Hello, Crispy “Fried Chicken”! p.s. It’s Baked.

29 May

ImageWhat do you do when you have a hankering for something greasy and sinful but can’t lower bring yourself to pop out for a Double Down?

Why, you create a mock up of course. In this case, involving cornflakes. 

I remembered that I had hungrily Pin-interested something of the sort late one night, so I dug around and found some recipes. The following is a conflation of a few that I discovered as well as the recipe on the back of the Kelloggs box.

You’re welcome. 

The end result was satisfying, to say the least, and pretty fun to make too. 

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Healthy Crispy Baked “Fried Chicken” 

  • 8-10 chicken drumsticks or thighs  
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic- crushed 
  • salt and pepper (1/2 teaspoon each)
  • liquid smoke
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon 
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups (or more) crumbled cornflakes 
  1. Combine yogurt, salt and pepper, paprika, garlic, mustard and a few drops of liquid smoke in a medium sized bowl or ziplock bag. Combine chicken and coat. Let marinate for at least one hour, or as long as possible. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350. 
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix flour, egg, milk and more salt, pepper and dash of paprika until smooth, to create a batter. 
  4. In separate shallow bowl or pan, crush cornflakes. 
  5. Remove chicken from marinade and dip into batter and then again into crushed cornflakes. Place evenly on a foiled and greased cooking pan. 
  6. Drizzle coated chicken with melted coconut oil. 
  7. Bake at 350 for one hour until tender, and chicken is no longer pink inside and juices run clear. 
  8. Do not cover pan or turn chicken while baking. Serve hot. 

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I served the chicken up on baby spinach with a warm, limey blackened corn salad and roasted pickled beets (don’t ask what’s in the corn salad- I I made it in a rush and I honestly don’t recall- but I know that it includes bulgar wheat, fried onions and red pepper, cumin, parsley, cayenne, honey and lime). The pickled beet salad is from the Polish deli next door ( which I’m obsessed with, and often clean them out of their stock!)  

I thought this meal came together bee-autifully. 

Try it out, guilt free. 

M x

 

 

Favourite Things: April Edition

1 May

A day late, a buck short.

Oops!

It was a very busy month full of transition (finished undergrad!), a quick West coast trip and a few Sephora splurges. Here are a few of my favourite things about April.

Weddings

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We went to Vancouver for Easter weekend to witness two amazing people get married. I love weddings.

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A group shot during the festivities, after a beautiful ceremony, lovely dinner and several Negronis.

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Some urban wildlife.

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And stumbling upon a quintessentially Vancouver scenario- a weed rally on 4/20

Although it was mostly rainy and I only got a quick clear view of the mountains, I still knew they were there by the fresh West coast air. Toronto’s got many things, but its got nothing on that.

Hibiscus

Is one of my favourite eateries in Kensington Market. The salad is worth the trip alone. It is at once both epic and refined: sweet potato, kelp noodles, lentils, broccoli, kale, carrots, beets, quinoa, tofu, currants, sesame, mint, green onion with a side of some sort of raw cracker. Oh my. The buckwheat crepe is pear, pecans and vegan cheddar. So homey and delicious. Hibiscus is the perfect spot to bring a book or a friend to enjoy on a rainy day.

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Two Faced Melted Liquified Lip Stick

I’m somewhat of a beauty product junkie and love to read about the latest and greatest. I’m excited to share this lipstick I picked up on a whim thanks to some strategic product placement at Sephora. The pigment is super bright, long wearing, and the application is so easy- no need to pair with lip liner (hurray!). There is another stunning shade called Orchid I’m dying to get my hands on, but it was sold out at the time. I want one of every shade.

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Tarte Cheek Stain

This one is called Blissful. I read some silly celebrity beauty profile about Anna Kendrick, and she claimed that she “doesn’t leave the house” without this. She always looks great and I respect her on Twitter so naturally, I had to try it. I really like the Tarte line because it is free of synthetic ingredients. You just swipe it on and blend it in. I use it on my lips too and it actually tastes good (so weird). It feels a little sticky at first but that goes away quickly. And it sounds crazy, but I enjoy not having to use a brush.

