Asian Chicken Meatballs

Asian Chicken Meatballs

I posted these 6 years ago on Juicy Bites! I made them the other night and decided they were due for a re-post. They are a family favorite around here and always get rave reviews.

They are great served with rice and some sort of green veg. For this particular dinner I glazed the meatballs with one of my favorite sauces…San-J’s Orange Sauce. San-J makes some great Asian sauces and they are made with clean ingredients. You can make your own glaze, or use whatever your favorite is. Teriyaki or sweet and sour would be good too. I made a batsmati rice and quinoa blend and some sesame soy roasted broccoli to serve them with.  The broccoli is easy and so delicious…just whisk together some olive oil with a little toasted sesame oil and a few splashes of soy sauce, drizzle over your broccoli florets, and roast at 425 for around 15 – 20 minutes.

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Asian Chicken Meatballs

I have also served these with soba noodles (like an Asian version of spaghetti and meatballs!) and I have made a simple coconut curry sauce for them which was soooo delicious!

The leftovers were turned into Asian Chicken Meatball Banh Mi sandwiches for my boys’ lunch the next day. They went into a roll with a  little sriracha mayo and quick pickled shredded carrots and red onion. The boys liked them so much I may need to make them just for that purpose next time!

When I make meatballs, I like to use gloves (I get these on Amazon) so that I can mix with my hands and not end up with raw meat under my fingernails! It is really hard to get a meatball or meatloaf mixture combined well with a spoon…using your hands is the best way to go. This meatball mixture is on the wet side and a little hard to work with because of the ground chicken but they cook up perfectly.

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I start with some panko bread crumbs moistened in a little milk, then add in some garlic, cilantro, ginger, shallots, green onion, lime zest and salt. Mixing all of these ingredients together first helps to combine everything easier. Soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and some Sambal add a ton more flavor and a little heat. I know the milk thing might seem a little weird in an Asian meatball, but I use milk/breadcrumbs in a lot of my meatball recipes so I went it with for these as well. I’m sure you could leave it out or sub a little chicken stock, but I wanted to post it exactly how I made it because it was so good! I actually used half and half because we always have that on hand for coffee!

Asian Chicken Meatballs

Use a baking sheet lined with foil and some parchment paper…no sticking and no washing! If you don’t have parchment, spray your foil with non-stick spray. I love these parchment sheets from Amazon…they fit my sheet pans perfectly.  No struggling to get a curled up piece to lay flat and no bleaching chemicals! I use them a ton!

cooked meatballs

After they come out of the oven, you can brush on your sauce of choice for a nice glaze or throw them into a simmering pot of coconut curry! Or just eat them as is…they are super flavorful all on their own!

Asian Chicken Meatballs

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger
  • 1 small finely chopped shallot
  • 4 finely chopped green onions
  • zest of one lime
  • 2  eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 – 3 tsp of chili paste (like Sambal) the more you use, the more heat you get!
  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • Sweet and Sour sauce or orange sauce to glaze
  • toasted sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, and sliced green onions for garnish

Preparation

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Pour milk over bread crumbs in a large bowl and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add salt, cilantro, garlic, ginger, shallot, green onion, and lime zest. Mix until well combined.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili paste.
  4. Add the ground chicken to the bread crumbs along with the egg mixture and use your hands to combine the ingredients.
  5. The chicken mixture will be very wet, so carefully shape into meatballs and place on a baking sheet lined with foil and coated in nonstick spray or parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes then turn the meatballs and bake for 10 more minutes or until center of meatball reaches 165 degrees.
  7. Glaze with sauce of choice and serve garnished with green onion, cilantro and sesame seeds.

 

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Lean, Mean, & Green Chicken Chili with Garbanzo Beans

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I know that chili isn’t really a warm weather dinner, but we have had our typical June Gloom around here and a warm bowl 0f chili still hits the spot for me. And, this is not your typical meaty and heavy chili! This chili is light and zippy, thanks to the lean ground chicken and the tomatillos. I used garbanzo beans, which I love, because I had a bag in the pantry. You can used canned too, but it’s so easy to boil up a pot of beans if you have the forethought to do it and they taste a step above the canned ones. You could sub whatever your fave bean is and it would be just as delicious!

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You may know from some of my other posts (like my avocado and tomatillo rellish) that I LOVE tomatillos! They are so easy to cook with and add such great flavor to sauces, salsas, soups and stews. The only prep they need is removing the green husk and rinsing them well in warm water to remove the sticky film that they have. You can roast them whole and blend them for a sauce or chop them up and throw them in a pot like I did for this dish.

