One-Pan Bison Meatballs with Broccolini and Tomato Sauce

These One-Pan Bison Meatballs come together in just under an hour, with only 15 minutes of hands-on time. They’re tender and juicy, and perfectly complimented by charred broccolini, an herby tomato sauce and melted Fontina cheese.

An overhead shot of a pan of bison meatballs with broccolini and tomato sauce. The pan is tied off with a hand towel and there are tomatoes and bread on either side.

If you’ve never treated yourself to bison before, you’re in for a huge treat with these One-Pan Bison Meatballs with Broccolini and Tomato Sauce! They’re tender and juicy and full of flavor. In fact, you may never want to go back to regular old ground beef again.

BISON VS. BEEF

You can think of bison as beef’s fancier and more flavorful cousin, although, bison is actually lower in calories and higher in protein than both ground beef and turkey. It does tend to be more expensive, so I say save the bison for a once-in-a-while treat as opposed to an everyday thing.

You can usually find ground bison wherever ground beef is sold. In fact, I found a high-quality double-pack of ground bison at Costco. I popped one of the packages in the freezer (because we all know how helpful it is to have freezer options on hand!) and used the other one to make these delicious One-Pan Bison Meatballs.

HOW TO COOK IT

When it comes to cooking, ground bison can be prepared in the exact same way ground beef is prepared. Aside from meatballs, you could also use ground bison to make burgers (bison burgers are a favorite of mine), taco meat or even a meat sauce for over pasta.

A close-up view of One-Pan Bison Meatballs with Broccolini and Tomato Sauce with some crusty bread in the background.

But today we’re here to talk about meatballs, so let’s get to it!

LET’S MAKE SOME MEATBALLS!

Making the meatball mixture itself is the longest hands-on part of the process, and you’re going to have to get a little bit dirty. After all, I find the best way to mix up some meatballs is to get your hands in the mixing bowl to blend it all together.

You’re going to throw all of the typical meatball ingredients into the mix – egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, shallots, oregano – you don’t need anything special because, when it comes to bison, it already has so much flavor.

I guess this recipe is technically a two-dish one (if you count the mixing bowl), but once it comes to cooking, you’ll only need a large cast iron skillet [*affiliate link] to make these meatballs come to life.

You’re going to place your meatballs in a piping hot cast iron skillet on the stove first – you want to give them a good sear so they have that nice crispy outside before baking – then pour all of the tomato sauce ingredients over top (with the exception of the pancetta, which goes in first so you can use some of the oil for cooking the meatballs). Top all this with broccolini and delicious grated Fontina, throw it in the oven for just under 30 minutes (boil up some pasta or quinoa while you’re waiting) and – voila! – your One-Pan Bison Meatballs with Broccolini and Tomato Sauce are ready to be devoured by the fam.

A plate of pasta topped with bison meatballs, broccolini and tomato sauce.

Have you ever tried cooking with ground bison before? Let me know in the comments below!

One-Pan Bison Meatballs with Broccolini and Tomato Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

These One-Pan Bison Meatballs come together in just under an hour, with only 15 minutes of hands-on
time. They’re tender and juicy, and perfectly complimented by charred broccolini, an herby tomato sauce and melted Fontina cheese.







Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bison, dinner, family-friendly, Italian, kid-friendly, meatballs, one-pan
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 636 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Other ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 8 ounces broccolini
  • 3 ounces Fontina cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Place all meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl and, using hands, blend together until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

  3. Begin heating 2 tablespoons olive oil in cast iron skillet on stove over medium heat. Add pancetta and begin cooking, stirring occasionally while you form your meatballs. Also add the garlic at this time.

  4. Form meatballs into 2- to 3-inch rounds and place in cast iron skillet along with pancetta (which should be mostly cooked by now.) Allow meatballs to sear (about 2 minutes) and then flip them over to get the other side browned as well.

  5. Turn heat down and add entire can of tomatoes (including juice.) Sprinkle basil over top and tuck broccolini in amongst everything.

  6. Finally, sprinkle the entire mixture with Fontina cheese and place in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.

