Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You won't know they are... Turkey Meatballs with Penne

So, inevitably my menu already had a small change. When I saw the vast quantities of meatballs and pasta, I 86'd the wedge salad and we will have it another day.

I am dedicating this recipe to my brother in law--he eats turkey burgers every day and for the love if I see him eating another dry turkey burger in my current pregnant condition--I might just scream. This recipe keeps the turkey nice and moist and has so many great Italian flavors I really don't think most people would realize they are eating turkey.

The thing about turkey--beware! Not all ground turkey is created equal. If you grab any old ground turkey it is often just as fatty if not more so than ground beef due to the "parts" used. They put in dark meat, skin and even some parts not normally fit for consumption. Be sure to buy a nice "ground turkey breast".


Turkey Meatballs
1 lb. ground turkey breast
2 eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 slices of whole wheat bread--I saved the the heels for this application
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 TBSP dried basil
1 TBSP dried parsley
1 TBSP onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cloves of minced garlic
generous amount of salt and pepper

Slice the bread into small cubes like the size of a small crouton.

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well mixed and bread has become well incorporated. Measure balls with a 1/4 cup measuring cup and roll into balls. I always measure so they are equal size and cook through evenly. I got 10 balls out of this pound of meat.

Drizzle twice around the pan with some olive oil. There is hardly any fat in the turkey so it needs some help plus the olive oil will add some great flavor. Just make sure to drizzle and not pour--these are healthy after all and should not end up greasy.

Brown the meatballs for several minutes on all sides until each side is golden brown. You are not worried about cooking through at this point. As you see from the picture below...there is no excess fat in the pan when finished browning. This is nice to see :-)

While browning the balls, select a jar of marinara--brand of your choice and start to simmer on low. Don't spend a lot on something expensive because the meatballs are going in and will give the sauce their flavor.

When the meatballs are browned evenly on all sides--add them to the sauce and toss to coat in sauce. Cover with lid and cook on medium low. Cook for at least 20 minutes--the longer they cook the more flavor transfers to the sauce. Feel free to let these go as long as you want. Just watch the pot and turn down the heat if the sauce starts bubbling too much.

What I normally do is cover the meatballs and then start the water for the pasta. I let the balls cook as long as it takes me to cook the pasta. I served this over the Barilla Plus Penne. I like the flavor more than whole wheat pasta but it still has a ton of protein and fiber in the pasta!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bake Shop Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ironically for a healthy blog the entry that receives the most traffic and is starting to get my blog some attention is the Turtle Brownie blog. Everything in moderation right? I was making a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies and I decided to add it to the blog.

A little background, I have major issues with baking chocolate chip cookies. I get flat, greasy, overcooked or undercooked blobs the majority of the time. I had overcome my demons until we moved. I have a gas oven that has a mind of its own. Nothing seems to bake right and my cookies have gotten worse. I tried every recipe from Toll House to Neiman Marcus. Then I remembered a recipe that I had quickly copied down from a tv show about 6 or 7 years ago. It was a PBS show called America's Test Kitchen--the one where they fix your problems with traditional recipes. I have made these cookies twice since recalling this recipe and they have turned out perfect. They look and taste just like a bakery cookie. I definitely cannot take any credit for this recipe, but thought I would share it for those of you that share my issues.

A few notes before you get started. 1) Make sure you have at least two cookie sheets available--the cookies actually cool all the way on the sheet. 2) These cookies bake low and slow so you need to have some time available to bake. 3) The recipe makes a huge gourmet sized cookie. I have played with the recipe and will share how to make smaller cookies at the end of the recipe. 4) This dough looks different from other cookie doughs because of the melted butter. I have shown pics several times to try to see the difference.
Let me know if you make these. I am sure you will love them as much as we do. Thank you PBS for great cooking shows!


Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups plus 2 TBSP All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks of real butter, melted for 1 minute in microwave and then cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg plus 1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 12 oz. package of semi sweet chocolate chips

Start by melting the butter. While cooling to warm temperature, whisk all of the dry ingredients together with a fork. Set aside.
Mix butter and sugars until blended with the PADDLE attachment on the Kitchenaid mixer--not the beater!
Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients all at once and blend just until combined--do not overmix!
Hand stir in chocolate chips with a mixing spoon.

