Posts by tag: tomato

  • Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad {Eetch or Mock Kheyma}

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad {Eetch or Mock Kheyma}

Posted on February 7, 2017

There is a lot of chaos happening in our world right now. And it’s left me feeling anxious, sad, overwhelmed and at times, small and insignificant.

Like, am I suppose to just sit here and talk cheerfully about a guacamole recipe, all while our elected officials are planning to build a wall at the Mexican border? That doesn’t feel right to me. It seems silly to be excited about food when there is so much hate and fear circulating around us.

But then I remember that sharing food, and the stories behind our food, is a big part of who we are. It defines us on every level: as individuals, as families and as a nation. To share food and food stories is to be human. So no matter what happens over the next few years, I’m going to continue to do that.

We are a nation of immigrants. And today, myself and some other food bloggers are celebrating that fact by sharing our #immigrantfoodstories. I hope you feel inspired and uplifted. And I hope you feel the urge to share your immigrant stories as well (both food and non-food related). Because I don’t think we can afford to be silent any longer.

Armenian Power |

I’m half Armenian. All four of my Great Grandparents on my Mom’s side immigrated from Armenia in the early 1900’s to escape the Armenian Genocide. My family, like so many other Armenian families during those years, found safety and security here in America. In time, they became dedicated community members in their newly found country – raising families, erecting churches and managing small businesses. One of those businesses (now called Donabedian Bros.) is still in operation today, and is owned and run by my Mom and Uncle.

I grew up being mainly influenced by my Armenian side of the family (simply due to the proximity of where we lived). They were a hard working and proud group of people. But never too proud. The Armenian Genocide had inflicted a deep scar that still ached from time to time. A scar that was often kept covered and hidden away from prying eyes.

There was a lingering shame and a general quietness about them.

Except when it came to matters regarding food. Then there was no holding back! As a family of great cooks (and even greater appetites!), meal times and Holidays were always a celebration of our traditional foods. My Great Aunt Margaret proudly made the best toorshi (pickled vegetables). My Great Aunt Dorothy made the best lahmahjoon (flatbread with ground lamb) and roejeeg (grape juice and walnut candy). And my Mom always had the most sought after paklava in town!

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad |

Today, I’ve recreated my Great Aunt Carrie’s recipe for Eetch (also sometimes called mock kheyma or meatless kheyma). It’s a bulgur based-dish that can be served either as a salad, or spread onto crackers/bread. It has a somewhat similar flavor profile to tabbouleh, so if that’s something you enjoy, then I would encourage you to try Eetch. It’s also a recipe that gets better with age. So it’s a great dish to make for a party or potluck, because you can prepare it up to a day in advance. {Oh and if you’re curious, those little round baked goods in the photos are something called simit, an Armenian bread/biscuit that I’m still trying to get just right.}

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad |

I want to leave you with a few excerpts from an essay written by my Great Aunt Beatrice that details the experiences of her Mother Agnes (my Great Grandmother) in Armenia during the Genocide. It was a school assignment in which she had to write about someone she admired. It’s pretty powerful.

Be sure to check out the hashtag #immigrantfoodstories to see more inspiring stories and recipes.



Armenian Genocide Letter |

“Sure enough, in the winter of 1985, while Agnes was still an infant, a massacre took place. The women and children of Harpoot fled into the nearby mountains, while the men and older boys tried to fight off the Turks and protect their homes. Mrs. Soorsoorian, carrying Agnes and pulling and coaxing the four other children, was having a difficult time of it. The path up the mountainside was narrow and steep. She was making no progress, as the children stumbled and fell on the rocks. The child in her arms was an extra burden. Despairing and in tears, she dropped little Agnes into a snow bank and helped the other children ascend. I suppose she thought that if one of the children had to die, it would have to be the youngest.”

“Soon the Turks gave the order that all the Armenians who were not fighting where to abandon their homes and leave the country. Agnes, now twenty years old, and her aged parents where among the thousands of unfortunates who were forced to leave their homes. It must have been a sad procession that marched away from it’s native soil. Thousands were massacred, and I don’t know whether my mother’s parents were among these, or whether, exhausted, they fell on the wayside, but I do know that they died during this time. I have never asked my mother about these facts, because I know she refuses to discuss this horrible phase of her life with anyone.”

“In two years she had money enough to purchase a steamship ticket, which she did without wasting anytime. A few weeks later, her boat docked at New York Harbor. Agnes’ brothers were there to greet here. In one way, it was a happy reunion, but on the other hand, it was pitiful to think that these three were the only living members left of their family. Agnes lived with her brothers for two years, after which she met my father George Kerkorian, whom she married. They came to Newburyport to live, and here their two daughters, my sister Louise and I, were born.”

