Welcome to The Pink Kitchen.....where life is fashionably delicious!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

REAL Meatballs

I only recently started liking meatballs. It's very easy to be grossed out by the frozen, processed ones they sell at the grocery store. So, I looked high and low for a good meatball recipe. I wanted them to be garlicky, moist, and perfect for a meatball sandwich. I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com which is one of my favorite recipe websites. I altered this recipe to make it my own, and I think these meatballs are the BEST ones on the planet (believe me, I am very picky when it comes to meatballs)! I cook them on my very, "seasoned" Pampered Chef stoneware pan. I love Pampered Chef stoneware and use it all the time for cooking and baking. For some reason, everything always turns out better on stoneware in my opinion. These meatballs cook up quickly and then you just add them to your favorite marinara sauce (please don't ruin them by putting them in Prego or Ragu!) You can either make a fresh marinara, which is easier than it sounds, or buy a really good jarred marinara sauce. I really like Barilla's Marinara sauce. Top your meatballs with provolone cheese for a meatball sammie, or with Parmesan over pasta. Either way, these meatballs are a HIT! 


2 lb. ground beef
1tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder (or Tastefully Simple Onion Onion)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2-3 dashes hot sauce
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup fresh, grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients with hands or wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Roll into balls.
3. Place on baking sheet (or stoneware) and bake for 25-30 minutes until centers are no longer pink.
4. Add to your favorite sauce and serve over pasta or on crusty, italian rolls.
5. Top with Provolone or Parmesan cheese.

Alissa's notes: If you have it (or can get your hands on some), I like to use Tastefully Simple's Onion Onion seasoning blend in place of onion powder. It makes a big difference since it has actual onion pieces in it. You may want to spray your baking sheet with cooking oil before putting the meatballs on. The stoneware has a natural nonstick surface so I didn't use any oil. I also popped the rolls under the broiler just for a few seconds to get the outsides nice and crusty. You can also put your provolone cheese inside of the rolls before you put them in the oven. I used a fresh marinara sauce without any seasonings added. The meatballs themselves have enough flavor to compensate for seasoning the sauce. This recipe makes 24 large meatballs.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

For the Love of Basil

Before writing this post, I did lots of research on the herb, basil. There is so much to learn about this plant, which is a member of the mint family. Did you know that basil actually has antibacterial qualities? The oil from basil leaves actually has the ability to inhibit growth of certain bacteria that are very resistant to antibiotic drugs (based on research studies). In addition, basil also acts as an anti-inflammatory, providing relief for those with certain types of arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Who ever would have thought that this herb wasn't only delicious, but good for you too? It is also a good source of Vitamin K, A, iron, and calcium. So next time you eat a caprese salad or some pesto spread on crusty, Italian bread, know that you are eating something healthy, as well as tasty.
So, for the love of basil, I decided to try a new recipe: Chicken Fettuccine with Pesto Cream sauce. The pesto is not too overpowering in this dish. If you've never had pesto before, this is a good way to try it!

Chicken Fettuccine with Pesto Cream Sauce


1 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken tenders
Half pint heavy cream
1/2 c. (packed) fresh basil leaves, stems removed
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2- 1 1/2 inch cubes fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb. fettuccine
salt & pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil


1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan. Tenderize chicken tenders on a cutting board. (If you don't have a tenderizer, use a fork.) Cut chicken into small strips. Add to hot pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until brown and cooked through.
2. Cook fettuccine noodles in salted water according to packaging.
3. In a food processor, pulse together basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese until a chunky paste forms.
4. Add heavy cream to chicken and bring to a low simmer. Add pesto mixture and stir into sauce. Cook on low for a few minutes (sauce will thicken slightly.)
5. Drain pasta and add to chicken and sauce mixture. Toss all ingredients to combine.