IMG_3604A quick saute of some chopped poblano pepper and onion start this easy dish. From there you just need to brown your ground chicken (organic if you can get it!), then add in your chopped tomatillos along with some stock and beer.

IMG_3605IMG_3607Once you bring it to a simmer, you just throw the lid on and let it do it’s thing. After it “stews” for about 30 minutes, the tomatillos will break down and make the perfect green sauce.

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Keep in mind…this is a really mild chili. If you want to heat things up a little, throw in a couple of finely chopped jalapenos or a serano when you are sauteing the onion and poblano. I kept this mild for my 6 year old. My heat loving husband and 9 year old added plenty of jalapeno slices to their bowls.

IMG_1919Jalapenos aren’t the only thing you will want to top this with. Garnishes can make a meal! I topped ours with diced avocado, queso fresco, and some sour cream. GOTTA have the garnishes 🙂

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After I served this, I thought it would have been great over some white rice. I think I will make some to serve it with next time. I did make some little quesadilla roll-ups with these cute mini corn tortillas I found. They were tasty for dipping!

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Green Chili with Chicken and Garbanzo Beans

Click here for a printable version of the recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium onion – chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper – chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 4 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound tomatillos – husked, washed, and roughly chopped
  • 1-7oz can whole roasted green chilis (like Ortega) – seeds removed and chopped small
  • 1 cup Mexican beer (like Pacifico or Modelo Especial)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 1/2 cups of cooked garbanzo beans, OR 3 cans – rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Optional Garnishes:
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Diced Avocado
  • Crumbled Queso Fresco or shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Sliced Radishes
  • Sliced Jalapeno pepper

*Cooked white rice to serve over if desired

Directions:

In a large dutch oven, saute the onion and poblano pepper for about 7 minutes. Add the cumin and minced garlic and cook another minute. Add the ground chicken and cook, breaking it up with the side of a spoon, until it is cooked through. Add the salt, chopped tomatillos, chopped green chilies, beer, and stock, and bring to a simmer. Cover and lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the tomatillos have broken down.  Add the garbanzo beans and cilantro and cook until heated through. Taste to see if you need any additional salt – that will depend on how salty your stock is. Serve in a bowl, over rice if desired, with optional garnishes.


Zucchini Stuffed with Chicken, Fresh Mozzarella, and Herbs

A delicious way to eat your vegetables!

IMG_3375I made this yummy dinner a few weeks ago and it was a big hit with my family. I knew I had to post it on Juicy Bites, but I was planning on making it again and taking some better pictures. I took these pictures with my iPhone instead of my new DSLR Camera that I recently got. When I made these, it was one of those nights where we were all starving and I just didn’t have the energy to figure out what the heck setting I was supposed to use in my dark dining room to make these damn  lovely zucchinis look as delicious as they actually were. Don’t get me wrong…I love my new camera! I just need to make sure that I give myself plenty of time to take the blog pictures that I need and have plenty of patience.  Something I DON’T have when I’m starving and my kids are whining for dinner.

So why did I post it, you ask? Well, I was looking at pictures on my phone yesterday and saw the zucchini shots I had taken. Even though the lighting is not great, my “food styling” was rushed, and I used my phone…it still looked delicious to me and made me hungry just looking at it! I figured that it meant the pictures were good enough to share with my juicy readers. And if I wait, chances are I won’t remember how I made them!

IMG_3376I usually cook dinner while my 9 year old, Max, is at the kitchen counter doing his homework. When I was scooping the center out of these zucchinis to get them ready to stuff, he looked up from his homework and scanned the counter to see what was on the menu for dinner. Max is a good eater and likes GOOD food. He’s never been picky and has pretty refined taste for a kid. When he saw the tomato sauce bubbling on the stove, the fresh mozzarella cubed up on the cutting board, and the big fresh bunch of basil…he smiled and said, “Wow. What’s for dinner? That’s all of my favorite stuff!”. I told him what I was making and he simply said, “YES!”.

