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Talking Turkey (Meatballs) – Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze and Carrot Rice

Meatballs are always a family favorite and provide a lot of versatility when I make then. Typically, they start off with a meal that includes some type of pasta, but the meatballs are also fantastic for meatball subs or meatball parmigiana sandwiches. They also make a great addition to a pizza for pizza night. All of that is perfect when you make meatballs in tomato sauce, but once in a while, I like something that is a little bit of a change. I love Swedish meatballs or meatballs in a gravy and have found that making meatballs using turkey meat gives me the chance to play with all kinds of different flavors and create new meals. I had picked up some ground turkey recently at the store and wanted to make something different for dinner, so I combined these two recipes, one from Martha Stewart for a carrot rice and the other from Julia Moskin for scallion meatballs with a soy glaze.

Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze and Carrot Rice

For the Sauce:

½ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup soy sauce

½ cup mirin sweet rice wine, or 1/2 cup sake with 1/4 cup sugar

¼ cup chopped peeled ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander

4 whole black peppercorns

For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground turkey

4 large or 6 small scallions, finely chopped

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped about 1 cup

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil

For the Rice:

Salt

1 cup long-grain white rice

1 carrot, shredded

To make the sauce, bring the sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan set over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar melts completely. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the soy sauce, mirin, ginger, coriander, and peppercorns. Simmer, occasionally stirring, until the sauce is reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Strain the sauce through a sieve. The sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.

To make the meatballs, mix the ground turkey, scallions, cilantro, egg, sesame oil, soy sauce and several grindings of pepper in a medium bowl. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls.

In a skillet set over medium-high heat, generously cover the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding, place the meatballs in the pan and cook them, occasionally turning, until the meatballs are browned all over and cooked inside, about 8 minutes per batch. Arrange on a heated platter, spoon a little sauce over each meatball, and serve with toothpicks. If desired, keep warm in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve. Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired.

To make the rice, in a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and stir, and return the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the rice and cook it until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and top it with the shredded carrot. Let the rice stand, covered, for about 5 minutes, then stir in the carrot and fluff the rice with a fork. Arrange the rice on a heated platter and top with the meatballs and sauce. Garnish the dish with sliced scallions, if desired.

Ground turkey by itself does not have a lot of flavor to it, but when you add the ingredients to the dish with the meatballs and the sauce, you will find that they pack quite a bit of flavor. The scallions and soy shine through nicely, and the meatballs are tender and tasty. The carrot rice is very simple, and the carrots add a nice touch and texture to the rice for something a little different. You can easily just make the meatballs and use them as an appetizer for any dinner, party or buffet you are having as well. I felt the dish was a nice change of pace from the usual meatballs and gives me something different to fall back on when I want to liven the meatball routine up a bit.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Bust Out the Bacon – Bacon Honey Bourbon Turkey Meatballs

Even though the weather is still pretty warm around here, I know that summer is starting to wind down, school will be starting up in a few weeks and before you know it the fall weather will be upon us again. Cooler weather means turning back to using the oven more for meals, but it also can mean things like parties on the weekends for football games and get-togethers and you may even start thinking about your holiday parties for the year. Whether you are looking for a new snack option to try out or want something a little different for dinner, meatballs can be the perfect option for you. Meatballs can be much more versatile than just the standard ones you might throw into some tomato sauce. You can make Swedish meatballs, sweet and sour meatballs or make meatballs using other proteins like pork, sausage, lamb or turkey. I came across this recipe on a blog called Gal on a Mission and the original recipe calls for using ground chicken, but I thought ground turkey would work out just as well and tweaked it a bit to make it my own.

Bacon Honey Bourbon Turkey Meatballs

For the Meatballs:

6 strips of bacon

8 ounces button mushrooms, washed and dried

16 ounces ground turkey

1 Italian sausage link (mild or hot), casing removed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoons chili powder

3 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 fresh basil leaves, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

½ cup breadcrumbs

For the Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce:

½ cup water

1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, homemade or store-bought

3 tablespoons bourbon

1 tablespoon honey

fresh chopped parsley, to garnish (optional)

For the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray or grease a large skillet. Set the pan aside.

