Spicy Chicken Balls

Spicy Chicken Balls

If you are looking for something new, this recipe with minced chicken could easily become your next favorite. It works equally well as a main course with salad and potatoes, and as a delightful party snack. The chickpeas add taste and consistency, and the hot and spicy condiment, sambal oelek, brings added value. Chicken is actually the most common type of poultry in the world, and as a very versatile food it can be grilled, baked, roasted, deep-fried, breaded, skewered, or made into sausages. Chicken consumption rose during World War II due to a shortage of beef and pork, and it rose again in the 1990’s because of consumer awareness of risks associated with beef. When it comes to the nutritional value, the meat itself contains very little fat, because the fat is concentrated on the skin. When measured as weight percentage, chicken meat contains about two to three times as much polyunsaturated fat than most types of red meat.

Ingredients: 

400 g/ 14 oz chicken mince

1 can pre-cooked chickpeas

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp paprika powder

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp tomato puree

1-2 tsp sambal oelek chili paste

1 egg

Instructions: 

Rinse and drain the chickpeas, and puree them together with the minced chicken in a blender or a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion softens. Add the paprika powder and season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture cool down.

Add the sauteed onion and garlic into the chicken and chickpea mix and puree until the mixture is smooth. Combine with the pureed tomato and the sambal oelek paste. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Roll the mixture into balls (diameter 1.5 inch/ca. 4 cm). Fry the balls in a saucepan over a medium heat on all sides for about 5 minutes until they are golden. Turn occasionally. Remove all excess oil by placing them over a paper towel. Serve immediately with a refreshing salad and/or potatoes.

Spicy Chicken Balls

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Cannelloni

Cannelloni

Cannelloni  – large tubes stuffed with meat, vegetables, or cheese and baked in a tomato or cream sauce – is one of the most iconic Italian recipes. Originally from the Emilia Romagna region, this dish is prepared all over Italy and beyond. This particular recipe with minced beef, chicken and pork is one of the most traditional ways to prepare this delicate and delicious first course meal, but there are endless variation options. Cannelloni can be prepared for example with spinach and ricotta, or with more adventurous fillings, like shrimp and cream. You can also prepare it in advance, and just pop it into the oven when you’re ready to eat. Cannelloni can be stored in the fridge, sealed in an airtight container, for about 2-3 days. Serve cannelloni with a refreshing salad, and make sure you enjoy the taste of every single bite – it tastes like summer’s first peach.

Ingredients:

Filling:

2 Italian pork sausages, casing removed

1 chicken fillet

50 gr/ 1 2/3 oz Parma ham

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

50 gr/ 1 2/3 oz Parmigiano

1 tbsp breadcrumbs

salt and pepper to taste

200 gr/ 7 oz minced beef

1 egg

Pasta:

300 gr/ 10.5 oz flour

3 large eggs

(alternatively, ready-made cannelloni)

Béchamel sauce:

5 dl/ 2 cups fresh milk

40 gr/ 1 1/3 butter

30 gr/ 1 oz flour

freshly ground nutmeg

salt to taste

25 gr/ 2/3 oz grated Parmigiano

Tomato sauce: 

olive oil

salt to taste

fresh basil leaves

300 gr/ 10.5 oz passata di pomodoro

On top:

Parmigiano

Cannelloni

Instructions: 

Start with the pasta. Put the flour in a large bowl, make a hole in the middle where you place the eggs. Knead until the dough is smooth. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.

Meanwhile, saute the onion until it becomes golden and add the minced beef, sausage, Parma ham and the minced chicken. Continue frying for a few minutes, stir occasionally, and season with salt and pepper. If the pieces are too big, you can grind them in a mixer or a food processor. Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool down before adding the eggs, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Knead with your hands. At this point the mixture should be fairly dry.

Prepare the tomato sauce by heating olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and the passata di pomodoro. Cook for ca. 10-15 minutes over medium heat, then take the pan from the heat and add the fresh basil leaves. Prepare the Béchamel sauce.

Cut the already prepared pasta sheet into 10 rectangular sheets. Boil the sheets in salted water for about 3-4 minutes, and drain. Let them rest on a clean cloth.

Put some of the filling into the center of each pasta sheet, then roll them shut. Place the rolls into a baking dish and pour some tomato sauce over. Once you have filled all the rolls, pour the Béchamel sauce over, then add a few tablespoonfuls of tomato sauce. Finish by sprinkling Parmigiano. Bake the cannelloni in the oven, preheated to 180C/355F, for about 40 minutes. Let the cannelloni rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Cannelloni

Pasta al forno

Pasta al forno

Fresh, dried, canned and frozen – peas are readily available in many shapes and forms, but only about 5% of the peas grown are sold fresh. Frozen peas are able to retain their color, texture and flavor, but they don’t have an unlimited shelf life. It is recommended that they are consumed within 6-12 months of the packing date. Overall,  frozen peas are recommended over canned peas. Peas are rich in potassium, phosphorus, protein and group B vitamins, and good quality peas can be recognized by their smooth, elastic and bright color. Green peas also stand out as an environmentally friendly food, because according to agricultural research, pea crops can provide the soil with important benefits. Green peas are perfect for numerous recipes, as side dishes e.g. with pancetta, and as an ingredient in pastas and risottos. Here, the peas provide a colorful and healthy addition to this Sicilian dish.

