TURKEY MEATLOAF

Here I am to share another recipe that tasted wonderful but would not be invited to participate in a Beauty Contest. Meatloaf is not easy on the eyes but this one in particular was a showstopper for the taste buds. Lower in carbs than most versions, because it relies on almond flour instead of breadcrumbs. Quite loaded with veggies. We both gave enthusiastic thumbs up, so ignore the looks. They are skin-deep, after all…

TURKEY MEATLOAF
(inspired by Life is But a Dish)

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 large carrots)
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach (not baby spinach)
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 egg
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper, ground

for glaze:
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add all the ingredients into a large bowl (minus the ingredients for the glaze). Using a fork or clean hands, mix until everything is fully incorporated.

Mix ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and reserve.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pour meat onto pan. Use your hands to form into a loaf shape, trying to keep it level so it cooks evenly. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove and brush glaze all over. Place back in the oven for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: What do tomatoes and avocados have to do with the meatloaf? They were the side dish, and I absolutely must share the picture because the tomatoes came from our own backyard, thanks to the gardening efforts of the husband… Aren’t they gorgeous?

The meatloaf has a very delicate texture, and cooked perfectly in our small Breville oven, so there was no need to even heat the kitchen up. Leftovers were around for a couple of days and tasted as good if not better than the first time. I made it again the following week, and you know how it goes: for a food blogger, repeating a recipe right away is a huge endorsement. It goes to our regular rotation, a nice change from our default turkey burgers.

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TURKEY JALAPENO MEATBALLS

I’ve been playing with an ingredient that is quite likely very popular in many kitchens, but new to me. A bit embarrassed to admit, but here we go: pickled jalapenos. They are sold in big jars, cute slices of pepper swimming in a liquid that makes your tastebuds tingle. I may have developed a slight obsession. These meatballs are very light and super flavorful. Contrary to most recipes, you won’t have to brown them, but you can if you prefer. My method of choice is the pressure cooker, but I offer you other ways to cook them too. Just in case you are a pressure-phobe.

TURKEY-JALAPENO MEATBALLS
(inspired by The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book)

for the meatballs:
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup pickled jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon brine liquid from pepper jar
cilantro leaves and stems (to taste, I like to use a lot)
1 + 1/2 pound ground turkey
½ cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

for the tomato sauce:
(you can also use your favorite store-bought tomato sauce)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can crushed tomatoes with juices (28 oz)
2 shallots, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 carrot, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Add the jalapeno slices, the brine, the olive oil and the cilantro leaves into the bowl of a small food processor and process the mixture a few times. Add it to the ground turkey in a large bowl, together with all other ingredients for the meatballs. Mix with your hands without compressing the mixture too much. For into twelve large meatballs. Reserve in the fridge. Can be made hours in advance or even the day before.

Make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker, add the shallots, celery and carrot. Season with salt and pepper. Add the crushed tomatoes. Place the meatballs on the sauce, if the sauce does not reach half the height of the meatballs, complete the volume with water. Lock the lid onto the pot. Set the pot over high heat and bring it to high pressure then cook for 10 minutes. Release the pressure and open the pan. If needed, reduce the sauce by simmering gently.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you are serving these meatballs as an appetizer, I recommend that you make them smaller, and either fry them, air-fry them (about 12 min at 390F), or bake them. As an appetizer, I think they profit from a nice browned crust. But as a main course, I prefer to cook them straight in the sauce. The pressure cooker makes them perfect to my taste, but if you don’t own one you can make them in a crockpot set for 6 hours on low. Alternatively, you can simmer them on top of the stove, until they are fully cooked, but the sauce won’t have the same depth of flavor as the pressure cooker offers. Pressure cooking tames the spices a bit, so if you opt for another method, consider reducing a little bit the amount of pickled jalapenos you use.

I find them delicious next to a simple salad, but of course the traditional way would be alongside a nice helping of pasta. It will keep you satisfied, even if much lighter than the usual Italian style meatballs.

The best compliment a recipe gets in this kitchen is the husband saying “you must put this one in our regular rotation.” I fully agree. And I suspect the bottle of pickled jalapenos will have a dedicated spot in our fridge from now on.

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REVELATION VEGGIE-OR-NOT EGG ROLL BOWL

Food bloggers are like cookbook authors, you get to trust some and try “daring” or “unusual” recipes if they recommend it, because you realize their palate matches yours. Kelly, from Inspired Edibles is one example. When she posts a recipe and raves about it, I just know I will love it too. This one used an ingredient that might make you run away screaming and promising never to stop by my site again: textured soy protein, aka TSP. Now before you click away, let me tell you I used ground turkey the first time. It ended up as one of the tastiest things I’ve cooked in months. I truly urge you to give it a try, and if you feel particularly brave, go for the TSP. I made it a second time using it, and it would make a vegan dance the happy dance. Extended version.

VEGGIE-OR-NOT EGG ROLL BOWL
(slightly modified from Inspired Edibles)

for the egg rolls:
3 large carrots, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
280 g premixed bag of coleslaw (about 4 cups)
Large handful (about 1 cup) chopped fresh spinach
3/4 pound plant-based crumbles/rehydrated TVP or ground turkey of choice
sesame seeds for topping

for the egg roll sauce:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp Chinkiang vinegar (Chinese vinegar)
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 round tsp Sriracha
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
¼ cup water

Combine the egg roll sauce ingredients in a container with fitted lid: olive oil, soy or tamari, vinegar, ginger, Sriracha, hoisin sauce, Chinese five-spice powder and ¼ cup water giving it a good shake to combine nb: it’s good for sauce to gather flavor while you assemble/cook the rest of the ingredients (you can also make ahead and store in fridge).


