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by Sarah Steimer

One of my best friends came to visit recently and she loves Italian food. I had this meatball recipe bookmarked for a while and this was the perfect chance to try it. AND I made homemade pasta to go with it, which Anna - a pasta pro herself - helped me with.

  • 1 1/2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • pasta sauce

Place beans and roasted red peppers in a food processor and pulse until chopped, not pureed. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.

Using a wooden spoon, mix the onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper into the beans mixture until well combined.

I actually used mozzarella to top the meatballs, totally forgot to pick up Parmesan.

Coat the bottom of a glass cooking dish with olive or vegetable oil. Work the bean mixture into balls that are slightly larger than golf balls. Because of the consistency of the “meatballs,” it requires more of a pressing motion than a rolling motion to form the balls. Place “meatballs” on the prepared dish, allowing for about an inch in between each.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm to the touch and lightly golden brown. Remove from the pan and serve with pasta sauce and spaghetti, topping with shredded Parmesan if you so choose.

Makes about four servings.

Recipe adapted from: Cookin’ Canuck

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Breakfast is usually not what you’re concentrating on Thanksgiving morning — but that doesn’t mean you have to skip it. We found two great recipes for you — a little savory, a little sweet — that store well so they can be made in advance. Since many of us are putting in the extra effort and making this or that from scratch for dinner, go ahead and allow yourself a shortcut for breakfast.

Spinach mini-quiches

by Caitlin Saniga

Any time I go home to Mom’s, she always welcomes me with a nice, warm breakfast. And she’s the master of eggs. She loves to improvise with eggs, adding cheese and any vegetables from the fridge. Whether it’s scrambled eggs or a frittata, she knows how to cook and season eggs to perfection — a skill I hope I’ve picked up. For Thanksgiving this year, I’d love to surprise her with some of these mini-quiches for breakfast.

Each mini-quiche is one or two bites, and I love that you don’t have to sit down with a fork and knife to eat them. Keep them in the kitchen while you’re assembling the Thanksgiving  dinner so guests (and you, duh)  can have something to snack on. They’ll disappear in no time!

  • 2 circles of chilled prepared pie crust dough (from a package)
  • 8 cups spinach (or 2 medium zucchini roughly grated)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus 1/2 teaspoon salt if using zucchini instead of spinach)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the cups of 2 12-cup mini muffin pans with cooking spray, or rub cups lightly with butter.

Use a 2-inch-diameter glass to cut circles from the pie crust dough. (Try to squeeze 12 circles from each pie crust dough circle.) Place each small circle of dough in the cup of a muffin pan, and use your fingers to press the dough into the corners at the bottom of the cup. (Toward the opening of the cups, the dough might bunch a little, but that’s OK.) Place prepared muffin pans in the fridge until filling is ready.

If using zucchini for this recipe, place the grated zucchini in a colander in the sink and sprinkle it with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let sit 30 minutes. Wrap zucchini in a towel, and squeeze out liquid.

Heat butter and olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until it turns translucent and starts to brown slightly on the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add the spinach, and cook until it wilts, 1-2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the feta, Parmesan, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and lime juice. Add the spinach mixture, and stir to combine.

Remove the muffin pans from the fridge, and divide the egg mixture between the pastry cups. Sprinkle a little grated Parmesan over each cup.

Bake 12-15 minutes, or until egg is cooked through and the cheese on top turns golden brown.

Makes 24 mini-quiches.

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Sticky rolls

by Sarah Steimer

Sticky rolls are a given on our Thanksgiving mornings. We either make them in advance or at least have the dough thawed out to make quickly in the morning. When you’re trying your hardest to make Thanksgiving dinner from scratch (or close to it), give yourself a break and use this frozen dough — OR — next time you’re making bread, make extra dough and freeze it for these rolls. Either way, cut out a step or two. It’ll pay off when your feet are up instead of hustling through the kitchen.

How good would these be with little flecks of bacon…

  • Rhodes frozen white bread — 1 roll (comes in packs of three)
  • vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and divided in half, plus more butter for brushing
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, divided in half
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Coat the frozen roll in vegetable oil and wrap in plastic wrap (this way it won’t stick to the plastic). Refrigerate for about 12 hours or until it has thawed.

Click to enlarge for a better look at what the pan and dough should look like (whoops – product placement).

