MISO-GINGER TURKEY MEATBALLS WITH CABBAGE “NOODLES”

Once again, I share a recipe that will not get any prizes on beauty contests. Brown food, oh so very tricky to get a good-looking picture. But I would never shy away from sharing something tasty, so let’s get to the most important point: how to get this to your table!

MISO-GINGER MEATBALLS WITH CABBAGE “NOODLES”
(inspired by Modern Proper)

1 + 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 egg
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup finely grated carrot
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 + 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
olive oil spray

for the cabbage:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
finely sliced green cabbage, amount to taste
salt and pepper to taste

to finish the dish:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon white miso paste
sesame seeds for serving

 Heat oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the miso paste until fully incorporated. Add the ground turkey, almond flour, carrot, ginger, salt, and pepper. Mix well, then with wet hands, form golf ball–size meatballs and place on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil. Spray the surface of the meatballs with olive oil, and bake for about 20 minutes, turning them midway through baking.

When the meatballs are almost done, start making the cabbage. Heat the oil on a large non-stick skillet until almost smoking. Add the cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and allow it to brown slightly. Move it around, flipping the strands, until cooked through, but don’t let it get mushy. Transfer to a serving dish. To the same skillet, add the soy sauce and miso, whisk until the miso fully dissolves. Add the turkey meatballs to the soy mixture and simmer gently for a few minutes, with the pan covered.

Serve the meatballs with the cabbage noodles, sprinkle with sesame seeds if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: My friend Tracy a couple of months ago mentioned that cabbage is a great alternative to low-carb “noodles” if you get tired of zucchini. I am a huge fan of zoodles , but decided to give her idea a try, and I can see why she loved her Pad Thai so much when lightened up with thinly sliced cabbage. It absorbs any flavor you use for a sauce, and the texture is quite pleasing. I don’t follow any particular type of diet, but tend to favor lightening the carbs whenever possible. In this case, it matched well the meatballs in their Oriental ways. I served ours with air-fried butternut squash that was leftover from another meal.

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TURKEY TACO SALAD BOWL

I had no intention of blogging on this recipe because it sounded like a simple dinner that would be ok but nothing to write home about. That all changed with the first bite. It is undoubtedly the cilantro sauce that makes it special. Of course, if you are a cilantro-hater, this is not for you. The sauce is cilantro on steroids. We loved it. In fact, the husband exact words were “I hope you’ll make this sauce whenever we cook Mexican-anything.” There you go. Cannot get much better praise than that.

TURKEY TACO SALAD BOWL
(inspired by Averie Cooks)

4 large tortillas (I used Carb Balance flour tortillas)
a few tablespoons of vegetable oil
oven safe bowls to bake tortillas

for the Cilantro Lime Dressing:
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems included (about 2 cups)
½ cup full-fat yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 lime

for the salad:
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix|
salt to taste
1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen, defrosted)
Romaine lettuce, shredded lettuce
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, sliced
Shredded Mexican cheese
salsa (I used tomatillo salsa)

Make the tortilla bows. Heat oven to 375F. Heat a little oil on a non-stick skillet, place the tortilla over the hot oil, when it starts to bubble, flip it over, heat for a few seconds, then place inside an oven-safe bowl. Bake for 15 minutes or until it gets crispy. You can do this in advance.

Make the dressing. Place the cilantro, yogurt, olive oil, salt, pepper and lime juice in a food processor and process until smooth. Reserve in the fridge until needed. You can also make the dressing hours or a day in advance.

Make the taco meat. Brown the ground turkey on hot oil, seasoned lightly with salt. Once the meat is getting some color, add the taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water. Simmer gently, cover the pan for 5 minutes, then uncover and let the water evaporate until it reaches the level you like for your salad.

To assemble the salad, add all different components inside the tortilla bowl, drizzle the cilantro dressing all over.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I used a Mission carb-balance tortilla, and it works but it’s definitely not the best kind to make a bowl, so keep that in mind. I only have two oven-safe bowls that are the perfect size to shape them, so we enjoyed some of the salad in the bowl, and either moved on to a regular tortilla (the husband), or the salad by itself (yours truly).

