Sheet Pan Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Harissa Chickpeas & Tomatoes

We have such a big adjustment- to life!- at the beginning of the school year. I feel like we’re always pressed for time… especially when it comes to preparing a family dinner. I have a few weeknight meals that I’d like to share that have helped us during crunch time. 🙂

This delicious sheet pan dinner was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used ground turkey instead of ground chicken and halved the harissa to decrease the level of spiciness. We ate it with crusty bread. Spicy and Great!!

Yield: 4 Servings
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons jarred harissa paste, divided ( I used Trader Joe’s Harissa)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup panko
  • 6 ounces feta in brine plus ¼ cup brine, cheese crumbled, divided (I used sheep’s milk feta)
  • ⅔ cup chopped parsley, divided
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 pint mixed cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if large
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • crusty bread, for serving, optional
  1. Place a rack in top of oven; preheat to 400°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Taste your harissa. If it’s extremely spicy, cut quantities used in recipe in half (…which I did!).
  3. Using a fork, stir 1 egg, ½ cup panko, ¼ cup feta brine, half of crumbled feta, half of parsley, 2 T (or 4 T if not halved) harissa, and 2 T oil in a large bowl until egg is blended and mixture looks homogenous.
  4. Finely grate or push 2 garlic cloves through a garlic press into bowl, then add 1 teaspoon salt and several cranks of black pepper. Be pretty generous here; 10 cranks wouldn’t be too much! Stir again with a fork.
  5. Add ground meat to garlic and work with clean hands until the meat is totally intermingled with panko mixture. Work it enough so that you don’t see big distinct pieces of meat, but then stop. Overworking could lead to crumbly meatballs. The mixture will feel very soft and wet and look a bit shiny.
  6. Pour tomatoes and chickpeas into the center of a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 2 T oil and remaining 1 T (or 2 T if not halved) harissa. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Using clean hands or a small spatula, toss everything together right on sheet until chickpeas and tomatoes are evenly coated.
  7. Next you’re going to form the meatballs, but don’t wash your hands if you used them—the coating of oil will prevent them from sticking to your palms. Roll ground meat mixture gently and loosely between your palms into about 14 to 16 golf ball-sized balls (it’s okay if the balls aren’t perfectly round; just try to make them about the same size). (I used a large cookie scoop and kept my hands clean.) Place on baking sheet, tucking them in and around chickpeas and tomatoes and spacing evenly apart.
  8. Bake meatballs on top rack until about halfway cooked through, 12–15 minutes. Remove from oven and take a look. The tomatoes should be starting to soften and burst, and the meatballs should look opaque and feel a bit springy to the touch. If not, bake a few minutes longer.
  9. Meanwhile, combine remaining 3 oz. feta, ⅓ cup parsley, and 2 T oil in a small bowl, then grate or use a garlic press to add in the remaining garlic clove. Toss with fork to distribute. Turn on broiler (to high if your broiler has settings).
  10. Place baking sheet back on top rack if your broiler is on the top of your oven. Broil meatballs, rotating tray once or twice if they’re browning unevenly, until browned and fully cooked through, some tomatoes are lightly charred, and some chickpeas are crisp, 8–10 minutes.
  11. Let sit a few minutes, then sprinkle feta mixture over meatballs.

Note: Meatballs can be formed on baking sheet 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

I’m bringing my dish to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #190, co-hosted by Shinta @Carmel Tinted Life and Diann @Of Goats and Greens. Enjoy!

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Greek Pie with Mixed Greens

I love all of the greens that I receive in my CSA share. Mixing different greens in the filling of this adaptation of Greek spinach pie, Spanakopita, made it incredibly flavorful.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman. I used one-half pound of spinach in addition to approximately one pound of mixed CSA greens including red chard, beet greens, and kohlrabi greens in the filling. I sautéed the greens instead of boiling them as well. I doubled garlic and the onions, and used one yellow onion and one red onion.

