Crunchy Spicy Chickpeas

I love salty snacks and one of my weaknesses is potato chips. When Shakira sings, “Hips don’t lie,” she’s talking about those of us whose penchant for potato chips makes our hips tell the truth. So I stay away from the chippy hip-extending carbs and instead look for ways to satisfy my salty cravings with healthy snacks.

Chickpeas are chock full of healthy protein, low in carbs and fit right into any healthy diet plan. Plus, they make a delicious addition to an appetizer buffet.

chickpeas

Ingredients:

2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. roasted garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 can chickpeas (drained and washed)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F

In a bowl add: oil, garlic, chili powder, red pepper, salt and whisk everything well together.

Add the chickpeas and toss to coat.

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray or use parchment paper.

Spread the chickpeas into a single layer on a baking sheet.

Roast for 25 minutes, then turn the chickpeas and continue roasting for 20 minutes, until nicely browned and slightly crispy.

Alternative: If you like a little sweet with your salt and spice, drizzle some honey over the chickpeas while they are hot.

They taste great tossed in a salad as well.

COVER-CALIBRI_MedThis recipe is from the COOK LIKE A WRITER Cookbook by The Book Posse.

Available for FREE download at: Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords in all e-versions.

Moira Keith is also sharing a recipeplease click here to visit her blog as she shares her recipe for Refreshing Salad Stuffed Shells

Authentic Polpette (Meatballs)

 

 

When people think of meatballs, they think, spaghetti and meatballs, and that’s good too, however, meatballs are also great as starters for a dinner party or as a meal on their own with a salad.

Polpette’s as they are called in Italy, are one of those recipes where Italian families will claim theirs is the best recipe and the only way to make them. There are a variety of ways to make these mouthwatering, little balls, however, I will say that my version of polpette’s (a recipe handed down from my mother which was handed down from her mother in Italy) is one of the more delectable ways of producing a yummylicious meatball.

The secret to excellent meatballs is for them to be moist on the inside (you get the moistness by adding milk and bread as I will show you below) and golden brown on the outside with a bit of bite, so that you get a variety of textures, teasing your taste buds.

Ingredients:

1 pound medium lean ground beef

1 pound lean ground pork

1 pound lean ground veal

1 cup milk

1 baguette (best to use a few days old bread, best if it is hardened, remove the crust)

1/2 cup Romano cheese (freshly grated)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan (freshly grated)

3 TBSP fresh Italian parsley (chopped)

2 eggs – (lightly beaten)

4 egg whites – (lightly beaten)

2 tsp. Kosher salt

2 tsp. black pepper

 

Directions:

1.  Tear the baguette in small pieces. You can chop it up in a food processor if you like.

2.  In a small pot, heat the milk, stirring constantly, until the milk is steamy.

3.  Turn off the heat and remove pot from the stove.

4.  Add the bread to the milk and let it soak, until all the milk is dissolved in the bread.

4.  Mash it until the bread and milk resembles a paste.

5.  Let the bread paste cool.

6.  In a large bowl, combine the following: beef, pork, veal, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, eggs, egg whites, salt, parsley, black pepper, and the bread-milk mixture.

7.  Mix everything well with your hands. Try not to work the mixture too hard and for too long, as you don’t want the mixture to be too tough. You just want to work it so that all the Ingredients: are well blended.

8.  Roll one meatball and if you find the mixture is a bit too wet, then add a bit more cheese.

9.  If you find the mixture a bit too dry, add more egg whites.

10.  You will able to tell if everything is just right, by rolling one ball, and if it all stays together in a ball, then you don’t have to add anything extra.

 

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11.  Preheat oven to 400 F.

12.  Prepare a baking sheet either by spraying a non-stick spray or lining it with parchment paper.

13.  You can roll the meatballs any size you like. A good size for serving with a main dish (like pasta) is between two to three inches, however, for an appetizer, you can go smaller if you wish.

14.  Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake until fully cooked through (internal temperature of 160F (about 20 minutes). The length of time that they need to be baked will depend on the size you are rolling the meatballs.

 

 

 

Baby Got Back Ribs

Meat-a-tarians love ribs. They’re a sticky mess to eat at times, but the tender meat falling off the bones and the succulent sweet and tangy barbecue sauce that drips down one’s fingers, making it finger lickin’ good is a North American adventure.

I say North American, because generally to some Italians, the thought of eating meat slathered in any kind of sweetness is not something that they would consider—-that is, until they taste it and fall in love with anything related to BBQ sauce.

