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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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: Madeleine Oliver
Recipe type: Main Dish
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!
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
For the spaghetti squash:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise.
Using a baking dish (a lasagna dish works perfectly), place squash cut side down into the dish.
Fill dish with ½ inch of water. Cover with aluminum foil
Cook for 45 minutes. Remove squash and flip over (cut side up). Be careful when removing foil - steam is hot!
Cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until squash is very tender.
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:
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil.
Saute garlic until fragrant - about 4 minutes.
Add whole tomatoes and tomato sauce. Gradually break up large pieces using a spoon.
Add pepper, salt, oregano, and basil.
Turn heat to low and allow sauce to simmer and thicken while you prepare the albondigas.
For the albondigas:
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!)
Form meatballs using a spoon. Each meatball should use up about 2 tbsp of the mixture. I ended up with about 35 in total.
Heat large saute pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil (you may need additional oil with several batches).
In batches of 12 meatballs, brown on all sides. Turn using tongs to brown evenly. This should take about 5 minutes per batch.
Add meatballs to tomato sauce.
Cover, with heat on low, and allow to simmer for 25 minutes.
To complete the recipe:
Combine spaghetti squash and albondigas - with plenty of sauce - on your plate. Top with additional parmesan cheese or fresh parsley.
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
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