  7. Serve over cooked quinoa or pasta and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Medium

The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles

These Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles are the perfect way to use up all of your leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. 

This delicious recipe for Thanksgiving leftovers is the perfect dish to serve up over the long holiday weekend!

We’re talking perfectly crispy potato-laced waffles topped with all your favorite Thanksgiving fixings – juicy roast turkey, sweet and tart cranberry sauce, your favorite stuffing, even gravy if you please. Basically all of the delicious things we look forward to for arguably the biggest food holiday of the year served up in one delicious dish that is perfectly acceptable for to be enjoyed as breakfast, lunch or dinner – Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles, your day has arrived!

Well, on Friday it will have arrived, but I’m planning on taking a little break from this here blog for the long weekend so we can really enjoy our time up north with our family – and introducing everyone to our newest little addition! Plus, I figured everyone would be either (a) too busy Black Friday shopping or (b) too lazy watching football on the couch to be catching up on their favorite blogs the day after Thanksgiving, hence why I’m hitting you with my new favorite Turkey Day leftovers recipe today while we’re still craving alllll those foods and wondering what we’re going to do with the monstrous amounts of leftovers.

Make an Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffle as soon as your second craving for turkey strikes!

Okay, to be honest, The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles don’t REALLY involve that much of a recipe, because they are totally customizable to whatever types of leftovers you have on hand. The one constant that I highly recommend is the potato waffles. I adapted them from Justin Chapple’s recipe for Food & Wine and they are the perfect hybrid of a typical Belgian waffle and hashbrowns/your favorite potato latke.

Even better, they can easily be made in advance and frozen until ready to use, so if you know you’ll be low on cooking steam by Friday, whip some of these waffles up in the next couple of days so you can just pull them out and defrost them in the toaster or the oven as soon as you start craving that first hit of leftovers. I mean, I wouldn’t even blame you if you turned to these for a late-night snack on the big day itself!

The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles will easily get you through the rest of Thanksgiving weekend.

After you make the waffles, you can really go in whichever direction you want as far as toppings. The hubs and I had a blast doing an early Thanksgiving back in September when I was working on stockpiling content for maternity leave, and I roasted up a simple turkey breast to enjoy with this Zucchini Stuffing and some simple cranberry sauce. All of these made the perfect toppings for potato-y waffles, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I’d made more of them to have ready to go this weekend.

Now, I kept it fairly traditional/simple with the toppings for my Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to possibilities. Here are just a few of the many ways to dress these waffles up:

Gravy
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Vegetables

All creative license is yours!

Serve up The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles as an easy breakfast the next day!

I’ll be back on Wednesday with one more fun Thanksgiving weekend cocktail to share with you all (HINT: It involves everyone’s favorite espresso drink of the season!) before I sign off for a few days, but until then I hope you get yourself in the kitchen and start prepping all the delicious components of The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles!

The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

These potato-laced waffles are loaded with all of your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers - turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and more!

Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled, coarsely shredded and squeezed dry
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • Assorted Thanksgiving leftover toppings such as turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, casseroles, roasted vegetables, etc.
Instructions
  1. Plug in a waffle iron to heat up and preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  2. Combine all ingredients except toppings in a large mixing bowl to form the waffle batter. 

  3. Scoop batter into preheated waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s directions (about 5-7 minutes.) Once waffle is done and golden-brown, transfer it to a rack in your preheated oven to keep warm.

  4. Repeat process until all batter is used up.

  5. Top waffles with your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Justin Chapple’s Loaded Potato Waffles recipe for Food & Wine.

The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles | CaliGirlCooking.com

Easy Indian-Style Yellow Curry (with Toppings!)

This Indian-style yellow curry is incredibly tasty and easy to whip up on any night of the week, plus it’s served with toppings galore!

Easy Indian-Style Yellow Curry is delicious when served with an assortment of toppings.

Today’s super-delicious recipe is brought to you by dear old Dad. I’m finally sharing his go-to curry recipe and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s not the typical Thai-style curry you order for takeout, instead it’s an Indian-Style Yellow Curry with an assortment of what we call in our household “da boys”…aka a bunch of tasty toppings that take a fairly simple, straightforward recipe completely over the top.