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New MacBook Air

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Best. Grad Present. Ever.

I’m so lucky.

Hoo-Ray for May!

M

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This and That: Aubergine with Lemon and Raw Garlic, Smokey Bacon Jam on Rye with Cream Cheese, Poached Eggs

29 Apr

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This past weekend my mum came to stay with me. I had to work the whole weekend, but she didn’t seem to mind. While I was gone she filled the fridge, scrubbed the stubborn old bathtub and cooked cool things, like bacon jam. She also kept us well stocked with wine and gin.

It’s the little things.

Although she’s back home, her recipes are now immortalized with these photos of the plate of leftovers I had today for lunch, which included that smokey bacon jam. She also made this awesome roasted eggplant pickled in lemon juice, raw garlic and plenty of parsley that is a must-share. In addition: rye toast, tangy cream cheese, poached eggs, avocado slices and salad.

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Sweet and Smokey Bacon Jam
Recipe from food.com. Yield 1.75 cups

You’ll need:
– 1 lb bacon, sliced into small peices
– 4 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 medium brown onion, sliced
– 3 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1 tsp Sriracha
– 1 cup brewed coffee
– 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
– 1/4 cup maple syrup
– black pepper
– liquid smoke
– extra water

1) Fry bacon in batches until browned and slightly crispy
2) Fry onion and garlic in rendered bacon fat on medium until translucent
3) Transfer onions, garlic and bacon into heavy cast iron pot and add rest of the ingredients except water
4) Simmer for two hours adding 1/4 cup water every 30 minutes or so and stir frequently.
5) Cool about 15-20 minutes and place in food processor. Pulse 2-3 seconds, as to leave some texture for the jam.

6) Enjoy the endless possibilities- on a burger, on toast, on a sandwich, with cheese and crackers, by the spoonful….

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Roasted Eggplant with Raw Garlic , Parsley and Lemon
Also from food.com

You’ll need:
– 1 large eggplant
– 1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, more as needed
– 4 cloves garlic
– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley

1) Wash eggplant, cut off stem, leave peel on
2) Slice into quarter inch slices and brush each side with olive oil and sprinkle of salt
3) Bake at 375 for 35 – 40 minutes
4) In a bowl, combine garlic, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and drizzle over plated and cooked eggplant. Cover with parsley and serve.

Keeps well in fridge served cold!

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My day off never tasted so good.

Thanks Mum!

M

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Rosemary and Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops

18 Apr

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This was a super easy and quick recipe to whip-up. In fact, Scott made this as I coached him (with feet-up) from the kitchen table (so fun!). These chops would be great for when you have company and are caught off guard have not a lot of time to prepare.

You’ll Need
-6 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
-1/4 sea salt
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 boneless centre-cut pork chops
-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1) Chop garlic and rosemary finely, mix with salt and pepper to create a rub.

2) Place vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Don't burn! (Learned this the hard way!)

3) Heat a grill pan to medium high. Rub pork with rosemary mixture on both sides. Place pork in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until desired done-ness. Baste in balsamic glaze throughout cooking process, while reserving some for final drizzle.

4) Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tip: bring raw pork to room temperature before cooking (but not too long if exposed to air!). It helps with tenderness. Optional: marinating pork in milk for a few hours before also helps to tenderize.

Enjoy while lounging in front of reruns of Modern Family or alternatively, while entertaining your own elegant, real life one.

M

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#TBT- My Best-Ever Vegan Chilli

17 Apr

#TBT- My Best-Ever Vegan Chilli.

#TBT- My Best-Ever Vegan Chilli

15 Apr

Just wanted a re-vamp, or throwback if you will, to one of my personal and cult favourite posts: My Best Ever Vegan Chilli.

I have made this recipe countless times and it never disappoints.

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Find the original recipe here

The best part is the versatility, meaning you can use up any veggies you have on hand. Provided that the spices are consistent and you don’t burn it, this recipe is pretty much fail- proof!

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Chilli love, now with better photos.

Happy Thursday!

