meatballs video screenshot

Marie & Daphne In The Kitchen

Daphne and I whipped up some of my basic meatballs for dinner the other night on Facebook Live.  This is one of those dishes I can make with my eyes closed!  It’s easy, healthy and tasty – what more could you want?!?

I served it over rice with a side salad, but you could also put these in a traditional tomato sauce over pasta.  For the complete recipe grab a copy of my cookbook on Amazon. In The Family Plate cookbook you’ll also find my tomato sauce recipe and a variation – Middle Eastern Meatballs!

Meatballs are super kid-friendly and very quick to put together for a weeknight meal, plus they make great leftovers! How do you make your meatballs?

In the video I also discuss ways to make your meatballs gluten and dairy-free without losing flavor! Enjoy!



Savory Vegetable Soup

January 28, 2015


Savory Vegetable Soup

What could be better than a hot bowl of soup on a chilly day?  I started making vegetable soups as an “appetizer” before our family dinner each night, because they are so filling and help you eat less at dinner.  Plus, in the cold months (of which we have many in New York) soup is so comforting.  Having a vegetable soup also helps you get more vegetables into your diet, and is a great way to introduce more vegetables into the diets of the picky-eater.  It’s loaded with flavor and also very healthy – a perfect combination!

This soup smells wonderful cooking on the stove top and is a “one-pot wonder” so clean up is a breeze.  To prep the vegetables (except the celery and onion) I suggest using a box grater to obtain a fine texture.  The celery and onionI just finely chop because I’ve noticed it doesn’t grate well.  You’re hard work grating will be rewarded, since you can easily freeze half of this soup and still have plenty to eat.  I like to freeze soups and sauces in reusable Chinese food soup containers.  I hoard them whenever we order Chinese food because they are very sturdy and don’t crack when you freeze them.  Plus, I’m reusing them and keeping them out of the landfill, so I feel good about that.

In my recipe I use chicken stock and chicken consommé, but you can easily make this Vegan/Vegetarian but swapping the chicken stock for vegetable stock and swapping the consommé for ½ cup more of vegetable flakes.

Savory Vegetable Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 70 minutes

Yields: 8 servings, 1 cup each


3 cloves of garlic, finely minced or put through a garlic press

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, grated

1 large zucchini, grated

2 carrots, grated

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

3-5 sprigs of dill, stems removed and minced

¼ cup vegetable flakes

2 tablespoons Osem consomme, or chicken bouillon

8 cups of water

2 cups chicken stock

2 tsp salt

Pinch of pepper, to taste


In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in oliveoil.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt to soften.  Let sauté for 1 minute.  Then, add carrots, and celery and let sauté another 2 minutes.  Add zucchini, continue to let sauté.  Add remaining 1 tsp of salt.  Add pepper and dill.  Once vegetables become fragrant, add chicken stock, water, consomme and vegetable flakes.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer for 45-60 minutes.

Kale Soup for the Soul

January 23, 2014

We’ve all heard that kale has many virtues.  I am constantly trying to find ways to get it in my diet whether it be through juicing or cooking. Kale has Vitamin K, C & A as well as calcium and potassium. It has 10x more Vitamin C than spinach! The benefits of eating kale include weight loss, lowers cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer.  No brainer, right?  Unfortunately, kale can sometimes be a pain to prepare for cooking.  You have to remove the ribs from the kale and it can be very tough when you cook it.  Once I found the frozen kale in the freezer section I knew it would be easy to create a soup around it!  Frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh –sometimes better- and last much longer.  I always keep a variety of frozen veggies on hand so I can whip up side dishes on a busy weeknight.  Click here for the recipe!


Gettin’ Fishy With It

September 25, 2013

Want to incorporate more fish into your diet but not sure how to prepare it?

Try this Easy Fish recipe:


1 piece of fish

1 piece of foil

drizzle of olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

Pinch of oregano


Fish Foils ready for the oven


  1. Fold foil into a pocket so no air escapes.
  2. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  3. Fish is done when it is firm to the touch and opaque in the center.

Works great for tilapia or salmon! Or really any fish you like.


Yummy Fish Fresh Outta the Oven

Summer lovin’

September 3, 2013

Well, summer’s over.  So long Summer ’13.  Hell,o Fall.  It’s still a tough transition, even after being out of school for *gasp* 10 years!

I always say, when all else fails, cook something! A homemade dish on the stove top brings me so much joy to prepare and to eat.  I love knowing I can find ingredients in the kitchen and whip something up that’s healthy and delicious for my family.  It’s so much more satisfying than ordering from Seamlessweb or dialing up Chinese food.  Because I made it, I know what’s in it (and what’s not in it – added sugar, fat and salt) and I love to try new things in the kitchen, to find new combinations of delicious ingredients.  It’s like the first time I tried mustard on a tuna fish salad sandwich – my whole world was turned upside down!  How are these ingredients such a delight together? I never would have known!