Years ago, I made a “low-fat” savory pie with a phyllo pastry crust. The reduced-fat technique was using cooking oil spray between the layers of pastry instead of brushing them with butter or oil. I love it! I used this method when making this pie as well. Great.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, or mixed greens, stemmed and washed thoroughly
  • coarse salt
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, preferably a combination of dill and parsley
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 12 sheets phyllo pastry, thawed
  • cooking oil spray or 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or 2 tablespoons each melted butter and extra-virgin olive oil, combined, for brushing/spraying the phyllo pastry

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  1. Stem and slice the greens into ribbons, about 2-inches wide for more tender greens, and 1/2-inch wide for heartier greens. Wash them in 2 changes of water, lifting them from the water so that the dirt stays behind.
  2. Thinly slice the chard stems and soak in a bowl of water. Lift from the water like the greens.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF, preferably on convection. Oil or butter a 10-inch tart or cake pan (I used cooking spray and a 9-inch ceramic deep pie dish).
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions and rinsed chard stems. Cook, stirring often, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds to a minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
  6. Stir in the damp greens. Sauté until wilted, season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the herbs and adjust the seasoning. Remove from heat.
  8. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Crumble in the feta.
  9. Add egg-cheese mixture to the greens, mix to combine.
  10. Line the pie dish with 7 pieces of phyllo, spraying between each layer with cooking oil spray or lightly brushing each piece with butter or oil and turning the dish after each addition so that the edges of the phyllo drape evenly over the pan.
  11. Using a slotted spoon, fill with the greens mixture. IMG_4913
  12. Fold the draped edges in over the filling, lightly brushing the folded in sheets of phyllo, then layer the remaining 5 pieces on top, brushing each piece with cooking spray, butter or olive oil.
  13. Trim the edges and then stuff into the sides of the pan. Make a few slashes in the top crust so that steam can escape as the pie bakes. 
  14. Bake 40 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust is golden. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature. 

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Watermelon Salads

My kids and I love summer watermelon. We usually just chomp on slices of it at the beach, but I recently incorporated it into two refreshing summer side salads.

The first was an adaptation of the classic Middle Eastern Tabouli Salad substituting watermelon for tomatoes. What a great idea! 🙂 The second was another classic Middle Eastern way of serving watermelon- with feta and basil. I made it for a party and was unable to capture it in a photo. You can (will have to!) imagine how pretty it looked. I had been unaware of how wonderful watermelon pairs with feta cheese- so simple and tasty.

The tabbouleh recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living and the watermelon-feta salad recipe was adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi. Fresh, seasonal and delicious.

Tabbouleh with Watermelon

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup bulgur wheat (I used coarse red bulgur)
  • 1 1/2 to 3+ cups peeled and coarsely chopped watermelon
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces soft goat or feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Bring water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in bulgur, and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and let stand, uncovered, until cooled, 15 to 30 minutes. (I spread the cooked bulgur out on a rimmed baking sheet to speed the cooling process.)
  2. Transfer bulgur to a bowl, and toss with watermelon, parsley, scallions, oil, lemon zest and juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  3. Gently fold in cheese. Serve.

Watermelon, Basil & Feta Salad

Yield: Serves 4

  • 10 oz block feta (preferable sheep’s milk)
  • 4 to 5 cups of large-dice watermelon cubes
  • 3/4 cups basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Slice the feta into large but thin pieces, or just break it by hand into rough chunks.
  2. Arrange all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil, on a platter or bowl, mixing them up a little.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the top and serve immediately.

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Mexican Street Corn Crostini

I was also able to celebrate my birthday on my special Charleston trip. 🙂 Although I enjoyed a lot of wonderful Southern food while I was there, my friends and I also went to Sean Brock’s Minero’s Restaurant for a Mexican birthday lunch. It was SO good.

Along with our various tacos, we had bowls of Mexican street corn which were absolutely delicious. I do plan on re-creating that dish, but for now these grilled corn crostini were another terrific variation. I made these as a Fourth of July appetizer. Unlike other crostini that have to be prepared at the last-minute, these are perfect to bring to a party or potluck because the topping can be placed on the ciabatta in advance.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. I toasted the ciabatta until it was nicely browned and increased the garlic on the toasted bread. Great!

Yield: Makes 12 crostini

  • 2 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 slices of ciabatta bread (I used most of a 1 lb. loaf, cut into 12 1/2-inch thick slices)
  • 2 garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup crema mexicana or sour cream
  • 3 T crumbled feta
  • lime wedge
  • cilantro leaves
  • chili powder
  1. Rub corn with vegetable oil. Season corn with salt and freshly ground black pepper; grill until slightly charred and tender.
  2. Slice corn off the cob in wide strips. (I grilled 3 ears just to ensure that I would have enough wide strips.)
  3. Grill or toast the bread slices until uniformly browned. While still warm, rub the top of each slice with garlic.
  4. Mix crema mexicana or sour cream with feta.
  5. Smear toasts with crema mixture. Top crema with grilled corn.
  6. Squeeze a lime wedge over each.
  7. Garnish with cilantro leaves and sprinkle with chili powder.