 

Pulse together the bacon and button mushrooms in the food processor until they are well blended. Place the mushroom and bacon mixture, the ground turkey and the Italian sausage, salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic, and breadcrumbs into a medium mixing bowl and mix until all of the ingredients are well combined. Scoop the meat mixture using a medium cookie scoop or roll the mixture by hand and place the meatballs onto the baking sheet or in the skillet. Repeat the process until all of the meat has been used.

Bake the meatballs for  about 20 to 25 minutes in the oven until they are golden brown.

For the honey bourbon barbecue sauce whisk together the water, barbecue sauce, bourbon, and honey in a large skillet. Simmer the skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, add the cooked meatballs to the sauce, coat each meatball, and simmer the meatballs over low-to-medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Garnish the meatballs with the fresh parsley, if desired,  and serve.

It’s a pretty simple recipe that combines some great ingredients so you end up with meatballs that have excellent flavor. The turkey, combined with the bacon and sausage, give great texture and taste to the meatballs and provide some of the added fat the meatballs need when you use turkey to boost the flavor. the mushrooms help to provide some extra texture, but if you’re not a mushroom fan, I think you could leave them out and the recipe would be fine.  I really liked the sauce for the meatballs. You get the sweetness of the honey with the hint of flavor from the bourbon and your barbecue sauce for a thick, rich sauce that everyone will love. I made the meatballs a little bigger since we were having these as a dinner, but if you make them smaller I think they are perfect to use for any type of party appetizer you might be looking for so you can offer something a little different this year. For dinner, I served them with some rice but they might go really nicely with some German potato salad or roasted potatoes.

That’s all I have for today.Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on August 19, 2016 in Appetizers, Dinner, Poultry, Sauce, Sausage, Turkey

 

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A Super Holiday Appetizer – Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze

Finding just the right appetizers when you are hosting a holiday party or having everyone over for a holiday meal can always seem like a challenge. You want to go beyond just having cheese and crackers or chips and dip and want to put out something memorable that makes a great snack before the main entrée or a fantastic addition to a buffet table. One of my favorites is to always do something different with meatballs. You can do so many different things with meatballs and a great sauce and then all you need is a platter and some toothpicks and you have the perfect finger food. I came across this recipe recently from the New York Times and decided to try out the recipe for scallion meatballs with a soy-ginger glaze. I initially made a batch and we had some for dinner that night and I froze the rest to have on hand for appetizers at a later date. They are easy to make, make great use of turkey and the glaze is out of this world.

Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze

For the Sauce:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup mirin sweet rice wine, or 1/2 cup sake with 1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup chopped peeled ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander

4 whole black peppercorns

For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground turkey

4 large or 6 small scallions, finely chopped

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil

To make the sauce, bring the brown sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan set over medium-high heat, stirring the mixture until the sugar melts completely. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the soy sauce, mirin, chopped ginger, coriander and the peppercorns. Simmer, stirring the sauce occasionally, until the sauce has been reduced by about half, about 30 minutes. Strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the solids and discard the solids.

To make the meatballs, mix the ground turkey, scallions, cilantro, beaten egg, sesame oil and the soy sauce and several grinds of black pepper in a bowl. Roll tablespoons of the mixture together into balls. in a skillet set over medium-high heat, generously coat the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, place the meatballs in the pan and cook, turning, until the meatballs are browned all over and cooked through inside, about 8 minutes per batch. Arrange the meatballs on a heated platter and spoon a little sauce over each meatball and serve the meatballs with toothpicks. If desired, keep the meatballs in the sauce warm in a 200 degree oven until you are ready to serve.

