lola rugula asparagus and scallion frittata recipe

green garlic meatballs

One of my favorite spring garden treats is young, tender green garlic. I always pull up some of it to enjoy – I add it to rubs, sauces, salads and more. Green garlic has a more mild taste than mature garlic and can be used just like scallions in most dishes.

This past weekend I made a large batch of meatballs; some for dinner and the rest for the freezer. I love having meatballs in the freezer – they make a weeknight dinner of pasta or subs a much easier endeavor. And since there’s nothing I love more than garlicky meatballs, my homegrown green garlic make these meatballs extra delicious. I also added a couple of garlic cloves, for a super intense garlic flavor. Vampires, you’ve been warned.

So, if you grow garlic or see green garlic at the market and have wondered what to do with it, here’s a delicious idea.

lola rugula how to use green garlic

green garlic meatballs

  • 3 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 lbs. ground pork
  • 1 cup finely chopped green garlic
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

In a large bowl, mix everything together well, but not over mixing or smashing everything together too much. I use my fingertips more than my whole hands to blend it all together because I find that over-mixing and mashing it all together makes a denser meatball than I prefer.

Preheat oven to 350

Brush a baking sheet with olive oil.

Begin rolling the meatballs and placing them on the prepared baking sheet. This recipe made about 80 golf ball sized meatballs, 40 meatballs per sheet. If you want them larger, increase the cooking time; smaller, decrease the time.

Bake meatballs for about 20 minutes, turn, and then bake another 20 or just until they start to brown.

lola rugula green garlic meatballs recipe

See that beautiful green garlic in those meatballs? It really adds a fresh garlic flavor to these and I think you’ll agree.

Don’t know what to do with green garlic? Now you do! Never be afraid to play with your food – the results are delicious. Enjoy!

lola rugula asparagus and scallion frittata recipe

Drunken Round Steak

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m on a real comfort food kick lately and this weekend was no exception. We’re getting bombarded with snow right now, so what better way to spend time inside than cooking up a warm and comforting dish of round steak and noodles?

It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything with round steak but since it was part of the side of beef we recently purchased, I have a few of them on hand that I need to get creative with.  Braising is perfect for it, but I wanted to change it up and make something I could serve with noodles or rice. I trimmed the beef and sliced it, and then tossed it in some flour before browning it. Then I threw in some garlic, onion, mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers and then some beer (hence the “drunken” part of this recipe) to make a gravy. After about an hour-long simmer, the results were delicious. This is an amped-up recipe version of beef tips with noodles and it’s packed with heartiness and flavor.

It may not make for the prettiest of photos, but sometimes flavor trumps food porn.

lola rugula beef tips and noodles recipe

round steak with peppers, mushrooms and onions over noodles recipe

  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. round steak, trimmed of bone and fat and cut into 1-2 inch strips (save those extra parts for beef broth!)
  • salt and pepper for seasoning steak, plus extra if needed
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used unbleached whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used a non-GMO sunflower oil but most types of oil will work here)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (don’t mince it – you want it chunky so it doesn’t burn)
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half at the root end and sliced
  • 1-2 bell peppers, preferably red, orange or yellow, sliced
  • 8 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bottle of beer or 1 /1/2 cups stock
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 lb. cooked pasta or egg noodles (I used Buitoni fresh linguine)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)

Season beef strips with about a teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper. Toss in flour to coat.

Cook pasta and drain. Return to pan and add butter. Toss well and cover until ready to use.

Heat oil n a large, deep-sided skillet. Add beef strips in 2 portions and brown well. Set beef aside and add the garlic, onion, peppers, and mushrooms to the pan. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add half of the beer or stock and stir well, scraping up all of the crispy bits on the bottom of the pan. Return the beef to the pan, add the red pepper flakes (if adding) and  the remaining beer or stock. Stir well. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour or until the beef is incredibly tender, stirring a couple of times during cooking time. Taste and season with more salt and/or pepper, if needed. Pour beef mixture over buttered noodles and serve immediately.

lola rugula round steak recipe with onions and peppers

Notes: As mentioned, you do not have to use beer here – stock will work just as well. You could use chicken stock for a lighter flavor or beef stock for a beefier flavor; even vegetable stock would work. Also, the butter adds a beautiful richness to this but can certainly be omitted.  When I make comfort food, I go all in, but you can modify as needed.

