Sunday, July 25, 2010

Baked Turkey "Party" Meatballs

I had some leftover ground turkey that I wanted to use up.  My hubby suggested mini-meatballs, great idea, so that's just what I made.  Our 3 year old son LOVED them.  I call them "Party" meatballs because they are fun to dip and eat and of course they would be great with a toothpick stuck in them for a party!  They were easy to make.  I did a quick online search and found someone who suggested using a mini muffin tin...brilliant!  It worked great!  We dipped them in Marinara sauce, but you could also try barbecue sauce or another favorite sauce.

And they are fun for kids!  Here is our son enjoying them, he had thirds. 
that's our nosy kitty in the background :)

Ingredients: (makes 24 mini meatballs)
-1/2 - 3/4 pound lean ground turkey
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1/8 cup Egg Beater's
-1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 cup dry bread crumbs, plus more for tossing

Preheat oven to 400'F. Mix all ingredients very well in a large mixing bowl.  Use a #70 scoop (~1/2oz), scoop portions of the meat mixture and shape into balls. Place some of the extra bread crumbs in a small dish and roll the meatballs in the crumbs, one at a time, to coat well. Replenish the bread crumbs as needed.
Place the meatballs in a mini-muffin tin --- one per cup --- and bake for 14-15 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 165'F.  Jiggle the tin a couple of times or use the tip of a butter knife to turn the meatballs at least once 1/2 way through cooking. The meatballs should be golden and cooked through. 
TIPS: Double this recipe for a party, you can always use eggs (1/4cup Egg Beater's = 1 large egg).  These meatballs can be frozen in small batches so you can take them out as needed for pasta, sandwiches or a snack. here for the recipe!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Balsamic Glazed Chicken

This is a tasty way to fix chicken. The sauce is seriously finger licking good. No really, I was dipping my finger in and wishing we had some more chicken just to eat more of the sauce!

Equal parts brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, low sodium soy sauce and honey (~1/2 cup each)
fresh rosemary (~4-5 sprigs)
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
8-10 chicken breast tenders
toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions for garnish

1. Mix brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, use a whisk to incorporate. Add honey, rosemary (leave sprigs whole so they are easy to fish out later), and garlic cloves. Pour marinade into a gallon-sized re-sealable plastic bag, add the chicken and place sealed bag in the fridge to marinate for about 2 hours.

2. Remove chicken, save the marinade, we'll cook it down into a delicious dipping sauce. Grill chicken about 2-3 minutes per side until internal temperature of 155'F. Or you can bake chicken in a 450'F oven for about 15-18 minutes flipping once, half-way through.

3. Place marinade in a saucepan, remove the garlic and rosemary. Since the marinade had raw chicken in to you want to bring it to a boil then quickly reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook 10-15 minutes until it's nice and thickened. Spread over your chicken, sprinkle with garnishes and serve hot with extra sauce at the table.
Seriously addictive! here for the recipe!

Green Salad with Melon and Citrus Vinaigrette

This is a very refreshing and fresh tasting salad. We often add strawberries, apples and pears to our green salads so why not try melon? This was actually quite tasty. Dress it with a simple store-bought vinaigrette or try making your own. Either way this salad was tasty and a great compliment to the barbecued chicken we had! Try it with summer melon or watermelon too.

Citrus Vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar or honey or Agave Nectar
olive oil (about 3 tablespoons, eyeball it)
salt & pepper

Whisk all ingredients except the olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl or shake in a salad dressing container until well combined. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in whisking constantly until well mixed and combined. Give it a taste and season as needed with salt & pepper to taste.

Our salad had
1/2 medium cantaloupe or other melon cut into cubes
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups of your favorite lettuce (arugula, romaine, butter, etc)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted here for the recipe!

Roasted Zucchini & Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese

We are still trying to find creative ways to eat all of the zucchini we are harvesting from the garden...tonight...roasted!  These make a great side dish to any meal.  The dusting of Parmesan gave them a tasty crunch.