I know there are a ton of great barbecue rib recipes and you probably have your own great recipe, which is why I thought I’d provide you with an alternative to this popular dish.

Here’s a recipe for luscious baby back ribs braised with tomato and fresh basil.

If you have any leftover meat left over, you can throw it in the Sexy Sassy Sauce and toss it in with some pasta.

ribs
Ingredients:

3 pounds of pork baby back ribs

3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves (minced)

5 shallots (minced)

1 cup fresh basil (finely chopped)

4 sage leaves (finely chopped)

1/3 cup dry red wine (as I said in another recipe, if it’s good enough to drink, it’s good enough to use in cooking.)

2 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice (chopped into small pieces)

Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a pan (a large enough pan that will accommodate the ribs snugly, if they overlap that’s okay).

Once oil is heated, add the ribs and brown them on all sides.

Remove pan from the heat and season ribs with salt and pepper.

Add, garlic, shallots and sage and stir to coat all the ribs.

Put the pan on medium-high heat and add the wine.

Cook for one minute, allowing the alcohol to evaporate.

Add the canned tomatoes.

Season tomatoes with salt, stirring the tomatoes into the ribs.

Once tomatoes start to bubble, lower the heat to low.

Cover the pan with the lid slightly askew.

Cook the ribs for two and half hours, or until the ribs are very, very tender.

Turn ribs every twenty minutes.

If all the liquid in the pan evaporates before the ribs are ready, add some water.

Once the ribs are tender and done, turn the heat off and sprinkle with fresh basil and let sit for 10 minutes with the lid on before serving.

If the sauce has too much liquid when the ribs are done, remove the cover, raise the heat to medium high until the sauce is reduced.

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You can find this recipe in our cook book, COOK LIKE A WRITER, available for free on Smashwords and Kobo.

Changing the world one recipe at a time.

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I am pleased to showcase the cover for the soon-to-be-released recipe book, “COOK LIKE A WRITER” by The Book Posse. 

COOK LIKE A WRITER is written by myself plus five other authors (we call ourselves the Book Posse) who are helping to change the world one word at a time with our fiction work, and in the case of this cook book, we’re helping to change the world one recipe at a time—-while having fun in the kitchen and with foodies worldwide.

Since Valentine’s Day is a few days away, I thought I’d share one of the recipes from this soon-to-be-released cook book. From the Epilogue (Holiday Eats) section of the book, here is a sampling.

Cooking for Love and Fun for Valentine’s the Fast and Munchy Treat Way by Selena Robins

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love and not just for those who are in a relationship or marriage. It’s a great excuse to invite some friends over and celebrate friendship or gather your family and have a fun meal. One thing my family loves to do is make a meal out of a variety of finger foods.

Here are a couple of recipes that are popular in our household and are easy to make.

Cheese Filled Romaine Lettuce Cups

Ingredients:

2 cups soft cream cheese

3/4 cup, diced sweet red peppers

2 TBSP chopped fresh basil

1 clove garlic, minced

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 head of fresh romaine lettuce

1 cup toasted pine nuts (or toasted halved pecans)

Directions:

In large bowl, add: cream cheese, red pepper, basil, garlic, salt and pepper and set aside.

Trim bottom off each lettuce leaf, wash, and pat until thoroughly dry.

Spoon 1 TBSP of the cream cheese mixture near the bottom of each romaine lettuce leaf.

Top with either roasted pine nuts or pecans.

Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches

Ingredients:

2 peaches

8 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced

1/3 cup soft goat cheese

2 TBSP prepared basil pesto

16 small arugula leaves, trimmed

Directions:

Add basil pesto to goat cheese and mix well, set aside.

Slice peaches lengthwise into quarters; pit and set aside.

On one slice of prosciutto, evenly spread 2 teaspoons of goat cheese/basil mixture.

Arrange two arugula leaves and one peach quarter at one end of the prosciutto.

Roll up tightly, pressing so the roll is neat.

Repeat with the remaining prosciutto slices.

Cut each roll into 3 pieces and arrange on serving platter.

Check out some of the other members of The Book Posse as they give you a sneak peak into one of their recipes:

Denise Agnew

Nancy Lauzon

Kimberley Troutte

A. Catherine Noon

“COOK LIKE A WRITER” by The Book Posse will be available on Amazon in a few short weeks. Stay tuned for details.