What's Cooking This Week? Basil & Tomato Meatballs Sliders + More

basilmeatballsliders.jpg
Photo by galant
I love cooking for my fiancé and me, but most of the time, cooking for two proves to be difficult. If I don't make a plan, I end up running around in circles at the grocery store and wasting half the ingredient's I've bought (and I hate wasting food). Enter What's Cooking This Week - my weekly meal plan and grocery guide. This way, I can make the most of my ingredients and my leftovers.

Last week, we featured Ginger Salmon Cakes w/ Sriracha Cream and Spicy Peanut Noodles. This week, fresh red pepper, mushrooms, and zucchini are stuffed into Grilled Zucchini Boats and loaded onto French Bread Pizzas.

Here's the rest of the plan:

  • Lemon Dijon Chicken Legs & Corn on the Grill
  • Garden Stuffed Zucchini Boats
  • Meatball Sliders w/ Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
  • Farfalle w/ Tomato & Summer Corn
  • Loaded French Bread Pizzas

    Pantry Items

  • Oil (olive, extra virgin, canola, peanut)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cooking spray
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Dijon mustard
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Italian breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Parsley
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

    Grocery List based on servings for 2 w/ leftovers

  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 package cherry tomatoes
  • 3 ears fresh corn
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 8 oz button or cremini mushrooms
  • 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 loaf Italian or French bread
  • 1 package whole grain farfalle pasta

    Day 1 - Lemon Dijon Chicken Legs & Corn on the Grill

    In a large bowl, whisk together 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp honey, and the juice and zest of 1 lemon. Season with salt and crushed red pepper. Pour 1/3 of the mixture into a small bowl and set aside. Add chicken legs to the remaining marinade and set in fridge for 15 minutes. For best results, marinate the night before.

    Heat grill to high. Add chicken legs and cook, turning, until chicken is cooked through and skin is crisped and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Brush with reserved marinade during last 5 minutes of cooking.

    Meanwhile, remove husks from corn and soak in water for 15 minutes. Remove from water and dry. Brush 2 ears with oil and add to grill. Cook, turning, until until lightly charred on all sides, about 10 minutes.
    *Reserve remaining ear for use in day 4.

    Serve chicken legs with grilled corn buttered and seasoned with salt and pepper.

    Day 2 - Garden Stuffed Zucchini Boats
    *Makes leftover Pan-Roasted Vegetables for French Bread Pizzas

    Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop flesh out to form boats. Chop leftover flesh.

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with olive oil. Add diced
    bell pepper and 1/2 diced onion, cooking until softened, about 5 min. Mix in chopped mushrooms and chopped leftover zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and season with salt and crushed pepper to taste. Cook for another minute before stirring in chopped fresh basil.
    *Reserve 1/3 mixture for use in day 5.

    Meanwhile, heat a grill pan to medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Add zucchini boats and cook until shells are slightly softened. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

    Fill boats with vegetable mixture and top with a thin slice of fresh mozzarella. Finish in broiler until cheese is melted and bubbling.

    Day 3 - Meatball Sliders w/ Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
    *Makes leftover Meatballs and Tomato Sauce for French Bread Pizzas

    In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 lb ground beef with 2-3 cloves minced garlic, 1 egg, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1-2 tbsp milk or water, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, and 1/4 tsp each of garlic powder, parsley, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Make a test patty, cook on the stovetop and taste before continuing. Adjust seasoning as needed.

    Roll the mixture into meatballs of desired size.

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat lightly with canola oil. Working in batches, fry meatballs until cooked through and browned all over. Alternatively, drizzle with oil and bake, turning once, in oven at 400 degrees until brown, crisp, and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat saucepan over medium heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Add in 1/2 chopped yellow onion and cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in 2 cloves minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add in 1 can crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in a pinch of sugar and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Finish with fresh basil. Add meatballs to sauce.
    *Reserve half for use in day 5. Will likely have extra.

    Divide loaf of bread in half and set one half aside for use in day 5. Slice remaining loaf into slider-sized rolls. Fill with meatballs in tomato sauce and fresh basil. Top with parmesan cheese.

    Serve sliders with chopped mozzarella tossed with a handful of halved cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. Top salad with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
    *Reserve enough mozzarella for pizza in day 5.

    Day 4 - Farfalle w/ Tomato & Summer Corn

    In a pot of salted boiling water, cook 2 servings of pasta to al dente according to package instructions.

    Use a knife to remove kernels from leftover corn and toss with halved cherry tomatoes and chopped fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with pasta and extra virgin olive oil.

    Serve topped with parmesan cheese and more chopped fresh basil.

    Day 5 - Loaded French Bread Pizzas
    *Uses leftover Pan-Roasted Vegetables, Meatballs, and Tomato Sauce

    Slice remaining bread open cross-wise to form two long halves. Top with tomato sauce, leftover veggies, sliced meatballs, and mozzarella cheese.

    Bake in a 425 degree oven until bread is crisp (can bake the bread alone a bit at first for extra crispness) and cheese is melted and bubbling. Top with parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.

    Enjoy!


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