Buffalo-Style Turkey Meatballs

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Ok, it’s deep dark confession time.  Yes, I’m a healthy eater but I love boneless buffalo wings, they’re definitely my favorite bar food and something I reserve as a rare and very special treat to myself.  That being said, I have tried for quite awhile to come up with a healthy alternative to the boneless buffalo wing, one that is completely guilt-free.  Here’s the result….

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These meatballs are really delicious and definitely satisfy that craving for a buffalo wing.  The sauce can be hot or mild, your choice.  I will say though that I think a mild sauce allows for you to be able to actually taste the meatball itself and that’s important because this meatball is absolutely delicious.  It is a light, summer-friendly meatball and I highly recommend eating them on their own without the sauce as a variation to this dish.  You could also substitute beef for the turkey.

I typically serve these with my homemade blue cheese dressing as a dipping sauce.

Buffalo-Style Turkey Meatballs
 
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Author:
Recipe type: main course
Cuisine: Meat dish
Serves: 20 meatballs
Ingredients
  • For the meatballs:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks - diced
  • ½ of an onion - diced (I used Vidalia onion)
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh sage - chopped (5 large leaves) or 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 egg - lightly beaten (I used liquid egg white substitute)
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 pound ground turkey (or ground chicken or ground beef)
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or regular bread crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • For the sauce:
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup hot sauce ( use your desired heat level)
  • 1 cup Blue Cheese dressing (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the celery and onion, sage and oregano and cook until tender, approximately 3-4 minutes. Let them cool.
  3. In a large bowl combine the turkey, celery and onion mixture, egg and mustard. Combine the ingredients with your hands until well combined.
  4. Add the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and mix them into the meat mixture with your hands.
  5. Form the mixture into 1 inch balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes until browned.
  7. For the sauce:
  8. In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.
  9. Add the hot sauce and whisk to combine until smooth.
  10. Toss the sauce with the meatballs and serve warm.
  11. Serve with blue cheese dressing if desired.
  12. Note - the meatballs can e made up to 2 days ahead and gently reheated in a nonstick pan on the stovetop or in the microwave. Then add the sauce before serving.

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Here’s my “Super Bowl” Southwestern Turkey and Bell Pepper Chili

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Well, it’s Super Bowl Sunday; a day that many people, myself included, think should be a national holiday.  Actually, I think the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday should be the holiday so that after all that partying and eating we don’t have to get up for work.  Come on, who’s with me?

Sadly, our worst blizzard of the winter decided to hit this morning cancelling Super Bowl parties all across the area.  Such a shame, especially when you’re the hostess and have already bought and probably started cooking all that great food.  Well, my plans certainly changed due to the weather so I decided to make a big pot of chili.  There’s no better comfort food for warming you up on a stuck-in-the-house blizzard day than chili.  So here’s my Super Bowl, a super bowl of turkey chili that is!

This one is kind of a no rules chili.  I know, I know, many of you will not think that this is an authentic chili.  Dad, I’m talking to you!  It is a bean-free turkey chili with a southwestern spice profile and I think it’s a healthy fresh take on traditional chili.  I would serve it with some chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, a little sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese…..yum!

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Southwestern Turkey and Bell Pepper Chili
 
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This is a bean-free turkey chili with a southwestern spice profile and I think it's a healthy fresh take on traditional chili. I would serve it with some chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, a little sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese.....yum!
Author:
Recipe type: Chili
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper - diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper - diced
  • 1 red bell pepper - diced
  • ⅔ cup green chili peppers from a jar or 2 small cans of diced green chilis
  • 3 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 3 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz can of whole kernel corn (no sugar, no preservatives) - or 1½ cups of thawed frozen corn
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon chipotle chili powder - or 1-2 teaspoons of regular chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground turkey and the onion in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the bell peppers, a generous pinch of Kosher salt and black pepper and all of the spices. Sautee until crisp tender, approximately 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic to the peppers and sautee for 1 minute.
  4. Add the pepper mixture to the turkey.
  5. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn and green chilis to the pot.
  6. Bring the chili up to a simmer over medium high heat.
  7. Turn down the heat to very low and cook for 1 hour to let the flavors blend and intensify, stirring frequently.
  8. Serve with lime wedges, fresh chopped cilantro, lowfat sour cream and shredded cheese.

