Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Ribbons

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I wanted to make some turkey meatballs and came up with this recipe trying to make the meatballs as moist as possible for turkey. It’s a three step cooking process that works well with the zucchini ribbons as a side instead of pasta.

  • 1-1/2 pounds of Ground Turkey 85/15
  • 1 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp of good mustard
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko bread crumbs)
  • 1 tbsp of italian herbs
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Add onion, mustard, egg, herbs, breadcrumbs and black pepper. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a large plate or baking sheet.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the vegetable stock in the pan and bring to a boil. Turn meatballs often to cook on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a pyrex baking pan, leaving the vegetable stock
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake the meatballs for about 15-20 additional minutes. While this is cooking, you can prepare the vegetables for the dish.

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And for the vegetable portion of the dish, I like to make ribbons out of zucchini by using a vegetable peeler and some diced veggies.

  • Vegetable broth leftover from meatball recipe
  • 1 large zucchini, peeled into ribbons
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 roma tomato, diced small
  • 1 cup of swiss chard or kale, cut into ribbons

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  1. Prepare all vegetables while letting the vegetable reheat using the same pan that you cooked the meatballs in. Bring to a boil and stir often, getting any meatball flavor from the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add all ingredients, stirring every couple minutes. Total cooking time  is about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  3. With a slotted spoon, place vegetables on a plate, top with turkey meatballs, parmesan cheese and pepper.

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Oven Roasted Crab

IMG_3454 Thinking back, one of the first recipes I ever wrote on my blog was my Roasted Crab recipe. I wanted to be able to share my love of making one of my favorite dishes at home, easily.

The fresh local Dungeness Crab and seafood is one of the best things about my hometown San Francisco. I look forward to Crab Season every year and like to celebrate with a nice crab dinner for friends and family.

You want to use a fresh live crab. Whether you get it cut and cleaned at the seafood market or do it yourself, start with one dungeness live crab and increase the recipe to include more. IMG_3450

  • 1 Large Dungeness Crab (or 2 small crabs), legs and arms removed and cleaned.
  • 2 cups of white wine or sake
  • 1/2 onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 4 tbsp of butter, chopped into small squares
  • 2 tsp of diced garlic
  • Old Bay Seasoning or pinch of Cayenne, Salt and Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Put the crab, butter, garlic and onion in a large baking pan or pyrex casserole dish. Then pour the wine over the crab, then squeeze the lemon wedges over the crab and toss them in.
  3. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes depending on the amount of crab used. Occasionally  adjust and flip the crab while in the oven, to maximize the flavor that goes into the crab.
  4. Cool and serve with some of the broth from the pan mixed with butter. The lemon garlic sauce is really good with the crab and a nice toasted sourdough loaf.

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Acorn Squash Polenta

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I love the savory flavors that acorn squash adds to dishes, so I decided to try making  a healthier version of creamy polenta by using acorn squash that was first roasted and made into a puree.

  • 1 acorn squash, chopped into pieces
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp of butter -melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for about 30-45 minutes until soft.
  2. Remove skins from acorn squash, chop into small pieces and mash. Mix with 1 tsp of melted butter or a little olive oil. Set aside

IMG_3336 Basic Polenta Recipe

  • 6 cups of water
  • 1-3/4 yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.
  2. Add in the acorn squash mixture after the cornmeal, working the pieces into the polenta as it cooks.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes
  4. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted.

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Sausage Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard

IMG_5968Today I made this delicious lentil soup with sausage, vegetables and swiss chard. I was so inspired by the flavors, I decided to post it right away.

  • 3 Italian Sausages
  • 1-2/3 cups of lentils
  • 3 Carrots, diced small
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil or spray olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of diced garlic
  • 3 stalks of celery with tops, diced
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 3 cups chopped swiss chard
  1. Heat a large pot with a little olive oil, add garlic and onion.
  2. Remove sausage from casing and break up to brown a few minutes.
  3. Add carrots, celery and let cook a couple minutes.
  4. Add lentils, vegetable broth and bring to boil on medium heat.
  5. Boil for about 40 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Add swiss chard and let cook together for another 15 minutes.

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Squasagna!

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The whole idea started with the boom of my first batch of monster zucchini in my garden. I was inspired to make a lasagna, but instead of pasta – use ribbons of zucchini and squash. The options of ingredients are endless, so use this as a base and create your own.

