I am going to let you in a little secret… I used to love those prepacked frozen TV dinners! There you go! When I was still living at home, dinner time wasn’t usually until about 7-ish or so. Therefore my older sister and I usually would come home from school around 3-4 in the afternoon (and my family lived in the country, where the closest grocery store or anything else was about 20 minutes!), we’d be looking for snacks. We’d try to do all kinds of snacks with our limited culinary knowledge, but sometimes we’d settle on a frozen dinner. If we were to have a frozen dinner, it would be Salisbury steak – hands down. With mashed potatoes drizzled in some sort of gravy, mushy corn, and a beef patty.
It has been a very long time since I have had my share of frozen dinners, but recently I was really craving for a Salisbury Steak. This winter has been pretty cold, and we’ve gotten slammed by a few nasty snow storms – and I couldn’t help but wanting a hearty dish like this. When I told Red, he was all over the idea of having a Salisbury Steak, but when I had ground turkey on my grocery list – he was a little hesitated. He kept on wanting to know why I needed ground turkey to make Salisbury Steak. But after some convincing, he let me make this version that uses a mixture of ground beef and turkey. I can assure you that neither of us could tell the difference – we loved this homemade version of the famous TV dinner! The broth was hearty, chock-full of onions and sliced mushrooms soaked in beefy broth. I also preferred cooking them in the a cast-iron skillet – to both brown the meat patties, and then to make the sauce. Those brown bits etc left on the pan added such a depth in flavor for the broth.
1 1/2 tsp oil
1 cup onions, minced
1 lbs 93% lean ground beef
1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 medium to large sized eggs
2 cups beef broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 cup water
Sauté onions in oil over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine half of the sautéed onions, ground beef, ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, egg white, 1/4 cup beef broth, salt and black pepper.
Shape into 8 oval patties.
In a large deep skillet over medium-high heat, brown both sides of patties. Set aside on a dish.
Add mushrooms to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and sauté 2-3 minutes.
Return patties to the skillet with the mushrooms.
In a small bowl, blend flour and remaining broth until smooth. Mix in remaining onions, tomato paste, vinegar, water, worcestershire sauce and mustard powder.
Pour over meat and mushrooms in skillet.
Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Adapted from Skinny Taste
Meat loaf is probably one of the quintessential American dinners. It is truly a comfort food for me and Red: he and I grew up eating it. Since we both love it, it was definitely one of the first recipes that I tried to experiment with when we just got married. When you’re single, the question of “what’s for dinner?” is usually between you and yourself, so sometimes, you can take the easy way out when you really want to (fried eggs, cold cereal, maybe toast with whatever left I had in the fridge, whether it was sugar-free jam or maybe peanut butter. Hey, you have to at least answer to yourself). Once you get married though, there is actually someone waiting for an answer; so inevitably we need to come up with some sort of answer. So we started discussing meatloaf, and we were used to beef meat loaf. Sometimes our parents got fancy and threw in some pork or sausages, but neither one of us ever had turkey meatloaf until this. And once we had this, we never went back to any other kinds of meat loaf. It is that good, trust me!
The challenge was to find a flavorful meat loaf recipe using ground turkey breast. It is difficult (at least in my opinion) to cook ground turkey to be flavorful to begin with, and to make it moist in a meat loaf form was a pretty daunting task. I knew that I could not just substitute ground turkey for beef and or pork into regular meat loaf recipe. This recipe relies on tons of onions to be chopped and browned, and mixed into the ground turkey. Those sweet browned bits of onions are cooked into the ground turkey to give it a beautiful moist texture. And I have also found that I absolutely love using fresh bread crumbs instead of the store-bought version, it adds more flavors and moisture. I like to make these in a loaf-form using a loaf pan instead of the free-form style that the recipe originally calls for. I also found that the smaller the loaves, the harder it would be for the slices to hold its shape/form. So if you want to use the leftover to make sandwiches the next day, I’d recommend that you make them at least into the 8×4-pan size, or even larger. On a final note, this recipe feeds a crowd (I mean, it’d better be, since it calls for five pounds of ground turkey). This would be a perfect dish for a large gathering or party or, if not, it freezes beautifully.
3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
5 pounds ground turkey breast
1- 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
3 extra-large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup ketchup, more as needed for topping
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a medium saute pan, over medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until translucent, but not browned, approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste and mix well. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf on an ungreased sheet pan. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. and the meatloaf is cooked through.
(A pan of hot water in the oven under the meatloaf will keep the top from cracking.)
Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold in a sandwich. Top with more ketchup on the top as desired.
Yield: (4) 8×4 meatloaves; or (8) mini meat loaves
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
I love cooking using ground turkey breast, but I admit that it is tough to find a recipe that can turn them into a flavorful dish. I had been using this recipe for Mini Turkey Meatballs; they are awesome as a make ahead and keep in the freezer for busy nights. Recently I found some great looking pork sausages at my grocery and was looking for a recipe that combines both ground turkey and sausages, and stumbled upon this one. Perfect! I love that it also uses Asiago cheese and prosciutto. I thought, how can anything not be delicious with all of those flavors combined together?
And… I was right! These meatballs were so flavorful, moist, and just all around delicious. I was very happy with the flavors punch from the Asiago cheese and prosciutto. The red pepper flakes added a little spice kick as well that I absolutely loved. The fact that the house smells amazing when these were baked is an added bonus. These are definitely my now go-to turkey meatballs recipe.
3 cups (1-inch diced) bread cubes from a round rustic bread, crusts removed
2/3 cup whole milk
2 lbs ground turkey (88% – 92% lean)
1/2 lb sweet Italian pork sausage, casing removed
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp good olive oil plus, extra for brushing meatballs
2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
3 (24-oz) jars good marinara sauce, such as Rao’s
2 lbs dried spaghetti, such as De Cecco
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
Place the bread in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the bread is in medium crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and add the milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, sausage, prosciutto, bread mixture, Asiago, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Lightly combine the ingredients with your hands. Add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the eggs, and stir lightly with a fork to combine.
With your hands, lightly roll the mixture into 2-inch-round meatballs and place them on the prepared sheet pans. Brush the meatballs with olive oil. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the tops are browned and the centers are completely cooked.
Pour the marinara into a large, low pot, add the meatballs, and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the directions on the package. Drain and place the spaghetti in individual bowls, and top with 3 meatballs and lots of sauce. Serve with Parmesan cheese on the side.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy is that?
Happy Monday everyone! For the 3+ yrs that I have been blogging, I have never done a recipe round-up. I thought that a round-up would be nice for Thanksgiving to give my new readers some opportunity to see some favorite recipes from the past. My family tends to be on the conservative side, so yes, I have a couple of picky eaters too that we have to please But here is the list of some of my favorite recipes that would make an appearance at least once between now till the end of the year. I normally stick with a couple of tried and true traditional side dish, and have a couple of new ones that my family may enjoy.
My family always try to have a turkey on the table. After all, this is the only time of the year that we will have the whole bird on the table. This Perfect Roasted Turkey was the classic take that we normally go back to.
Mashed potatoes is a must at our house, and we usually make tons of them, no matter how many people we feed. Try this Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, a new favorite at my house, if you have never added buttermilk into your potatoes. You may find a new favorite that your family may love.
You got leftover mashed potatoes? Try these Fried Mashed Potato Balls. Oh. My. God. You may want to whip up extra mashed potatoes just to have these yummy treats laying around afterward. Be prepared to be covered in grease too while frying them. But it will be worth it!
I love gratins. It is tough to fight for the oven space, but I love this Cauliflower Gratin, and everyone seems to love it. I have substituted other veggies (like carrots, broccoli, or the combination of a couple different veggies). It doesn’t disappoint.
I fell in love with Brussels sprouts last year, so if it were just me and my hubby (and our daughter), we would have have them on the dinner table. (I told you that I have picky eaters to get along too) I love these Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Last year, I loved the Brussels Sprouts Lardon, which includes dried cranberries and bacon bits (yum…bacon!). You can’t go wrong with either recipes.
Apple pie is another one that we must have. All conversation about dessert always starts at “We’ll have apple pie… and what else?” So here goes my Fave Apple Pie. The true-and tried crust and pie recipes that I now love and insist my family to use. No soggy/tough crust… just a perfect slice of pie, one after another.
Finally, I think this year, we’re going to have this Pecan Pie on the menu.
A couple other items on my menu this year:
Green Bean Casserole (from scratch). I just realized that I have never posted the recipe before, but I basically make a basic white sauce to top my blanched/sauteed green beans. I made this last year, and was very impressed at how delicious it was.
Sweet Potatoes Casserole. I am probably going to do something similar to this Autumn-Sweet Potato Apple Bake.
And here are some Thanksgiving-inspired recipes that caught my eyes from my blogger friends that are worth checking out:
Maple Cranberry Tangerine Pecan Sauce from Carrie at Bakeaholic Mama (oh yeah, I want a big ladle of that on top of my sliced turkey!)
