Turkey Meatballs

Fall is freezer meal time in our house.  Huge casseroles aren’t really all that practical for us since it’s just Greg and I.  I still make them, since I can usually get two smaller casseroles out of one recipe, but these meatballs are perfect to pull out of the freezer and quickly get on the table.  I usually double this recipe.  I also reserve some of the turkey to make Ryan some without all of the onion and garlic.  I just add all of the other ingredients first, and make 10 or so for him.  Then I freeze them in single serving sizes and he has dinner for a week!  

Here are the ingredients you will need: 

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– 1 lb. ground turkey

– 1 egg beaten

– 4 cloves garlic, minced

– ½ small onion, grated using a box grater, or 1 tsp. onion powder

– ½ cup parmesan cheese

– ¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs

– 3 Tbsp. chili sauce

– ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley, or 1 Tbsp. dried

– 1 tsp. dried oregano

 

Recipe: (20 meatballs)

– Pre-heat oven to 350° and spray a broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray

– Combine all ingredients in a large bowl

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– Form turkey mixture into ping-pong sized balls and place on broiler pan

– Bake 20 -25 minutes or until instant read thermometer reads 165°

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– Serve with your favorite pasta and sauce!

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Macaroni and Cheese Please!

I should call this Mary Poppins Mac and Cheese.  It is “practically perfect in every way”.  I combined two recipes and changed a few ingredients.  The cheese sauce is based off of Martha Stewart’s “Perfect Mac and Cheese”.  The topping is based off a Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese by Mountain Mama Cooks.  I believe my long time search for the perfect Mac and Cheese is finally over.  It has been years.  I could never quite get the cheese sauce smooth enough, or cheesy enough.  I believe this accomplishes both.  

You will need:

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Ingredients

– 6 tbsp. unsalted butter

– 5 ½ cups milk

– ½ cup flour

– 2 tsp. kosher salt

– ½ tsp. garlic powder

– ½ tsp. black pepper

– ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

– 4 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (this is about a 1 lb. block)

– 2 cups grated gruyere (about ½ lb.block)

– 1 lb. elbow macaroni

For the topping:

– ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

– ⅓ cup parmesan cheese

– 2 tbsp. butter, melted

– 6 oz. pancetta, cooked and drained on paper towel

 

Recipe

– Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni 1 minute less than package indicates (it will continue cooking in the oven).  When cooked, drain and rinse the macaroni with cold water to stop the cooking and remove the starch from the pasta.

– Combine the panko, parmesan, and butter in a bowl and set aside

– Pre-heat oven to 375° if baking right away, and butter a 3 quart casserole dish

– In a saucepan, heat milk over low heat

– In a large dutch oven, melt 6 tbsp. of butter over medium heat

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– Add flour to make a roux and cook 2 minutes

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– Slowly whisk in the warm milk

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– Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens (about 10 minutes)

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– When mixture reaches a glue-like consistency, remove from the heat and add the salt, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne, cheddar and gruyere.  

– Add the macaroni

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– Pour macaroni and cheese into the buttered casserole dish

– Top with the panko/parmesan mixture

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– Add the cooked pancetta to the top

– Cover and freeze/refrigerate or bake 30-45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

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 Pure yumminess!

Back to School!

Everyone is getting ready for their first week back to school.  Even though I am not technically going back, I thought I could post a few kid-friendly recipes that are sure to be a hit with your little ones.  Since Ryan started rebelling against purees about a month ago, we have started to get more creative with his meal options.  One of his (and Molly’s) favorites is Sweet Potato Tots.  They are literally two ingredients: sweet potatoes, and parmesan cheese. You could certainly add salt, pepper, or anything else, but we keep it as simple as possible for both baby and dog.  As you can see below, Molly finds one way or another to get whatever it is that Ryan is eating.