 

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This Artist’s Palette

 

colorful.plate1The title for this post came to me when I looked at my dinner plate one night last week.  It literally looked like an artist’s palette.  I think in many ways cooking is an art and I do feel like an artist creating a masterpiece on my canvas which is a plate.

This dinner was born from needing to use the produce that was in my refrigerator.  I roasted purple and green cabbage and sweet potato and sautéed some green and red bell pepper.  I finished it off with some fresh turkey sausage, casings removed, that I’d picked up at our local meat market on the way home.

The result, one of the most colorful pieces of “edible art” this cook has created!

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How many colors are on your plate?  Nutritionists have always urged us to eat as many different colored foods as possible in order to obtain all the healthy nutrients they  possess.  There are six colors here, do I hear seven?

Turkey Sloppy Joes

 

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It’s been a crazy week here and I’m being pulled in what feels like endless directions.  It’s just the time to take one evening and make a big batch of comfort food that can get me through the week.  Ground turkey was on sale at the market so enter turkey sloppy joes.  This is one of my favorite Fall dishes as it’s comforting and super easy to prepare.  I always make a double batch as it saves well in the refrigerator for a few days and also freezes well.  I like sloppy joes served in different ways.  Of course there’s the traditional way on a toasted whole wheat or pretzel bun but I really like it in warmed corn tortillas.  I also serve it over brown rice or whole grain pasta like a meat sauce.  I’ve even made an outside-the-box taco salad with it which is great with some roasted squash and baked tortilla chips. But two of my favorite ways to serve this mixture is over roasted spaghetti squash and inside the cavities of roasted acorn squash halves.  Wow, now that’s a great big serving of Fall on a dinner plate!  Enjoy and be sure to let me know your creative ideas for serving sloppy joes.

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I use a medium dice on the bell peppers and a small dice on the onion which seems to be the right texture for the sloppy joes.  I always use a variety of colors with the peppers as it looks so nice and fall-like.  Yellow and orange seem to be the prettiest.

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Turkey Sloppy Joes
 
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I make a large batch of these as they're delicious and tend to go fast. You could definitely cut the recipe in half. But I warn you, you'll miss not having leftovers of this dish!
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course, What's for dinner?
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 4 cups of assorted bell peppers - diced medium (I used green and orange)
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion - diced small
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • corn tortillas
Instructions
  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Cook the ground turkey until no longer pink.
  3. Reserve a tablespoon of the turkey drippings and then drain any excess fat off the turkey.
  4. Put the turkey into another bowl and set aside.
  5. In the same skillet add the tablespoon of turkey drippings and a small drizzle of olive oil.
  6. Heat the skillet over medium high heat.
  7. Add the peppers, onions and all of the spices. Stir until well combined.
  8. Cook the peppers and onions until they're tender but not soggy, about 8-10 minutes.
  9. Turn the heat down to medium.
  10. Add the turkey back into the pan along with the tomato sauce.
  11. Stir well and heat everything all the way through.
  12. If the sauce is too thin you can add some tomato paste to thicken it up.
  13. I've never chosen to do this as the sauce on the leftovers gets thicker after you refrigerate it.

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BLT, the perfect weeknight indulgence.

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As I sat staring at the beautiful tomatoes on my kitchen table I decided on tomato sandwiches for dinner.  Then it just got out of hand by adding bacon (ok, turkey bacon so a bit less guilt), and this unbelievably addicting bread.  The bread I used is from Panera, it’s they’re Asiago cheese loaf and it’s just ridiculous.  I’ve truly never had a bread I’ve enjoyed more.  I butter both sides and throw it on a griddle to toast it up and could eat the entire loaf.  My guests now ask for it.  It comes in a loaf and a baguette.  So there you go Panera, a free plug for you!

I’ve messed up BLT’s before and I think it’s because you have to toast the bread ahead of time.  It just doesn’t keep the bacon and lettuce crisp enough if you assemble the sandwich first and then put it on the skillet to toast the bread; it just gets mushy.

Of course regular bacon is wonderful on this sandwich but I’ve used turkey bacon here which I think is very tasty with just a fraction of the fat.  I’ve also used a veggie burger in place of the bacon and I love that too.