This Easy Indian-Style Yellow Curry is so easy, it’s almost comical how much flavor it has for so few ingredients involved. It’s totally achievable on any night of the week, and you can also easily control the spice so that even the pickiest of eaters in your household get excited about it.

Easy Indian-Style Yellow Curry (with Toppings!) is the perfect easy dinner for any night of the week.

Although this recipe has very few ingredients, the one that I highly recommend you pay close attention to is the type of curry powder you use. Our family favorite has always been this Sun Brand Madras Curry Powder, and I highly recommend that you invest in some yourself ASAP. Sure, you could use some other brand of curry powder, but I guarantee that this one does the trick and, trust me, my family doesn’t mess around when it comes to our go-to cooking ingredients.

Aside from the curry powder, the only ingredients you’ll need for the soup itself are coconut milk, a can of green chilies, onion, chicken and chicken broth. And, depending on how thick your coconut milk is, you may also need a “cheater’s roux” made simply of melted butter and flour.

Of course, there are also variations you can make depending on special dietary preferences. For example, use tofu and vegetable broth to make this dish vegetarian, or you can also omit the green chilies if you have some in your group who are averse to a lot of spice.

Easy Indian-Style Yellow Curry is made extra-delicious when adorned with a selection of toppings!

And no Easy Indian-Style Yellow Curry would be complete without an entire assortment of toppings! As I mentioned, in my family we refer to these as “da boys,” but I realize that may seem just plain odd to many of you. Here are just a few suggestions of different toppings to serve with your curry:

Chopped macadamia nuts
Coconut flakes
Raisins
Mango chutney
Crispy onions
Chopped dried apricots

I can guarantee you will not go wrong with any of these, and you may even never resort to just “plain old” curry ever again.

We’re slowly getting into cooler weather here in Santa Barbara, so I’m looking forward to hunkering down with our new little one and enjoying all the comfort food dishes it’s been too hot to even think about for the past few months. This Easy Indian-Style Yellow Curry is definitely on my list of things to whip up as often as we can!

Easy Indian-Style Yellow Curry is the perfect easy weeknight dinner.

This post contains affiliate links.

Easy Indian-Style Yellow Curry (with Toppings!)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This Indian-style yellow curry is incredibly tasty and easy to whip up on any night of the week, plus it's served with toppings galore!

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 4-ounce can minced green chilies (optional)
  • 3 small chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • Assorted toppings such as chopped macadamia nuts, coconut flakes, raisins, mango chutney, crispy onions and chopped dried apricots
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and chilies and saute until fragrant, about 5 minutes. 

  2. Add the chicken and begin to brown it. Sprinkle on the curry powder and continue stirring until all sides of chicken are browned and curry powder is incorporated. 

  3. Pour in chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once mixture has come to a boil, bring down to a simmer and add in the coconut milk.

  4. At this point, you’ll have to make the call of whether you want to thicken up your curry or not. If you like it a bit creamier, whisk together the melted butter and flour in a small bowl and then stir it into the soup. If you’re happy with a thinner curry, leave it as is. 

  5. Place toppings in small bowls and set them out on the table for people to help themselves. Serve curry over cooked brown rice. 

Easy Indian-Style Yellow Curry (with Toppings!) | CaliGirlCooking.com

Avocado Pizza with Bacon, Cilantro and Lime

A traditional pizza dough is dressed up with fresh avocado, crispy bacon, a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

Avocado Pizza with Bacon, Lime and Cilantro is a fun new pizza flavor that is sure to impress.

Are you ready for the pizza toppings to end all pizza toppings? Because I’m pretty sure after eating this Avocado Pizza with Bacon, Cilantro and Lime you’re never going to want to go back to plain ol’ cheese or pepperoni again.

I mean, we all know what a bona fide hit avocado toast has become, so it would only make sense that avocado pizza follows suit. The mere fact that this recipe includes bacon means it’s perfectly acceptable for breakfast, and why not just call it a day by throwing a fried egg on top? You’re welcome for that little nugget of inspiration.

