Cooking half a dinner

Many people are struggling with fixing meals during this challenging time.  With restaurants closed, people who relied on eating out are forced to cook.  Many grocery stores are struggling to keep staples on hand.  A friend recently remarked “I wish I enjoyed cooking like you do.”

One solution is to cook half a dinner.  Notice, I didn’t say eat half a dinner.  🙂  Tonight I made polenta and served it with meatballs that I had made and frozen a few weeks ago.  That meant I really only had to cook half a dinner.  Staying at home creates a great opportunity to fill your freezer.  Alternatively, you could make the meatballs and you use store bought polenta (or pasta) or make the polenta and buy meatballs.

Rosemary polenta

  • 2 TB butter
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp minced rosemary
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 4 TB grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter and olive oil.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary and saute for 1 minute.  Add milk and chicken stock and boil.  Add cornmeal and whisk, stirring over low heat.  Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.

Meatballs

  • 2 lbs meatloaf mix (a combination of ground beef, pork and veal
  • 1 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TB chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • olive oil
  • Jarred marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.  (This will make cleanup much easier!)

Put the meatloaf mix in a large bowl and toss with your fingers.  Combine breadcrumbs, cheese and seasonings in a separate bowl and add to meat mixture.  Add the eggs, wine and 3/4 cup water.  Mix with your hands until well combined.

Roll into balls about 2 oz each and place on parchment.  (Samantha said mine weren’t evenly shaped and were more like meat blobs but they still tasted good.)   Brush with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool and then refrigerate if making ahead.  They can also be frozen.

Heat marinara sauce and add meatballs to heat through.  Serve on top of polenta.  meatballs and polenta

Meatball pizza

I made a nice batch of meatballs in November and froze a bunch of them.  We have had them on polenta a couple of times and enjoyed them very much.  Tonight I topped a store bought whole wheat artisan pizza crust with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and a few of the sliced meatballs.  It was delicious.  Happy that I still have some in the freezer and when they are gone, I’ll make another batch.

Here is the pizza:

meatball pizza

And here is the recipe for the meatballs:

Meatballs

  • 2 lbs meatloaf mix (a combination of ground beef, pork and veal
  • 1 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TB chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • olive oil
  • Jarred marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.  (This will make cleanup much easier!)

Put the meatloaf mix in a large bowl and toss with your fingers.  Combine breadcrumbs, cheese and seasonings in a separate bowl and add to meat mixture.  Add the eggs, wine and 3/4 cup water.  Mix with your hands until well combined.

Roll into balls about 2 oz each and place on parchment.  (Samantha said mine weren’t evenly shaped and were more like meat blobs but they still tasted good.)   Brush with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool and then refrigerate if making ahead.

Meatballs and…

I’m not a big fan of meatballs but Keith and Samantha enjoy them.  When I saw a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa that served meatballs over polenta, I was intrigued.  We all love polenta.  With the extra hour in the day yesterday from “falling back”, I decided to do some cooking ahead yesterday.  That made tonight’s dinner a quick and easy one.

Rosemary polenta

  • 2 TB butter
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp minced rosemary
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 4 TB grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter and olive oil.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary and saute for 1 minute.  Add milk and chicken stock and boil.  Add cornmeal and whisk, stirring over low heat.  Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.

Meatballs

  • 2 lbs meatloaf mix (a combination of ground beef, pork and veal
  • 1 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TB chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • olive oil
  • Jarred marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.  (This will make cleanup much easier!)

Put the meatloaf mix in a large bowl and toss with your fingers.  Combine breadcrumbs, cheese and seasonings in a separate bowl and add to meat mixture.  Add the eggs, wine and 3/4 cup water.  Mix with your hands until well combined.

Roll into balls about 2 oz each and place on parchment.  (Samantha said mine weren’t evenly shaped and were more like meat blobs but they still tasted good.)   Brush with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool and then refrigerate if making ahead.  They can also be frozen.

Heat marinara sauce and add meatballs to heat through.  Serve on top of polenta.  Doesn’t it look good!  I’m now a convert.

polenta

There were a little more than 30 meatballs so I’m freezing some.