Herbed Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Sauce


Are your teeth aching from the sweets that abound this time of year?  (I know, I know, I’m partly to blame.)  Are you already missing the flavors of Thanksgiving, or maybe you still have some cranberry sauce without a purpose?  Or, maybe you are just looking for a quick and healthy weeknight meal?  This dish helps satisfy any or all of those problems!  I had leftover cranberry sauce, some celery and a variety of fresh herbs after Thanksgiving and they needed to be used quickly, so I decided to give these meatballs a try.

This is a pretty cool hybrid of meatballs, a classic comfort food, with the flavors of turkey day.  Served with some mashed potatoes and broccoli, this was a great dinner with the flavors of a holiday meal minus all the fuss.  As with many dishes including fresh herbs, you can adjust the herbs to suit your tastes and what you happen to have on hand.  I used a combination of fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley with a touch of dried oregano.  All three of us really enjoyed this dinner, and I think it will be a nice addition to the weeknight repertoire.

Side note: Today’s holiday giveaway is one of the few kitchen unitasker items I just can’t live without – a Whirley Pop!  Enter on the Facebook page (details will be posted before 7 am).

Herbed Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Sauce
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Ingredients:
1 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
1 large egg
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
2 tsp. minced fresh parsley
½ tsp. minced fresh rosemary
¼ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. poultry seasoning*
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
Cranberry sauce, for serving

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425° F and lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper.  Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook just until softened, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the celery and onion, ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, fresh and dried herbs, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.  Mix together until well combined.  Form the mixture into evenly sized meatballs, about 1½ inches in diameter.  Place the meatballs, evenly spaced, on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake 10-15 minutes, until completely cooked through.  Serve warm with cranberry sauce on the side.

*I usually have a poultry seasoning blend on hand, but if you don’t, you can make your own with spices you may already have.

Source: Williams Sonoma via Pink Parsley

Greek Chicken Salad


So the big feasting holiday has come and gone.  I hope everyone had a wonderful time with friends and loved ones, and enjoyed great food!  Our Thanksgiving was a blast and everything went very well.  Being together with so many family members makes me so grateful for all the blessings in our life.  Of course, in the wake of the holiday I find myself craving lighter, healthier foods.  I created this Greek chicken salad recently and was thrilled with the result.  It is light and healthy, yet filling, and combines the flavors of some of my very favorite foods like chicken gyros and cherry tomato salad.  The addition of olives and a sprinkle of feta on top give a nice salty counterbalance to the cool, creamy tzatziki.  Served on homemade wheat pita, this makes an awesome lunch or dinner.  So there you go – I thought I had better share at least one healthy meal before I start in on all the holiday baking 🙂

Greek Chicken Salad
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Yield: about 4 servings
Ingredients:
1½ cups cooked chicken, coarsely chopped or shredded
½ cup cucumber, diced
¾ cup tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp. sliced black olives (or Kalamata olives)
1 cup tzatziki sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pita, for serving
Crumbled feta cheese

Directions:
Combine the chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, olives and tzatziki sauce in a medium bowl.  Stir well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve as desired over pita bread, topped with crumbled feta cheese.

*Note: Readers frequently ask if they can use Greek yogurt rather than buying plain yogurt and straining it.  You absolutely can do that, but I prefer to strain my own yogurt because it is simply much cheaper than buying an equal amount of Greek yogurt.

Source: Annie original

Crispy Baked Taco Bowls


Tacos are such a simple, delicious and satisfying meal that many people make taco night a weekly occurrence.  In case you are looking for a way to change up your taco night just a little bit, making crispy baked taco bowls instead of your usual taco shells is a fun and easy twist.  This isn’t even a recipe at all, just a quick kitchen tip that I wanted to share.  All you have to do is place a warmed, lightly oiled 6-7 inch tortilla in between the cups of an overturned muffin tin.  (I prefer to warm mine in the microwave.)  Bake at 425˚ F for 8-10 minutes.  Fill as desired with all your favorite taco fixings.  And while you’re at it, be sure to make some homemade taco seasoning.  No need for those sodium-filled store bought packets!


Note: There are certainly other ways to achieve a similar result.  I have seen other methods involving laying tortillas over ramekins, folding them inside ramekins, etc.  I tried a few of these methods and this was my favorite, but you can be creative with what you have on hand.

Source: Paula of Salad in a Jar

White Fish Tacos


It seems fish tacos are quite a popular dish.  I see them all over the blogosphere and on lots of restaurant menus, but for a long time they just sounded kind of gross to me.  I think part of it was my childhood fear of seafood rearing its head – growing up in Indiana and being served lots of things that should definitely not be called seafood, I think the fear was justified.  Now that I know where to get fresh, good quality seafood, I keep experimenting with things and do my best to keep an open mind.  Well let me just say this dinner wowed us both.  Actually, it wowed us all – Andrew included.  He ate more than one plate of deconstructed taco!

And, this is another one of those dinners that is a triple threat – it is quick, easy, and healthy!  I came home from a long, rough work day and despite my exhaustion and less than stellar mood, these came together in no time.  In fact, they completely turned my mood around (well, the margarita probably played a part in that as well.)  You marinate the fish briefly and while it is doing its thing, you can prep all the toppings and the sauce.  I used halibut for these because it is my favorite type of white fish but you could also use tilapia or cod (or some other variety of white fish I am less familiar with).  Try these soon for a healthy, colorful delicious meal.