I will warn you that after initially cooking the beef, it will look like one big hot mess in your pan, but don’t despair…once you add the beer or stock and scrape and stir it all together, your gravy will form. If you prefer more gravy, you can add more beer or stock accordingly.

Noodles or rice? Totally your preference. I happen to prefer noodles but it’s your call.

Also, don’t be afraid to try other veggies in this – broccoli, leeks and greens would all be great substitutions or additions, depending on your taste.

Happy snow days everyone!

lola rugula asparagus and scallion frittata recipe

braised arm roast with creamy mashed cauliflower

If you’ve followed my site for a while then you know how much I love braising and oven roasting things, especially in the winter. This year, we joined my parents in going in on a side of beef from Weber Meats in Cuba City, WI so now we have a freezer full of roastable meat, such as short ribs, soup bones, oven roasts and braising roasts.

Behold, the mighty arm roast:

lola-rugula-arm-roast-recipe

The arm roast is a humble cut of meat. It’s not typically huge but it’s an inexpensive cut that will yield delicious results if you cook it right. My favorite way to make this is braising it – browning and then slowly roasting with a cover, along with a bit of liquid, veggies and herbs – until it practically falls off the bone. If you’re craving a tender pot roast, this cut works beautifully. This cut is typically marbled with fat, which is part of what eventually helps it break down into a tender chunk of deliciousness.

braised arm roast recipe

  • 1 arm roast 2-3 lbs.
  • 1 teaspoon each coarse sea or kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 can Guinness or other dark stout (you can absolutely replace the beer with stock or even water)
  • 4-6 medium red potatoes

Preheat oven to 350

Pat beef dry with a paper towel and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and stir, cooking until soft and lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Scoop out and place in a roasting pan. Increase heat to medium-high and add beef. Let brown for at least 5 minutes and then flip, browning at least 5 minutes on the other side. I also like to tip mine on its side with a pair of tongs and brown the fat for a minute or two.

Transfer the beef to the roasting pan and top with some of the onions and garlic. Add the herbs. Making sure the heat is off, add the bottle of beer (or stock) to the hot skillet and stir, scraping up the crispy bits from the bottom. My cast iron pan is usually still pretty hot when I add the beer, so the heat really helps loosen up those bits. Slowly pour the beer and pan drippings over the roast.

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Cover the pan tightly and bake for 1 hour. Add potatoes, replace cover and then reduce the oven temperature to 325. Continue cooking for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beef is fork-tender. Remove from oven and let rest, covered, for 15 minutes.

lola-rugula-easy-braised-arm-roast-recipe

Although my husband and I both love potatoes, I personally started cutting down on the carbs I eat when I reached my forties. So, a perfect side to pot roast for me is creamy mashed cauliflower (which my husband also loves). Here’s how I make it:

creamy mashed cauliflower recipe

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, main stem removed and cut into large florets
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves pan-roasted garlic (a couple of smashed garlic cloves, pan roasted in a drizzle of olive oil)

Place cauliflower florets in a large pan, add 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a healthy simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork-tender. Drain and return cauliflower to pan.

Add the remaining ingredients and mash well with a potato masher, stirring and mashing as you go, until they’re nice and creamy.

That’s it! Simple, right? Some people like to add chicken or veggie stock to theirs but I like mine with some body to them and not too runny. If these are too thick for you, feel free to add a bit of stock.

Also, if you love braising and oven-roasting as much as I do, here are a few of my other recipes, such as braised beef brisket with caramelized onions,  braised beef brisket with veggies, oven roasted pulled pork, crispy roast duck,  oven roasted Brussels sprouts, and oven roasted tomatoes. You can also roast soup bones for a flavorful and beneficial stock.

Today it’s finally snowing in my neck of the woods for the first time this year, so it’s looking like today will be a perfect day for enjoying the leftovers. Happy eating!

lola rugula asparagus and scallion frittata recipe

stuffed cabbage rolls

Can we just go ahead and admit that most “stuffed” recipes might as well state: “this is going to be time-consuming”? Because, honestly…from dumplings to ravioli to, well…cabbage rolls, stuffing things takes a bit of time and effort. This recipe is no exception. BUT, like it and so many other stuffed recipes, it is well, well, worth it. Behold….stuffed cabbage rolls.