Well since its officially September, I think it’s “Time to make the chili”! I usually refrain from chili during the summer, although it is a favorite of my 2 year old. Chili just conjures up thoughts of cold nights usually for me. But when I think about the ingredients (turkey chili, salsa, and black beans) they seem light enough for warmer weather, especially now that it is September. Though today it was so hot, that I was longing for the fall weather we had at the end of July. Where is the crisp fall air? because this humidity is killing me and giving me a ‘fro simultaneously.  Not pretty.

For this impromptu chili,  I’m using this chili seasoning that my dad bought me.

Mel's Drive In Chili Seasoning

Mel’s Drive In Chili Seasoning


I’ve never used it before, but it smells great while its cooking on the stove! I also added a secret ingredient to this batch of chili- red wine!  Just a few splashes while the turkey was cooking and it gave it a really nice complexity of flavor.  Even boring old chili can take on a new life with the addition of a new ingredient. One of my issues with making turkey chili in the past is that you sacrifice flavor for the lower fat content. I think the red wine gave this turkey chili back it’s flavor! This is one my husband will like for sure.  I’m serving it on top of brown rice and with a salad on the side.  Looking forward to digging in tonight!

Turkey Chili, with black beans and salsa simmering away

Turkey Chili, with black beans and salsa simmering away


Put this in the Pantry

August 27, 2013

I’ve recently rediscovered how wonderful an egg can be!  Eggs are a complete protein and are a very affordable source of protein.  Plus, chickens can lay eggs and still live long healthy lives.  We have chickens living in the Urban Meadow down the block from where I live.  The chickens are in a coop and are part of the garden’s landscape.  It makes us feel like we have a little piece of farm life right here in Brooklyn!

Dylan checking out the chickens in the Urban Meadow

Dylan checking out the chickens in the Urban Meadow

The chickens spend their days laying a few eggs, getting to see loads of happy families and children and enjoying a lovely life!  So, if animal cruelty is on your mind, you can eat eggs without worry.  Now, the caveat to that is, that it’s really best to aim for Organic eggs, because those chickens are raised humanely.  Organic eggs are the gold standard, but eggs labelled “cage-free” are second best.  Some brands are organic AND cage-free, but you need to read the packaging carefully. Eggs that aren’t organic or cage-free or usually factory farmed and kept in cages from birth to death.  Something to think about.

One dozen organic eggs is currently $4.39 on Fresh Direct.  That’s only 37 cents per egg!  I think almost all of us can afford that.  Find me a snack that’s cheaper and tastier – I dare you! Think about taking just 37 cents into the corner store or bodega.  What on earth would you get for 37 cents? 1 piece of gum?

The easiest and most fool-proof egg is the hard-boiled egg, and the reason I know this is because I formerly had AWFUL luck cooking eggs.  When I first started cooking, back in 2001 while living in London, I ruined an entire batch of eggs just trying to make some over-easy.  So I had to regroup and start from scratch.  Hard-boiling an egg only requires, water, eggs and a saucepan with a cover.  If you can boil water for pasta, you can make a hard-boiled egg.

Here’s my recipe for the easiest hard-boiled egg.

Eat these as a snack with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, or use a few and make an egg salad. Two hard boiled eggs also makes a great breakfast you can take on the go.  I usually make these on the weekend and peel them, so they are in the fridge are ready to eat all week long.

Now, some clients have asked me about eating the yolks.  My preference is to eat the entire egg with the yolk because that makes it a complete protein.  If you are trying to cut calories, you can eat only the egg white, but I hate to waste the yolk so I always eat it.  Of course, you should use your discretion.

If anyone has a great egg salad recipe, please send it along – always looking for new ways to make it!




Go Somewhere New

July 2, 2013

I made this deliciousness Monday night.


Wild Mushroom Frittata – for dinner!

I have been lessening my dependence on meat the past few months mostly because I recognize the impact it has on the environment. Not to mention our own personal health. I’ve been buying organic meat as much as possible because I know that every dollar I spend on organic is a vote for a different food industry than the one we have today. So as part of that movement I try to eat meat only once per day and not every day. For this week’s Meatless Monday I wanted to do something I could serve to my whole family. I started poking around online for a frittata recipe because they are easy to make and something new for my family. And I knew my husband wouldn’t object to it! (Kale with beans for dinner might not have gone over so well!)

I found a recipe for Wild Mushroom Frittata that seemed hearty and easy to prepare.


I served it with a huge salad and we loved it. The leftovers were great for lunch today as well.

I used organic eggs, milk and an assortment of shiitake and baby Bella mushrooms. Using high quality ingredients really makes a difference in the overall taste. It made this dish mouth-watering instead of just some dry eggs for dinner.

Click here for the recipe.

What do you make for Meatless Monday? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter!

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