In real world news, still no sign of baby. We “lived it up” this weekend as a family of two with a visit to the Harbor & Seafood Festival, a stop at the local pumpkin patch, a movie and some dinner out. We’re trying to enjoy as much time together as we can before our little girl gets here!

On the NorCal wildfire front, I’m relieved to see that they’re getting things somewhat under control (comparatively speaking) and was uplifted to see some of my favorite local businesses reopening over the past few days. That’s not to say there’s still not a long way for Napa and Sonoma to go as far as recovery is concerned, but let’s hope the worst is behind us and things only go up from here.

A slice of Avocado Pizza with Bacon, Cilantro and Lime ready to be devoured.

As I’ve been whipping through recipe development this past week, I’ve certainly not taken it for granted. Often, when I’m pulling something out of the oven or stirring something on the stovetop, I find myself thinking about how, for my food-loving friends in Wine Country, whipping up a home-cooked meal is the last thing on their mind right now. I wish I could make a big feast and somehow get it up to them, but for now all I can do is continue to make delicious things and record them so that hopefully my friends can enjoy making some of my creations very soon.

This Avocado Pizza with Bacon, Cilantro and Lime is one I know will be a huge hit with ANYONE who is blessed with the gene that makes you love cilantro (I hear that’s a thing? Sorry to all my cilantro-haters out there.) The combination of all four flavors – avocado, bacon, cilantro and lime – complimented by my go-to overnight pizza crust recipe and just a light dusting of cheese is seriously a party in your mouth.

It seems like a bit of a cheater’s pizza, because really the only toppings you put on before baking are some olive oil, garlic and cheese, but the real flavor arrives as soon as you put on those finishing touches of creamy avocado, crispy cooked bacon, tart lime juice and fresh-chopped cilantro. And if you’re like me and are usually too lazy to reheat anything when enjoying it for leftovers, Avocado Pizza with Bacon, Cilantro and Lime is going to be your new best friend. Promise.

A couple of slices of Avocado Pizza with Bacon, Cilantro and Lime make the perfect easy lunch or dinner.

As I mentioned, I used my favorite from-scratch pizza dough recipe – Jim Lahey’s Overnight Pizza Dough – but you can easily use a premade dough or crust. I will say that, even though the words “overnight” and “from-scratch” may seem a bit intimidating, Jim Lahey’s recipe is SUPER easy and in my opinion well worth the little bit of extra planning it requires to mix up a batch of the dough the night before you plan on making the pizza.

I don’t know about you, but pizza is a weekly go-to dinner in our household, and having a homemade version makes it infinitely better. I love that you can add as much (or as little) of a topping as you want, and you can opt for healthier options like fresh vegetables, meats and herbs. Plus, it all comes together pretty quickly once you have your pie rolled out and ready to go in the oven!

Avocado Pizza with Bacon, Cilantro and Lime is the perfect easy lunch or dinner for any day of the week.

Avocado Pizza with Bacon, Cilantro and Lime
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

A traditional pizza dough is dressed up with fresh avocado, crispy bacon, a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. The perfect flavor combo!

Course: Main Course
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 batch of Jim Lahey's Overnight Pizza Dough (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 4 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 of a large avocado, sliced
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Prepare pizza dough according to recipe directions and roll out onto a large pizza or baking sheet dusted with cornmeal (or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.)

  2. Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  3. Brush olive oil evenly over pizza dough and sprinkle on minced garlic and cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden and the cheese has melted.

  4. Remove pizza from oven and let cool slightly (5 minutes or so) before adding the other toppings. Sprinkle the chopped bacon evenly over the pizza, followed by the avocado. Squeeze on the lime juice and finish with the chopped cilantro.

  5. Slice pizza into wedges and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Find the recipe for Jim Lahey's pizza dough here

Avocado Pizza with Bacon, Cilantro and Lime | CaliGirlCooking.com

Spinach Artichoke Dip Chicken

In this Spinach Artichoke Dip Chicken, the classic appetizer is rolled inside and slathered on top of lean chicken breasts to make the perfect weeknight dinner that even the kids will love!