Ingredients: 

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

500 gr/1 lb lean minced beef

2-3 Italian sausages, casing removed

2.5 dl/ 1 cup red wine

500 gr/ 17 2/3 oz passata di pomodoro

200 gr/ 7 oz frozen peas

fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

150 gr/ 5 1/3 oz cheese, a combination of freshly grated Parmigiano and freshly grated smoked cheese

mezzi rigatoni pasta

Pasta al forno

Instructions: 

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion becomes golden. Add the minced meat and the sausages and continue frying. Pour the red wine in and let it evaporate. Add the passata di pomodoro, fresh parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Then reduce the heat, and let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes. Add water if necessary. Add the frozen peas into the mixture and cook for another 20-30 minutes on a low heat. Once the sauce has thickened, take the pan off the heat.

Meanwhile, cook the mezzi rigatoni al dente in salted boiling water. After draining, mix the pasta with the sauce.

Add the freshly grated parmigiano cheese and the smoked cheese of your choice to the pasta mixture and mix thoroughly. Grease a deep oven tray with some olive oil. Bake in the oven, preheated to 180 C/ 355 F, for about 30-40 minutes. Let the pasta rest for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle some parmigiano on top.

Pasta al forno

Mediterranean Meatloaf

Mediterranean Meatloaf

Meatloaf is a perennial dinner favorite all over the world. The readers of Good Housekeeping chose meatloaf as their 7th favorite dish in 2007. And no wonder, because this affordable dish offers a myriad of variation options. This particular version is inspired by the Mediterranean countries, where basil, oregano, thyme and sun-dried tomatoes are widely used. The meatloaf has its roots in Europe – it was mentioned for the first time in the Roman cookery collection ‘Apicius’ already in the 5th century. Needless to say, with this recipe you can also prepare mouthwatering meatballs.

Ingredients:

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

200 gr/7 oz mushrooms, sliced

a handful of sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

oil for frying

500 gr/1 pound minced meat

120 gr/4 2/3 oz melting cheese, like mozzarella

3/4 dl/1/3 cup bread crumbs

1 dl/0.4 cup milk

1 egg

1 tsp dry basil

1 tsp dry thyme

1 tsp dry oregano

salt and pepper to taste

3-4 tomatoes, cut in half

fresh basil, shredded

Mediterranean Meatloaf

Instructions:

Saute the onion and garlic lightly in a pan. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue frying. Add the sun-dried tomato slices into the mix. Remove the pan from the heat once the onion and garlic are golden, and the mushrooms and the sun-dried tomatoes have softened, but are still firm.

In a separate bowl, mix the bread crumbs, milk and the egg. Let the mixture swell for a couple of minutes. Add the dry herbs, and salt and pepper into the mix.

Combine the minced meat with the bread crumbs mix, the melting cheese and the already fried ingredients. Mix very well and put the mixture into a baking dish. Bake the meatloaf in the oven, preheated to 225C/425F, for 30 minutes. Garnish the baked meatloaf with tomato slices and fresh basil. Serve with either rice or potatoes.

Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Bell peppers, originally pimiento, have been cultivated for more than 9000 years. The Spaniards introduced this wonderful vegetable, which is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, to a wider audience after their voyages of discovery in the 16th and 17th century. Bell peppers can be grown in a variety of climates and are popular in cuisines all over the world. In selecting bell peppers, you should pick ones that are firm and feel solid and avoid peppers that feel soft or look wrinkled. A recent study shows that not yet optimally ripe bell peppers should be stored outside the fridge in room temperature.

Ingredients: 

4 red bell peppers

100 gr/3.5 oz rice

500 gr/1 pound minced lamb or chicken

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

oil for frying

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp paprika powder

1 tsp chili powder

100 gr/3.5 oz fresh cheese, eg. herbs and garlic

125 gr/4.5 oz melting cheese, eg. mozzarella

Instructions: 

Stuffed Red Bell PeppersRinse the peppers and remove and discard the seeds and the stem. Cook the rice according to the instruction on the package. Heat oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic over a medium heat. Add the minced lamb or chicken and continue frying until the meat has browned. Season generously with salt and pepper, and with paprika and chili powder.

Combine the cooked rice with the minced lamb/chicken mixture, add the fresh cheese and the melting cheese. Mix well and fill the bell peppers. Bake in the oven, preheated to 200°C/390 F, for about 45 minutes.