4-5 small red potatoes, quartered
2 medium zucchini, chucked
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (please don't use the green can kind)
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

So because potatoes and zucchini have different cooking/roasting times I opted to par-boil the potatoes a bit to avoid overcooked zucchini with raw potatoes.  :)

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add potatoes and cook until just tender 7-9 minutes. Preheat oven to 400'F.
2. In a large bowl combine zucchini chucks, potatoes, herbs, garlic, cheese, olive oil and pepper, toss to coat. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the veggies on it in a single layer. Sprinkle a tad bit more Parmesan cheese on top.  Bake at 400'F for ~15-20 minutes until golden brown, crispy and cooked through. here for the recipe!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

I would like to say thanks to you all for the great words of encouragement and comments (on & off the blog). This has been a fun project for us and your feedback helps keep us inspired!  Please don't be afraid to comment here, that way everyone can benefit from your ideas and our Q&A. 
Okay, so here's tonights dinner...yummo!
These peppers are tasty and pretty. I added ground turkey to step this up to an entrée. It's a great way to use up all that zucchini we have, grating it is a fun and a fast way to incorporate into this dish. We are harvesting 2-3 zucchini from our garden every day! The only thing I may change for next time is to try adding a little grated Mozzarella cheese to the filling to make it more decadent, maybe 1/2 cup, try it and let me know!

Start with some beautiful bell peppers; 
red, orange or yellow work best as they are sweeter.

Recipe: (4-6 servings)
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2-3 fresh from the vine tomatoes, diced (if you don't have fresh tomatoes, just add another 15oz can and drain them)
2 medium zucchini, grated (use your cheese grater)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup orzo pasta or other tiny pasta
1/2-3/4 pound lean ground turkey (*for vegetarian, omit the turkey, use 1 1/2cups of orzo and use vegetable broth!)
6 good-sized bell peppers (red, yellow or orange)

Preheat oven to 400'F
1. Combine tomatoes, zucchini, basil, cheese, olive oil, garlic and all spices in a large bowl, stir together.
2. Brown the turkey in a saucepan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until cooked through and no longer pink, set aside.
3. Partially cook the orzo in the chicken broth over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Save the broth! Drain the orzo, be sure to reserve the broth! Add the orzo and cooked turkey to the large bowl of vegetables and stir to combine, season to taste.
4. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by pouring the warm chicken broth in the bottom to allow the peppers to steam in the oven. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds being careful to keep them whole as they will be the vessels for our yummy stuffing. You can trim a small amount off the bottoms to help them stand up in the dish, don't cut all the way through.
5. Scoop the meat mix into the peppers and place them in the baking dish with the warm broth (~1/2inch of broth). Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Then uncover and sprinkle with cheese, continue baking until the cheese is melted, ~15 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with basil and serve with a fresh green salad! here for the recipe!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Tasty blueberry muffins for an early Sunday morning before church.  They have some extra fiber with wheat flour and flax meal.  Enjoy!

Streusel topping
On their way to the oven topped with streusal
Hot out of the oven
Recipe (makes 12 muffins)
3/4 cup fat free milk
1/4 plain fat free yogurt
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons water (or use orange juice like my sister-in-law suggested)
1 cup fresh blueberries (or frozen blueberries)

1. Heat oven to 400'F. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Make Streusel topping (see below); set aside
3. Mix milk, yogurt and egg in a large bowl with a whisk. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt all at once just until flour is moistened (it will be lumpy). Add water(or juice) to thin batter a bit. Fold in blueberries gently. Divide batter using an ice cream scoop, among a 12 muffin cup tin. Sprinkle each with about 1 tablespoon streusal topping.
4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes, serve warm.

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons flax meal
2 tablespoons cold butter

Mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two forks, until crumbly (see photo above). here for the recipe!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pesto Pizza

My wonderful hubby made pizza tonight!  We were inspired by a dinner out last week and decided to try our hand at making pesto pizza at home.  He pulled out some Semolina pizza dough from the freezer, (he makes it in the bread machine, then freezes the dough balls for quick meals later on) smothered it in my homemade pesto from yesterday's post, some freshly grated Mozzarella cheese and his addition of grilled chicken cut into strips.  It was delish and actually very close to the restaurant's version, maybe even better since it was a tad less greasy.  Here's my hubby's recipe for the pizza dough.  This is a garlicy-basil explosion in your mouth, wonderful! here for the recipe!


What to do with all the fresh vine ripe tomatoes and bright green basil from our garden...Hmmm? Bruschetta! This is such a tasty, flavorful appetizer, and simple to make. I made some fresh Vienna bread in our bread machine, or you can pick up a nice baguette from the bakery.