M

Reminiscing: My version of Thai Pad See Ew

11 Apr

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I was craving Beef Bourguingnon, a cozy dish I’ve been intending to make since there was snow on the ground  (not that long ago, to be fair). I bought the beef, the mushrooms, the fresh rosemary, thyme, pearl onions, bacon and egg noodles. I cracked open my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and GASPED. To my horror, I discovered the dish takes upwards of four hours to complete masterfully. I just didn’t have that kind of time.

The thin, flat egg noodles stood on the counter, forlorn, calling my name. I wanted them.

Attempting a Plan B, I was reminded me of my favourite dish when I was in Thailand, Pad See Ew, which is a lot like pad thai but with thicker, flatter noodles and a saltier sauce. That dish is traditionally made with rice noodles, but the shape and texture is similar.

Bingo.

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I was inspired by this recipe by Rachel Cooks Thai, but I added to it.

Pad See Ew

  • 1/2 package of fresh wide, flat rice noodles (sen yai), (or egg noodles)
  • 2 chicken breasts, thawed and cubed
  • 4 cloves garlic, shredded or minced finely
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, shredded finely
  • 3/4 of a red bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 1/2 head of broccoli, sliced thinly
  • 6 mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 3 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • Peanuts, roughly chopped for garnish
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Chili flakes (optional)
  • Sqeeze fresh lime juice (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (for frying)
  1. Prepare your sauce by mixing together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey and vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Chop peppers and mushrooms. Saute in hot wok with coconut oil until tender.
  3. Blanch noodles in boiling water until almost cooked.
  4. Over high heat, add garlic and ginger and fry until fragrant and almost browned. Add chicken and cook through.
  5. Push the chicken and veggies to the side of the wok and add the egg to a clear space. Scramble.
  6. Push the egg to the side and add the noodles and the sauce. Mix it all together and cook over high heat until most of the liquid is evaporated (about 5 minutes)
  7. Add the broccoli and spring onions and cook through.
  8. Serve immediately with garnishes!

This was so good, fast and fresh. It took about 25 minutes start to finish. I would recommend prepping as much as possible before heating up the wok- slice, dice and chop everything ahead of time for speedier results. A vegetarian version would be simple- swap out chicken for tofu.

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I’ve been such a bad blogger lately- I’m finishing school and starting a new job at the same time, and have sadly not had much time to cook. But I just wrote and submitted my last-ever essay this morning. My blog was the first thing I turned to! A good sign for things to come? ( Hope so)

M

P.s. memories of picnic spots past…sigh

thailand thailand 2

 

 

 

 

 

Harissa Spiced Tofu Bowl with Cured Lemon Cous-Cous and Herbed Yogurt

9 Mar

YUM. A colourful and spicy triumph. This whole dish was inspired by an experiment with preserved lemons (which I made ages ago) yet mysteriously had not been enlisted to bolster any recipes. They are my new favourite ingredient. I love Middle Eastern flavours.  It may be my favourite kind of food (after Indian, obvs), and something I’d like to experiment with much, much more.

All of the elements of this dish worked together beautifully. The tofu was spicy and chewy, the couscous fluffy and savory, the avocado rich, and the tangy herbed yogurt tied it all together seamlessly.

20140309-235243.jpgThis was also my first time making Harissa paste. It is a Tunesian hot pepper paste that is usually made with fresh hot red peppers. I didn’t have any of these on hand, so I substituted them for dried chili powder and smokey paprika. It was pretty easy and packed a huge punch of flavour. I can’t wait to try it out again (with fish, with chicken, with chickpeas, and and and…)

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Harissa Paste: 

  • 1/2 half teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (crushed or shredded)
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Mix.

I then coated the tofu cubes with the spice paste and let it sit for 1 hour (the longer the better). On an oiled baking sheet I baked the tofu with lemon slices at 350 for about 45 minutes. (I really like baked lemons, bothvisually and for a cleansing, sour finish to the meal!)

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Meanwhile, I prepared the cous cous and yogurt.