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Ingredients:

2 Sweet Potatoes

1/4 cup parmesan cheese


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Recipe: 

– Bake, boil, or microwave sweet potatoes until easily pierced with a fork

– Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 400° and spray a baking sheet or mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray

– When potatoes  are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh of the potato into a bowl

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– Add parmesan cheese

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– Mash together with a fork

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– Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop mixture onto cookie sheet or into a mini muffin tin

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– Bake for 10 minutes and then flip and bake another 7 minutes or so

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When tots are golden brown, they are ready to eat!

 

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Don’t forget to check out the back to school menu!

I’m Back!

Did you think I fell off the face of the Earth?  I felt like I did too for a little while.  Pregnancy hit me like a ton of bricks.  And then I became a mom.  Talk about life changing! Ryan is such a joy to be a mommy to.  So much so, that I took another year off to stay home with him.


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I will admit, it was not all fun and games at first.  I love sleep.  And being deprived of it made me feel less than human. Cooking?  Yeah right.  Thankfully we had lots of meals brought to us by family and friends.  THANK YOU! We probably would have eaten peanut butter and jelly most nights had it not been for food gifts.

Alas, Ryan started sleeping through the night and I started to cook again.  BUT….some of the recipes I put together pre-baby?  What was I thinking?  Way too much time involved when you have an itty bitty one who needs your love and attention.

Now I approach cooking with a new outlook.  I still want food that looks and tastes good.  But I have to be able to prep most of it during nap time or with him at my feet in the kitchen.  That means 10 minutes (give or take) until it is ready for the grill or oven.  Sundays are still a little different because I have Greg around to help.  I am also realizing just how expensive it can be to feed more than two people.  Even though Ryan doesn’t eat much, what we feed him is mostly organic.  I now try to stretch the dollar a little further without completely changing the way we eat.

So here is my first “post-baby” recipe!

Rosemary Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

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Why chicken thighs?  They are relatively inexpensive, even when bought organic.  They can also be “forgotten” in the oven for a few minutes if you have a melting down child, without completely ruining them by drying them out.  Chicken breasts would also work, but they are not quite as forgiving.

Ingredients

1/3 cup whole grain mustard

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1/2 cup honey

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1-2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped

10-12 chicken boneless, skinless chicken thighs

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Recipe

– Combine all ingredients except chicken thighs in a bowl 

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– Pour into a ziploc bag and add the chicken – You could do this in the morning before work if you are really ambitious!

– Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes (This doesn’t count towards prep time since you really aren’t required to do anything for this step).

– Pre-heat oven to 375° or the grill to medium

– If baking: place chicken in a large baking dish with the sauce and bake for 30-40 minutes

– If grilling: grill for 10-12 minutes per side, basting with the sauce when you flip it

– Chicken is done when an instant read thermometer reads 175°

– I served mine with some oven baked asparagus but this recipe is so versatile you could serve with any side dish you like!

 

Enjoy!

 

August 25th Menu

Well, this is it folks!  This is the last complete menu I will be adding to the blog…at least for now.  For those of you who do not know, I am pregnant and expecting in December!  We are very excited and now that I have given you (and myself) a year’s worth of menus, it will be time for me to put it to the test as well!  I will continue to add new recipes that I try, focusing more on those that typically wouldn’t be added to a weekly menu.  I hope everyone continues to use the menus and please feel free to contact me with requests or questions!  

This week we had grilled lamb chops, shrimp and grits, and Maple Mustard Chicken.  

Grilled lamb is one of my favorites and it is fast!  6 minutes on the grill and they are done! I usually serve potatoes with mine, but you could easily do a rice, or skip the starch and go for asparagus, a tomato salad, or any other vegetable that you like.  