Ingredients: (approximate quantities)
4-5 medium tomatoes, seeded, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups basil leaves, julienned
1/4 cup olive oil
fresh ground pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded for garnish

1. Mix tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil and pepper in a small bowl, toss to combine, add more olive oil as needed. Let the mixture rest for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
2. Slice bread, if your bread is fresh (soft), toast on a sheet pan in 350'F oven for about 5-7 minutes, flipping once to avoid soggy bruschetta. Spoon tomato mixture on top of each slice of bread and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
3. Bake bruschetta in 350'F oven about 5-7 minutes or until heated through and bread is slightly golden. Serve on a rustic wooden cutting board, drizzle lightly with olive oil prior to serving.

The rest of our dinner tonight...
Sautéed garden vegetables served over pasta
and green salad 
with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion 
and a sprinkle of goat cheese here for the recipe!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fresh Basil Pesto

Recently my hubby celebrated his birthday and one of his choices for a dinner out was a tasty family-owned pizzeria. We ordered something new to us, pesto pizza. It was delicious. They have a wonderful pizza crust, smothered in pesto and mozzarella cheese. It inspired me to take some of the tons of fresh basil we have growing in our yard and make some pesto! I used walnuts for this and toasted them in the oven to give them alittle extra toasty flavor. Just spread them on a sheet pan and toast in a 350'F oven for about 8-10 minutes until fragrant and just browned, but not burned. :o)
Pulse food processor to chop nuts
Add basil and garlic and pulse again
Add Parmesan and stream in the olive oil
finished pesto...yum!

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Special equipment needed: A food processor
1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Makes 1 cup.
Serve with pasta, on sandwiches, over toasted baguette slices or make a pesto pizza!  
*I like to freeze the sauce in small-one meal portion-zip top bags, or you could freeze it in ice cube trays for easy 1-ounce measuring. here for the recipe!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Homemade Pancakes

These pancake's are easy to make; they are light and tasty.

Mix dry ingredients together:
1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons buttermilk powder

Mix wet ingredients together (in a separate bowl):
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups water
1 egg (1/4 cup Egg Beaters)
3 tablespoons of plain nonfat yogurt

Add wet and dry ingredients and mix together just enough to get them to combine...too much mixing will make them lose their light fluffy texture. Let stand for 5 minutes (also helps with the light texture).

Spray a nonstick pan with Canola oil and pour batter onto a hot grill (medium heat). Now is the time to drop a few blueberries in to each pancake and gently push them in. Just before flipping over, spray the top of each pancake lightly with more oil. This will give them a nicely browned finish on each side. Remember, there is no oil in the pancakes so a little spray is needed.

Enjoy with real maple syrup drizzled on top.

-J (Dad) here for the recipe!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Shredded Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches with Roasted Asparagus

The slow-cooker slaved over this chicken all afternoon. I poured about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce over 4 chicken breasts and added about 2 cups of Low Sodium chicken broth and cooked it on high for 5 hours. Check half way through and add more chicken broth as needed to keep chicken moist.  Then I shredded it and added some diced red onions and alittle extra barbecue sauce to some toasty whole wheat buns.  Kind of like a Sloppy Joe, but with chicken! This is a fun 4th of July recipe idea.

Served up with some roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese.  Used our awesome LeCruset grill pan, a gift from my sister and brother-in-law.  It works great for grilling up veggies right on the stove top. here for the recipe!

Honey-Lime Chicken with Warm Black Bean Salsa

Another yummy summer dinner. We grilled some fresh corn on the cob to add to this salad. I added in some zucchini from our garden and it worked well. Delish! Here is the recipe as requested!

Recipe (serves 4)
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of 2 limes
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2-3 fresh ears of corn, grilled and kernels cut from cob (or ~10oz frozen corn kernels)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 15oz-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
5-6 cups fresh spinach

1. Sauté onions, garlic, zucchini, red pepper flakes, cumin and a pinch of pepper in olive oil in a large pan over medium heat for about 4 minutes.
2. Combine the juice of 1 lime, honey, chili powder pinch of pepper in a separate dish, add the chicken and stir to combine (the chicken can be left in the marinade up to 2 hours if you are making it ahead). Cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165'F. Keep warm.
3. To the vegetable mixture, add the bell peppers and corn and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Pour in the broth and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Mix in the black beans and spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted. Add the cilantro and juice of 1/2 - 1 lime to taste. Serve with chicken. here for the recipe!

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