There isn’t much Italian in my veins, more Irish, German and French than anything else, but somehow I learned how to cook amazing meatballs. My family has cooked standard Italian fare since I was a kid, and we know our way around lasagna, spaghetti, homemade pizza and eggplant Parmesan. This recipe was born more out of an overabundance of eggplant and cabbage than a taste for rustic Italian spices, but the flavors meld wonderfully in each bite.


Eggplant Salad



2 tablespoons olive oil
1 head coarsely chopped green cabbage
1 large eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large chopped onion
1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon white pepper

Heat oil in heavy large pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, eggplant, onion and mushrooms. Sauté until tender and reduced. Add garlic, paprika, tomatoes with juices and water. Bring to boil. Cook until mixture thickens slightly and is reduced, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add parsley and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.



Italian Meatballs



1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground Italian pork sausage.
4 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 large eggs
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
4 teaspoons garlic powder
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons dried parsley
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 jars tomato sauce (Vodka tomato sauce works really well)
1 jar regular tomato sauce

Mix everything together, and form into golf ball size meatballs, or smaller if you prefer. Pour spaghetti sauce into and pan and set meatballs into the sauce, bringing to a boil, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally, gently, so meatballs don’t stick and crumble in the pot.

Serve hot on Italian flat bread or with pita bread and feta cheese!