You know how you get that feeling when you look at a recipe and see a long list of ingredients and it makes you want to give up before you even start? It’s like you either have to make a trip to the store or fear your recipe will turn out all wrong if you don’t use every single ingredient listed. And who wants to run to the store to buy 5 random ingredients you might never need again? When you realize you are missing that one ingredient it’s enough to make to want to quit your attempt at cooking right there. The real question is how critical are these players? Does the success of my meal depend on all the parts? The answer depends. There are numerous substitutions you can use if you have them available. But the occasional omission of an herb or spice might go unnoticed. I suppose it really depends if you are trying to make a memorable impression with your meal or its more important to get a decent meal on the table.
Here’s a scenario I ran into last night. I had some grass-fed ground beef I wanted to make meatballs out of but I didn’t have the ingredients I wanted to make meatballs (eggs, onions, sun-dried tomatoes or fresh parsley). So WWDD? (what would a dietitian do?) I need to add some flavor, bulk and moisture. I had some arugula that could sub for the parsley and then I thought of using salsa to substitute for the onions and tomatoes. Hey, it’s either that or a frozen salmon burger for dinner. And with that decision the Salsa Meatball was born!
The simplest of recipes can still taste delicious.
Start with 1 pound of grass-fed ground beef. I also added 1 tablespoon of onion powder to it for flavor.
Then I chopped up a large handful of arugula. I’m sure you could substitute baby spinach or other green. This is mostly for color appeal and bulk in my opinion. I also added about a half a cup of salsa. And it doesn’t really matter what order you add the ingredients. They’re meatballs and it all gets mixed together equally.
After rolling up all the meatballs I transferred them into a cast iron skillet filled with a few tablespoons of hot coconut oil.
It took several minutes to cook these through, rotating them to brown evenly on all sides. If you want an easier method where you don’t have to stand at a pan sizzling with oil, you can bake these for 35 minutes in the oven at 375. This should also reduce the calories significantly to skip the oil.
Make it vegan! Use hamburger flavor Gimme Lean tube as a substitute.
When have you been creative in the kitchen? Leave a Reply below of an example when you had to tweak a recipe based on what you had on hand. Did you discover a new recipe?