I chose to put a latin spin on it by using a homemade guajillo sauce made from the cooked peppers, tomato sauce and spices. I also used Monterey Jack and Cotija, but you can use whatever you prefer or none at all.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Medium sized zucchinis and/or squash, boiled whole for 5 minutes, then peeled into ribbons
  • 1 pound ground beef or sausage, cooked (optional)
  • 1-1/2 cups of pasta sauce, tomato sauce or guajillo pepper sauce (latin style)
  • 1/2 onion sauteed and added to the ground beef and sauce
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, pan fried but not completely cooked
  • 1+ cups of monterey jack, mozzerella or cotija (latin style)
  1. First step that I took was to prepare the ingredients before layering them. I wanted to cook the ingredients so that everything was moist and had a separate flavor inside the squasagna.
  2. Zucchini:  I boiled these whole for about 5 minutes. They are still firm, but the boiling cooks them slightly and adds water. I was worried if I used them uncooked that they would be drier inside the lasagna. After boiling, I let cool for 5 minutes before peeled into ribbons. I used a regular vegetable peeler, but a mandolin or large wire peeler would work too.
  3. The Meat Sauce: Although optional to the dish, I cooked 1 pound of ground beef in a skillet, adding in my chopped onion and let it cook with the meat. Then I add my sauce, cooking them together until the meat is cooked. If no meat is added, you can make your own tomato or pepper sauce to add or use a premade pasta sauce.
  4. Mushrooms: Love them, so I sauteed them in a little oil – not all the way cooked. Remove and set aside.
  5. Cheese: Grate different cheeses, as much and whatever type you love the most.

IMG_7404Start with a nice rectangular baking pan. Grease the bottom of the pan with spray or olive oil. Layer the squash on the bottom to create the base. Add a layer of cheese across the entire surface and then add your mushrooms. IMG_7407Then my layer of meat, onions and sauce is added to the middle of the squasagna. After the meat, I add one more layer of peeled ribbon squash and top with cheese. IMG_7408Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the whole lasagna is cooked throughout. This doesn’t take too long since the ingredients are pre-made. IMG_7415We loved this dish, it was so savory good and a healthy twist on the lasagna. I promise you won’t miss the pasta very much at all.

Red Potatoes Au Gratin with Skinny Sauce

Every now and then, I like to make something cheesy and comforting yet without all the calories. I started making this “skinny sauce” and like to use it for my Au Gratin and Macaroni and Cheese. I made 4 portions in this pie pan and calculated it as 175 calories per portion.

  • 2 medium/large red potatoes or 3 cups of potato slices
  • 1 teaspoon of Savory (or Herbs de Provence or Italian Seasoning) for herbal flavor
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Slice Potatoes into wedges. For 4 portions, I sliced 2 medium to large red potatoes. I boiled them in about 3 cups of water with the savory, salt and pepper. Cooked to about 8 minutes, cooked through yet not mushy.20130530-171035.jpg

I drain the water from the potatoes, yet keep a little. Like 1/4 cup of the herbed water. Then I make the sauce in the drained pan.

  • 1-2 tablespoons or pats of butter
  • 1/4 cup herbed water from potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • pinch of cracked salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cream Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon of Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese

Heat butter in pan, add water and milk. Let boil and add salt. Add Cream Cheese and Yogurt or Sour Cream and break down with a fork. Let boil for 3 minutes or so and add Parmesan as you stir and thicken the sauce. 20130530-171216.jpgHeat Oven to 375 degrees. Arrange your Potatoes in a Pie pan. I like to save some of the herbs from the water. Pour Sauce over Potatoes in Pan. Sprinkle a little more Parmesan and cracked pepper or cayenne. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn on high broil for 5 minutes or raise heat to 400 to crisp the top. 20130530-171250.jpg

Steak Wrapped Asparagus

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This idea is so simple and can be done with steak or bacon. It’s a great idea for a barbecue appetizer or a side dish.

Simply pre-steam the asparagus, unless you want them to be crunchy. They are much better if they are cooked yet still have a crispness to them.

Wrap thin slices of meat around the Asparagus spears. Sometimes it’s best to use two stalks if they are skinny. try not to wrap it too much, so that the meat gets cooked throughout.

Cook on Medium for about 8 minutes, rotating after 2 minutes on all sides. You can go more or less depending on your meat temp preference.