If you only have one or two oven-safe bowls, you can bake one at a time, and save them, heat them all up in the oven for a few minutes before serving. I used frozen corn, and sautéed lightly in olive oil, with salt, pepper and cumin. Pretty much anything that sounds good to add to a taco salad will work here. Black olives, roasted red peppers. Just have fun with it, but whatever you do, do not skip the cilantro sauce!

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THAI-MEATBALLS OVER WILTED BOK-CHOY

These turkey meatballs lean towards Thai cuisine, but I took a few departures and incorporated a Brazilian moqueca touch. If you want to make the meal heartier, serve some rice or noodles as side dishes. Soba would work great.

THAI-MEATBALLS WITH WILTED BOK-CHOY
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the meatballs (makes about 16)
2 pounds ground turkey (I use 85% fat)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 egg

for the sauce:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 cup pureed tomatoes (canned is fine)
1 cup coconut milk (low-fat is ok)
2 tsp fish sauce
salt and pepper to taste
juice of one lime

for the bok-choy:
6 to 8 baby bok-choy, sliced in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
drizzle of soy sauce
drizzle of lime juice

Heat oven to 420F.
Make the meatballs combining all ingredients in a large bowl. Form 16 meatballs and place them on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Spray the foil lightly with olive oil, then spray lightly the surface of the meatballs also. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven and reserve. This can be made hours or a day in advance.

Make the sauce. Heat the oil and sautéed the shallot for a few minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the red curry paste and cook for a minute or two, stirring. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, fish sauce, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes, add the reserved meatballs and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add the lime juice right before serving.

Make the bok-choy. Heat the oil on a large skillet. Add the bok-choy, cut side down, cook for a couple of minutes without moving them, to get a nice browning on the surface. Flip the pieces over, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle soy sauce, lime juice, cover the pan and simmer for a few minutes until tender. Serve right away, with the meatballs and sauce.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Traditionally, this type of recipe calls for coconut milk as the main component of the sauce. I find that a bit too heavy, also very high on the saturated fat content. So I tone it down with pureed tomatoes. You can just use a full can of coconut milk, if you prefer.

The meatballs have a nice texture, and incorporate the flavor of the sauce well. As to the red curry paste, I have a favorite brand now, after seeing it recommended by cookbook authors and food bloggers: Mae Ploy. It is much better than any brand I’ve used in the past. You can find it online if not available in stores where you live (click here). Leftovers (meatballs only, bok-choy was gone) were delicious on day #2 and day #3. And yes, they were mine, all mine…

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A SAVORY PHYLLO PIE

I was going to call it “Meat and Potato Phyllo Pie”. Side note: the expression “meat and potato guy” always makes me smile, as it took me a while to fully understand its meaning. When you are a foreigner, it’s not feasible to stop people all the time to ask for clarifications on every expression you don’t quite “get”. So you go with the flow. Of course now I know that it refers to someone who is not very adventurous in the gastronomic department. But this version adds a few tidbits that a true meat and potato being might object to, like tahini, eggplant, maybe even phyllo could be a no-no… Therefore, let’s go with Savory Phyllo Pie.

SAVORY PHYLLO PIE
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

8 inch-springform pan (or pan with removable bottom)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 rib celery, diced
1 pound ground turkey (dark meat if possible)
3/4 pound ground bison (or substitute extra turkey meat)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 + 1/2 tsp salt
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes (fire roasted if you like)

for the vegetable layer:
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 medium eggplant
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil spray or a few tablespoons

for yogurt sauce:
3/4 cup full-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste

to assemble pie:
8 sheets of phyllo dough
olive oil spray
sesame seeds (optional)

Prepare the meat layer. Heat the olive oil, sauté the celery and shallots with a little salt. When fragrant, add all dried spices, let them heat for a minute, then add the two kinds of meat, salt, and cook until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, close the pan and simmer for 5 minutes or so. Reserve, allowing it to cool to room temperature or place it in the fridge.

Prepare the vegetable layer. Peel the eggplant, cut in 1/4 inch rounds, do the same for the sweet potatoes. Brush or spray the surface with oil and bake in a single layer at 425F until it starts to get golden. The eggplant will work best if you use a grill, but it was too cold for that when I made it. Reserve the veggies.