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Moroccan Spiced CousCous

  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • red pepper, sliced
  • 2 small dates, chopped (or substitute raisins or dried apricots)
  • juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
  • olive oil
  • 3/4 tablespoon cured lemon rind (chopped finely)
  1. In a small pot, bring 3.5 cups of salted water to a boil (optional: use vegetable or chicken stock). Once boiling point is reached, add two cups of couscous and remove from heat. Add one tablespoon olive oil and cover tightly.
  2. Meanwhile, in small frying pan, fry onions until soft (about 6 minutes). Add spices (minus the parsley) and fry over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes) mixing well. Add some coconut oil if the pan gets too dry. This should form a nice paste.
  3. Once couscous is ready (about 5 minutes) remove lid and fluff gently with a fork. Add to frying pan and mix wit onion and spice mixture. Add raw tomatoes, peppers, lemon juice, lemon rind, dates and parsley, taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Mix well.

This made for awesome leftovers.

“What is cured lemon rind?” I hear you wondering. It’s basically lemons pickled in their own juice with lots of salt and a few spices. You only use the rind for flavour, and a little bit goes a really long way to brighten up any dish.  I was inspired by Chuck Hughes’ Food Network show Chuck’s Day Off, which I love. He put it on fish, and made it look so sexy (the fish I mean).

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You should try it out!

Cured Lemons:

  • 4 lemons
  • 1.5 cups course sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 4 kefir lime leaves

Read more 

Cured things make me happy. Listen to this song while making these for a double whammy.

Now onto the easiest/yummiest concoction…

Herbed Yogurt

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or one clove fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilntro
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch brown sugar, to taste

If you do nothing else, make sure you include this yogurt. It made the meal, in my opinion!

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To serve, pile all elements haphazardly into one bowl. I served with a dollop of garlic hummus, avocado, sesame flat breads and fresh cilantro.

Dayyyum.

And that’s how we do March.

M

My Favourite Things: February, 2014

24 Feb

February itself is NOT one of my favourite things. Speaking as a Canadian experiencing our coldest winter in 40 years, I can officially declare that February is in fact my least favourite of all months. There. I said it. Good riddance.

To brighten things up, In no particular order I’ve decided to post about the various things, large or small, that have brought me some joy, over the past month.

ONE:  You know a product is good when you are already nervous about running out of it right from the start. Amiright?20140227-224208.jpg

This Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream– has been a godsend for me while stuck in this 100+ year old apartment full of super drying, old school rads (not as charming as they look). This stuff is apparently good for lots of uses, lips, face, hands, split ends, flyways. It is apparently the duct tape of beauty products.

Personally, I like to use it most on the dry areas of my face. I usually get dry, itchy cheeks in the winter but no longer (!)  thanks to this stuff. I also like to use it on my décolleté and cuticles. It works on lips, but not as well as true lip balms do (too light). It smells yummy too, kind of citrus-y and little bit goes a long way. Bonus: it is free of nasty chemicals.

TWO: Another stellar performer in my beauty arsenal is this homemade brown sugar body scrub. It too has been a saviour for dreaded dry winter skin.  PLUS: it is extremely economical and easy to make. Simply mix!

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  •  1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil.
  • Optional: add a few drops of essential oil like tea tree, mint or vanilla.

20140227-224253.jpg20140227-224240.jpg I use this in the shower as an exfoliate, and it leaves my skin very soft. It’s also great in the summer for extra glow. The best part is you don’t need to use moisturizer after. This has replaced  my use of coconut oil, which I find to be way more greasy. Try it out!

P.s I know it is popular on Pinterest, but do not, under any circumstances, make the same mistake I did and attempt to make a body scrub out of coffee grounds (huge mess).

THREE:  Clothing Swaps. The only thing that would keep me away from a clothing swap is severe illness or maybe a natural disaster. These. Are. The. Best. Who doesn’t love free clothes you never knew you never knew you loved?! Here are some of my recent favourite scores: 

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FOUR: Olympic hockey was another blessing this February. The Olympics in general really helped pass the dreary time (hundreds of billions of dollars well spent!) Who knew I could stay up until 3 am watching bobsledding? Or curling?! The apex of excitement of course was Canada winning gold in men’s AND women’s hockey AGAIN. Suck it USA.