Bourbon Pear Pecan Stuffing from Jessica at the Jey of Cooking (I am sure this will put the regular boxed stuffing to shame)
Pumpkin Pie for One from Geri at the Sweet and Crumby (My hubby and I are the only two people in our family who seems to love pumpkin pie, so this is a great recipe if you only want to make a single or double serving!)
Garlic Herb Braid from Courtney at Misadventures of Cooking (I’d love a big fat slice lathered with garlic butter, because I can never have enough garlic!)
Cranberry Nut Rolls from Tracey at Tracey’s Culinary Adventure (This is something that is on my to-bake list forever, so hopefully I’d get around to making it soon)
If you still have energy and appetite for a special breakfast or brunch the day after Thanksgiving, try these yummy items:
Asparagus and Ham Quiche (great recipe to use up leftover!)
I hope everyone is having an awesome Thanksgiving’s Holiday with your loved ones, friends and families!!
I have been enjoying the slightly cooler evenings that we’ve had in the past couple of weeks. Not cool enough to demand a thick coat or sweater, but just enough that I crave pasta and a warm crusty baguette from the oven. I was drawn to this recipe by its simplicity; there are few items required, and it reminds me of the cooking class that I took in Bologna Italy back in 2009. Our cooking instructor didn’t use anything fancy. As a matter of fact, I think her recipe was very similar to this one below. She just emphasized the importance of simmering the meat in tomato sauce for an “extended period of time”. She recommended all day, but let’s face it, I just don’t have it these days. So any cooking time for more than an hour should work. I have added this recipe into our weekly menu rotation since it can easily be doubled, freezes well, and it is a fave at my household. Perfect!
5-6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
3/4 lb Italian turkey sausage, 4 inch long links
1 lb ground turkey (dark meat ideal)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2-28oz can whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
1/3 cup tomato paste
3/4 lb (3/4 box) rigatoni
grated parmesan cheese for serving
Heat 2-3 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook, turning them now and then, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausages to a plate and add the ground turkey to the pan along with a healthy pinch of salt and few fresh grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring here and there for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove to a separate plate.
Add another 2 or 3 Tbsp of olive oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook these until softened and just beginning to brown, another solid 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice along with about 1/2 cup of water. Add the ground turkey, stir the sauce well, and nestle the sausages in.
Bring the sauce to a boil, season to taste with salt and pepper and turn the heat to low. Cover almost completely with a lid (let the steam escape from one side) and gently simmer for 4 hours adding splashes of water every hour or so if the sauce is at all drying out. Uncover the sauce and stir in the tomato paste, barely cover, and simmer for 1 more hour.
When it’s about ready for serving, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously. Drop the pasta in and cook according to package directions.
Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta with a nice grating of parmesan on top. Perfect.
Adapted from My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow
My daughter who just recently turned one, started to be really interested in feeding herself right around ten months. She liked her semi-pureed meals; but got very inpatient when being spoon-fed, and wanted to feed herself halfway through her meals. This recipe below was one of my now go to meals that I came up with for her lunch. I used the inspiration from these very delicious Chicken and Sage Sausages that I often make for myself. I substitute some of the ingredients to make them toddler-approved and make smaller patties for her lunch and dinner. I can then take one patty, cut them into smaller pieces, and she can happily feed herself during lunch… No meltdown, and she gets both her protein and vegetables. Since I didn’t add any salt or pepper, I decided to add a little bit of Parmesan Cheese for extra flavor. These were so delicious that I ended up making double batches so I could have some for myself and some in the freezer for last-minute meals.
Generous 3/4 lb of organic ground turkey (or chicken)
1/2 cup of grated carrot (if you use chicken, replace this with apple)
2 tbsp of grated sweet onion
6-8 purple or green sage leaves, sliced
2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp of olive oil
Mix all of the ingredients together in medium mixing bowl. Make about 2-inch round patties, about 1/4-inch in thickness, using all of the turkey mixture. You should end up with about 10-12 patties.
Heat the oil in a medium saute pan. Fry the patties, about 2-min on each side, or until they are golden brown. Continue with all of the patties.