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad

Serves 4-8

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad


  • 1 cup bulgur (also called dried cracked wheat)
  • 3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 6 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper


  1. Add the bulgur and tomato sauce to a large bowl and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if desired.
  3. Refrigerate until well chilled. You can serve this as a salad, or as a topping for bread and crackers.
  4. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days.
  • Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Creamy Polenta

Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Creamy Polenta

Posted on February 2, 2017

I feel like we’re all collectively screaming for comfort food right now. The weather is cold, dark and generally kind of shitty. The political landscape in America is bleak, at best. And Valentine’s Day, which I’ve found to be a rather dreaded day for both singles and couples alike, is looming on the horizon.

All of these things are reason enough to dig into some good old fashioned Italian comfort food. Which is why I decided to make us some Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Creamy Polenta for today. AND I made it all in just about 30 minutes. Because sometimes when you need comfort food, you need it FAST.

Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Creamy Polenta |

Something you may have noticed over the past year or so on this site is a shift towards almost exclusively plant-based recipes. And while I’m not claiming to be a vegetarian (I still enjoy non-vegetarian recipes on occasion), I’d estimate that about 90% of my meals consumed at home are strictly plant-based.

I don’t really have one glaring reason for this shift in my diet. All I can really say is that eating plants makes me feel good. It’s as simple as that. So I’m going to continue down that path for now. And throw in a few non-vegetarian recipes every once in a while when a craving hits.

Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Creamy Polenta |

Meatballs are one of the few foods that I remember really liking as a child. I was a picky eater, so most things were off limits at meal times. But meatballs were almost always welcome.

I like to make my meatballs from ground chicken (although you could certainly use ground turkey). And I always bake them in my oven. Which I suppose isn’t very traditional. But I appreciate that they are a little bit leaner. And not to mention, less messy and more hands off to prepare. Once you get the meatballs in the oven, you can concentrate your efforts elsewhere in the kitchen – like tackling a batch of this homemade tomato sauce and whisking up the creamiest mascarpone cheese polenta EVER.

Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Creamy Polenta |

This recipe can undoubtedly be made from start to finish in 30 minutes. I’ve done it successfully many times. There is very little chopping. And each component requires less than 20 minutes of actual cooking time. BUT I have to be honest and say that there is some coordination/multi-tasking required to get it done within a 30 minute time frame. You’ll have to manage the tomato sauce and the polenta at the same time. Which isn’t that big of a deal, but it can feel kind of rushed the first time you try it. If all that sounds unpleasant to you, feel free to warm up a big jar of your favorite store-bought tomato sauce on the stovetop in lieu of making your own. That will save you a few minutes.

Polenta is kind of a new-ish ingredient for me. I didn’t grow up eating polenta, so it tends to fall off my radar periodically. But I’m trying to incorporate it more into my life. It’s a great base for everything from these chicken meatballs to barbecue pulled pork to roasted vegetables. How do you usually use polenta? I’d love to hear some additional suggestions!

Are you craving even more meals that you can prepare in 30 minutes or less? Of course you are! Well, lucky for you it’s 30 Minute Thursday. If you scroll down past the recipe below, you’ll find links to other quick and easy recipes from some of my blogging friends. Make sure to check them all out!



Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Creamy Polenta

Serves 4

Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Creamy Polenta


  • For the Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground chicken (you can substitute ground turkey)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

  • For the Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2/3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

  • For the Polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • About 1/2 cup milk

  • For Serving
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside. To make the meatballs, add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix until everything is just combined (your hands are the best tool for this job!). Shape the chicken mixture into balls, using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each meatball. You should end up with 16-18 meatballs. Place the meatballs on your prepared baking sheet. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock (use it to rinse out the can of crushed tomatoes), basil, salt and black pepper. Bring to a simmer. Once the meatballs have finished baking, gently add them to the simmering sauce and let them cook in the sauce for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the stock pot from the heat. Cover to keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, make the polenta. Bring the water in a boil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Slowly whisk in the polenta and turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook the polenta for 15-17 minutes, whisking frequently so it doesn’t burn on the bottom and adjusting the heat to prevent it from aggressively splattering and bubbling. Once the polenta has thickened and the liquid is absorbed, remove the saucepan from the heat. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese and the salt. Then whisk in enough milk to thin it to your desired consistency. Cover to keep warm.
  4. To serve, spoon the warm polenta into bowls. Top with the meatballs and some of the sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs and shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.
  5. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days.

One Pot 30-Minute Pasta e Fagioli from Flavor the Moments

Tuna Casserole from My Kitchen Craze

Easy Chicken Pad Thai from Life Made Sweeter

One Pot Black Bean Fajita Pasta (Make Ahead) from Sweet Peas & Saffron

Italian Chicken Tortellini Skillet from The Recipe Rebel

Lightened Up Baked Chicken Parmesan from Kristine’s Kitchen

Healthy Taco Chickpea Lettuce Wraps from She Likes Food

30 Minute Chicken Stew from Bake.Eat.Repeat

Garlic Parmesan Gnocchi with Mushrooms from Pumpkin ‘N Spice

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