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Ottolenghi’s Tomato & Pomegranate Salad

This salad was fresh, bright, colorful, and loaded with flavor. I loved the crunch from the pomegranate seeds too. We ate it as part of our Middle Eastern feast along with grilled chicken thighs, Hummus, Baked Rice, Deconstructed Baba Ghanouj, and warm naan. Delicious!

This recipe was adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi via The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I made my own za’atar spice blend and omitted the mint. It would be a lovely side with any grilled meat. Perfect for a picnic too.

I’m bringing this dish to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #127 co-hosted by my friends Suzanne @A Pug in the Kitchen and Jess @ Cooking is my Sport. Enjoy!

For the Za’atar:

  • 1 T thyme
  • 1 T sesame seeds, toasted in a dry skillet and coarsely pulsed in a spice grinder
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt

For the Salad:

  • 2 pints mixed small or cherry tomatoes, of varying colors
  • 2 teaspoons za’atar (see above)
  • 3 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate (I used a 5.3 oz package of pomegranate seeds)
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and very thinly sliced
  • ½ small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • ⅓ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chiffonade (I omitted the mint)
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 of a lemon)
  • flaky sea salt such as Fleur de Sel
  • 3 ½ ounces manouri or feta cheese, broken into small chunks
  1. Make the Za’atar: Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until lightly toasted. Pulse in a spice grinder until a powder is formed. Combine with sumac, thyme, and coarse salt. Set aside.
  2. Halve or quarter the tomatoes so that they are all roughly the same size, and place them in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix two teaspoons of the za’atar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and set aside.
  4. To the bowl with tomatoes, add the pomegranate seeds, sliced pepper and onion, the herbs, lemon juice, cheese, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Gently mix the salad, then transfer it to a large shallow bowl or serving platter. Drizzle the za’atar mixture over the salad and serve.

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Chorizo-Potato Tacos

These tacos were so simple to prepare, I was a little bit skeptical that they would be good. But- once again– Rick Bayless didn’t let me down! (I am such a fan.) He said that chorizo is the Mexican version of bacon- it just makes everything better. In this case, a little bit went a long way. I seriously couldn’t believe how delicious they were!

This recipe was adapted from RickBayless.com. I used one pound of baby gold potatoes, jarred Frontera Jalapeño Cilantro salsa, and added feta cheese to the toppings. We ate them with sautéed greens, refried beans, and Basmati rice. Quick and fabulous!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 pound (16 oz) baby gold potatoes (or other boiling potatoes), unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 12 oz fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed, about 1 link
  • 1 large white onion, cut into small pieces
  • coarse salt
  • 12 warm corn tortillas
  • 3/4 cup Frontera Roasted Tomatillo Salsa or Jalapeño Cilantro Salsa, or to taste
  • 1 avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and sliced
  • feta cheese, to taste, for serving
  • chopped cilantro, to taste, for serving

  1. Scoop the potato into a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top and microwave on high for 3 minutes. (I used my new “steam ship” silicone lid which releases the steam in the microwave!)
  2. Lay the chorizo and onion in a very large (12-inch) skillet (preferably non-stick) and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking up clumps, until the fat renders, the sausage looks cooked, and the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.
  3. Scoop the potatoes, leaving the steaming liquid behind, into the skillet and continue cooking until the potatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. If the potatoes begin browning long before they’re soft, reduce the temperature a little.
  4. Taste and season with salt if you think the mixture needs it—some chorizo is so highly seasoned, little additional salt will be needed.
  5. Cover the tortillas with a damp paper towel and warm tortillas in a tortilla warmer (or on a plate tightly wrapped in plastic wrap) in the microwave for 1 minute.
  6. To serve, scoop the mixture into a deep bowl. Set out with the feta cheese, cilantro, salsa, avocado and warm tortillas.

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Greek-Inspired Zucchini Salad

This is a quick and tasty summer side dish. Just when you thought there was nothing new to make with all of your zucchini! 😉

The raw zucchini paired well with the bright dill and lemon as well as the salty feta. We ate it as a side dish with Panko-Crusted Mustard Salmon. Nice. This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living. I increased the amount of fresh lemon juice and dill.

  • 1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (3 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons small dill sprigs
  • thin strips lemon zest, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Toss together zucchini, cheese, oil, dill, and lemon juice.
  2. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with lemon zest. Serve.

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