Prepare the yogurt-tahini sauce and reserve. Assemble the pie: Spray the bottom and sides of the springform pan with olive oil. Grab one sheet of phyllo at a time, spray with olive oil and place inside the pan with the ends going over the sides and hanging. Use 5 more sheets overlapping them in a circle. Place the sweet potato slices at the bottom, then the eggplant. Cover with the meat, pressing it down and leveling the surface well. Drizzle the tahini sauce and spread it well on the surface. Grab two more sheets of phyllo, fold in half, spray with oil and cover the top of the pie. Now bring all the phyllo that is hanging outside and crump the edges to neatly close the pie. Spray additional olive oil over the top, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 40 minutes at 400F. Let the pie sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I actually made phyllo pie two weeks in a row, first time following a recipe from Falastin. It was good, but a bit too heavy and the meat got slightly dry. So I made this version with similar Middle Eastern tones. We both loved it! It is a bit involved, but totally worth it. I usually make all the components and save them in the fridge. Then, it’s all a matter of heating the oven, assembling the pie and dinner is ready in one hour. You do need to wait for 15 minutes or it will be messy when you cut it.

I use the mixture of turkey and bison very often. It is great for chilis, and even burgers. Both are very lean types of meat, the bison gives a more complex flavor. We have excellent bison meat in Kansas, but if you cannot find it, just use turkey, or ground beef, or even lamb, although the end result with be considerably heavier.

All that was needed to call it dinner? A simple salad. We ate like royalty… I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, another good option for company, as you can do a lot in advance. Plus, it looks pretty awesome when you remove it from the springform pan.

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GUATEMALAN CHILE RELLENOS

I love a nice Chile Relleno but talk about a heavy dish! It is basically cheese, more cheese, a coating of egg and flour, and a nice bath in hot oil. I wanted to profit from the beautiful Poblanos from our garden, by making some type of stuffed chile that could act as a full meal. In my world, that calls for meat. Google University showed me that there is a concoction from Guatemala that is not too far from my goal. However, it is loaded with potatoes and I wanted something a little lighter. This version was born. Using the air-fryer made it even lighter. Mission accomplished.

AIR-FRIED “GUATEMALAN” CHILE RELLENOS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

6 Poblano chiles
olive oil spray
1 pound ground turkey
8 oz mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 celery stalk
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, preferably Fire-roasted
fresh cilantro leaves, minced
Panela cheese or another cheese of your choice

Start by making the filling. Heat the olive oil, add mushrooms, celery, garlic (if using), season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until fragrant in medium-heat, increase the heat to high and add the ground turkey. Add the chili powder, cumin, and the teaspoon of salt. Cook until the meat is golden at spots, at the canned tomatoes with their liquid and simmer for 10 minutes, pan covered, in low-heat. Remove the lid and let the excess moisture evaporate. Add the cilantro. Reserve to cool.

Prepare the poblanos. Cut their tops, carefully scoop out seeds. Spray olive oil and place them in the air-fryer, cut side down. Cook for about 5 minutes at the highest temperature your fryer reaches (mine is 390F). When the skin blisters at points, they are done.

When poblanos and meat are ready and cool enough to handle, fill the poblanos 3/4 of the volume, then add pieces of Panela cheese on top.

Air-fry for about 12 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I don’t know if home-grown poblanos might pack more heat than store-bought, but I can tell you that the few little seeds I left in them were spectacularly hot. As you can see from the picture, our air-fryer was not even half full with the filled peppers, I was afraid it would make a mess during cooking, but everything turned out fine. I don’t have any container that would fit in the basket and keep the peppers standing up. It might also be easier with bigger poblanos, we wanted to use the average size from our backyard, and keep them more or less uniform.

It is hard to beat the speed and convenience of the air-fryer for this type of preparation. Everything browns nicely with just a small amount of oil. No frying, no dealing with leftover oil and the messy process of the coating with egg-flour. I admit it is not authentic, and many Mexicans will consider sending me hate mail… but it was really a delicious meal. If you don’t have an air-fryer, just use the oven at 425F, for a slightly longer time.

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