The meatballs themselves are very tasty with the scallions adding a nice layer of flavor to them, but the sauce is the real winner in this dish. The ginger, soy sauce and mirin really stand out to make the sauce sweet and a little sticky and packed with flavor. I could see using this sauce over a variety of other items, such as a pork tenderloin or pork chops or even chicken pieces or boneless chicken breasts. The meatballs are a perfect appetizer for any type of party and you can make them and keep them warm until you are ready for the party.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on December 16, 2014 in Appetizers, Cooking, Dinner, Gravy, Holidays, Poultry, Sauce, Turkey

 

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A Meatball Finale – Turkey Meatballs with Raspberry-Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

I took a few days off from blogging to get caught up on some work, but I didn’t forget about my last meatball recipe to share along the way. The classic Italian meatballs sure went a long way and we had them for 4 dinners and a few lunches as well, so we got a lot out of the $14.00 I spent on the ground turkey and turkey sausage. Not only do the meatballs taste great, but you have a lot of things to do with them, including this recipe that Giada di Laurentiis shared on the Food Network for turkey meatballs in a raspberry-balsamic barbecue sauce. Giada’s original recipe offers these up as mini meatballs to use for appetizers, but I changed it around slightly and used bigger meatballs and we had them for dinner when I made them.

Turkey Meatballs with Raspberry-Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

2 cups frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
3/4 cup ketchup
2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
3 tablespoons packed golden brown sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black
Zest of 1 small lemon
24 to 36 Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs
For the barbecue sauce: In a food processor or blender, blend together the raspberries, ketchup, raspberry jam, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and lemon zest until the mixture is smooth. Pour the sauce into a heavy medium saucepan. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Cook the sauce until it is slightly thickened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Place the meatballs in the saucepan with the sauce and cook over medium heat until the meatballs have cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the meatballs and sauce into a serving bowl and serve.

As I said, Giada makes her smaller to use as an appetizer and threads them on skewers with mango and radicchio, which would make a very nice appetizer if you want to put some out for a party or buffet. I think they worked just as well as a meal on their own over some rice. The sauce had a combination of the sweetness of the raspberries from the jam and the fruit with a bit of barbecue sauce flavor from the ketchup, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. It was a very nice sauce that tasted great, though I would recommend if you are not a fan of raspberry seeds you really try to find seedless jam to use. Overall, I think it was a pretty good dish and we made this one and some of the turkey meatballs in a simple turkey gravy as well over rice or noodles to finish up the meatballs.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I have some new things to share that aren’t meatballs so I’ll be posting some new stuff next time out I think everyone will enjoy. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Appetizers, Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Turkey

 

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Meatballs Run Amok! Pizza Bianca with Kale and Turkey Meatballs

You would think we would have gotten sick of meatballs by now, wouldn’t you? Surprisingly enough we managed to keep on with our meatball theme this week, using another recipe from Giada di Laurentiis that makes use of the classic Italian turkey meatballs I made earlier in the week. For this recipe, just like the one yesterday for meatball paninis, we kept it very easy and decided to go the pizza route. This one is for pizza Bianca, which is a white pie without any red sauce, perfect for those who may not like the acidity or flavor of tomato sauce. You can use some of the meatballs from the original recipe that have not been put into sauce, or just take some of the sauced meatballs and cut them up if you want just a hint of the sauce flavor. In either case, it is a very flavorful pizza.

Pizza Bianca with Kale and Turkey Meatballs

For the Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Pizza:
Extra-virgin olive oil, for oiling the baking sheet and for drizzling
One 1-pound ball pizza dough (store-bought or homemade, such as Food Processor Pizza Dough), at room temperature
3/4 cup coarsely grated mozzarella
8 Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs, halved
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 medium leaves kale, ribs removed, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the sauce: In a heavy small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Add the nutmeg, bay leaf and garlic. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until the mixture thickens to sauce consistency and is smooth, about 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and the garlic.

For the pizza: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Oil a heavy nonstick 16- by 10-inch baking sheet with olive oil.

Using your fingers, spread the dough over the prepared baking sheet into a rectangle shape. Drizzle the dough with olive oil. Spoon the sauce on top and spread the sauce evenly across the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the dough. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Arrange the meatballs, cut-side down, on top of the mozzarella and sauce. Sprinkle the pizza with the Parmesan cheese. Bake the pizza for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and add the kale in an even layer on top of the meatballs. Drizzle the kale with olive oil and sprinkle the top with salt. Bake the pizza until the kale is crispy, about 10 minutes longer.

