Cheeseburger Meatballs

This is a simple recipe inspired by a small plate we had at a Japanese restaurant. They had all sorts of things on skewers: tomatoes, cheese, beef, chicken, and more. One of our favorite bites were these tiny meatballs with some melted cheese on top. I believe the cheese was American, and I was not entirely certain of the seasonings…but we really wanted to try it at home. What was interesting was the meat was ground chicken, and K liked it! Usually if it’s an item that is normally made with ground beef, he sees anything else as second rate. I was surprised he liked these so much, considering how they were a bit healthy.

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Orange Ricotta Pancakes

After making a pizza with some ricotta cheese, I needed a way to use up the extra ricotta. I had time to make breakfast (yay for weekends!) and thought it could be fine to try ricotta pancakes. Now, I only have ever tried them once. Maybe. My husband and I always celebrated our anniversary at a particular restaurant. We were unable to make it for dinner, so decided to go for brunch. I ordered some ricotta pancakes after hearing great things about what ricotta can do for the fluffiness. Well, you may or may not know my opinion on goat cheese/blue cheese/things that are sour…I am not a fan. They just make me think of rotting milk. So, when I tasted the pancakes and got a strong blue cheese kind of flavor, I asked the waiter what was in them. I figured that they may have done a substitution or changed the item without updating the menu. He insisted it was ricotta cheese in them, and I didn’t want to fuss so I left it at that. Of course, I only had a bite or two (and so did K). After that, I was a bit disappointed in them, and in the idea of ricotta pancakes.

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I’m still not sure what was in those pancakes, because these pancakes…well. They were truly awesome. I said before that I am not the pancake flipper, but even I was able to have luck with these. I added some orange zest just because, so you can certainly leave it out. Or, feel free to add lemon for a different flavor.

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Pizza with Ricotta and Bacon or Mushrooms and Sausage

Are you a pizza lover? We love pizza. It was our first date, after all! So, it is even a reason for romance with us to celebrate anniversaries. This is a great recipe for a thinner crust, although it is not the thinnest crust I have ever had. It is crunchy and suitable for many toppings. You can double the recipe, but generally one pizza is enough for us, and we still have leftovers.

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For pizza sauce, I generally just use the food processor and pulse together a jar of tomatoes with some seasoning (garlic powder, red pepper flakes, basil, etc.). Sometimes I keep the chunks. To thicken the sauce, cooking it on low in a saucepan for about 5-10 minutes helps. You can also stir in some tomato paste for extra flavor. I linked to a tomato sauce recipe I use, but you can feel free to use store-bought or make something else.

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Chicken and Onion Crackers

After growing up loving Chicken in a Bisket crackers, I introduced my husband to them recently. Unfortunately, we noticed that they had MSG in them, which might explain why they are so addictive. He loved them as much as I did, so he tried looking for an off-brand that might not have MSG. There wasn’t one we could find, so I decided to try to make some crackers with a similar flavor. These were not exact, but are inspired. I played around with thicknesses and baking times. Basically, you want them to be a bit thin to cook up extra crispy. My thicker ones were not as successful. I also decided the salt and onion was a bit much, so I have adjusted the recipe below accordingly.

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You can feel free to make these crackers with any seasoning you like. In place of the chicken broth, you can also use water to have a non-chicken cracker. I thought about sprinkling cheese on top, but that did not match the original flavoring. If you have celery salt, I would recommend adding that in place of the salt. I don’t have it, and did not want to buy it for just this, but it is an ingredient in the original crackers.

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Spicy Spaghetti with Hazelnuts and Cauliflower

Thanks to my Aunt V who clipped an article for me from the Washington Post (a while ago), I found a version of this recipe which inspired me. I had cauliflower, but that was about it. Most of the rest of the ingredients were random things that I wanted to change. So, here is an easy weeknight all-in-one meal which still manages to be healthy. (More so if you use whole wheat pasta.)

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Even though I used cauliflower, I could see using broccoli instead. You could probably even use other veggies, but that would be the easiest swap. Likewise, you could use a different nut instead of hazelnuts. But, my hazelnuts were (technically) expired–I had been using whole ones and forgot about these chopped ones. They were still fine, and this way I got to use them and not waste them.

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Cheese and Onion Bread

Even though I did not list it on my yearly goal list, making bread is definitely a goal. I always like to find new recipes, especially for bread I can eat with dinner. Plain sandwich bread is nice, but I am the only one who would eat it. This recipe paired well with a few meals we had, and I caramelized a little extra onion to help for a pizza I made. (Yay for time-saving tricks!) The onions make this bread sweet and who doesn’t like cheese and bread together? The original recipe used Gruyere, which is all well and good, but I wanted this to be a recipe I could make any ole day. The substitution worked just fine.

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Almond and Citrus Tea Cake

This was a celebration cake, as I announced on Twitter, because there was some good news found out the day before I made this! Now, you might have figured out what it was, but because I am superstitious, I am not announcing it just yet…soon, though. Really soon. In the meantime, you should find your occasion to celebrate and make this cake. I had wanted to make it for a while because it looked so elegant. I added raspberries and a few other special touches to make it even more awesome. You can likewise jazz it up. One easy add-in is vanilla sugar for the granulated sugar. It adds pretty vanilla beans throughout the cake, which just enhances all of the flavor in this super moist cake.

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Vanilla sugar with regular sugar

Vanilla sugar with regular sugar

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