I love that my kids get excited about good food the way I do. I think this stuffed zucchini is worthy of some excitement 🙂

IMG_3358I found some giant organic zucchini at the market and thought they would be perfect to stuff. Normally, I prefer smaller zucchini, but for stuffing, these are perfect. A melon baller is a great tool to help you scoop out some of the flesh, but a teaspoon works well too. The filling was a simple combo of organic ground chicken that I cooked with some onion and garlic mixed with some fresh herbs and fresh mozzarella. I topped them with some breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil for some crunch. Ground turkey or even ground beef would be great in these too. I may try ground beef with a little Italian sausage thrown in next time.

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I made a simple tomato sauce for these that you could use in a number of different recipes. I like to make a double batch and freeze some for later. It’s a great basic sauce and I use it for many things. If you are short on time, you can use a jarred sauce for this, but the home made makes such a difference!!  You could serve this with some pasta (you will have plenty of left over sauce to put on it) or crusty bread, or keep it low carb and go with a salad.

IMG_3369Stuffed Zucchini

makes 6 servings in 2 baking dishes

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 large zucchinis
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 4 cups of basic tomato sauce (recipe follows) or store bought marinara
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil (plus some extra for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • 6 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Method:

pre-heat oven to 400

Prep your zucchinis by cutting them in half lengthwise and scooping out some of the flesh from the center of each half leaving about a 1/4 inch thick shell. Season the flesh side with a little salt and pepper.

Coat a large pan with olive oil (about 3-4 tablespoons) and saute the onion until soft (10 minutes or so). Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes. Add the ground chicken to the pan, season with a teaspoon of salt and some  pepper and cook until the chicken is completely cooked. Turn off the heat, add a cup of the tomato sauce to the chicken and mix well. Now is the time to taste for seasoning – add more salt and pepper if it needs it. Let the mixture cool, (you don’t want to scramble your eggs) then add the beaten eggs, the basil, the parsley and cubed mozzarella and mix well.

Spray 2 large baking dishes with non-stick spray and add 1 1/2 cup of tomato sauce to each baking dish. Spoon some of the chicken mixture into each zucchini shell filling them nice and full so that the filling is rounded on top and place them on top of the sauce in a single layer. In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese with some salt and pepper. Sprinkle the mix onto the top of the zucchini’s and then drizzle them with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons or so). Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until zucchinis are tender and the tops are golden. You may need a minute or two under the broiler to get the tops nice and golden. Serve garnished with fresh basil.

**This is a great dish to serve for company because all of the work can be done in advance. Before adding the breadcrumbs and parmesan on top, you can cover your baking dishes with foil and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them. Just add the breadcrumbs/parmesan right before baking. You may need to add an extra 5 minutes or so to the cooking time.

Basic Tomato Sauce:

Makes 4 cups

Tip: The tomatoes you use for this sauce will make a big impact on how it tastes. Imported Italian plum tomatoes are the best way to go. My favorites are Cento brand, especially their organic San Marzano variety.

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4 inch dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of red wine (I like to use Zinfandel) – this is optional, but does add great flavor.
  • a good size bunch of fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt, to taste

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme, carrot, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. While you are cooking the veggies, use a blender or food processor to break up the tomatoes (don’t drain them) a bit. Just pulse them a few times, you don’t want them totally pureed.  Add the tomatoes to the pan and the wine if you are using it, and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes stirring occasionally. You want it to reduce and thicken. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

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Lemon and Artichoke Chicken

This dish is FULL of flavor!

I admit it…I don’t LOVE chicken. I like it in certain dishes, but on it’s own I think it is sort of…boring. That said, I love this dish. The lemon gives it great flavor and I really love artichoke hearts. It’s pretty simple to prepare and it is a hit with my food critics (husband AND children)! Any dinner that my whole family loves is a keeper!

The ingredients in this recipe are simple. You need boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I like the “thin sliced” breasts. They cook even and stay nice and tender. If you can only find regular breasts, you can pound them between plastic wrap to get them a little thinner. I use frozen artichoke hearts. Canned will work too, but I prefer the texture of the frozen a little more for something like this. All of the flavor comes from the lemon zest  and juice, the shallots, and some minced garlic. Oh yeah…a little white wine helps too.

I cook with citrus zest a lot. You get so much flavor from it. My favorite tool to use is a microplane. Just be sure to grate ONLY the zest, not the white pith which is bitter. Also, make sure you wash store bought lemons really well with some warm water. Citrus is often coated in wax and you want to try and clean that off before zesting.

The great thing about lemon zest is that you get the bold lemon flavor without too much of that “tart” lemon taste.

You start by browning your chicken in some butter and olive oil. You don’t want to cook it all the way, it will finish in the oven. It goes from the pan to a baking dish where it awaits the delicious lemony artichoke topping.