This was my first try at shrimp and grits.  I wanted to try something different for the last menu.  I had shrimp at grits at a restaurant in Saratoga last weekend and they were really good.  I am sure they didn’t use instant grits like I did, but I wasn’t about to spend the time on traditional grits.  Greg commented that “No self respecting Southerner would use instant grits”.  (He is famous for his movie quotes. ) I kindly reminded him that I am a Yankee and if he didn’t like my grits, he could have a bowl of cereal!  This was a 20 minute meal by the way! I made enough grits for two nights and added a little water when re-heating the second night.  I cooked the shrimp both nights since I don’t eat re-heated seafood.  They take 5 minutes start to finish in the pan.  

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The Maple Mustard Chicken was good enough to serve to company, but easy enough to prepare on a busy work night.  It was about 30 minutes start to finish.  I gave the optional step of thickening the sauce at the end after taking it out of the oven.  I think it would taste the same either way, the sauce will just stick to the chicken better if it is thicker.  

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Another gorgeous weekend ahead and Happy Travers to those who will be betting on the ponies in Saratoga!

 Menu 8-25

August 18th Menu

This week it is short and sweet everyone….

We kicked the week off with a Grilled Pork Chop with Blackberry Glaze.  I have been on a kick with incorporating fruit into our main dishes.  These grilled up beautifully and although the recipe sounds complicated, it was less than ten ingredients, many of which you already have in your pantry! I only had to buy pork chops and blackberries.

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In the middle of the week, we had a Quesadilla Bake.  My mom made this for us once and it was delicious.  I lightened it up a bit with ground turkey instead of beef, but if you wanted, you could use ground beef.  Greg actually made this one since I was out of town.  I was thoroughly impressed when it was time to eat leftovers the second night.  

Finally, I did a meal makeover from a local restaurant.  We had friends up a few weeks ago and most of us ordered the Crispy Shrimp BLT.  It was so good, but of course I knew the crispy shrimp was fried and it was served with french fries to boot.  To lighten it up, I coated the shrimp in some panko breadcrumbs and baked them. I also subbed the regular bacon for turkey bacon, and the white roll for a whole wheat roll.  I did use mayo, but added some basil and garlic to it and didn’t need as much. Then I served it with a pickle on the side and skipped the fries.  I actually ended up liking my version better than the restaurant’s because the panko made the shrimp extra crispy.  I also LOVED the basil in the mayo. I already want this one again.  

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Have a great weekend!

Menu 8-18

 

 

August 11th Menu

This week’s menu was all about fresh veggies.  Whether you are a CSA member, frequent the local Farmer’s Markets, or just pick them up at the grocery store, everything seems to taste fresh right now.  Both of the Quick Fixes this week are vegetarian “Farmer’s Market” inspired recipes, however for all of you meat lovers, you could easily add bacon to the Farmer’s Market Grilled Cheese, and some turkey sausage to the Farmer’s Market Pizza.  

The first recipe of the week was actually a repeat.  I used the Crock Pot Pulled Pork almost a year ago and possibly once since then, but it is so easy and you really can’t go wrong with the prep time and just letting it go all day in the crock pot.  I added a coleslaw recipe that subs almost all of the mayo for Greek yogurt without sacrificing that creamy coleslaw consistency.  The dressing may make more than you need, so add a little at a time until you get the amount you like.  

Mid-week we made a Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Salad.  It calls for two kinds of lettuce and you actually grill the romaine.  I was hesitant at first, but the slightly charred flavor from the grill really did add to the salad.  This was a breeze to prepare and I recommend making a double or triple batch of the dressing to have on your salads later in the week!  You can store in a mason jar or one of those “Good Seasons” cruets and just shake to serve.

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Finally, I tried a recipe I have been wanting to give a go for a while now.  The asparagus penne and balsamic butter was originally from Food and Wine Magazine.  I modified the recipe a bit and you would never know it was missing 2 tablespoons of butter.  We loved this recipe. Relatively few ingredients, very easy to prepare, and the reduced balsamic is just yummy.  

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* Note: If you use unsalted butter, you will need to add salt to this.  If you use salted butter, you probably will not.  

Have a great weekend!

Menu 8-11