About Johanna

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Chicago/Aurora, IL, United States
I am just like so many busy moms out there. I want to create great meals for me and my family where the food brings us together at the end of a long and hectic day. I want to empower moms to feel like they are able to make Great Everyday Meals by using simple, accessible, and inexpensive ingredients and basic cooking techniques. It’s more about family and less about slaving away in the kitchen cooking. I have been a restaurant industry professional for about 10 years and have a great passion for cooking. I will share tips, recipes and techniques that I have learned to arm everyday cooks with the foundation to simple yet great tasting cooking! Johanna M. Cook

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Masala Meatballs w/ Couscous & Green Peas

Reality check: It's midweek, you're rushing home from work thinking about the pile of laundry waiting to be washed, your living room looks like a daycare center, your child has a big project due and yes, you still have to cook dinner!!! As much as I possibly can, I make all the ingredients in my dishes from scratch. However, I am NOT ASHAMED to get help from premade items to help me get through meals for the week. Actually, it's been quite helpful to get some premade items from the grocery store, to help me create a better menu for my family's meals. In this Indian inspired dish, I used Italian frozen meatballs. Why Italian style meatballs for an Indian dish, you say? Because it has lots of herbs already in it, and Indian dishes is always flavored with tons of spices and herbs. And frankly, it helps but lot of flavor into this dish and makes it taste like I've been making dinner for hours. As for the spices, I went into my local international grocery (every city and town has one), and went into the Indian isle to find a pre-blended spice mix. This was a masala curry mix. This is very helpful as it is a perfect blend of so many spices like coriander, curry, garam masala, paprika, chili powder and so many others that one may not readily have available.

Masala Meatballs

1 lb. of frozen Italian meatballs
1 bell pepper (any color) - cut into strips
1 medium zucchini - cut into circles
1 medium Spanish onion - cut into strips
2 roma tomatoes - diced
2 chopped gloves of garlic
2 cups of water or chicken stock
2 TBL of masala spice mix
2-3 TBL of vegetable oil

Couscous & Green Peas

2 cups of couscous
3 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of frozen peas

In a large saute pan, heat the oil in medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs. Add the garlic, onions and tomatoes until onion turn translucent. Add the bell peppers and zucchini. Add the spice mix and gently coat all the meatballs and vegetables.. Add the chicken stock and simmer for about 5-8 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Boil the chicken stock in a meduim pot. Add the couscous and peas, a pinch of salt and cover. Turn the heat off. After 5 minutes, check to see that all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

Serve the meatballs on a bed of couscous.

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