Cut the pizza into squares and serve.

One thing I did differently with this recipe, since I did not have any kale on hand, was that I used some spinach instead. Sean and Michelle both like spinach better anyway so this worked well for us, but if you really want the kale I would think it would turn out nice and crispy and taste great on the pizza. Everyone loved this pizza, not just because of the meatballs but because of the white sauce as well. The sauce had just that hint of nutmeg to give it a really unique flavor and it just seemed to go really well with the meatballs and spinach. Sean asked that I make this one again and maybe try another pizza combination with the sauce from this recipe, which sounded like a good idea to me.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Meatball Frenzy Week Continues – Turkey Meatball Panini

So now that I had all of these meatballs I needed to find things to do with them. Luckily, Giada didn’t let me down and I supplied several other recipes in ways that you could use these great turkey meatballs. The best part about all of them is that they con convert into really easy meals that only take a few minutes to create and you have something entirely new to enjoy for the night. The first up was this really simple meatball panini recipe. I have a panini maker, but you can just as easily do this with a grill, grill pan or skillet with a little bit of effort and it will come out great too. This recipe makes use of the meatballs and a few other simple ingredients to make awesome paninis for the family to enjoy.

Turkey Meatball Panini

1 red onion, peeled, cut into eight 1/4 -to 1/2-inch-thick rounds

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 ciabatta rolls, halved horizontally (or other bread of your choice)

1 cup tomato sauce (homemade or your favorite jarred brand)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

1 1/3 cups arugula

12 Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs, halved

8 thin slices prosciutto

8 slices provolone cheese

Preheat a grill pan or a panini maker. Brush the red onion slices on both sides with the olive oil. Sprinkle the onions with kosher salt and black pepper. Grill the onion slices until they are tender and lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Set the onions aside to cool

Pull out and remove some of he bread from the ciabatta rolls from each half of the rolls. This will give the meatballs a better place to sit in the sandwich. Spoon half of the tomato sauce over the bottom halves of each of the rolls. Sprinkle the sauce with red pepper flakes, if using. Add the arugula, the turkey meatballs, the prosciutto slices, grilled onions and the remaining sauce to each sandwich. Top each sandwich with two pieces of cheese. Add the tops of the rolls and drizzle the tops with olive oil. Using a pastry brush, brush the olive oil evenly over the tops of the rolls.

Place the sandwiches in the panini maker and lower the press and cook until the cheese has melted and the meatballs are heated through, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, place the sandwiches on a grill pan or in a heated skillet and place a cast-iron pan or other heavy pot (anything heavy will really do) to press the sandwiches down and cook through until the cheese is melted and the meatballs are heated through.

Cut the panini in half and serve.

The great thing about paninis, or any sandwich really, is that you can put whatever you like best on them. If you don’t like provolone, use your favorite cheese on it instead or no cheese at all (which is how I eat it). If you don’t have prosciutto, use any type of ham that you like (which I did for Sean; I used Black Forest Ham). you can use any type of other toppings that you really like or use different meatballs and still get good results (those these meatballs are really good and you should try them out). I had mine with just the grilled onions, meatballs, red pepper flakes and arugula. Michelle had hers with the meatballs, arugula, grilled onions and provolone. Sean had his with the meatballs, Black Forest Ham and prosciutto, no onions or arugula. They all looked really good and everyone really enjoyed the sandwiches. It was a great way to re-purpose some of the meatballs for a quick meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on June 5, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Lunch, Poultry, Sandwiches, Turkey

 

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It’s a Meatball Frenzy Week! – Giada’s Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs are one of those things that everyone seems to have their own way of making. Just like it is with meatloaf, meatballs can have just about anything in them and can be all types of meat combinations depending on your preferences. I have tried a bunch of different recipes in the past, including recipes from Giada di Laurentiis, who this particular recipe is from. Not that long ago an episode of her show features several meatball recipes, including the basic one for turkey meatballs that you start out with and then other recipes you can use the same meatballs for. I decided to start out the week with the basic class turkey meatball recipe and then build out from there.

Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs

For the Meatballs:

1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon ketchup, optional
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2  eggs, at room temperature
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey meat (dark meat if you can get it)
1 pound Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
For the Sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1  onion, finely chopped 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to season
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons finely ground fennel seeds
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, basil, parsley, milk, ketchup if using, tomato paste, salt, pepper, eggs, garlic and onions. Using a wooden spoon, stir the ingredients until they are blended. Add the ground turkey and the turkey sausage meat. Using your fingers, gently mix all the ingredients until they are thoroughly combined.

Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop or a small ice cream scoop, form the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (22 to 24 meatballs). Place the meatballs on a heavy nonstick baking sheet, spacing them apart. Drizzle the meatballs with olive oil and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

For the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet with high sides or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables until they softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the basil, the fennel, oregano and crushed tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook the sauce over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of basil. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if desired.

Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer until the meatballs are heated through, about 10 minutes. Thin the sauce with chicken stock, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed.

Serve with grated Parmesan alongside.

I have to say that of all the meatball recipes I have tried recently, I think this is the best one and since it uses only turkey meat, it might be the healthiest alternative of the ones I have made. The texture of the meatball is perfect and the flavor you get from the mix of the turkey meat and sausage along with the spices is just perfect. Throw it all in a simple sauce and you have a great meal. I actually doubled the recipe and made a lot of meatballs with this recipe to use for the other meatball recipes Giada tried on that episode, so I’ll be posting meatball options all week with what we had leftover. Of course, you can always just freeze some and use them when you want them. I left about half out of the sauce to use for some of the other recipes.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Sauce, Turkey

 

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Some Super Sunday Snack Food

The Super Bowl is coming this weekend (in case anyone wasn’t aware) and whether you’re rooting for the Giants, the Patriots, Madonna or the TV commercials, you want to have some great snack food to eat while watching. When we’re home for the day, we like to just make snack foods for dinner that day. It’s fun to get to eat a little bit of a bunch of different things. If you have some guests over, you can even put out a bigger spread. Lots of people buy 3-foot heroes, wings or pizza and are happy with that, but I like to make my own things and some things that guests may enjoy. Some things we have already made for past meal plans that can be good items to use, like pizza, guacamole, turkey meatballs, some buffet-style dishes like shrimp scampi or pepper steak, or even mini versions of the hamburgers for sliders. I am going to post a couple of recipes of things I plan to make, Buffalo Wings, Swedish Meatballs and one of Sean’s favorites,  Bacon & Cheese Pinwheels. I’ll also give you some links to other sites that have some great ideas for game time, party time, or any time snacks.

Just about everyone likes to have Buffalo wings and there are lots of different recipes you can follow. One thing I like about good wings is that they are both crispy and spicy. I have made wings baked in the oven before, and they are good, but there is something about deep-frying that adds great crispness to the wings. For this recipe, I am deep-frying. I have a deep fryer at home, so it makes it a little easier for me as far as bringing up temperature and avoiding splattering oil, both concerns when you are doing it on the stove in a Dutch oven. Use a candy thermometer to determine the temperature of the oil and make sure you use a deep pot to avoid bubbling oil. And yes, I buy whole wings and cut them myself; I hate the idea of paying more for wings that are already cut when I could just as easily do it myself with a cleaver or some poultry shears.

Buffalo Wings

3 pounds whole chicken wings

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

1/2 cup hot sauce (I like to use Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce, or Ken’s Wing Sauce, but use whatever taste and heat you like)

2 tablespoons Tabasco (optional, if you want some extra heat)

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1 to 2 quarts vegetable oil (for frying)

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

4 ribs celery, cut into thin sticks

2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin sticks Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing (store-bought is fine, our house prefers ranch. You could always use the Ranch recipe I posted

Cut the wings apart at the joints and discard the wing tips. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the hot sauce, Tabasco (if using), brown sugar, and  vinegar. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Heat 2 1/2 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven, with a candy thermometer attached to the side, over high heat until it measures 360 degrees.

Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch, cayenne, pepper and salt together in a large bowl. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then toss evenly with the cornstarch mixture. Add half the wings to the hot oil and fry until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with several layers of paper towels and keep warm in the oven while repeating with the remaining wings.

