North African Meatballs and Glazed Carrots with The Next Food Network Star

Melissa d'Arabian I love to watch The Next Food Network Star each year.  Each week the contestants are given different challenges to test their skills and their culinary point of view.  This year on Season 5, I picked my winner early.  I really liked Melissa d’Arabian.  She was fun, spunky, and didn’t cook in a restaurant.  Her crew of critics was her family.  She is married with 4 girls all under 4.  Can’t even get my brain around that one.  Melissa won and now has her own show.  $10 Dinners on Sundays 12:30pm Food Network.  Check it out today and see what you think.  She makes dinner for 4 people for $10, total cost, not for each person.

North African Meatballs with Glazed Carrots

North African Meatballs with Glazed Carrots

Her last show she made North African Meatballs with Glazed Carrots.  She served it with couscous which of course has gluten so we won’t be eating that part.  I thought I would take her recipe and give it the gluten free and dairy free treatment.  It still has to pass the test- Good Food No Matter What!™  While watching her show, what intrigued me the most was the spice combinations.  They were different than what I typically cook, so I wanted to give it a try.

Double the tomatoes

Double the tomatoes

The sauce for this dish has tomatoes with cinnamon, garlic, lemon, wine and briny olives in it, plus many more flavorful ingredients. The meatballs have cilantro, ginger, cumin and cinnamon as part of the ingredient list.

We are not big olive eaters around here but I thought it was too key of an ingredient to leave out so I minced them really fine.  This way, the flavor was infused but we were not biting big pieces of olives.  It worked great.

I did change a few ingredients according to what I had on hand, and took out the gluten and dairy.  Her meatballs were beef and mine happened to be veal.  For the meatballs she also used rolled oats but I didn’t have any gluten free oats on hand so I used gluten free bread crumbs (noted on recipe as option).    I also doubled the amount of tomatoes because I didn’t have a smaller can.  It gave us more sauce and worked out great.  Everything else for the meatballs and sauce was already gluten free and dairy free.

Glazed Carrots The carrots called for butter but I just left that out.  I did however add in wine, by accident.  I was talking and drinking my own glass of wine and cooking away.  I was supposed to add in chicken stock.  As I’ve said before I need to really pay attention when cooking from a recipe because I just usually look at something and make up my own recipe.  I did add in the chicken stock too.  The carrots still tasted amazing with those two changes.

The real test would be to see if my husband would eat carrots and a sauce with olives.  We both loved this meal.  I served it over rice but you could also make quinoa using the same principle from her recipe for couscous (not gluten free).  She adds in chicken broth and chopped dates.  I think that would taste great with the quinoa and the North African Meatballs on top.

I hope you will give it a try and drop Melissa a note and tell her what you thought.  You can find her on Facebook. Thank you Melissa for sharing foods from all over the world.

, , , , , , ,

8 Responses to North African Meatballs and Glazed Carrots with The Next Food Network Star

  1. gfe--gluten free eas August 23, 2009 at 3:25 am #

    Looks really good, Diane! I like all your changes. I do the same kinds of things when cooking, and like my friend Linda says, "a little wine makes everything better, don't you think?" Like your idea on chopping the olives finely, too. I'd do that as well. I'm not a Food Network watcher, but Melissa sounds quite amazing and that's not even considering the four young kids … have to agree with you on that one–wow!


    • Diane August 26, 2009 at 10:44 am #

      Shirley- I can't imagine trying to do anything other than take care of 4 kids let alone be cooking lots of meals. Moms with young kids these days are amazing.

  2. Katrina (gluten free August 23, 2009 at 3:32 am #

    I love adding Cinnamon to ground beef recipes. It really gives it a little something special.

    • Diane August 26, 2009 at 10:46 am #

      Katrina- I like it with Jerk seasonings and now North African. I'll be trying cinnamon with other meats too. Are there any that you really fancy?

  3. Alisa - Frugal Foodi August 23, 2009 at 7:14 am #

    Not big olive eaters? Parish the thought!

    I love the sound of these meatballs though!

    • Diane August 26, 2009 at 10:48 am #

      Alisa- We are strange food eaters around our house. You should try to cook for all of these dietary restrictions and then the list of things we like and don't like. Half the time I'm amazed I come up with meals at all. Well, there are many that the boys don't eat either because they are not vegetarian or they are not plain enough. I'm a short order cook.


  1. Monthly Menu Plan – October — Gluten Free-Dairy Free Recipes | The W.H.O.L.E. Gang - October 1, 2009

    […] 1-North African Meatballs with Glazed Carrots […]

  2. Friday Foodie Fix – Carrots — Gluten Free-Dairy Free Recipes | The W.H.O.L.E. Gang - March 26, 2010

    […] in her Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and make them often.  I also want to have a replay on the Glazed Carrots I made last summer with the North African […]