Use the end of a stick of butter to grease a 9-by-11-inch glass or metal baking dish OR a 9-inch round pan. In bowl, combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, water and syrup. Spread the mixture on the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle with the nuts.

Roll out the thawed dough on a lightly greased or flour surface to make a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 2 remaining tablespoons melted butter, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar, along with cinnamon (however much you prefer) and raisins. Try to distribute everything as evenly as possible.

Roll the dough up width-wise (as in rolling along the longer side so the roll is longer than fatter). Cut into 12 equal pieces (I fail at this each time, don’t worry. I always mean to measure). Place the rolls in your pan, so the spiral is facing you.

Let the rolls rise, covered with a towel, for 30-60 minutes, or until they have doubled in size. It’s best to pop them in the oven to rise, putting the oven on its lowest setting. When ready, bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes then flip the rolls out of the pan (upsidedown) onto a rack. Drizzle any remaining brown sugar mixture from the pan onto the rolls.

These rolls can be frozen a few days ahead of time. Just let thaw or microwave for maybe 20-30 seconds.

Makes 12 rolls.

Recipe: Martha Steimer (the recipe used to be on the back of the Rhode’s Sweet Bread bags — but those apparently don’t exist anymore)

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by Sarah Steimer

I like the crisp edges you get with baked mac and cheese - like any other human - but sometimes I'd rather have a mac that's nice and creamy.

  • 8 ounces Fusilli pasta (spirals)
  • 1 heaping cup smoked Gouda, shredded
  • 1/3 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup skim milk, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 packed cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, saute the onion in a pan with olive oil until translucent. When both are ready, drain the pasta and add it, along with the onions, into a slow-cooker.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter and add flour, mixing with a whisk until you’ve made a rue. Add 1/2 cup milk and continue whisking until it thickens to the consistency of cream. Add the cheeses, eggs, Greek yogurt, broth and salt and pepper. Mix until the cheese has melted then add to the slow cooker. Add remaining 1/2 cup milk.

Fold in the spinach. Cook on low for about an hour.

Serves four.

Recipe adapted (very loosely) from: a recipe my sister, Jess Sweeney, sent me – she made a different crock pot mac & cheese once and it stayed way more moist than what you usually pop in the oven.

*Throughout November, “Out of the Box” will guide you away from prepackaged mac and cheese and will feature oodles of our favorite recipes   –  all of which can be found here.

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by Sarah Steimer

These were actually really outrageously good cold the next day, too. Also to note: Mine look burnt compared with the magazine's - but only because I used a darker quinoa.

For the cakes

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini or nut butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup finely grated sweet potato
  • 1/2 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I used a little less – they can be overly salty for my taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons feta (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Combine egg, flour, tahini and vinegar in a bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients and mash together until texture is firm enough to shape into cakes.

Shape into about 1/4-cup patties with floured hands. Bake at 400 degrees on a greased baking sheet (or try parchment paper) for about 25 minutes, turning once, until the patties are crisp.

Makes about 6-7 patties. Serve with the red pepper sauce.

For the sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups roasted red pepper, drained
  • 1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or a blender. Makes 2 1/2 cups (I split this recipe in half).

Recipes: Vegetarian Times

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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by Caitlin Saniga

It's all about the bun, baby. I got a four-pack of these pretzel rolls at Trader Joe's.

This is more of a concept than a recipe, but I think the world needs to discover pretzel buns. Use them for burgers, toasted cheese or breakfast sandwiches. I made an egg-and-cheese sandwich with green onions from the yard.

  • pretzel bun (try Trader Joe’s four-pack)
  • 2 eggs
  • some milk
  • some shredded cheese
  • some green onions, chopped finely
  • some salt
  • a slice of Cheddar cheese

It’s simple: Butter a pan over medium heat. Crack the eggs into the pan and add a splash of milk. Scramble until combined. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, green onions and salt. Don’t touch it until the egg starts to bubble and a spatula slides cleanly under the egg. Fold it like an omelet. Let it cook for about 30 seconds. Then flip it, and cook the other side for about 30 seconds. Voila, you have an omelet.

Cut the omelet into thirds or quarters or fancy shapes, and arrange the pieces on the bottom half of the pretzel bun. Put a slice of cheese on top, and cover with the top of the pretzel.

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

Original recipe

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