Sausage Meatballs with Halloumi and TomatoesSausage Meatballs with Halloumi and Tomatoes

When I was young, when my kids were young, when I was teaching myself how to cook, the only way I knew how to be sure homemade meals happened regularly was by sitting down with a notebook on Sunday and mapping out a dinner plan for the week. Turkey Burgers on Monday, Chicken Cutlets on Tuesday, Salad Pizza on Wednesday, and on and on. I was working at a magazine at the time, and when I told the food editor there that this is what I did, she replied, “How do you know on Sunday what you’re going to feel like cooking on Wednesday?” This seemed like serious next-level thinking to me. Isn’t it enough that I get something on the table? What does it matter how I feel?

I’m a lot less regimented about my meal-making now, but I still think about that question a lot, most recently when Yasmin Fahr’s new book Cook Simply, Live Fully came across my desk. Fahr definitely would’ve appreciated my food editor’s question. In the book, she breaks down recipes not into the predictable old sections (Chicken, Meat, Vegetarian, etc) but by mood. A chapter on “Lap Dinners” is subtitled “I am very tired, please make this easy and quick.” A chapter on “Coffee Table Dinners” is subtitled “I’m feeling good, but let’s not go crazy here.” Fahr — who scraped together a spontaneous escape plan to Menorca Eat-Pray-Love-style when she found herself exhausted and burned out from city life — spent time slowing down, learning how to cook simply, satisfyingly, breezily.

Sausage Meatballs with Halloumi and Tomatoes

Fahr’s recipes are one-pot, sheet-pan, minimal-ingredient affairs when you crave that kind of cooking, and a little more involved when you’re in the mood. (The chapter “At the Dinner Table” is subtitled “I feel great, I’m sleeping well and I’m excited to cook!”) My meal-planning younger self would’ve definitely been inspired…or at least put this truly delicious sausage and halloumi recipe on the week’s line-up.

Sausage Meatballs with Halloumi and Tomatoes

Sausage Meatballs with Halloumi + Tomatoes
By Yasmin Fahr in Cook Simply, Live Fully
Serves 2, can be doubled

You can use any kind of sausage to make quick meatballs that won’t overcook, but know that their fat content can vary greatly, so it can be better to cook a pork sausage on a separate sheet pan to keep things leaner (and also accommodate non-meat-eaters). Eat it with bread or a simple arugula or green salad with an acidic dressing.

1 pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
1/4 spoonful dried oregano
olive oil
3/4 pound bulk hot Italian-style sausage (chicken, turkey, or pork), or links, removed from its casings (I used chicken-and-pepper sausage in the photo)
1 (6-ounce) package Halloumi cheese, squeezed dry, torn or cut into 1/4-inch pieces (too thin, and they will get too melty)
2 or 3 handfuls of baby spinach or arugula

Heat the oven to 400°F. Add the tomatoes to the sheet pan, and season with a wave of salt, oregano, and 2 waves of olive oil. Use the tip of a sharp knife to poke holes in the tomatoes, Shape the sausage into 1-inch balls using your palms, if you have the energy, or pinch them into 1-inch chunks (either is great!) and add to the sheet pan, rolling them in the oil. Add the Halloumi to the spaces in between.

Cook until the sausage is browned and cooked through, the tomatoes are softened and the Halloumi is soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the greens to the hot sheet pan right out of the oven and mix together to make it more salad-like, if using.

Sausage Meatballs with Halloumi and Tomatoes

Thank you, Yasmin!

P.S. Chicken parm meatballs, and sheet pan caramelized bananas with ice cream.