(I’m sorry that our sense of national pride is so concentrated in this one sport)

Here is a photo of us at 7 am on a Sunday. 7amWe showed up to our neighbourhood pub at 6:45 and were denied for lack of a reservation (surreal).

FIVE:  Solo sojourns to the AGO. Nothing makes you feel more like a grown up than going to see an art exhibit by yourself on a Thursday afternoon. This was actually so amazing. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a major audio tour enthusiast. My idea of a dream holiday would be to go to Rome (or Paris or the middle of nowhere really) and listen to every last audio tour in town.

Here are some pics of our ugly, glorious and dynamic city. Plus some of Ghery’s magnificent design  in the ghost-town gallery (there was a hockey game on?)

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The Great Upheaval Guggenheim masterpieces exhibit is on (until March 2nd), with works from Matisse, Picasso, Marc, Kandinsky and Duchamp displayed chronologically in an understated way. A complete departure from the crowded Sunday madness that was the David Bowie exhibit, obviously, and a very relaxing way to while away an afternoon. (I actually went for a school assignment, but that was an afterthought if we’re being real. I came to analyze this beauty, Picasso’s (post-upheaval) Seated Woman (1927). 

SIX: Buying tickets to summer music festivals. This is a little bit painful in the frigid  grips of our third polar vortex, but it should be mostly over by early June, no?

Last week we got tickets to hometown festival Field-trip, which is two days in June this year (Broken Social Scene! The Kills! Chvrches! Washed Out!) and also to Pitchfork (again) for three days in Chicago (Kendrick Lamar, Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel, Grimes!) While I didn’t take a single audio tour last year in Chicago, I’m also SO.EXCITED. FOR. BECK.

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SEVEN: Making cured lemons. Thank you Chuck Hughes (my recipe to follow)

EIGHT: Getting out of the city and watching this little guy tryski-ding” for the very first time! Winter is much more charming in rural settings. Cozy ski chalets don’t hurt either!

beavervally

NINE: Listening to Phosphorescent perform Songs For Zula live once more, this time at The Mod Club.

That is all. 

phosp

Bring on March

M

Italian Turkey Meatballs with Balsamic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Brussel Sprouts

19 Feb

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My search for the perfect meatball recipe has come to an end. After an arduous journey (not really)  I can safely say that this is the one. And turkey at that. Colour me surprised.

Very juicy, very flavourful, lovely texture and extremely light. Perfection.

I served these babies on a bed of brown rice with a homemade tomato sauce and balsamic roasted brussel sprouts and cherry tomatoes. Over all a pretty healthy meal, and couldn’t be easier.

Italian Turkey Meatballs
(30 minutes) (makes approx 16 meatballs)

  • 1 package lean ground turkey (approx 1 lb)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup panko (or traditional breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried chillies
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Splash balsamic vinegar (approx 2 teaspoons)

1) preheat oven to 400. In large bowl, assemble all ingredients and mix well.
2) Form into small round meatballs (makes about 16) and place on baking rack
3) Bake 15-20 minutes, until no longer pink in the middle.

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I roasted the tomatoes and brussle sprouts simultaneously, although they needed about 25-30 minutes at 400. I covered generously with olive oil and some sea salt. Half way through roasting I drizzled on some balsamic and sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar and returned to the oven. I broiled them for the last 5 minutes to give the sprouts a bit more colour.

They turned out to be a perfect addition to the dish. The textures worked well with the meatballs, as the sprouts were basically melt-in-your-mouth soft.

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I made a simple tomato sauce by sautéing 3 cloves of garlic in olive oil along with 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds and diced red pepper. Once soft, I added crushed tomatoes and seasoned with salt, pepper, brown sugar and some dried chillies and a splash of balsamic. I made the sauce first, and added a 1/4 cup to the meatball mixture before baking.

I layered the sauce over the rice and topped with the meatballs, which I covered with more sauce and the roasted vegetable. I topped it all off with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

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I was thrilled with this recipe. I hope you try it out. Let me know if you do!

M

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