As today is Friday, I thought I’d throw in an easy mid-week meal that you can make-ahad of time this weekend.  Yes, you can freeze it.  Or, just do what I do and try to make a few dishes on a Sunday to microwave and munch on later in the week.

Is it easy?  Oh, sweetjeebus, yes.  Ridiculously so!

How easy was it?  Let’s just say that this past Sunday, I was getting my cooking groove on and made this dish, a lemon and cherry poundcake AND roasted a chicken.  All without breaking a sweat – and I’m no Super Chef, either.  It’s just that this really is just that quick and easy.  But, what’s most important is that it’s REALLY good – midway through the meal, the mister was saying, “Can we have this again?” – always a good sign!

Serve it with a Fatoosh salad and some flatbread or pita and, my friend, you have a nice, healthy, filling meal!  (the recipe below serves a very hungry three people … or a moderately hungry four).  This recipe is adapted from the Leon cookbook — I highly recommend it for people who are new to cooking as the first half of the book is all about ingredients.

Moroccan Meatballs

Meatballs

  • 1 whole wheat pita
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 lb ground turkey or lamb
  • 1/3 cup mixture chopped flat-leaf parsley and chopped mint
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Tomato Sauce

  • Olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 heaping teaspoon (oh, go on, make it 2 teaspoons) Harissa paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Handful parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First, get your meatballs going by tearing up your pita into a small bowl and pouring over the 1/4 cup of milk then set it aside.  In a medium bowl, add your ground meat, herbs, salt and pepper.  When the pita has had a couple of minutes in the milk, use your fingertips to moosh it all together into a nice milky-wheaty paste, then add it to the meat mixture and mix together thoroughly.  If you’re using ground turkey (which is usually almost too lean), add a drizzle of olive oil to the mixture to help give the meat a little additional moisture when you cook it. Form the meat into balls about an inch to an inch and a half in diameter.

In a large pan over medium-high heat, drizzle a little olive oil and grown the meatballs in batches, giving a couple of minutes to brown, turning to give them color all over.  Set aside on a plate when each batch is done.  Don’t worry about cooking them all the way through – they’ll finish in the tomato sauce.

To make the sauce, pour a healthy glug or two of olive oil into a wide pan and add the garlic while the olive oil is cold, then turn on the heat to medium.  By adding the garlic when the oil is cold, the oil will become infused with the garlic, and the garlic won’t burn and become bitter.  When the garlic starts to sizzle, quickly add the can of tomatoes before they start to color then stir thoroughly.  Add the Harissa paste and herbs, then give it a good stir and taste for seasoning.  Add the meatballs and distribute evenly in the sauce, then cover and reduce heat to low, letting it simmer for at least 20-30 minutes.

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