Alissa's notes: If you don't feel like making your own pesto (which usually has pine nuts or some type of nut in it) you can buy it pre-made at the grocery store. I swear by my Deni 56-blade meat tenderizer. It makes every piece of meat I use it on really, really tender. If you have leftover basil, you can store it wrapped in damp paper towels in a plastic bag and it should last 4 days in the refrigerator. I took leftovers of this meal to work the next day for myself and a coworker (I didn't want to see her eat another peanut butter and jelly sandwich!) This is what I found at the end of the day:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Feisty Fajitas

I am known to get cravings for Mexican food! My husband and I frequently visit two very good Mexican restaurants in our area. There is something about all that warm, spicy flavor being washed down with a nice, refreshing margarita (on the rocks with salt is how I like mine). We went to Puerto Rico on our honeymoon where we enjoyed a fabulous Mexican meal right in the heart of old San Juan. It was a cute, quaint restaurant and the food was amazing! I had the best chicken nachos there (and a tasty raspberry margarita too!) Then about one year ago, I went to the Dominican Republic with my mom and got to experience even more Spanish-style food that I had never tried before. Chorizo, a spicy sausage, was my greatest finding and I have since used it in many recipes. I've also always been a fan of fajitas, but I usually get chicken or carnitas (pork). For something new, I wanted try a recipe for Shrimp fajitas. This is the one I recently made and they were delicious! "Una comida muy buena!" 

Shrimp Fajitas


1 1/4 pounds raw shrimp
1 clove garlic, chopped
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil 
Pinch of red (cayenne) pepper, or more if you like it spicy
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 green bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 small onion, chopped lengthwise
6 large flour tortillas
Sour cream
Shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese


1. Drizzle olive oil in a hot saute pan. Cook garlic in oil for 1 minute. Add raw shrimp (tails and shells removed.) Season with cayenne, paprika, salt, and pepper. Once shrimp is pink, remove from pan.
2. Drizzle more olive oil in pan and add chopped onion and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until veggies are tender (onions will begin to brown).
3. Add shrimp back to the pan and continue to cook all ingredients for a few minutes for flavors to combine.
4. Spoon fajita mixture into flour tortillas and top with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Alissa's notes: All you need to complete this simple meal is a margarita!!! Makes great leftovers, too! You could also top these fajitas with some salsa or guacamole.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall = Comfort Food

I absolutely love this time of year. I get a yearning for comfort food and baked goods that contain apple or pumpkin. Most of you who know me know that as the weather gets cooler, I get happier. I've never been able to figure out why I love cold weather. Maybe because I was born in January? When I think about comfort food, here are some recipes that come to mind: rice pudding, roasted chicken, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bread, and CHICKEN POT PIE! I love chicken pot pie and this is the best recipe I have found for it. It's actually very easy (and very comforting)!

Chicken Pot Pie (adapted from Best Loved Casseroles)

1 (14.5oz) can chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1- 1 1/2 c. milk
3 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 c. flour
2 c. diced, cooked chicken
2 c. frozen mixed vegetables (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower)
Small dash of dried thyme
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 store bought, refrigerated pie crust
1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Pour chicken broth, salt, and pepper into a large measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal 2 1/2 cups.
3. Melt butter in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook 3 min. Stir in flour until well         blended.
4. Gradually stir in broth mixture. Stir until thickened.
5. Add chopped chicken, veggies, thyme, and parsley. Pour mixture into a casserole dish.
5. Place pie crust over the casserole dish (you may need to roll the crust out a little bit to fit over your dish. I usually use a 9x9 inch baking dish). Press the crust edges against the edge of the dish.
6. Brush crust with beaten egg. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is golden brown.

Alissa's notes: You can use whatever veggies you like in this pot pie. I added 1/2 c. corn and it was yummy. I usually defrost the frozen veggies in the microwave a little bit and chop them up smaller before adding them in. If you like celery, you can add 1/2 c. chopped celery in with the onion. This dish turns out better for me when I use a store-bought rotisserie chicken rather than cooking chicken breast myself. The flavor of the rotisserie chicken really compliments this dish.

RATING: 5 cupcakes