Toss the fried wings and sauce together in a large bowl until thoroughly coated. Serve with the celery, carrots and dressing of choice on the side.

The fried, unsauced wings can be kept warm in the oven for up to 1 1/2 hours. Toss them with the sauce before serving.

For the Swedish meatballs, I am using a recipe that was given to Michelle at her wedding shower by my grandmother. She knew I really liked it and passed it on to her. It’s not a tough recipe, but there’s some work involved in this one. Trust me, it’s really worth it. The meatballs taste great.

Swedish Meatballs

20 gingersnaps

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 pounds beef, pork and veal mixture

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1/4 cup flour

1-2 cups beef broth

Crush the gingersnaps in a food processor or with a rolling pin. Mix the milk, egg, meat mixture, onion, salt, celery salt, pepper and allspice until blended thoroughly. Form the mixture into small “cocktail” size meatballs. In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt the butter until starting to brown. Add the meatballs and cook thoroughly until browned on all size, about 5-7 minutes (you’ll have to do this in batches). Remove meatballs from the pan and stir in flour, whisking constantly until well blended and brown, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the beef broth, scraping up any browned bits and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs back into the pan with the gravy and simmer until heated through and thickened, about 5 minutes.

The last item I am making is Sean’s favorite, Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels. This is a Pillsbury recipe that is very easy to make. You can go to their website and get this and other recipes, but I will also provide the recipe right here.

Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
tablespoons ranch dressing
1/4 cup cooked real bacon pieces or 4 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
1/4 cup chopped green onions (4 medium, optional. I usually leave them out; Sean doesn’t like them)
Heat oven to 350°F. Unroll dough and separate into 2 long rectangles; press each into 12×4-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Spread dressing over each rectangle to edges. Sprinkle each with bacon, cheese and onions. Starting with 1 short side, roll up each rectangle; press edge to seal. With serrated knife, cut each roll into 8 slices; place cut side down on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 17 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.
There are so many other things you can make for football parties, or any party. Here are a few links to places that you can find some recipes:
Epicurious – They have some great part recipes as well as some recommendations on beer and cocktails for your party.
Food Network – Always a good source for recipes anyway, but they have a section just on big game day recipes.
Bon Appetit – Another good source for recipes all the time, but they have a section for the game with their take on wings, chili, and more.
Williams-Sonoma – another great site, with lots of game day celebration recipes.
Hopefully this gives you lots of good ideas for game day. Do you have any game day snacks that you love to cook? Let me know! Post a comment on it and share with all of us. Tomorrow is back to cooking. it’s the end of the week and we are making Fish and Chips for dinner. I’ll also be letting you know about next week’s meal plan. I will let you know that we let Sean pick the whole week next week and he is going to help cook it, so you’ll be interested to see what he chose. Until then, enjoy your day!

 

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Appetizers, Beef, Cooking, Poultry

 

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Gobble, Gobble (Up Some Turkey Meatballs!)

Okay, so the title isn’t so great today, but I was trying to come up with some way to introduce today’s meal. Sean picked this one, and to be honest, I was little surprised he wanted this, but he elected Turkey Meatballs in Gravy, Baked Potatoes, and Broccoli. Since we’ve already made broccoli on the meal plan three times I believe, I won’t bore you with the steamed broccoli that Sean has chosen. I am going to find some more broccoli recipes since I am getting a little bored with it myself (if anyone has any suggestions, please pass them along!)

Okay, so turkey meatballs are not tough to make and they can be quite tasty. I use ground turkey in my chili all the time instead of beef and I think it tastes better and it is better for you. The one thing about ground turkey that I have found is that it can be very dry and needs seasoning. Personally, I have found through some experimenting that the best seasoning to add to ground turkey has been McCormick’s Montreal Chicken blend seasoning. It has a nice mix of garlic, salt, pepper, onion, paprika and orange peel and adds a really nice flavor to the turkey. For a little bit of added moisture to the mix I also put a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce as well. Other than those additions, this is basically the same exact recipe I used for the meatballs last week for our spaghetti and meatballs dinner.

