Asian Inspired Turkey Meatballs

I’ve been working on this recipe for about a month now. I’m lucky enough to live near a year round farmers’ market with local poultry and meat vendors. A few times now, I’ve picked up some ground turkey. The first time, I used it to make the the meatloaf. Since then, I’ve been working on these meatballs and I think I like this recipe enough to post it for all of you.

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Asian Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 large onion
  • 10 medium to large shitake mushrooms, minced
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • 1 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced or dried
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (fresh is best, but dried will do)
  • 1 Tbsp sodium soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a medium baking pan with a nonstick mat (I use these) or spray with a neutral cooking oil.

In a medium pan, heat the sesame oil over a medium-low heat. Add the garlic, onions, and mushrooms and sauté until all are soft and the mushrooms have released their liquid and it has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Once the garlic, onions, and mushrooms, let them cool for five minutes, then mix with the rest of the ingredients. It’s probably going to be easiest to just smush them together using your hands.

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Form into balls that are approximately 1.5 inches in diameter and space evenly in the prepared pan. I ended up with 15 meatballs total. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned on the outside and no pink is left on the inside.

I served these with some homemade carrot-cucumber pickled slaw and an egg drop corn soup (recipes to come!) and it made an excellent healthy dinner with plenty of leftovers.

Chicken lime soup with cilantro and white beans

As I’ve mentioned before, my boyfriend and I buy a whole roasted chicken every week or two. I shred the meat and use the carcass to make stock. This means I often have a lot of chicken sitting in the fridge and I like to be creative with it.

This week I wanted to make a soup with chicken and beans and I’m pretty pleased with the results. The one major thing I’d change is using fresh cilantro rather than dried, but I made do with what I had.

Chicken lime soup

Chicken Lime Soup

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 15 oz. can white beans
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1.5-2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 oz. shredded chicken
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chipped (if using dried, increase the amount)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium and add the olive oil and onion, sautéing until soft and aromatic (5-10 minutes). Add the carrots, tomatoes, and beans. Simmer for another 10 minutes, then add the pepper, chicken broth, and shredded chicken. Allow to cook until the carrots have softened slightly. Add lime juice and cilantro. Stir to combine, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Breakfast (or anytime) Veggie Muffins

So, this recipe originates from a site aimed at children’s activities. But the reality is that they’re a great choice for adults, too. Plus, they help get in another serving of vegetables! I did (as always) alter the recipe slightly. I replaced the self rising flour with regular flour and baking powder and then traded half the white flour for whole wheat to add a bit of fiber. I also reduced the cheese slightly; as much as I love cheese, there’s a limit to how much a recipe really needs.

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Cheesy Veggie Muffins

  • 5 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups of whole milk
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Sift the flours, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the liquid ingredients, beating the eggs first. Mix until just combined, then fold in the vegetables.

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Divide evenly among a regular (12 well) muffin tin that has been greased or lined with metal cupcake liners. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool before removing.

Quinoa patties with spinach, mushrooms, and goat cheese

I’ve been wanting to work our a quinoa patty recipe for a while and I really like the the way this one came out. Mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheese are a delicious combination. I pan fried this version, but I would really like to try baking them, which would reduce the oil.

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Quinoa Patties with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Goat Cheese

  • 1/3 cup dry quinoa
  • 2/3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 5 cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 cup roughly chopped mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 oz. crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 3-4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Bring the quinoa and chicken broth to a boil in a small pot. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

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While quinoa is cooking, dice the onions and garlic. Heat half a tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent. When they are almost done, add the spinach to the pan and cook until just wilted. Set aside to cool.

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Heat another half tablespoon of oil over medium and add the mushrooms and half a teaspoon of salt. Cook the mushrooms until they have released their moisture and it has evaporated. Allow to cool.

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Beat the eggs and mix with the quinoa and panko and the remaining salt and pepper. Fold in the mushrooms, the onions and spinach, and then the cheese.

In a large frying pan, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Form the quinoa mixture into balls approximately two inches in diameter, flatten slightly, and place in the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until well browned.

IMG_8906As you can see, I was able to fit four patties in the pan I have. Repeat until all the mixture is used; I ended up with 10 patties total.

