Sunday, April 17, 2016

Frugal Femme Two Week Menu #2: Week Two, Friday: Greek Meatball "Sub" with Greek Cucumber Sauce (Tzatziki) and Salad with Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

Hello Everyone!
When I was creating the two week menu for these past two weeks, I had kept in mind that my husband would be rehearsing and planned my meals accordingly.  Except for this Friday!!!  I had planned a quick meal, but I hadn't considered that, by the time the show was done for opening night, neither of us would want to wait for me to cook a meal.
I found a picture of the dust jacket for this 1933 cookbook online and decided that I need this book in my life. I did some research and found out that the book is by Coral Smith. Ideally, I will be able to find one with this dust jacket. Most likely, I will have to get one without the dust jacket, and just make a copy of this picture.  Don't you love the 30's dress and hair?  My hope is that there will be some really good recipes in here that I can adapt and try. 

So my husband had leftover muffuleta pasta salad. (I made so much, he'll be eating on it for days.) and I had a sandwich. 

I love the play on words in this vintage graphic.  I also feel that it should be my motto: The Frugal Femme, she has a way with leftovers! So jealous that someone else thought of this first.

Which means that I did Friday night's meal on Saturday.  Sort of......
My husband decided that, if we were going to have herbs and vegetables in our yard, that we should also have at least one or two decorative flowers.  So off to our local nursery we went. After we were done transplanting everything, we were sitting under the carport admiring our hard work and my husband asked me what we were having for dinner and I told him Greek meatballs in wine sauce with herbed basmati rice. It was then, that we both got a stroke of genius when he asked me "Can we have pita with that?" And the new Greek Meatball "Sub" Sandwich was born. 
And it was delicious!!!!  It is actually a fairly healthy meal but you feel that you are eating a very unhealthy meal because it FEELS like you're being bad. 
Which is why I am giving you the instructions for this new favorite meal, rather than the one originally planned.

Greek Cucumber Sauce (Tzatziki)

You will want to make this first, by at least three hours so that it has time to sit in the fridge.  This also makes ALOT.  But that is okay.  Because this stuff is so good you're going to want to dip your veggies in it as a snack food, or put it on your hamburgers or sandwiches.  Still, this version makes far less than most of the other recipes that you will find online.

1  1/2 cup Greek yogurt  (I use Fage and suggest you do to as this yogurt is thicker than most other
         brands on the market.)
Juice from half of lemon (About 1 1/2 tbsp.)
1 garlic clove minced  (If you love garlic then do 2 cloves.)
1/2 large English cucumber, peeled and diced (If you use a food processor to mix your ingredients, you do not have to peel your cucumber. I don't.)
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. fresh dill (If you do not have fresh, 1tsp. dry dill)  I sometimes add 1/2 tsp. dry dill along with my fresh, but I REALLY like dill.
1 tbsp. fresh mint
Both, together depending on your personal taste,
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to personal taste)

1.  Put the diced cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle with two teaspoons kosher salt.  (Just like with beef and other meats, the salt will help to draw the moisture out of the cucumbers.)  Cover with a small plate (I used a dessert plate.) and sit something heavy on top. (I, conveniently, had a bottle of wine for the meatball recipe, so that's what I placed on top of the plate.)

2.  Let the cucumbers sit for 30 minutes.
3.  After 30 minutes, place cucumbers in doubled up paper towels and squeeze out more moisture.  Pat dry with a paper towel.

I know this looks like something out of a horror film, but it is the cucumber in the paper towels.

4.  While the cucumbers are in the colander, in a small bowl combine the dill or mint and the yogurt.  And stir until thoroughly combined.
5.  In a food processor or blender,  (I use my mini food processor.) add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper.  Process until well blended.

6. Pour in the yogurt with the dill/mint and process until well blended.  (If you want your sauce to be chunkier, pour the cucumber mix into the yogurt and stir with a spoon.)

7.  Taste.  If you want to add extra salt, do so at this time.  TASTE FIRST!!! You put salt on the cucumbers to dry them and this may make the sauce salty enough.

