s meatballs.  They’re awesome and cannot be beat.  But I think these turned out well!  They’re definitely not “made-by-mom” quality, but they’re great for a first attempt.

Potential Scary Moment #2: I wanted to try roasting spaghetti squash for the first time.  This is scary for two reasons – I knew Dan wouldn’t eat it because it’s a weird vegetable, and I had no idea what I was doing.  But after a quick Google search, I found a fool-proof method for great spaghetti squash every time!  And I was impressed with how it soaked up the flavors in the sauce so easily.

Real, True, I-Can’t-Believe-This-Happened Scary Moment:  I was beaming with pride after successfully making meatballs and a new, delicious vegetable.  I had tripled the recipe to have leftovers for days to come!  I woke up the next morning, ready to pack up some lunches, and…*duh duh duuuuhhhhh* I LEFT THE FOOD OUT ALL NIGHT.  RUINED!!!  I was incredibly upset.  And in a bad mood for about 23 minutes.  I think a tear rolled down my cheek as I threw my beautiful-gone-bad meatballs down the garbage disposal.

Mix, Mix, Mix It Up!

Mix, Mix, Mix It Up!

The good news, after this scary-spooky-horror-story, is that I can’t WAIT to make these again.  They’re AWESOME.  And relatively easy to make in a big batch so you can throw some in the freezer or have leftovers for a few days.  They’re extremely versatile.  I added them to spaghetti squash – which is a great healthy alternative to pasta.  But they’d be just as good in a meatball sub with some mozzarella, mixed with veggies, or plain as a protein-filled snack!

Waiting to be browned!

Waiting to be browned!

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Muy Delicioso!

I came across this simple meatball recipe at a wine tasting party thrown by my friend, Karen.  She took us on a culinary, wine-filled tour of the Iberian Peninsula and paired these delicious “albondigas” with a Rioja wine (featured in Wine and Popcorn pairings earlier this year!).  They were so simple, with a basic red sauce, but every bite was better than the last.  Then, after trying Dan’s mom’s meatballs recently, I knew I had to try and make some of my own.  So I fused her recipe with the Spanish albondigas and added some lean ground turkey for a health kick!

Meatballs simmering in red sauce.

Meatballs simmering in red sauce.

I urge you to make these ASAP – but maybe after Halloweek so you don’t experience a horror story of your own!

Good luck!  And remember to follow @anappleadayonline on Instagram!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash and "Albondigas" - Meatballs in Garlic Tomato Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Great beginner meatball recipe - few ingredients and even fewer steps! These can be added to the roasted spaghetti squash, a pasta of your choosing, or thrown into a meatball sub. Throw your spaghetti squash into the oven first, then mix up your meatballs and sauce so everything finishes at the same time!
Ingredients
For the spaghetti squash:
  • 1 whole spaghetti squash, cut lengthwise
  • Water (enough to fill pan up ½ inch)
For the sauce:
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, low sodium
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1.5 tsp. dried basil
For the albondigas:
  • 1½ pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 80/20 ratio)
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
Instructions
For the spaghetti squash:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise.
  3. Using a baking dish (a lasagna dish works perfectly), place squash cut side down into the dish.
  4. Fill dish with ½ inch of water. Cover with aluminum foil
  5. Cook for 45 minutes. Remove squash and flip over (cut side up). Be careful when removing foil - steam is hot!
  6. Cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until squash is very tender.
  7. Allow to slightly cool. Remove seeds using a spoon. Then, using a fork, shred the remainder of the squash into "spaghetti-like" strands.
For the sauce:
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil.
  2. Saute garlic until fragrant - about 4 minutes.
  3. Add whole tomatoes and tomato sauce. Gradually break up large pieces using a spoon.
  4. Add pepper, salt, oregano, and basil.
  5. Turn heat to low and allow sauce to simmer and thicken while you prepare the albondigas.
For the albondigas:
  1. Add ground turkey, ground beef, green pepper, onion, nutmeg, parsley, and bread crumbs to a large mixing bowl. Combine using a large spoon or your hands. (It's much easier with your hands!)
  2. Form meatballs using a spoon. Each meatball should use up about 2 tbsp of the mixture. I ended up with about 35 in total.
  3. Heat large saute pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil (you may need additional oil with several batches).
  4. In batches of 12 meatballs, brown on all sides. Turn using tongs to brown evenly. This should take about 5 minutes per batch.
  5. Add meatballs to tomato sauce.
  6. Cover, with heat on low, and allow to simmer for 25 minutes.
To complete the recipe:
  1. Combine spaghetti squash and albondigas - with plenty of sauce - on your plate. Top with additional parmesan cheese or fresh parsley.
Notes
This was the method I used for cooking the spaghetti squash if you need clarification. Thanks Emeril! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/herbed-spaghetti-squash-recipe.html
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup squash and 6 meatballs Calories: 525 Fat: 28 g Saturated fat: 10 g Unsaturated fat: 5 g Carbohydrates: 31 g Sugar: 10 g Sodium: 577 mg Fiber: 6 g Protein: 36 g Cholesterol: 120 mg