The Cooking Chronicles: Meat-ful Recipes

I really like the current trend of “meatless Mondays” – though Mack and I don’t subscribe to a specific day of the week substitution of meat, I think the campaign does help raise awareness of the health and planetary benefits of reducing our collective meat intake.

Of course, our current cooking rotation does include a fair amount of meat. I know a part of it has to do with recipes that appeal to us because they’re what we’re used to, but I’m hoping we’ll continue to expand our vegetarian repertoire. If Ellen can do it, we can too! Anyway, here are a few meat-ful recipes in the meantime!

Potato-topped Lamb Pies

Donna Hay’s potato-topped lamb pies from No Time to Cook is a variation on shepherd’s pie, featuring a scalloped crust instead of a mashed one. I had picked up a package of ground lamb from the Italian Bakery one day, knowing I wouldn’t be able to get to the farmers’ market that weekend (they now sell lamb and veal, among other proteins in their freezer section).

It wasn’t a difficult recipe to pull together, and from it, we were able to make a nine inch pie, and two individual ramekin pies.

Potato-topped Lamb Pies

Potato-topped lamb pies

Although the potato topping didn’t get as crispy as we would have liked, we were more off-put by how fatty the meat ended up being. I probably should have drained the fat, but I really wasn’t expecting it.

Potato-topped Lamb Pies

Pie filling

More than anything, Mack was reminded that he again doesn’t really care for lamb. I’m not giving up on lamb though – we’ll just have to find a different recipe to try!

Turkey Meatball Subs

I don’t know why I was so excited to make meatball subs, using Mario Batali’s recipe for turkey meatballs, but I was. We used ground turkey from Greens, Eggs and Ham, and pork sausages and prosciutto from the Italian Centre as proteins.

After assembling the meatballs, we had to let them rest in the fridge for an hour.

Turkey Meatballs

During that time, I made a basic tomato sauce.

Turkey Meatballs

Then, came browning of the meatballs.

Turkey Meatballs

Next, I baked them with some of the sauce and wine.

Lastly came assembly of the sandwiches, topped with provolone, then broiled. This is where we made the mistake – the bread ended up scorched from being placed too close to the element in the oven.

Turkey Meatballs

Don’t cry over burnt bread

I will admit to being upset, partly because of my anticipation for the finished product, but also because of the lengthy process involved. We cut off the burnt ends, and while both Mack and I did enjoy the sandwiches, it ultimately didn’t seem worth the effort.

Turkey Meatballs

The saving grace was the amount of leftovers we had, which made subsequent meals quick and easy – meatballs served with a side salad, or tossed with pasta and the remaining cups of tomato sauce (which, I should mention, is something I will make again – I loved the texture of the sauce, emboldened with sautéed onions and grated carrots).

Hopefully the vegetarian recipes I’ve bookmarked will go better than these two did!

The Cooking Chronicles: Linguine with Turkey Meatballs and Quick Sauce

Big batches of pasta dinners seem to become particularly handy during a busy week, where leftovers are a saving grace. This Giada de Laurentiis recipe for linguine with turkey meatballs and quick sauce was one such wonder, and did not diminish in flavour too much in the fridge over a few days.

This was actually our first time making meatballs from scratch, and though I have an odd tendency to mistake naming turkey for lamb (I have no idea why), we did have ground turkey on hand to use. After I combined all of the ingredients for the meatballs, I delegated the shaping of them to Mack while I got started on the sauce.

Like most of Giada’s recipes, this one is just as straightforward, and really, is simply a more refined version of spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs were quite good – the pancetta made them pop. And though I’m much less prone to oversaucing pasta now than I have been in the past, the sauce was still a little thin for me. Perhaps the addition of more tomatoes would have helped somewhat.

Linguine with Turkey Meatballs and Quick Sauce

In spite of the sauce, I would make this again – I’d likely double the meatball portion and freeze the other half. Like the handiness of leftovers – maximum gain for minimum effort is the name of the game sometimes.