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June 11, 2011

Italian Meatballs with Marinara

Enjoy a beautifully balanced Sangiovese, an easy sipping wine that pairs perfectly with Italian food. Try this recipe, using the wine for making a rich, delicious sauce; then enjoy the rest with your meal. You will be coming back for more wine so save yourself the trip and pick up two bottles. Serve meatballs as an appetizer or over pasta.

Italian Marinara wine sauce with meatballs

Serves 8
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1:35



  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ cup dry red wine (such as a Sangiovese blend)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon each fresh thyme, basil, and marjoram, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    Meat balls:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 ounces ground pork sausage
  • ¼ cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 medium sage, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Corn meal


    Sauce: Sauté onion, green pepper and garlic in oil until softened. Blend in flour, add tomatoes, broth and wine. Cook stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat, add herbs, sugar, salt and pepper, cover and simmer gently for one hour. Meanwhile prepare the meatballs.

    For the meatballs: Combine all ingredients except for the corn meal, mixing well. Form about 1 teaspoon of mixture into a ball and roll in the corn meal. Repeat until all the meat mixture has been shaped. Place on a baking sheet and cook until browned. Add to sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.

    Terri's Tips:

    Prepare sauce in advance and refrigerated overnight with the meatballs to allow the flavors to blend and develop

    Cooking Wiser:

    Decrease fat- Substitute ground turkey for pork and use lean ground beef

    Make it Your Own

    Serve meatballs over pasta, on French bread for a sub sandwich- add mozzarella cheese on top and melt under broiler for 2 minutes, or on skewers as an appetizer- serve additional sauce on the side

    Posted by terri at 04:24 AM | Comments (0)

    Cheese Stuffed Grilled Burgers

    When it's too hot in the kitchen take it outside.

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 40 minutes


    1 ½ pound ground chuck
    ½ pound ground pork
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
    4 slices, 1 ounce each smoked cheddar cheese,
    4 hamburger buns, toasted


    Prepare the grill. See cooking tips

    For the burgers: combine ground chuck and pork together and mix.

    Divide meat into eight disks and top 4 of the disks with cheese (or stuffing of your choice).

    Top each of the disk with a remaining disk and press into 1 inch thick patty, pinching edges together to seal.

    Place burger on grill and sear for 3 minutes on each side. Continue to cook until desired doneness.

    Arrange buns on a plate and top each half with a burger. Add additional toppings. Serve right away.

    Serve with toppings such as:
    lettuce, tomato, onion, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, pickels, etc.

    Don't forget that Red Zinfandel is a great wine choice with grilled burgers.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • If you prefer your burger well done use ground beef that is at least 15% fat, 20% is even better so that it won't be too dry

  • Add your favorite cheese to top of burger during last 5 minutes of grilling

  • See grilling tips for helpful grilling idea

  • Press burgers into a flat circle and press center down with a little indention. This will keep the burgers from shrinking into round balls, allowing them to cook more evenly

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Exchange the ground pork for a leaner choice, ground turkey or ground round
  • For juicier burgers ground chuck is the best choice but you can reduce the fat by using a leaner meat such as ground round
  • For lean, mean burgers use ground turkey and stuff each burger with only one ounce (about 2-3 grams of fat) low fat cheese

    Make it your own

    Stuff the burger with herbs
    2 tablespoons fresh
    Rosemary, finely minced
    2 tablespoons fresh Sage, finely minced
    1 ½ tablespoon pecans, chopped
    2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

    or try
    basil pesto and Mozzerella

    Make it spicy with jalopena and monterray jack cheese

    one of my favorite stuffings is smoked gouda, bacon and minced onions

    Posted by terri at 03:53 AM | Comments (0)

    Mahi Mahi BLT

    The refreshing bursts of fruits and wildflowers in a Kendall Jackson Chardonnay will pair nicely with the basil and mayonnaise dressing in this seafood remake of the traditional Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato (BLT). Enjoy!

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 8 minutes
    Total time: 20 minutes


  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 mahi mahi fillets, 4-6 ounces
  • Vegetable oil for brushing grill top
  • 4 Kaiser buns
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 4 tomato slices


    In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, onion, lime juice, basil and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed. In a medium sauté pan cook the bacon on medium heat until browned. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
    In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and garlic. Brush onto the fish fillets. Place fillets on grill over medium heat and grill, turning once until just opaque. When the fish is almost cooked, grill the bun slices directly over medium heat until lightly toasted. Evenly spread the bottoms of each bun with the mayonnaise mixture. Top with lettuce, tomato, bacon and mahi mahi filet.

    Teri’s tips:

  • You should use any light white fish that is available and in season
  • Don’t overcook the fish
  • When buying fresh fish make sure that it smells fresh; without an ammonia odor.
  • Naturally this sandwich is best when tomatoes are in season but if you want a BLT in the winter, make an aioli with the mayonnaise and 1/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes.
  • coat fillets with cornflake crumbs and pecans or panko bread crumbs and sauté in cooking oil until golden brown rather than grilling the fish

    Posted by terri at 03:20 AM | Comments (0)

    June 05, 2011

    Mint Mojito

    Mint was taking over my herb garden until I discovered Mojitos while on vacation a few years ago. Now we enjoy them during the hot summer months as a cool refreshing drink. Omit the rum and even the kids can get in on the fun.

    Makes 4 – 4 ounce drinks


  • 2 ounces White rum
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 8 ounces club soda
  • 2 limes, quartered
  • A bunch (about one cup) of fresh mint leaves, washed
  • To garnish: 1 ounce Amaretto, slice of lime and sprig of mint


    Gently crush (muddle) the mint leaves in a large mixing glass with a muddler (usually a wooden pestle). Add the limes and continue to muddle until most of the juice from the limes is extracted. Add the rum and simple syrup. Fill each of 4 cocktail glasses with ice. Equally distribute the mixture into each glass. Top the glasses off with club soda. Add a splash of Amaretto. Garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint.

    Make it your own
    Create any flavor variation of mojitos that you like
    Crush any combination of strawberries, peaches, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, or mangos by adding about 1/2 cup fruit to the mixing glass with the limes.

    Posted by terri at 02:59 AM | Comments (0)

    June 03, 2011

    Mixed Salad Greens with Macadamia Nuts, Avocado and Goat Cheese

    One of my favorite salads and the presentation is so cool. The tartness in the goat cheese demands an acidic wine and a Pinot Grigio fits that profile.

    Serves 4
    Prep time : 15 minutes
    Total time: 15 minutes


    6 ounces soft goat cheese, cut in 1" cubes
    1/2 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
    8 cups mixed salad greens
    1 medium avocado, peeled and sliced
    8 tablespoons olive oil
    3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1 tablespoon honey
    1/4 cup orange juice


    Coat each cheese square with nuts, cover and chill.
    Mound greens in large salad bowl. Arrange avocado wedges atop greens. Whisk 6 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, honey and orange juice in small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste
    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add cheese cubes and sauté until just warmed through but still maintaining shape. Arrange cheese cubes on top of salad and drizzle dressing over.

    Per serving: 482 Calories; 47g Total Fat; 35mg Sodium

    Posted by terri at 03:28 AM | Comments (0)