You saute the shallots, garlic, and artichokes in the same pan. Deglazing with some white wine ensures that you get all of the good flavor from the pan that has been left from browning the chicken.

I served the chicken with some thin spaghetti that I tossed with a good olive oil, fresh chopped parsley, and salt & pepper. It is the perfect side to soak up the extra sauce that you get from the chicken. You could also serve it with rice or quinoa. For a vegetable I roasted some broccoli with olive oil, salt & pepper. Roasted broccoli is probably my kids favorite veggie.

This is a simple enough dish for a weeknight dinner, but it is also the type of meal you could cook for company. You could easily double it and use a bigger baking dish. It would definitely impress your guests! Don’t forget a good chardonnay to go with it :).

Lemon and Artichoke Chicken

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

  • 1 1/2  to 2 pounds  boneless, skinless chicken breasts, either a thin cut or pounded to an even thickness of 1/4 – 1/2 inch
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1  tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and blotted dry with paper towels (or 2 cans if you can’t find frozen)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2  cup grated parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. In a 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil.  Add chicken in batches and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

2. Lower the heat a little and add the shallots to the pan (add a little more olive oil if you need it) and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and artichoke hearts and saute a few more minutes. Add the wine and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some fresh ground pepper, and the heavy cream and mix well to combine.

4. Pour artichokes and sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and bake for about 15 minutes. You can turn the oven to broil for just a minute or 2 at the end to brown the top a little.

Serve with pasta or rice

 

 


Thai Rice Noodles With Ground Chicken

Let me start out by saying that I am by NO means an expert at authentic Asian cooking. I do love Asian flavors and so does my family. One of their fave dinners is my Asian Chicken Meatballs. If we are in the mood for super authentic Asian food, we go out for it. I have had more than one epic failure in the kitchen while attempting to create some complicated Thai or Vietnamese dish.  I’m just better off taking ingredients that we like and adding some great Asian flavors…and in this case I went with a Pad Thai-ish flavor profile. Although it was probably far from authentic, it was really good and my family loved it.

I knew I wanted to use ground chicken for this dish and when I tried to find it at the market they only had non-organic ground chicken available. After seeing the documentary Food Inc. not too long ago, I really can’t fathom eating chicken that isn’t organic. So…I bought organic free range  boneless chicken breasts and ground them up in my food processor. It was actually very easy and came out great, but an extra step I would not bother to take if I could find organic ground chicken or if I had not seen the horror that is behind the mainstream chicken farms…yikes!

All I did was cut 2 organic, free range boneless chicken breasts (about a pound) into 1 inch cubes and pulse them in my food processor until it was coarsely ground.

I used Pad Thai rice noodles, but you could easily substitute a fettuccine noodle or an wide egg noodle (just don’t invite your Thai friends over or you will be mocked). Rice noodles only need to be soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes before adding to the pan to fry. They can be tricky to work with because they get a little sticky and gummy when they sit. Your best bet is to have them soaking while you are frying up all your other ingredients and have them ready to drain and add to the pan right way so they don’t sit for too long.

The sauce had a really delicious Thai flavor profile…so yummy! If you haven’t cooked with fish sauce, don’t let is scare you. It adds such great flavor to Thai dishes. All of the ingredients that I used can be found in a regular grocery store. You could add this sauce to pretty much anything and it would be delicious! I would LOVE it if I had easy access to a well stocked Asian market, then I could have found Thai basil for this dish instead of regular basil. If you can find Thai basil…use it!

I served this noodle dish with some yummy roasted broccoli that I added a little soy and sesame to so that I could give it an Asian flare. I also had some really good chilled Junmai Gingo sake that pretty much made my whole night. I LOVE sake and will use any excuse to drink it (including nights when I cook Trader Joes’ frozen pot stickers!).

I just sliced some broccoli florets into halves (or thirds if they are big) and drizzled them with some roasted garlic olive oil. After roasting in the oven, I tossed them with a little soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.

There may be a few steps to this dish, but if you do all of your prep work ahead and have everything ready to cook, it comes together very quickly.

Thai Rice Noodles with Ground Chicken

Ingredients:

  • vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • 1 pound of ground chicken (preferably organic)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (I buy mine already shredded to save time)
  • one bunch green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 8 ounces of wide rice noodles, cooked or soaked according to package directions (like Annie Chun’s)
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces

*When I say pinch of salt, I really mean a pinch. You don’t need to use much salt because the sauce that you add gives it a lot of seasoning. You just need to add a little pinch when you are cooking each of the ingredients.

For Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons Thai Fish Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • juicy of 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Thai Sweet Red Chili

For Garnish:

  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Chopped Peanuts
  • lime wedges

Mix all of the ingredients for the sauce together in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large pan or wok, heat a tablespoon of oil and add ground chicken. Add a pinch of salt and a few turns of pepper and cook, breaking up pieces until almost cooked through. Add garlic and continue to cook until chicken is done, then remove from pan and set aside.

Add a another tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the mushrooms, carrots, green onions, a pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the carrots just start to get tender then remove from the pan and add to the reserved chicken.

Add just a touch more oil to the pan and add the beaten eggs. Scramble until cooked then remove from the pan and add to the reserved chicken and veggies.

Add another tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and a tablespoon of sesame oil. Add the cooked noodles to the pan and fry for a minute tossing them in the oil. Add the sauce and reserved chicken/veggies/eggs to the pan with the noodles and mix well. Turn off the heat and add the basil and cilantro. Serve immediately topped with chopped peanuts and extra cilantro.

Roasted Sesame Soy Broccoli

  • 3/4 pound of broccoli florets sliced into 1/4 inch pieces (I used a 12 ounce bag of washed/cut broccoli florets ’cause I’m lazy like that)
  • 2 Tablespoons of garlic olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 425. On a large foil lined (easy clean up!) baking sheet, spread out the broccoli. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes or until just tender. Mix the soy sauce and sesame oil together and toss with the cooked broccoli. Top with sesame seeds and serve immediately.


Greek Chicken Meatballs

My mom and step dad were visiting over the weekend and requested that I make my Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers for dinner while they were here. I love those stuffed peppers, but wanted to add something to the meal to make it a little more substantial for the manly men that would be at the dinner table. I thought a Greek style meatball would be an nice pair with the peppers. My Asian Chicken Meatballs were such a hit with the family that I decided to do another chicken meatball and just change the flavor profile. These are loaded with a really flavorful mix of herbs that include mint, dill, oregano and parsley. Finely chopped onion and garlic add great flavor and I added lemon zest for a little zip.

I served the meatballs with a tzatziki sauce. It was cool and creamy and really made the dish! The tzatziki is also great on the peppers. I bought my tzatziki at Trader Joes, but it is really simple to make your own. I basically follow this recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook that I have (and LOVE).  I don’t even strain the yogurt when I make it. Most of the Greek yogurts you buy are already so thick and yummy. I was hoping to have some of these meatballs leftover because I thought they would be great sliced in half in some pita bread with some tzatziki…but no such luck. My family gobbled up every last one.

Greek Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup of whole milk
  • 2 pounds ground chicken (preferably organic)
  • 1 small onion, chopped very small
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves (about a handful of leaves)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • a few turns of fresh ground pepper

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Pour the milk over the panko bread crumbs in a large bowl and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add ground chicken, chopped onion, minced garlic, all of the herbs, the beaten eggs,  olive oil, lemon zest & juice, and salt & pepper. Mix well until all of the ingredients are combined.  Shape about 3 tablespoons of the chicken into a balls (this is a messy process – a little water on your hands helps the chicken from sticking) and put on a baking sheet lined with foil and coated with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, turning them over half way through (test at 20 min to see if they are done on the inside). A minute under the broiler gives them a little more golden color…just don’t walk away! Serve with tzatziki sauce.

Makes about 2 dozen meatballs


Italian Turkey Meatloaf…Mangia!

My husband has been out of town for the last 5 days so I wanted to make some good comfort food for dinner tonight. Meatloaf is a favorite of mine and I have made this Italian version a few times. By the way…yes, that is pancetta you see on top that has crisped up beautifully in the oven and given the meatloaf  amazing flavor! I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this on Food Network a few years ago and immediately knew that it would be a favorite in my house. It is way better than your average meatloaf. My kids love it because it is very similar to meatballs which is a favorite of theirs.

This meatloaf is loaded with fresh basil, Italian parsley, and parmesan cheese.

Chopped sun-dried  tomatoes…yum!!!

I use Ian’s brand of panko breadcrumbs.

The food processor makes quick work of the basil, parsley, and garlic. You can chop all of these by hand if you want, but this makes it much quicker!