8.  Put in the refrigerator and let sit for at least two hours, this will allow the flavors to blend and make a more delicious sauce.

Note:  This can keep in the fridge for up to week.

Now we will be making the dressing for the salad.  For this meal, I used this recipe that I found on the Jess Dukes blog.  I don't know much about her blog, except that the recipes look very healthy.  I actually came across this recipe where I work when a copy of the recipe was left on our copy machine.  I only minutely changed her recipe, which is why I have included this link.

She has nutritional facts on her site.  (I have got to figure out how she does that.) but I have also put it here on this page so that you can see what it looks like to make it.  (Her site does not include pictures.) I have also made one change to the recipe.  I use kosher salt rather than sea salt.

Jess Duke's Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1 whole orange, squeezed 
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. kosher salt

1.  Place all ingredients in a blender.  (I used my magic bullet.  It is great for small blending jobs.)

I had used the zest from this orange in a dessert recipe that I had made.  I kept it to use for this dressing.

In the juice your go. 

Its always amazing to me that the blender is going to turn this into something liquid smooth.

2.  Blend until smooth.

This picture was taken after I poured the dressing over the salad, so you can see how much it makes.

Yup.  It's that easy.  I put it over a salad made of romaine lettuce and feta cheese.  (You won't need all of it.  I only used about 1/4 of the amount that I made.)  This dressing will last in the fridge for up to a week.


Greek Meatballs in Wine Sauce

We couldn't find any ground lamb at our grocery stores to make this meal.  So my husband cut apart two lamb chops for me and I ran them through my grinder attachment on my Kitchenaid mixer.

My sweetie cutting up the lamb chops for me.

For the ground beef, I used the leftover beef cubes that I had from Classic Beef Stew for two night and ran it through the grinder attachment as well.
For those of you who may be seeing my blog for this first time, here is a detailed description of how to grind meat either using an attachment or with your food processor:

3/4 pound ground lamb
3/4 pound ground beef or veal
1 small onion, minced, or grated
1  tbsp. fresh dill plus 1 tsp. dry dill
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp.butter
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine  (You can also substitute dry sherry.)
1 tsp. dry basil
1/2 lemon
1 tsp. cornstarch, heaping
1/4 cup cold water

1.  In a large bowl, combine the meats, onion, dill, salt and pepper.

See!?!?!  You can't even tell that I ground it at home.

2.  Begin rolling the meat mixture into small,  bite-sized ball.  I have a scoop that scoops out about two tbsp. worth of meat, but you may want to bigger or smaller, depending on your personal preference.  Put them on a plate when you are finished rolling them and continue create balls until all of the meat is gone.

3.  In a large, heavy bottomed frying pan, melt butter into oil over medium heat. 
4.  Add the meatballs to the pan and sauté about 10-12 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to brown equally on all sides.  (Sometimes the shaking thing doesn't work for me, and I turn them using a pair of prongs.)

5.  Deglaze the pan with wine and add 1 tsp. basil and allow it to reduce by half, about 3-5 minutes.


6.  Remove the meatballs from the pan and place on a warmed plate.
7.  In a small custard cup, combine 1 heaping tsp. cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water and whisk with a fork until smooth.
8.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and stir.  Mixture will thicken very quickly.
9. Remove from heat and add the meat balls back into the pan, stirring into the wine glaze.

10.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the meatballs and sauce.

To Serve As a Greek Meatball "Sub"

Extra Ingredients
Wheat Pita Bread
Feta Cheese, crumbled

1.  Cut a whole wheat pita in half.  This will create two "bowls" for you to put your ingredients in to.
2.  Scoop 2-4 meatballs (depending on the size of your meatballs) into to the pocket of the pita bread, spoon wine glaze over meatballs.
3.  Add Tzatziki and feta cheese.  (You can put as much or as little of these items as you would like.  I really love tzatziki, so I usually do about 1-2 tbsp. sauce and 1 tbsp. feta.)

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