lola-rugula-german-style-cabbage-roll-recipe

My paternal grandma used to make stuffed cabbage rolls and it’s taken me quite a while to nail down the same amazing rolls. The secret to these is the tomato sauce, which is made with brown sugar and white vinegar, which gives them a sweet and sour appeal. I’ve seen them called German-style, although there’s a whole other German-style cabbage roll made with brown gravy. Whatever their origin, I’m just glad that I finally figured these out. I like to make them in a big batch, which can easily be reheated or frozen, depending on your preference.

lola-rugula-how-to-make-stuffed-cabbage-rolls

stuffed cabbage rolls recipe

This recipe makes about 2 dozen rolls

rice
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1   cup rice

In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add rice, stir well, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, while you prepare everything else.

cabbage
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, whole but with the core carefully removed. I use a sharp knife to cut carefully around the core to remove it.

Fill a large stockpot halfway with water. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Add cabbage, cored-side down, and cover. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the whole cabbage to a colander to drain and cool.

tomato sauce
  • 3 cups pureed tomatoes, with their juice (canned or fresh)
  • 1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 4 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a good simmer, uncovered,  and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the stuffing.

stuffing
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Over medium heat, melt butter in a large skillet or stockpot. Add onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Increase heat to medium-high and add pork. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring just a couple of times. Add beef and cook just until both are cooked through, about 10 more minutes. Remove from heat. Add beaten eggs and rice and mix well.  Set aside while you prepare the cabbage leaves.

Carefully peel off each cabbage leaf, keeping them as intact as possible. Some of them may tear just a bit, but that’s okay – they will all come together when you roll them. You may need to slice each leaf at the thick rib near the core to remove them. Remove at least 2 dozen leaves and then chop up the rest of the cabbage.

In two 13 x 9 baking dishes, drop a tablespoon or so of tomato sauce in the bottom of each dish and swirl it around.  Add chopped cabbage.This gives you a base layer of tomato sauce to put your rolls on and helps keep the cabbage from browning too much.

Preparing the cabbage rolls

Take a cabbage leaf and fill with a couple of healthy tablespoons of stuffing mix. Fold in edges and roll as tightly as possible without tearing the leaves. Place prepared roll, seam-side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining leaves and stuffing.

Cover baking dishes with lids or foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for an hour. Remove covers and bake for 10 more minutes.

lola-rugula-how-to-make-stuffed-cabbage-rolls-recipe

Voila! Yes, these are a bit of work but they’re seriously worth it.

I like to make mine with a combination of beef and pork for 2 reasons – one is that I like the mix of flavors and two that it makes this dish a little lighter and healthier. If you prefer beef over pork or vice versa, feel free to add what you prefer.

I’m not a fan of all the added sugar that pervades our food these days but it’s definitely key, along with the vinegar, in this recipe. The sweet and sour aspect of the sauce is what makes these flavorful and unique.

I hope if you catch any missed steps or not-clear points, you’ll let me know. These aren’t nearly as complicated as they sound, really just time-consuming.

Oh, and if you like stuffing things, here’s my steamed dumpling recipe, here’s my homemade classic ravioli recipe, and here’s my mushroom ravioli recipe.

Never, ever be afraid to play with your food! Enjoy!

lola rugula asparagus and scallion frittata recipe

asian style steak and veggie rolls

I had steak and vegetable rolls similar to this many moons ago and finally decided to make them myself. The steak is sliced thin, pounded thinner, then marinated and stuffed with barely-cooked veggies that add a flavorful, nutritional punch. These work as an appetizer or a meal and all of the work is in the prep. They’re a little time-consuming to put together but once there, these cook in under 5 minutes.

You don’t want to skimp out on the meat for these – I use Black Angus Sirloin and it’s worth it, even if it makes these more of a “special occasion” treat than an every day treat. These 2 steaks were 1 inch,  3/4 of a pound and well-marbled.

lola_asian_steak_and_veggie_rolls_recipe_1

Beef (and veggies!)…It’s what’s for dinner.

The steaks here have been trimmed of excess fat and frozen for 40 minutes, making them ready for easy and consistent slicing. When I slice them, I slice the steak on the diagonal at an angle.

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The steaks are the easy part of this. The vegetables require a bit more effort.

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Julienne the veggies into about 2-3 inch long strips.  I don’t get overly worked up about the length, as long as they’re approximate. Lifes’ too short to go crazy over julienned veggies. Besides, I like them to look a little crazy sticking out of my rolls. 🙂

The best way to prepare these – at least for me – is to get the meat sliced and marinating and the veggies cleaned and cut the day before making them. This way, everything is ready to go and throwing them together and cooking them takes me less than 30 minutes.

