- Difficulty Easy
This week I decided to embrace the advice of Kate Freeman, our newest member of the MoM Panel. A couple of weeks ago, Kate talked about the benefits of planning meals in advance – for your sanity, for your budget and for the health of your whole family. Today was a pupil free day. I had one little one home from school (and the little kindy poppet who could not be convinced to leave her big sister for the day). So, I decided to make the meal planning for this week a girls affair! I should have put it on video. The girls checking out taste.com.au and consulting their Junior MasterChef cookbook to create our menu for the week. A classic.
Monday Night’s Dinner – simple Meatballs served with Risoni.
The meal we chose for tonight (Monday) was an all-time family favourite MEATBALLS & RISONI. Several months back, I shared with you all an email I sent to my other half explaining the ins & outs of this dish (really very easy but he does like to be given specific details). If you’re after a super-easy, quick, fairly low-fat dinner that anyone from 12 months will scoff down, try this one. It freezes beautifully, makes outstanding rolls for lunch and if you add a load of veges, one batch will feed a family of 5 for two full dinners. This recipe does call for Pork & Veal mince which was missing today when we visited our local supermarket (they are doing some really wierd things with their meat and seafood at the moment)?!
The Lamb & Fetta Meatballs are born.
In place of the usual Pork & Veal mince, we discovered some Lamb Mince. I did a quick rack of my brain for the flavours of the mediterranean that complement lamb so well and voila, Monday night’s menu suddenly included Lamb & Fetta meatballs with a Cous Cous & Lentil Lemon Salad. I couldn’t resist styling up my bowl and taking a quick pic to share with you – I just love the colour combination of lemon, fresh mint and the rich reds of the tomato sauce.
Ingredients for Lamb & Fetta Meatballs.
In one large bowl, combine the following ingredients:
1 kg of lamb mince
1 small onion, 1 carrot, 10 button mushrooms, either grated or chopped very finely in your food processor
A large handful of fresh mint leaves, either finely chopped or torn depending on your family’s attitude to green bits
200g fetta cheese finely crumbled or chopped
The zest of one lemon (the outside skin of the lemon very finely grated)
Pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper
The how to and how long of the meatballs.
Then roll up your sleeves and schmoosh everything together until it combines beautifully. Roll a soup spoon full of mixture into balls until all the mixture is balled.
While you are rolling the meatballs, combine one 500g jar of tomato pasta sauce (any brand but stick to a fairly basic tomato flavour), the juice of the lemon you zested, 2 cups of chicken stock or 1 teaspoon of stock concentrate and 2 cups of water and bring to a slow boil.
Once the tomato stock is boiling slowly, gently place all the meatballs (one at a time so the hot sauce doesn’t splash up onto you) into the mixture. And that’s it for the meatballs. Let them simmer gently for about half an hour. If the sauce is too runny, simply boil with the lid off so it reduces. If it starts to get too thick or dry, add a little more water and simmer with the lid in place.
The Cous Cous & Lentil Lemony Salad
In another large bowl, add 3/4 cup of cous cous. Add about a cup of boiling water (or enough so that it sits just above the cous cous when you first pour it in) and then let it stand for 5 – 10 minutes. Using a fork, run the tines over and over the cous cous starting at the top and working your way down to the bottom of the bowl. It’s important to do this patiently as fluffy cous cous is so much better than the stodgy, gluey alternative.
Add the following ingredients once the cous cous is fluffed:
a full tin of drained brown lentils
finely sliced spanish onion (optional)
finely sliced continental cucumber
finely sliced tomato (or halved cherry tomatoes)
loads of salad leaves (baby spinach, rocket, butter lettuce, beetroot leaves – whatever you have really)
a big handful (again) of the fresh mint – it won’t be fresh tomorrow so you might as well embrace the flavours
a good pinch of sea salt, cracked black pepper and a big juicy squeeze of lemon
a little more of the fetta cheese if you’re really into it (my kids liked it in the meatballs but a little strong in the salad)
You’ll see from the image, it’s then just a matter of tossing the salad together and plating up.
This would go beautifully with a Pinot Noir, a lemony sauvignon blanc or even a heavier red. Me? Yeah well Day 1 of my latest diet so just a big iced water for me!
Now it’s time for you to tell us what you thought of this post … What do you think of this recipe? Could you see yourself making this one? Or is it just a little too schmancy for you? Please let us know what you’re thinking – so we know you’re out there reading!