Greek yogurt meatballs

 

Greek yogurt meatballs | happyfoodbites

Previously, the most adventurous food I’d ever eaten was whole chicken feet. This weekend I added a new one to the list when I had a taco lengua, or a beef tongue taco, oh my. Upon close inspection the taste buds were visible on many of the rectangular chunks of meat. It was unadorned except for a few rainbow-shaped onions lounging in a salty marinade spooned on top. The meat was less chewy than I expected, almost like hard jello, and otherwise pretty bland wrapped in two doubled over, plain flour tortillas. On the other hand, these Greek yogurt meatballs I made were a decidedly more delicious though sadly, less adventurous dish.

Adding a new item to my “life adventure list” got me thinking about what defines an adventure. The answer is elementary, my dear Watson. Risk. There is no adventure to be had if there is no risk involved. Most people will tell you to analyze risk in terms of gains versus losses but try thinking about it this way: once you’ve been presented with a risk, your life is already changed. Whether it’s the chance to try a tongue taco, quit your job, move your bed to the opposite wall, or run away and join the circus, every risk leaves its mark. Even if you choose not to take a risk (which absolutely is the correct choice in some situations) you are already changed merely by being presented with the option. Another fragment of a fingerprint is etched into the marble slab of your soul with every risk offered to you. Your decision isn’t if you want to change but rather how you want to change. You are already the person who has been issued the opportunity of risk so you only need to decide if you want to be the person who declines the invitation or the one who embraces adventure. If you’ve never adventured before, start by trying this recipe, you’ll always find delightful chances for risk in the kitchen!

zest or grate the onion and garlic on top of meat | happyfoodbites

Start by slapping the meat into a medium bowl and using a microzester, or the fine side of a box grater, add shredded garlic and onion on top of meat. Set aside.

one half cup of oats | happyfoodbites

Use one half cup of oats either whole or whirled in the processor to a fine breadcrumb consistency.

oats and yogurt | happyfoodbites

In addition to a creamy one third cup of Greek yogurt (or sour cream).

whisk wet ingredients together | happyfoodbites

In a small bowl, whisk together the oats and the wet ingredients: yogurt, egg, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce.

add yogurt mixture and spices to meat | happyfoodbites

Drop wet mixture and spices on meat. I used two tablespoons of a Sicilian spice mix containing fennel, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, basil, roasted garlic, sea salt, carrots, and sesame. Use any of those flavors currently on hand or make a risqué blend of your personal favorites.

combine gently | happyfoodbites

Gently combine all ingredients by using your hand like a play-doh spaghetti factory toy. Let the ingredients gently squish against themselves as they slide through your fingers.

place raw meatballs on lined sheet and freeze for 2 hours before transferring to ziploc bag | happyfoodbites

Meatballs are great for easy additions to a variety of meals. I use my cookie scoop for mini meatballs that are about tablespoon sized. Lay meatballs on a lined baking sheet and place in freezer for a few hours until frozen solid then transfer to a freezer-safe storage container or ziploc bag.

meatballs in skillet

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees with cast iron skillet inside. Once oven is heated, add half of tomato sauce to skillet and plop meatballs directly into sauce. No need to thaw meatballs if using them frozen.

tomato sauce | happyfoodbites

I found this bottle of Italian-made tomato sauce hiding in the back of the cupboard but use whatever tomato or spaghetti sauce your pantry hands over. Pour the rest of your sauce-of-choice over the meatballs and bake until internal temp is 165 degrees, about twenty minutes if meatballs are fresh, thirty minutes if frozen.

Greek yogurt meatballs | happyfoodbites

Below is your printable recipe with nutrition information included.

Greek yogurt meatballs
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 30
Ingredients
  • 12 oz ground beef
  • ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup oats, ground
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Sicilian mix
  • 1 cup tomato sauce, divided in half
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with cast iron skillet inside.
  2. Add ground beef to medium bowl. Zest garlic and onion directly on top of meat and set aside.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together yogurt, ground oats, egg, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce until well combined.
  4. Pour liquid mixture onto meat and work gently with hands until meat is coated. Add 2 tablespoons of spices and mix again with hands until just combined.
  5. Remove skillet from oven, add ½ cup of tomato sauce and place meatballs in pan with space between. Once all meatballs are in pan, pour remaining sauce on top. Bake for 20 min or until no longer pink in center.
Notes
Be gentle when mixing meat, don't overwork it.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 meatball Calories: 36 Fat: 2 Saturated fat: 1 Unsaturated fat: 2 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 1 Sugar: 1 Sodium: 15 Fiber: 0 Protein: 3 Cholesterol: 16

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.

-Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Sunday roundup, three

Dancing quietly behind nearly every childhood memory of mine is one song or another. I even have a faded outline of a memory of being rocked to sleep as a toddler in the corner rocking chair keeping time as a creaky metronome. Growing up, there was always music playing in the house and many a teenage Saturday was abruptly started by my Dad blasting Bob Marley through his pair of three foot tall JBL speakers flanking the living room couch. I was also a voracious reader, typically devouring two or three books at a time, even into adulthood although that number has drastically dwindled in the last few years. I was a strong student in school, but math and english were the subjects that really got me buzzing with excitement. At first glance those two classes may seem like strange bedfellows but last week I read a study from Northwestern University showing those who were more accurate at keeping a beat by tapping their finger had the same brain responses when they listened to a repeated one-syllable word1 which is pretty cool.