This Spinach Artichoke Dip Chicken is the perfect, easy weeknight dinner.

Today I’m bringing you the ultimate in chicken dinners, perfect for you to whip together in these first few days of fall when we’re craving comfort food but not quite ready to pull out the Crockpot. Artichoke dip lovers, you’ve been warned.

This Spinach Artichoke Dip Chicken is basically my excuse to take a favorite appetizer and turn it into a full-fledged meal. It’s high-protein and also happens to help meet your daily quota of healthy veggies. You can also easily enjoy it alone as a light meal, or if you’re a carb-lover like me you can serve it atop a bed of bowtie pasta tossed in a simple lemon, butter and pine nut sauce with even more spinach thrown in for good measure.

Have I convinced you yet that this needs to happen for dinner tonight?

Spinach Artichoke Dip Chicken served over a simple bowtie pasta for the perfect kid-friendly weeknight dinner.

What if I told you this Spinach Artichoke Dip Chicken has the revered appetizer spread both inside the chicken roll-ups AND slathered all over the top? Yea, thought that might win you over.

There are a couple of things that I absolutely love about this recipe that I just MUST bring to your attention:

First, it makes plenty of spinach-artichoke dip, so rest assured that you will have plenty to snack on while your main course is cooking or for your next Sunday football get-together. You don’t even have to bake it if you don’t want to, totally up to you!

Second, this is a “set it and forget it” meal, meaning once you’ve constructed your cute little chicken roll-ups, all that’s left to do is pop them in the oven and worry about whatever you’re going to serve with them (if anything.) That’s a functional fall meal if you ask me.

This Spinach Artichoke Dip Chicken is creamy, delicious and sure to please the pickiest of palates. In fact, I’m pretty sure any kids you have with a mind of their own about what they will and will not eat will gobble this up faster than you can say “eat your vegetables.”

Spinach Artichoke Dip Chicken is a protein- and vegetable-packed dinner that's incredibly easy to make.

I love baking sweet treats and mixing up cocktails for y’all, but as we move into comfort food season I also want to make sure you have plenty of healthier comfort food choices on hand for just any weeknight dinner. If you have anything you’d like to see me make, or any parameters for a recipe you’d like me to stick to (i.e. sheet pan dinners, Crockpot cooking, etc.) please tell me in the comments below!

I’m working hard to get a ton of stuff queued up for you guys for when I’m out on “maternity leave,” so now’s the time to put in your requests!

In the meantime, here are a few of my other “healthy” comfort food dinners that would be perfect for you to start whipping up this fall:

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina

Double Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp

I hope you all have a wonderful week filled with the most delicious food! Xo

A plate of Spinach Artichoke Dip Chicken served over a bed of spinach and pine nut bowtie pasta.

Spinach Artichoke Dip Chicken
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

The classic appetizer dip is rolled inside and slathered on top of lean chicken breasts to make the perfect weeknight dinner that even the kids will love!

Course: Main Course
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 large chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thick
Instructions
  1. Combine cream cheese, yogurt, garlic, artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic powder in a small mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can make this up to a day in advance and keep it in the refrigerator if you’d like. 

  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a glass or ceramic baking dish large enough to hold your chicken roll-ups with cooking spray. Set aside. 

  3. Spread the flattened chicken breasts out on a large cutting board and season both sides of the breasts with salt and pepper. Place a couple of tablespoons of the prepared spinach-artichoke dip on each breast, then roll up the breasts and secure with a toothpick or two (you could also wrap with kitchen twine if you’d prefer.)

  4. Place the chicken roll-ups in the prepared baking dish and place in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. 

  5. Remove roll-ups from oven and turn broiler on high. Spread more of the spinach-artichoke dip over top of each roll-up and return to the oven for 5 more minutes, or until the spread on top is slightly browned and bubbly.

Recipe Notes

Serving suggestion: Cook up some bowtie pasta and toss it with some more fresh spinach, toasted pine nuts, butter and lemon juice. Place chicken roll-ups over top of pasta for serving.

Spinach Artichoke Dip Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com