Lazy Meatball Shakshuka

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

It feels like shakshuka is just all over the blogosphere these days.

Luckily for me, shakshuka is something that actually fits into my diet. Yes, I’m a food blogger on a diet. How about that?

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

I guess I should tell you about this diet. It’s called the Dukan Diet — well, my own rendition of it, anyway. The main idea is that you stick to a high-protein diet interspersed with vegetables. It’s pretty amazing. I don’t crave sweets very much anymore, and carbs, well, they will be missed, but I do love protein and veggies.

I say the diet is my own “rendition” because there are two food groups that I simply cannot give up: cheese and cocktails. Yes, they are food groups. I’m just gonna keep it real with you.

This diet started last winter, when I was really amping up the freelance work. So basically, when my social/fitness activities were replaced with sleepless nights and caffeine binges, I realized I needed to change something. Either give up freelance and get back into my running obsession, or change my eating habits. Obviously, I chose freelance and the diet.

Diets get such a bad rep these days. Of course, there are so many negative connotations that do go with them. But to be honest, I like having goals in mind, and guidelines on what’s good and what’s bad and what’s too much and what’s not enough. I weigh myself every day. I’m guilty when I don’t work out, or when I cheat. I cheat more often than I should, and I don’t work out as much as I should. But you know what? The guidelines work for me. I like them.

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian


lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

I’ve been making meatballs from a great recipe blog that archives Dukan Diet recipes — and this recipe actually reminds me a lot of the Norwegian meatballs my friend Åse (pronounced oh-sah) made for us one rainy night in Bergen.

So I made a huge batch in the oven, and used a portion of the meatballs for this shakshuka. The original intent was to use the shakshuka for lunch (it packs really well and is a perfect work lunch), but I’ve made it for a couple of dinners and it’s always been a huge hit.

The meatballs are pretty neutral, so they’d go really well in this banh mi recipe, too.

Anyway, enjoy this recipe (especially if you’re on the Sarah Gerrity Dukan protein cheese and cocktail diet). If you have favorite meatball recipes, I’d love to hear some ideas — because I tend to make these ones in double batches for the entire week (or two or three).

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian


Onion Meatballs, from Dukan it Out

1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground turkey
3 green onions,
1 small sweet onion
1 egg
1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the green and sweet onions in a food processor, and pulse chop until finely diced. Then, in a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients, mixing with your hands to fully incorporate into a mixture.

Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with nonstick baking spray, and begin rolling the meat mixture into 1.5-inch balls. Space them about 1 inch apart, and then bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Lazy Meatball Shakshuka

10-15 onion meatballs
1 jar tomato sauce of choice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
4-6 eggs (use your judgement)
Olive oil, just a drizzle
Fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

First, heat a cast iron skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Saute your meatballs until the surfaces are a deep golden brown. Then, carefully pour your tomato sauce into the skillet, turning the stove heat to medium-low. If it’s too chunky, add water in 1/4-cup increments until you have a stew-like consistency.

Once the tomato sauce comes to a simmer, use a wooden spoon to create some pockets between the meatballs for your eggs. Crack the eggs one by one into the sauce, and baste the whites with the spoon. Once the whites begin to cook through, sprinkle the skillet with feta and parmesan cheese. Simmer until the eggs are cooke through to the consistency you prefer — I like the yolks runny, but you might want them stiff.

Sprinkle with fresh basil, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy.

Labneh Breakfast B.L.T.


Last week was rough. Isn’t it horrible how your short work weeks can be the absolute worst? Sometimes, the world just wants you to work extra hard as punishment for having a day off.

Unfortunately for me, I spent most of my Memorial Day weekend with the flu — not fun. And being the optimist that I am, I convinced myself that I was not as sick as I actually was. So on Sunday, I went out for a few beers on a DC patio. There may or may not have been copious amounts of fresh donuts. And a $25 pig’s head. On a platter.



The consequence of tricking yourself into feeling healthier than you actually are, of course, trickles down over the course of a few days. Or a whole week. So throughout the entire week, I suffered the sick-enough-to-be-tired-all-day but not-sick-enough-to-not-be-at-work illness.

I pretty much couldn’t hold a single solid train of thought until Friday. And we all know how Fridays go.

(They don’t.)


I made up for the lethargy of last week with a super productive Saturday — I got back into my gym routine, cleaned my entire apartment, knocked out a few freelance tasks at a coffee shop, and then spent the afternoon and evening biking across DC to the Tour de Fat — a little hipster New Belgium beer festival at Navy Yard. It was too hot to take photos (in my mind), so my apologies for the lack of imagery. But the waterfront is gorgeous, and I got to explore my own personally unchartered territory of DC by bike.

Needless to say, I crashed into my bed the instant I got home, with the AC on full-blast. And I slept in, wandered to Whole Foods, where I eyed a container of labneh — a college staple when all of my friends were Lebanese.

The perfect cross between cream cheese and Greek yogurt does well on sandwiches. It was a good start to the end of the weekend.



Labneh Breakfast BLT

Whole grain sourdough, sliced
1 fresh heirloom tomato
1 egg
A few strips of bacon, baked or fried
2-3 tablespoons labneh

Heat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with foil. Arrange your bacon on the foil, and bake for about 30 minutes, until crispy. When you remove the bacon from the oven, promptly drain each piece on paper towels on a separate plate.

Fry an egg to the yolk consistency you prefer, and toast two slices of whole grain sourdough. Generously spread one slice with labneh, and then top with your tomato, bacon, arugula and egg. Season with salt and pepper if you like — but the bacon and lebnah are pretty good on their own. I went without.