Gourmet size: Use a 1/4 cup measuring scoop to measure each cookie and roll into a ball. Photobucket
Break cookie ball in half and piece together at the base. The top of the ball should be the jagged torn portion. See picture below.
Put on cookie sheet 2 1/2 inches apart. Typically 6 cookies to a sheet tray.
Bake at 325 degrees. Start at very top oven rack. Half way through baking time rotate the tray from front to back and move to the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes (my oven takes 19-20 minutes) until cookies are light golden brown but the center still looks soft and puffy. COOL completely on the baking sheet before moving to a platter.

Smaller size: Use a 2 TBSP scoop (I have a Pampered Chef one that works great) and measure each cookie. Roll into a ball, break cookie ball in half and piece together at the base. The top of the ball should be the jagged torn portion. Same picture as above.
Put on cookie sheet 2 1/2 inches apart. Typically 8 cookies to a sheet tray.
Bake at 325 degrees. Start at very top oven rack. Half way through baking time rotate the tray from front to back and move to the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 13-15 minutes (my oven takes 17 minutes) until cookies are light golden brown but the center still looks soft and puffy. COOL completely on the baking sheet before moving to a platter.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tangy Asian Glazed Salmon and Mixed Greens

I was going to call this Ginger Glazed but it ended up so flavorful I changed it to "Asian Glazed". I make all of my marinades in gallon size storage bags so that it is easy to mix, marinade and clean up. This recipe would be great with rice and black beans too. We are trying to balance our protein and carbs so I chose the mixed green salad to get some fresh veggies in. Let's talk about the salad. You know when you get those delicious lightly coated greens as a side at your favorite brunch place? That is the taste I was going for with this simple dressing. Fresh taste that doesn't overpower the simple greens. I used balsamic vinegar since there was balsamic in the marinade. This dressing would also be great with red wine vinegar. I will tell you...this meal is going to be a summer go to for me. Bailey loved the fish and even asked for seconds!!

One tip on the fresh ginger: use it! I learned a great trick from a favorite cooking show host. Peel the ginger when you get it home and store it in a freezer bag in the freezer. When you need it cut of a piece and grate. The ginger will last for months in the freezer and is actually so much easier to grate and use when frozen!

I will be reusing several of the ingredients in this dish throughout the week as a cost saver. I am not talking staple items like soy sauce or oil--I mean the fresh ingredients that you need to use during the week or they go bad. I am using: ginger in the thai chicken, green onions in the peanut noodles, and spring greens for another salad.

Salmon Ingredients:
4 (4oz) Alaska Salmon Fillets
1/2 cup canola oil
4 T soy sauce
4 T balsamic vinegar
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 T brown sugar
1 T honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, grated
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper both sides of the fish.


In a gallon size storage bag--mix together all other ingredients. Close bag and shake to combine. Open bag and put fish in. Reseal and mix to coat fish.


Put in fridge for minimum 2 hours to 4 hours. Remove fish from marinade and either grill or broil until done. About 4-5 minutes on each side. I broiled it and the skin was crispy and the marinade was great.


Simple Balsamic Mixed Greens
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T honey
Small amount of salt and pepper to taste
1 bag washed mixed baby greens

Whisk together the vinegar, oil, honey and salt and pepper. Pour a small amount at a time over the greens until coated but not soaked. Serve immediately. Would be great with some sliced strawberries and almonds mixed in to make it a more substantial salad.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Weekly Menu time flies. I haven't blogged forever! Sorry about that. I am trying a new strategy. I am going to post my weekly menu on Sunday and then post the recipe as I make each dish during the week. Still working on making restaurant "makeovers" No Beef and No Pork in our diet. I am so happy that it is summer--lots of fish on the menu this week. We do not have a grill so I am going to be broiling several of these dishes but they could definitely be grilled to perfection as well. You will notice some similar flavors here--I try to plan menus that use the same ingredients multiple days so that I get more bang for my buck and do not waste any fresh produce.

Here is the menu:
Ginger Glazed Salmon with a balsamic mixed greens salad
Turkey Meatballs with whole wheat pasta also with balsamic mixed greens
Almond Crusted Tilapia (recipe courtesy of my friend Jeremy) and Lemon Garlic Broccoli
Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Baked Chicken with a wedge salad
Tofu Teriaki Kabobs with Brown rice and peas
Fish Tacos with spanish style brown rice
Thai Chicken Skewers with peanut veggie noodles

Just for fun I am going to also make my gourmet chocolate chip cookies this week. So not healthy but the most delicious cookie I have ever tasted.
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