I had intended to talk about the Weight Watchers program this week but due to a death in the family, I didn't have time to do the research. I hope to have that no later than next week. Instead, I want to encourage those of you who have never cooked much or who feel your skills in the kitchen need improvement to take some cooking classes. Cooking classes can be fun, even if you don't know anyone else in the class. I took Italian cooking classes and not only did I have fun, I still use those recipes over 20 years later. Taste of Home and Southern Living magazines do traveling cooking demostrations but those venues are too large to get much benefit. Take a smaller class where you may even get to do some hands on work.
Here in Jonesboro, Lindley Williams of Meals For Moms is offering cooking classes on January 21 and 28, and February 4 and 11. She promises each dish is easy and quick and is featuring fish, shrimp, ham and pork tenderloin dishes. Her phone number is 870-934-8881. Lindley also cooks meals each week that you can pick up and reheat at home. Her menu varies each week. This is a nice solution for those nights when you have no time to cook but still want a nice, home cooked meal.
I'm going to share two more recipes from my Italian cooking class. The meatballs are very easy and if you prepare extra and freeze them like I often do, you have another meal. You can add the meatballs to the sauce recipe I'm sharing, or, heavens forbid, to a store bought sauce. You can also use leftover meatballs and sauce to make meatballs sandwiches like I am tonight. Sunday I made a double batch of sauce and the meatballs. Seven people ate that night and as I said, the leftovers will make sandwiches for 4 tonight. I froze twelve meatballs to make swedish meatballs another day. Cook once and get three meals.
Meatballs from Sandy Formica's class
2 lbs lean hamburger or ground turkey
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 slices stale bread, soaked in water (squeeze out excess before mixing)
2 tsp. salt or to taste
1 tsp. pepper or to taste
1/2 to 1 tsp. garlic powder
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients; it is easier to do with your hands. With a spoon, scoop out golf balls sized amounts and roll into a ball shape in your hands. Place meatballs in simmering sauce and cook 20 to 30 minutes. Or, heat oven to 375, place meatballs on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 2o to 30 minutes till lightly browned. Then add to sauce or freeze. This recipe can be easily cut in half too for smaller portions.
Forty-Five Minute Meat Sauce
2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 green pepper, cut into small pieces
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. ground meat (leave out if making meatballs)
Saute onion, green pepper and mushrooms in olive oil 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from pot and brown meat if not using meatballs. Drain and rinse meat and return to pot. Add the vegetable mixture and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add meatballs before simmering. Serve with your favorite pasta.
You will never want Ragu again if you try this recipe. It really isn't hard and doesn't take that much time. If you've tried some of my recipes, let me know how they turned out. Remember, we all have our share of cooking disasters, so don't be afraid to try (and try again).