All of the ingredients mixed together before the turkey is added…

Meatloaf topped with pancetta…

Please note…this picture shows my meatloaf on a foil lined baking sheet. It works much better with parchment paper (which I was out of). You wrap the parchment around the meatloaf to keep the pancetta from curling up when it cooks.

Italian Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain dried  bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1  1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, preferably NOT extra lean
  • 3 ounces sliced pancetta (1 package)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs and milk. Add the parsley, basil, garlic, eggs, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, form the turkey mixture into a loaf. Cover the top and sides in the pancetta slices and wrap the parchment paper around the meatloaf. You want the meatloaf completely wrapped in the parchment paper so that the pancetta will lay flat and stay put while it cooks.  Squeeze the parchment-covered loaf with your hands to secure the pancetta and solidify the shape of the loaf. While still covered in parchment, bake the loaf until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about an hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

I served this with my Orzo with Spinach Pesto and some roasted Asparagus. I will post the Orzo tomorrow…It is really yummy!

This fed my family of four with enough left overs for Max’s lunch tomorrow and a couple of sandwiches…I LOVE a meatloaf sandwich!! Giada made an amazing arugula mayonnaise for the left over meatloaf sandwiches. I will try it tomorrow and post it if it is a hit!

Max’s lunch for tomorrow. Love having lunch all ready to go!


Monday Night’s Dinner

Turkey and White Bean Chili with Cilantro Quinoa

Let me start by saying that I’m starting to feel a tiny bit of pressure with this blog! I feel like I have to keep up some level of creativity in the kitchen so that I have something to post. This is good, I guess, except for when I’m not feeling very creative. So…this brings me to Monday night’s dinner. I had some ground turkey I needed to use and was in the mood for chili. I know just about everyone has a chili recipe they use  but this one is a little different and it was very tasty. It’s an easy and healthy week night meal idea.  I served it with a yummy  Caesar Salad with home-made corn bread croutons (Well…sort of home-made. The cornbread was Marie Calendar’s Instant mix. It WAS a weeknight after all). To keep it easy I used a bottled dressing that I added a little fresh cilantro to. I do have a great home-made Mexican Caesar dressing that I will post some time soon but once again…this was a week night!

Turkey and White Bean Chili with Cilantro Quinoa

Ingredients

  • a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small poblano or pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 pounds  (one package) ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon masa harina (sub all purpose flour if you don’t have it)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • one 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crushed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • one mexican beer (or a few if you want to drink some) 🙂
  • two 15 to 16-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • Quinoa
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • Assorted garnishes, such as chopped red or green onion, crumbled cotija cheese, black olives, sour cream and avocado

Directions

Heat the oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add the  poblanos, jalapeno and onions and garlic. Saute until the vegetables soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the turkey and brown until no longer pink, breaking up the turkey with the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the masa or flour over and stir to blend. Add the beer, tomato paste, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir until well blended and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the and beans and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Add more salt and pepper if it needs it.

While the chili is cooking, cook 1 cup of quinoa (follow package directions). I cooked mine with chicken stock for extra flavor but water is fine too. Once it is done mix in some fresh chopped cilantro and  a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, spoon some of the Quinoa and Cilantro into a bowl and top with the Chili. Garnish with all the yummy extras.

Caesar Salad with Cornbread Croutons

For the croutons I made a package of Marie Calendar’s Cornbread. Then I just cubed it up after it had cooled, put the cubes on a foil lined baking sheet, and sprayed it with some EVOO (I have a cool olive oil pump that I love). Season with salt and pepper then bake at 350 for about 20 min. Give them a turn about half way through.
For the salad I just tossed some good crisp romaine with some Caesar dressing, roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and the croutons.

Ingredient Notes:

Masa Harina is the Mexican corn flour used to make the masa (dough) for tamales. It’s a great thickener for chili so I usually have it on hand.
The Quinoa I use is from “Bob’s Red Mill”. It’s a really good organic Quinoa that has been pre-rinsed so you don’t have to rinse it. Quinoa can be bitter if it is not rinsed really well before cooking. Bob’s Red Mill is a great brand and I use a lot of their products. It’s sold in most grocery stores where ever the natural or health food section is.
I also tried a new Caesar dressing. The brand is “Rao’s” and I thought it was really good. If you know me, you know that I’m sort of an freak about ingredients and I check labels thoroughly on any packaged foods. This dressing is all natural and as close to something I would make at home as I could find. I here Trader Joe’s has a good one too.