Recipes I’m working on

You can see from a lot of my posts that I often base my cooking on other people’s recipes. That doesn’t mean I don’t come up with any on my own, though! Usually, I like to have a base recipe so I get proportions right, which is especially important for dishes that need to keep their shape in some way (like those turkey meatloaf muffins I posted last night) or anything that I’m going to bake. Other foods require a certain ratio in order to get the right texture. So, my next projects?

  1. Chai-spiced chia seed pudding. I really like chia, though the texture isn’t for everyone. But you have to get the liquid to seed ratio just right. Too much and it doesn’t set properly; too little and it becomes chunky and hard. I also want to do some spice adjustments on this recipe to get the flavor closer to the already-delicious aroma.
  2. Something with quinoa, goat cheese, and broccoli. I’m not sure yet if this will be side-dish-esque bites or something more like a breakfast muffin. But the flavors all really appeal to me, so I’m excited about where this one will go.
  3. I’ve really wanted to figure out almond crusted chicken for a while now, but have only attempted it once. I think it’s time to give it a try again!

So give me a few days – maybe the weekend – and I’ll be back with something delicious.

Turkey meatloaf muffins

It’s been a long time since I made meatloaf, but the boyfriend was apparently craving it the other day, so we picked up the ingredients and I did a bit of searching for a good recipe. The one that I settled on is this one from Inspired Taste. I already had mushrooms sitting around and knew that I wanted to incorporate them, so this recipe was perfect. As always, of course, I did make a few adjustments. Most notably, I made these into muffins, rather than one large loaf, which makes for easier portioning. I also replaced all the ketchup with steak sauce, specifically Peter Lugar Steak Sauce, which really is quite good, and reduced the turkey slightly, which was really just a function of what we had in the house.

Overall, I’m very pleased with how these came out! I think that next time I might add some spinach. I think it would be a nice addition.

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Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, trimmed and finely chopped (about 15 mushrooms)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 tablespoons steak sauce, divided
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 lb. ground turkey

Preheat the oven to 400ºF and spray the inside of your muffin tin, if using. If you are using a silicone muffin pan, which is what I did, there is no need to spray or grease it.

Heat the 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over medium and sauté onions until they are soft, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

While the onions are cooking, chop the mushrooms, which can be done by hand, or, for a more even and fine texture, chop them in a food processor. Once the onions and garlic are cooked, heat the other 1/2 tablespoon of oil over medium heat and cook the mushrooms, along with the salt and pepper, down until they are soft and their moisture has been released and has evaporated.

While the mushrooms are cooking, mix the panko and chicken broth and set aside.

Place the onions and mushrooms in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, two tablespoons of the steak sauce, and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then beat the eggs and mix them in along with the panko and broth mixture.

Now, here’s the fun/gross part. I’ll admit that I am not a huge fan of touching raw meat, but in this case it is the best way to incorporate the turkey into the onion/mushroom mixture. So squish it around with your hands until the meat is well blended into the rest of the ingredients.

As I mentioned earlier, I made these into muffins, rather than one large loaf, and I did so using the same silicone jumbo muffin pan that I use to make my breakfast egg muffins. It’s a perfect individual serving and this recipe also divides nicely into six servings, filling the pan exactly. I used my hands to make the turkey mixture into balls approximately three inches across and then plopped them into the muffin pan. I then topped each individual meatloaf with one tablespoon of steak sauce and used a spoon to spread it slightly, covering the entire exposed surface.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes and allow to cool for ten minutes before attempting to remove from the pan.

Even easier red lentil soup

I said I’d have a recipe to post this week, didn’t I? This one is pretty simple, but I think it came out really nicely.

Red Lentil Carrot Soup

Red Lentil Carrot Soup

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp roasted garlic powder (I love this one from Penzey’s)
  • 1 tsp (or more to taste) cumin
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • Salt to taste

Heat olive oil over medium and add onion, cooking until soft (approximately five minutes). Add the garlic powder and stir. Pour in chicken stock, lentils, cumin, and carrots, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are very soft, about half an hour. Salt to taste.

I used an immersion blender to get the soup very smooth, but this isn’t strictly necessary.