Yield: 10-12 mini patties
First off, I wanted to apologize to my readers that somehow my commenting function was turned OFF. Not sure what happened, but when I switched to a self-hosted blog, I must have accidentally turned off the commenting section … duh! Which bloggers don’t love comments? So if you’re reading this post now and have had difficulty posting in the past, my apology
. The function is back on–so please comment away. Food bloggers LOVE comments! EDIT: Looks like the issue is still here! Thanks for your patience IT IS FIXED NOW… WOHOOO!! :)
Now… onto this cheesy stuffed burger stuff. I must say that when I picked up My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow; I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I knew of her macrobiotic diet, and wondered whether I would even have any ingredients in my pantry to try her recipes. But as I flipped through the book, it has some surprisingly basic recipes with accessible ingredients with a little twist, and some of them looked really good, like this turkey burger. I couldn’t help myself though, we had to add some bacon to ours since we love bacon in this house
In addition to some gorgeous looking main dishes, there were tons of other appealing salad, vinaigrette mixing, and side dishes that I plan on trying in the near future. I especially love the section where she had noted some of her experiences introducing some of healthier food options for her two kids, which scored extra for me. So far, one recipe down, and I am a pretty happy camper with this book. Stay tuned for future recipes from this book. If you have tried any of her recipes from this book, let me know which one; and what your verdict is.
Adapted from My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup peeled and finely minced yellow onion
1 tablespoon very finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 lb ground turkey or ground beef chuck
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 fresh ground ground black pepper
1/2 cup coarsely grated cheese of your choice
4 sprouted grain or whole wheat burger buns
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add the onion and rosemary and cook for about 10 minutes, or until quiet soft and sweet. Let the onion mixture cool a bit and then put in a large mixing bowl with the turkey, salt, and pepper.
Mash the ingredients together with a wooden spoon or with your hands. Divide the mixture into quarters. Divide each quarter in half, and form into 2 patties. Place 2 tablespoons of cheese onto one pattie and sandwich with the other half, pinching the edges to close the gap. Repeat this process with the remaining turkey and cheese.
Preheat your grill or broiler to high.
Cook the burgers for 5 minutes on the first side, flip and cook for 4 more minutes, or until the burgers are browned and firm. Serve them on grilled buns with all of your favorite fixings.
Yield: 4 servings
Nothing can beat a steaming plate of hot cooked spaghetti slathered in delicious marinara sauce… and then topped with delicious meatballs! This recipe is so versatile, you can either enjoy these meatballs with pasta (the traditional way). Or you can serve them as individual appetizers with variety of sauces; although I must add that these meatballs are very flavorful on their own. For healthier option, I used ground white turkey meat mixed with turkey sausages (for flavor). The mixture was also very soft, so I thought that baking them may make it easier and help the meatballs hold their shapes better. I baked these meatballs for about 30-40 mins at 350 degree. It was also a lot more convenient than trying to fry them in a pan several batches at a time. I put them on to two baking sheets (because I doubled the recipe), and rotated the pans halfway through. Finally, I had some leftover spinach, so I threw a few handful of that as well in my marinara sauce. I used my favorite jarred marinara sauce, Rao’s.
Adapted from Giada deLaurintiis, as seen in Food Network
1 small onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground dark turkey meat
3 tablespoons olive oil
26 ounces store-bought marinara sauce
Add the onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, parsley, Parmesan, Pecorino, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a large plate or baking sheet.
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. Turn off heat. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Pour off any excess oil. Add the marinara sauce, about 3 cups. Return all the meatballs to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, 15 to 20 minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Transfer the meatball mixture to a serving bowl.
In the spirit of the Superbowl Sunday, Red and I thought that it would be fun to make chili for supper tonight. Then we realized that we didn’t really have a winning chili recipe on our own. So we spent some time this afternoon browsing through recipes and saw a few that we thought would be good. Of course, we ended up modifying probably the entire recipe. I did not want to use beef, so we substituted the ground beef with ground turkey. I also insisted that we use up the leftover veggies in the frig. The result below was excellent though- although this is a seriously SPICY dish! I had to quickly jot everything down that we used so we can use this again in the future. Yum!
Blissfully Delicious Original
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 red/yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup of chopped celery (~ 3 stalks)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1 jalapeno pepper chopped
1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes, diced, with juices
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (8 ounce) chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp hot sauce
1 generous tbsp of garlic
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 can (14.5 ounces) chili beans, small red beans, or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp each of chopped green onions, and cilantro (optional)
Shredded cheese for garnish (optional)
Cook onion, turkey and garlic in a large saucepan until meat is browned, stirring until it crumbles.
Add chili powder and the remaining ingredients (except the green onions and cilantro), stirring well; bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 min.
Add chopped green onions & cilantro, stirring well, and cook until thoroughly heated.
Serve with shredded cheese if desired.
Yield: 6 servings