Sauté carrots and red peppers in a large skillet with a little olive oil just until the carrots begin to soften.
Add ground turkey (or hydrated TSP crumbles) saute for a couple of minutes, add half the sauce. If using turkey, cook until no longer pink. Add cabbage and spinach, cook a minute or two, add the remaining of the sauce. If the sauce/mixture appears too thick/dry add a little more water but not too much (you don’t want to overly dilute the wonderful taste of the sauce). Continue mixing over heat until cabbage/spinach begin to wilt and mixture is warmed through. Top with sesame seeds and serve. Great with rice, but excellent on its own.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The only modification I would make is – more spinach! Spinach tends to do what spinach does best, disappear into the dish, so double it, no problem. The sauce is magical. I advise you to go the extra mile and search for the specific vinegar called for, because its flavor is unique and very prominent in the sauce. As to TSP, Kelly recommends this brand. I think if you are familiar with other brands, go for it. I find this one quite convenient because the bag sits at room temperature, you rehydrate what you need, and it lasts forever. I see a “fake-Bolognese” in our future.

The second time around I went wild and tried the TSP. That’s what you see in the photo above, and I promise you it was excellent. It soaks up the sauce and the texture is quite pleasant.

Kelly, thanks again for opening my horizons,
I love trying new things, and you never disappoint!

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CLAY POT MASALA CHICKEN THIGHS

No clay pot? No problem, the recipe works in a regular oven, so stick around. We loved the flavors so much I’ve used this marinade in whole chicken, and also Cornish hens. The unusual twist is the incorporation of ground almonds in the mix. If you are intrigued, I totally understand because I was also. It adds a little texture and more “staying power” on the meat. I hope you’ll try it, I think it might become a favorite in your home.

CLAY POT MASALA CHICKEN THIGHS
(adapted from Made in India)

6 chicken thighs, bone-in, with skin
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
5 cloves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
¼ cup ground almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt

Put the cumin seeds and coriander seeds into a dry non-stick frying pan over high heat until they get fragrant, don’t let them burn. Put the toasted seeds into a spice grinder, along with the cloves and peppercorns, and grind together. Put them into a big bowl and add the ground almonds, cinnamon, turmeric, yogurt, and salt. Rub this marinade all over the chicken thighs, making sure to stick some underneath the skin. Cover and let marinating int the fridge for 1 to 12 hours, the longer the better.

If cooking in a regular oven, heat it to 400F, place the chicken thighs in a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes, remove the foil and roast until the skin is golden brosn.

If using the clay pot, soak it in cold water for a couple of hours. Drain the water, place the chicken pieces inside, close the lid and place the pot in a cold oven, turn it to 450F. Cook for 1 hour, remove the lid and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the skin is nicely brown.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: You can use almonds that you grind yourself, but I opted for almond meal, as I always have it around due to my macaron-baking addiction. It gives a subtle nutty flavor the the meat, and definitely allows the marinade to speak louder in the final dish. Originally I saw this marinade used in a whole chicken. The recipe called for cutting some slits on the skin over the breast to rub the marinade underneath. However, during roasting the skin teared apart too much and although it was still delicious, I did not care for the way it looked. So I will stick to using it for chicken thighs. Full disclosure: I already made it three times…

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CHICKEN MEATBALLS, POTSTICKER STYLE

Potstickers are perhaps my favorite food in the universe. You would think that because I bake a lot of sweets, savory things are secondary in my world, but in fact it is the opposite. I am satisfied with one cookie or even just a bite. But potstickers? Self-control becomes a serious issue. Inspiration came from a must-have cookbook, Dinner: Changing the Game. But I used ground chicken instead of pork, which reduces the fat content a bit, and adapted it to hold its shape better. Turned out excellent, and contrary to what usually happens in our dinners, there were no leftovers. Because… self-control….

POTSTICKER-STYLE CHICKEN MEATBALLS
(inspired by Dinner: Changing the Game)

1 pound ground chicken (white meat is fine)
⅓ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 lime juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
for finishing sauce:
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha or to taste
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon light brown sugar

Heat the oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, cilantro, Serrano pepper, ginger, lime zest and juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, almond flour and salt. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls.

Arrange the meatballs in a single layer over aluminum foil (I like to use non-stick foil). Bake until cooked through, around 20 minutes, turning them over mid-way through baking. As they bake, prepare the sauce by combining all ingredients.

After they are cooked, brush them lightly with the sauce and keep in the oven for a couple more minutes, then serve with your favorite side dish. They also work well as appetizers, with a side of napkins…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I love Melissa Clark and own several of her cookbooks, Dinner: Changing the Game is perhaps my favorite. Recipes are simple but interesting, they always have some kind of a nice twist that makes me want to try them. I like using ground chicken and turkey in our cooking, but that poses problems, because they can turn out bland and dry very easily. Not the case here, I am sure these will be in our rotation regularly. The combination of ginger, fish sauce, and sesame oil is a true winner. I also like the texture given by the almond flour. I know, totally non-authentic, but when you change the protein, some adjustment is needed. I hope you’ll give this simple recipe a try.

We enjoyed them with stir-fried zucchini and white rice. I crave this meal already.

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