Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blueberry Balsamic Turkey Meatballs

I found this recipe here awhile ago and have been wanting to give it a try.  
Overall, the meal was a success.  The sauce was fantastic and I'd love to try it in other recipes - maybe on some pork chops?  The balls themselves were pretty good, although I might substitute the onions with a dry onion soup mix next time because they were a little overwhelming.

Recipe: Blueberry Balsamic Turkey Meatballs

-1 lb ground turkey
-1/4 cup minced parsley
-1 onion, minced (here's where I would have subbed the soup mix)
-2 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 egg
-1 tsp paprika
-2 cups blueberries (I used frozen)
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-3 tbsp sugar
-3 tbsp ketchup
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-salt and pepper to taste

-Combine the turkey, parsley, onion, garlic, egg and paprika along with a few grinds from your pepper mill and a pinch of salt.  Shape into balls (mine were a little bigger than egg-sized).  Set aside.

-For the sauce (from Cooking Light Annual Recipes '04), combine the blueberries, balsamic, sugar, ketchup, garlic powder and a pinch of salt in a large skillet.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
-Pour mixture into a blender and process for about 30 seconds or until smooth.  
-Put your meatballs in the same skillet at medium-high heat and brown on all sides. 
-Pour sauce on top of the meatballs, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Almond Crusted Tilapia

I am always trying to find new fun ways to cook Tilapia, because it is SO cheap!  This is one of my faves, I got it from Allrecipes, you can find the recipe here.  
Of course I'm not the best at following directions, so here is my modified version.

Almond Crusted Tilapia
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp garlic pepper
1/2 c almonds, sliced
1 c parmesan cheese, grated
3 tilapia filets (they were pretty small, so I made enough for each of us to have 1 1/2)
1/4 c flour
6 tbsp butter

-Beat the eggs in a bowl with the lemon pepper and garlic pepper.  Set aside.
-Grind almonds.  I prefer to toast my nuts (hehe), so after I grind the almonds I throw them in a skillet and toss them around for a few minutes until they brown up nicely.

I loooove my mortar and pestle

-Once cool, mix the almonds with 1/2 of your parmesan.  Set aside.
-Set up a dish with your flour, your egg mixture and your almond mixture in a row.  

-After washing and patting dry the filets, coat them in flour, dip them in the egg mixture (sometimes more than once to coat completely), and then press into almond mixture on both sides, making sure that the entire filet is covered.

I think these looked just as good uncooked as cooked!

-Melt your butter in a skillet on medium-high heat.  Brown the tilapia, 2-3 minutes on each side.  
-Reduce your heat to medium, sprinkle remaining cheese on top of the filets and cover for a few more minutes until the cheese melts.

Goodness, blogging about food makes me hungry!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings by Chandra

My cousin Chandra was the first to send me a recipe complete with pictures . . . yay!  Makes me hungry just looking at the picture.
Take it away, Chandra!

I made this recipe today.

It came from Everyday Food:

My thoughts:

 I was disappointed that the recipe online differs quite a bit from
the recipe that was on the show I watched.  The biggest difference is
that you cook the chicken first (vs. cooking in the liquid as I've
seen in most Chicken and Dumpling recipes).  I went ahead and followed
the recipe and I think as a result the chicken was tough and
overcooked.  I remember distinctly that they cooked the chicken in the
liquid in the show.

Also, this is hysterically called a 'one pot recipe'.  I say
hysterical because I got so many damn dishes dirty making this recipe.
 And it even required me to cook my veggies separately - that makes
zero sense to me.  Again, this differed quite a bit from the show
where they literally cooked everything in one pot.

The really notable thing about this recipe is that the dumplings are
really tasty!  They have a bit of cornmeal in them and it makes them
have a really nice texture.  And overall the flavor was really good in
this recipe.  All the steps really do pay off for a nice layering of
flavors.  Some chicken and dumplings can be very bland and  boring.  I
also really liked the inclusion of the fresh veggies.


-This is the kind of recipe with lots of steps so it pays to read
ahead and have everything in place, chopped, etc.

-I cut this recipe in half and it was the perfect amount for three people.

-I think this recipe would be much more successful if you cooked the
chicken and veggies in the pot.  Just make sure to check cooking times
and cut chicken into small bite sized pieces.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fresh Picked Berries

My cousin and I headed out to Sweet Berry Farm last Friday and loaded up on strawberries and blackberries.  We probably spent close to an hour looking high and low for blackberries only to come up with about a dozen total, and then on the way out saw a different patch that was loaded with ripe berries!  Figures.  Anyway, several hours, a sunburnt scalp and an empty tank of gas later, we finally made it home with our fresh berries.

Trying to figure out how to use all of the berries before they went bad was the hard part. Chandra made strawberry lemonade and a strawberry/blackberry ice cream topping.  
By the time I got home about half of my strawberries were looking pretty mushy so I hulled them and chopped them up really tiny, added about 1/2 a cup of sugar, a few splashes of balsamic vinegar and a good sprinkling of fresh ground pepper.  I put that on the stove, brought it to a boil and let it roll for a good 10 minutes.  

Once it cooled, I threw it in the fridge.  It's got a nice tanginess to it along with the sweet.  I plan on topping some pork chops with it later this week.

With the rest of the strawberries, I went boring but classic.  I had watched Alton Brown's Strawberry episode and used it as an inspiration for macerated strawberries.  I just hulled and chopped the strawberries, added about 1/2 cup of sugar, a good smattering of honey and a couple of splashes of red wine.  I mixed it all and put the strawberries in the refrigerator for a few hours to get nice and juicy.  They were even better the second day!  I threw the macerated strawberries on top of an angel food cake with some cool whip.  Fantastic!

(I was so excited I forgot to take a picture and dug in right away . . . so here it is partly eaten!)

I decided to try to make a cobbler with the blackberries.  I knew this was going to be interesting because I have never even tasted cobbler before much less baked it.  
I was at the store and limited by searching on Jeremy's iPhone, so google was my friend and I used this recipe from About.com.  I don't know what cobbler is supposed to taste like, but hopefully like this, because I must say it was pretty tasty.  

Here we topped our sugar-and-shortening-infused cobbler with "No Sugar Added Fat Free Ice Cream".  Ohhhh the irony!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Turkey Meatloaf and Leftovers!

I thought it might be best to start of the blog with a good hearty meal so I whipped up some Turkey Meatloaf.  It's actually really good, I would never have guessed that it's turkey - and so much better for you!
I got a recipe from Allrecipes awhile back and have modified it over time.  

Turkey Meatloaf (with my modifications)
1 lb ground turkey 
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 (1oz) packet dry onion soup mix
2/3 cup canned tomato soup (I use healthy request)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup bbq sauce (I use Rudy's and it really gives great flavor - if you haven't tried it you are missing out!)
3 tbsp worcestershire sauce

-Preheat oven to 350f
-Mix turkey, eggs, breadcrumbs, onion soup mix, 1/3 cup of the tomato soup, 2 tbsp ketchup, 3 tbsp bbq sauce and 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce in a bowl.  Place in baking dish.
-In a separate bowl, mix remaining tomato soup, ketchup, bbq sauce and worcestershire sauce.  Set aside.
-Bake loaf for 45 minutes.  Remove, top with sauce, and let cook for another 15 minutes.

With just the two of us, this recipe always makes too much and I end up throwing some away no matter how hard we try to eat the leftovers.  I was inspired by my husband's BBQ Chicken Pizza that he had when we were out the other day and threw this together.

I just grabbed a pre-made crust at the grocery store, threw some more Rudy's bbq sauce on top, some cheese and crumbled up meatloaf.  Thumbs up all around!