White Fish Tacos
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For the fish:
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 tbsp. minced cilantro
¼ tsp. cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 lb. white fish (halibut, cod, tilapia, etc.)
Salt

Ingredients:

For the cilantro cream sauce:
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp. cilantro, minced
6 oz. nonfat greek yogurt (sour cream is fine too)
1 clove garlic, minced
Pepper, to taste

For serving:
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Green onions, chopped
Red cabbage, shredded
(Or whatever sounds good to you!)
6-inch flour tortillas

Directions:
Combine the lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, cilantro, cumin, and garlic in a pie plate or shallow dish.  Whisk together until well blended.  Place the fish in the mixture, turning to coat.  Let marinate 15-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the cilantro cream sauce.  Combine the lime juice, cilantro, greek yogurt, garlic and pepper in a small bowl.  Mix until well blended.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Place the fish in the pan and cook without disturbing, 3 minutes.  Flip the fish and cook on the second side 2-3 minutes more.  Remove to a plate, season with salt as desired, and let rest for a few minutes.  Shred the fish into bite-sized pieces with two forks.

Assemble tacos on flour tortillas with shredded fish, cilantro cream sauce and toppings as desired.

Source: adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Salmon with Strawberry Salsa


I mentioned not long ago that I wasn’t a big fan of fruit and meat, etc. combos but it seems I’m coming around.  This dish totally blew me away.  Honestly, I was expecting this to be so-so for me, and maybe something Ben said he liked to be polite.  But no, we both devoured it.  And so did Andrew!  Even better, it’s incredibly simple to prepare, quick, and healthy to boot.  How can you say no to a meal like that?  I think this would be great for entertaining because it is easy, certainly unique and the bright colors make for a beautiful presentation.

Salmon with Strawberry Salsa
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Ingredients:
For the salsa:
2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 scallions, white and green portions, sliced thin
1 tsp. fresh parsley, minced
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Drizzle of olive oil
Drizzle of honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

4 salmon fillets (about 6 oz. each)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
To make the salsa, combine the strawberries, tomatoes, scallions, parsley, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.  Mix well to blend, then cover and refrigerate while you prepare the salmon.

Preheat the broiler.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place the salmon fillets on the foil.  Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over each fillet, and season with salt and pepper.  Broil about 6-8 inches away from heat source (in my oven, this is upper middle rack).  Cook about 10-12 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of the fillets, checking for doneness.  Transfer the salmon to serving plates and top with strawberry salsa.  Serve warm.

Source: barely adapted from Good Things Catered

Chicken and Artichokes in a White Wine Sauce


There are lots of reasons to like this dinner.  For one, it is pretty healthy, providing both lean protein and vegetables in one low fat dish.  Also, it uses ingredients that you are likely have on hand most of the time so as long as you have a package of mushrooms, you should be good to go.  The end result is a dish that is delicious, elegant, and appears as though you spent far more time on it than you actually did.  It’s also great as leftovers.

Chicken and Artichokes in a White Wine Sauce
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Ingredients:
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. herbes de provence (or a combination of other dried herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, thyme)
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (2 chicken breasts total)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup chicken broth
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Minced fresh parsley, for serving

Directions:
In a pie plate or shallow dish, combine the flour, dried herbs, salt and pepper and stir with a fork to blend.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture.  Using tongs, coat the chicken breast halves in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.  Remove the chicken to a plate; cover and keep warm.

Add the butter to the pan and warm until melted.  Add the mushrooms and artichokes to the pan and cook until most of the liquid is released from the mushrooms and the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the white wine, chicken broth, and reserved tablespoon of flour; whisk until smooth.  Add the mixture to the skillet, cooking until it is warm and slightly thickened.  Return the chicken to the pan to warm through and cover with sauce.  Serve the chicken with sauce spooned over the top, and garnish with grated Parmesan and fresh parsley as desired.

Source: adapted from Proceed With Caution, originally from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, Bridal Edition

Turkey Burgers


It’s still summer and we’re still grilling.  I just can’t get enough!  I use ground turkey quite frequently as a healthier substitute for ground beef, but I’ll admit that have always preferred a classic beef hamburger to any turkey burger I’ve tried.  Finally a recipe for turkey burgers came along that actually tempted me enough to try them.  I’ll be darned if these weren’t some of the best burgers we’ve ever made!  In fact I enjoyed them so much they went right back onto the menu for the following week – always a sign of a winner.  Most recently I prepared a full batch of patties (8 total), wrapped half of them in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for a quick dinner at a later date.  They came in handy this weekend when I needed a quick meal for my dad, who tends to think it isn’t food if it didn’t come off the grill.  I’ll be sure to have these around as a freezer staple in the future.  (And just so you know, these buns freeze amazingly well too.  I always keep some in the freezer.)

Turkey Burgers
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Yield: 8 burgers
Ingredients:
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. ground turkey
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. minced fresh sage
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

Directions:
Heat the coals of a grill to medium-high.  Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook about 2 minutes longer, until the onion is tender.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl; let cool.

Once the onion mixture has cooled, add the ground turkey, salt, pepper and herbs to the bowl.  Mix well so everything is evenly blended.  Mix in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Form the mixture into 8 equal sized patties.  When you are ready to grill, oil the grates of the grill with additional olive oil or vegetable oil.  Cook until evenly browned and cooked through, about 4-6 minutes per side.  Serve with toasted buns, lettuce, tomatoes, and condiments as desired.

Source: adapted from Simply Recipes