Are you ready to put together some awesome steak and veggie rolls? Okay…let’s do this thing.

lola_asian_steak_and_veggie_rolls_recipe_5

asian-style steak and vegetable rolls recipe

Marinade

For the marinade, I use my basic marinade recipe, with a few additions, to add some Asian flair.

  • 1/2 cup oil – I typically use olive oil (+ 2 tablespoons for cooking rolls)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (+ 1-2 tablespoons for cooking rolls)
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
Prepare the Beef:
  • 2 sirloin steaks, about 1 inch thick and 3/4 pounds each, frozen for 40 minutes and sliced thinly on the diagonal (see photo above)
  • When steaks are sliced, pound them on both sides until thin
  • Place beef slices in a shallow dish and cover with marinade. Cover dish and marinate for anywhere from 4 to 12 hours.
Prepare the Veggies:
  • 8 asparagus spears, julienned
  • 8 scallions, whites and greens, julienned
  • 8 small sweet peppers, julienned
  • 10 baby carrots, julienned

Quantities are approximate and attributed to what I actually had on hand when recording it for this post. Obviously, if you’re using regular bell peppers, it will only take 1 or 2, the same with regular size carrots. For the record, I also added some fresh pea tendrils to some of this batch, but hey…I like to play with my food.

To Make the rolls:
  • Meat
  • Veggies
  • Toothpicks
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Remove the beef slices from the marinade and blot well well with paper towels. Set aside.

In a heavy pan or grill pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and some minced garlic over medium-high heat. Add julienned vegetables, keeping them in groups, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. I prefer my peppers and carrots cooked a minute or so longer and my onions cooked about a minute less…adjust to your preference. Set aside.

Place a few pieces of each veggie on the end of a slice of beef and roll, securing with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining beef slices and vegetables. Now we’re going to cook our rolls.

Heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and saute 1/2 batch of rolls for about 2 minutes on each side. Repeat with 2nd batch. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

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This made about 35 rolls for me, There are so many veggies that will work in these – you should use whatever you have on hand and truly love. Broccoli or broccolini, mushrooms (especially shiitake or enoki), baby leeks, kohlrabi, cabbage, greens, and even eggplant will all work. Think of the veggies you love and put them to work here. Fresh cilantro or parsley…Yes! Add them. Greens, such as kale, pea tendrils or arugula (my favorite!) – please add them.

I’d love to hear your variations on these – I’ve had a lot of fun playing with different variations.

Do you play with your food? I hope so. Enjoy!

lola rugula asparagus and scallion frittata recipe

the ultimate basic marinade

This is a marinade that has served me well time and time again. It’s great on beef, pork, salmon, tuna, and even lamb chops. It’s a great starter marinade recipe, which you can customize to your tastes or recipe if desired.

lola_rugula_perfect_easy_marinade_for_beef_portk_lamb_salmon

  • 1/2 cup oil – I typically use olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Marinating time depends on your cut of protein – salmon and tuna only need an hour at most, whereas lamb, pork and beef can be marinated for just a couple or hours or overnight. The longer the marinade, the stronger the flavor.

The beauty of this marinade is that you can make a ton of customizations to it. Want to go more Asian? Add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of minced ginger and a teaspoon of sesame oil. If you have sesame seeds, add a teaspoon of those, too. A teaspoon of miso paste works great in this, too (although you’ll want to omit the salt if you add miso)

Don’t have soy sauce? Substitute Worcestershire sauce.

Don’t have balsamic vinegar? Try red wine. rice or white balsamic vinegar, for a lighter flavor.

Want to kick the heat up a bit? Add a bit of sriracha, crushed red pepper flakes or hot chile paste to taste.

Got some fresh limes, lemons or oranges? Add a tablespoon of fresh citrus juice to really brighten this up.

Want fresh herbs? Add parsley, cilantro, rosemary….use your imagination.

I’ve used the basis of this marinade in a lot of recipes. It’s particularly good on flank and skirt steak, salmon, chicken breasts and thighs, and lamb chops. It even works great on veggies, especially on the grill.

If you’re looking for an easy marinade recipe that you can customize and call your own, this is it. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Remember what I always say: never, ever be afraid to play with your food.

Happy Sunday, everyone! Enjoy.