I think the common thread between music and reading is the recognition of patterns and I’m glad I grew up with the two grafted together. Life is made up of patterns within patterns and once you notice your individual patterns, whether hourly, annual, or decade in length, the churning of life suddenly feels more calm. To quote my current favorite band Pomplamoose “it’s either break or bend” so in an effort to help my corner of the world find the proper arch for its bend I’m going to attempt to put my blog into a pattern. For now the pattern will be every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as well as alternating Saturday and Sunday posts. But like my Grandma says, that is only written in pencil. If you’ve been thinking about trying to start a new pattern somewhere in your life, don’t wait, I promise it’s much easier to keep pace once you listen for the beat.


Recipe I most wanted to try last week: Sweet and Savory Brussel Sprouts at Edible Perspective.

Best dessert recipe I found last week: Sweet Summer Squash Cupcakes at Garden Betty.

Best book I read last week: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. This has been my all-time favorite book since the very first time I read it in high school. It’s been years since I last peered into the lives of the Price sisters but the words fired between my synapses in a familiar path. It’s a shared-narrative told from each perspective of the four daughters of a rotten missionary father who brings his family to Africa in the midst of the unrest in 1959. Each girl is brought to life with such clarity you feel like you’ve taken residence right inside the mind of each one. You hear all the secrets they’re too afraid to tell themselves. I could probably write a whole post about this book, so I’ll just say go read it!

Best thing I saw on Netflix last week: Kill Bill Vol 1 and Vol 2. Even though they were released separately, in my head this is one movie. Hands down it’s my favorite Tarantino movie. Like all his movies, it’s really in a genre all to itself and you already know if you like Tarantino films or not.

Album most repeated on ipod last week:  Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Pomplamoose (ok this isn’t really on my ipod, it’s on youtube but it was definitely the most repeated song).


  1. http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2013/09/the-importance-of-keeping-the-beat.html 

Purple beans and peach salad with citrus dressing

purple beans and peach salad with citrus dressing | happyfoodbites

There are rumblings of change in my life and the excitement is building. New changes are like a morning stretch: it’s not until the first extension of your arms when you recognize the sense of relief that comes from the reach. Then you elongate all your muscles, arching your back, leaning into the stretch, increasing the tension just enough to feel the slight elastic give of your muscles and tendons while the air in your lungs creaks out from the back of your throat, shaking off the overnight staleness and embracing the day. Is there any better feeling in the world? Not to mention that change begets change. The first spark of change is sometimes all that’s needed to ignite a wildfire of revolution. I don’t know if warm fruit counts as a revolution but lately I’ve been having happy bites of cooked fruit so when my latest CSA box came with a recipe for a warm purple bean and peach salad I was excited to give it a try with the citrus dressing I’ve previously used only on cold salads.

purple beans, peaches, and onions | happyfoodbites

Purple beans, one peach, and about half a cup diced onion form the base of this salad. Purple beans are essentially green beans with a purple pigment. Sadly, the color dissolves in water so they do not stay purple when cooked.1

cooking onions slowly | happyfoodbites

Add one half tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and cook onions over low heat. The original recipe called for caramelized onions. But the thing about caramelized onions is they take forever, about forty-five minutes for true caramelization. The picture on the left is after seven minutes and the right pic is after fifteen minutes (which was the extent of my belly’s caramelizing patience).

add sliced peaches to skillet | happyfoodbites

Once the onions are as close to caramelized as they’re going to get, add sliced peaches, crank the heat to medium-high and cook for five to six minutes until peaches are beginning to soften but still have some firmness to them. While the peaches cook, bring a pot of water to a boil, add washed and trimmed beans, and cook two to three minutes until green and crisply tender. Immediately blanch beans in an ice bath or running under the coldest water available. Pat beans dry and add them with the onions and peach slices in a small bowl and set aside.

orange zest | happyfoodbites

To make the dressing, start by adding about a teaspoon of orange zest into a small mason jar (or anything which can be lidded and shaken).

zest one clove of garlic | happyfoodbites

Add one micrograted (or minced) clove of garlic.

fresh squeezed orange juice | happyfoodbites

The liquid part of this dressing is equivalent parts orange juice and olive oil so it is easily adjustable, don’t worry about the exact amounts. Squeeze orange juice into jar.

add equal parts olive oil and orange juice | happyfoodbites

Add an equal amount of olive oil plus salt, pepper, and cardamom and shake it, shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture.

dollop of greek yogurt and shake again | happyfoodbites

Unscrew the lid, dollop in one messy tablespoon of greek yogurt (adjust based on how much liquid you used and desired level of creaminess) and shake again.

orange dressing with cardamom | happyfoodbites

Congratulations you have salad dressing! Now toss beans, peaches and onions with about one tablespoon of dressing and enjoy immediately.

Below is your printable recipe with nutritional information included.

purple beans and peach salad | happyfoodbites

Purple beans and peach salad with citrus dressing
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 1
Ingredients
For the salad
  • ½ bunch purple beans, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 peach, sliced
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
For the dressing
  • zest of ½ an orange
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon greek yogurt
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 salad with 1 tablespoon dressing Calories: 187 Fat: 12 Saturated fat: 2 Unsaturated fat: 10 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 19 Sugar: 12 Sodium: 6 Fiber: 4 Protein: 2 Cholesterol: 0

Adapted from Summerland

But luxury has never appealed to me, I like simple things, books, being alone, or with somebody who understands.

Daphne du Mauier


  1. Check out a great explanation on one of my new favorite blogs Garden Betty