Turkey Meatballs

2 slices of white sandwich bread (I prefer Pepperidge Farm, it works well for me)

1/3 cup milk (whatever type you have will work here)

1 pound ground turkey

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons McCormick’s Montreal Chicken Blend Seasoning (use less or more, depending on if you like the flavor)

2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 egg yolk

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil

1 recipe All Purpose Gravy (recipe to follow)

Remove and discard the crusts from the bread then tear the bread into small pieces. Use a fork to mash the bread pieces and milk to a smooth paste in a large bowl. Add the ground turkey, Montreal Chicken seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan, parsley, egg yolk, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, a dash of pepper (or more if you like) to the mashed bread. Stir the mixture gently until combined and uniform (I always use my hands – it gets messy but it mixes better. Take your rings off before you do this). Form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch round meatballs (about 12 meatballs if you make them this big, if you want smaller, go for it and you’ll get more. I always make smaller for the turkey).

Pour the oil into a 12 inch skillet and heat over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate and discard any oil left in the skillet.

Place the skillet back over medium heat and add the gravy, Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and add the meatballs. Continue to simmer, turning the meatballs occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Very, very easy to make. As a matter of fact, I think I will have Sean help me with this one since he did such a good job last week with the dinner he helped make. The all-purpose gravy recipe really is an all-purpose gravy. You could use it for any type of meat or poultry or just for over mashed potatoes, and you don’t need any pan drippings to make this one. It relies solely on vegetables. chicken and beef broth.

All Purpose Gravy

3 tablespoons butter

1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine

1 rib celery, chopped fine

1 onion, minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth (used canned, box or your own. I am using my own because I have it. otherwise, use low sodium)

2 cups beef broth (same as the chicken. i don’t have my own right now, so I am using Swanson’s low sodium)

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried

5 whole black peppercorns

Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook until softened and well browned, about 9 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly browned, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the broths and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20-25 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.

Pour the gravy through a fine-mesh strainer (or gravy separator) into a clean saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste.

You can make the gravy ahead of time and refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 2 months. Just re-heat it over low heat, stirring to recombine, until warm and smooth.

A nice, tasty, very versatile gravy recipe to use any time. Sean wanted baked potatoes tonight ( I personally would have gone for rice) so that’s what were making. You can make baked potatoes the traditional way in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour to 1 hour, fifteen minutes, or you can do it this way, by using the microwave first and then baking them to finish them off. I have found that starting them in the microwave and then cooking them the rest of the way in the oven produces a nice fluffy potato with a crispy skin and takes half the time of just baking them.

Baked Potatoes

4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried

Butter (for serving)

Salt and pepper (for serving)

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Poke a few holes in each potato with the tines of a fork and microwave the potatoes on high until slightly soft to the touch, 6 to 12 minutes, turning them halfway through.

Carefully transfer the potatoes to the oven and cook directly on the hot oven rack until a knife blade glides easily through the flesh, about 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and open them as soon as possible (the longer a potato sits after being removed from the oven, the more dense the flesh becomes. Opening immediately allows the steam to escape, resulting in a more airy potato). Serve immediately with butter, salt and pepper (or anything else you like to add – cheese, sour cream, chives, crumbled bacon, etc.)

Throw in the broccoli, and we are all done for the evening. I am getting to like these easy meals. Quick cooking, quick clean up and we can spend more time together instead of a long time in the kitchen. You could cut the meatball recipe in half if you want less meatballs and then use the leftovers to make some chili or some turkey sausage (which is what I am going to do. I’ll post the recipe for this on another day). Tomorrow is our meatless night, so we will be having Potato Soup tomorrow, which we made last night so it’s already done and just needs to be re-heated. We’ll be having a salad with it and some crunchy bread, but a nice sandwich would go along well with it also if you were looking to do that. I love a good sandwich! Any favorites out there? I plan to do a sandwich recipes day soon, so pass along you might know of and really like. Enjoy your dinner tonight!

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Gravy, Potatoes, Poultry, Sauce, Vegetables

 

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