Monday, April 28, 2014

Low Carb Delight

My mother-in-law introduced me to these awesome Beef & Quinoa Meatballs over Passover and they're so good that I made them this past Friday with a kale caesar and Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas. It was a match made in culinary & low carb heaven.  If only I could eat this well seven nights a week.

Tender-Oven Roasted Beef & Quinoa Meatballs:

Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas:

PC: &
Recipes after the jump

Tender Oven Beef & Quinoa Meatballs:
Servings: 4
Yields 12-2 1/2" meatballs (I made 24 smaller meatballs)

  1. EVOO, for greasing
  2. 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I used ground round)
  3. 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  4. 3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
  5. 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  6. 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  7. 1 large garlic clove, minced
  8. 1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  9. 3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  10. 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  11. 1 1/2 cups jarred marinara sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° and grease a large baking dish with olive oil. In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix all of the remaining ingredients except the marinara sauce. Form the ground-beef mixture into twelve 2 1/2-inch meatballs.
  2. Arrange the meatballs in the baking dish and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until just cooked through. Spoon the marinara sauce on top and bake until the sauce is hot, about 5 minutes. Garnish with grated cheese and chopped parsley and serve.
  1. Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas:
  2. large eggplant, about 8 ounces and 9-10 inches long
    about 1 tbsp salt, for drawing water out of eggplant
    about 2 tbsp olive oil, for brushing eggplant before roasting
    about 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, for sprinkling on eggplant before roasting
    10 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade strips (optional)
    1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
    1/3 cup finely grated low-fat mozzarella blend 
    hot red pepper flakes for sprinkling finished pizza (optional)

    Sauce Ingredients:
    2-3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    3 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped 
    1 can (14.5 oz.) good quality petite diced tomatoes with liquid (or use 2 cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes)
    1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend
    1/4 tsp. dried oregano (use Greek or Turkish oregano)

    Cut off both ends of the eggplant; then cut it into 3/4 inch thick slices (trying to make them the same thickness!)  Put the eggplant pieces on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with salt.  Let the eggplant sit with the salt on it for about 30 minutes to draw out the liquid.  (After the eggplant sits for 15 minutes, turn on the oven to 375F/190C.)

    While the eggplant sits, make the sauce.  Heat 2-3 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan) and saute the finely chopped garlic just until it becomes fragrant.  (Don't let it brown.)  Add the petite diced tomatoes, dried Italian seasoning, and dried oregano and let the sauce cook at a low simmer until it's thickened, breaking up the tomatoes with a fork as it cooks.  (Add water as needed, a few tablespoons at a time as the sauce cooks, keeping it hot by simmering at very low heat until it's needed for the eggplant slices.)

    After 30 minutes, wipe the eggplant dry with paper towels (this also removes most of the salt.)  Spray a roasting sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray, lay eggplant slices on, brush the tops of the eggplant with olive oil, and sprinkle with dried Italian seasoning.  Roast the eggplant about 25 minutes (but "not so long that the slices become mushy and lose their shape" as Julia says.)  

    While the eggplant roasts, thinly slice the fresh basil leaves (if using) and combined freshly grated Parmesan and low-fat mozzarella blend.  After 25 minutes or when eggplant pieces are done, remove eggplant from the oven and turn oven setting to broil.  Spread a few tablespoons of sauce on the top of each eggplant slice, sprinkle with thin basil slices (if using) and top with a generous amount of cheese.  Put pizzas under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.  About 4-5 minutes.  Watch closely so they don't burn.  

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