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BLT, the perfect weeknight indulgence.
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 6 slices of bacon (I used turkey bacon)
  • 1 large tomato sliced into rounds (I used 3 slices of heirloom tomato per sandwich)
  • iceberg lettuce
  • 4 slices of your favorite bread
  • canola mayonnaise
  • butter
Instructions
  1. Cook the bacon until crisp.
  2. Butter both sides of the 4 slices of bread.
  3. Toast both sides of the bread on a skillet.
  4. Assemble the sandwich by spreading the canola mayonnaise on the bread.
  5. Layer on the lettuce, tomato and bacon.

 

 

Dinner on the Grill

 

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An entire dinner on the grill with no mess in the house.  I love it!

My local grocery store had turkey cutlets on sale.  They’re all white meat and boneless and perfect for marinating and grilling.  I even took a cheat by using a bottle of all natural, preservative free dressing as my marinade.  I added some chopped fresh rosemary into the marinade and it was really tasty.

This was one of those nights that I really didn’t feel like cooking.  With the exception of chopping the veggies, this meal was almost labor free.

This would be a great meal for this hectic back-to-school season!

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Dinner on the Grill
 
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An entire dinner on the grill with no mess in the house! This is a great meal for this busy back-to-school season.
Author:
Recipe type: Grilling, Grilled Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 Turkey tenderloins
  • 1 bottle of preservative free, all natural salad dressing (I used a garlic vinaigrette)
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
  • carrots - (multi colored), cut
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 2 beets - sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
  • olive oil
  • Montreal steak seasoning
Instructions
  1. Place the turkey tenderloins into a zip top plastic bag.
  2. Add approximately ¾ of the bottled dressing and the rosemary.
  3. Let the tenderloins marinate for at least an hour or up to several hours before grilling.
  4. Toss all the veggies with olive oil and Montreal steak seasoning.
  5. Keep the beets separate from the other veggies as they will turn them purple.
  6. Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat.
  7. Grill the turkey tenderloins until cooked through until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the tenderloin reaches a temperature of 165 degrees. (Approximately 30-40 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the tenderloins, turning once to get even grill marks).
  8. Place the veggies on the grill and cook until fork tender and nice grill marks form.

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled Pepper and Onion Taco Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Taco.Salad1 Comfort food, as defined by urban dictionary, is a food that gives emotional comfort to the one eating it.  These tend to be favorite foods of childhood, or linked to a person, place or time with which the food has a positive association. I really can’t link taco salad to a specific person or place but it’s definitely one of my comfort foods.  I also love experimenting with my taco salads adding new and unique ingredients.  It’s not just meat, cheese, lettuce and chips these days. bellpeppers2 I feel this one is a true summer taco salad.  I browned some ground turkey, seasoning it with my homemade taco seasoning blend and grilled some bell peppers and Vidalia onion on the grill until they get tender with good grill marks.  The chipotle ranch dressing is, in a word, fabulous.  All the creaminess of ranch dressing with the addition of a smoky, mildly spicy flavor from the chipotle pepper. chipotle.ranch.dressing Experiment with your own ingredients as add-ons.  I like avocado, thin sliced radishes, cojita cheese and of course, a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche.

Grilled Pepper and Onion Taco Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main Course, What's for Dinner?
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ½ cup canola mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt or a combination of the two)
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 Tbsp of the adobo sauce from the can
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a wire whisk until fully blended and creamy.

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Turkey Panini with fresh sage and fig preserves

turkey.panini.fig.preserve.3This sandwich is like Thanksgiving dinner contained in a delicious, melty package!

I enjoy finding new and unique food items and then creating recipes using those items.  True story, I was shopping for a rug at Marshalls/TJ Maxx and of course, found myself perusing through the gourmet food aisle.  Typically there’s the usual bottles of BBQ sauce and bags of dry pasta.  But this particular day I happened across a jar of all natural fig preserves.  I love fig products.  Fig balsamic (my favorite flavor of vinegar), fig bars and don’t even get me thinking about fig newtons!  Anyway, I digress…

This delicious sandwich is made with deli turkey, swiss cheese, a chiffonade of fresh sage leaves and fig preserves contained within two thick cut slices of sourdough bread.  Wow, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I’ve served it here with a garden salad for a complete meal.

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Turkey Panini with fresh sage and fig preserves
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread
  • deli turkey meat (amount to taste) - I use a nitrate-free low sodium honey roasted turkey
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese (or more depending on your taste)
  • 3-4 fresh sage leaves - sliced into ribbons, a "chiffonade"
  • 1 Tablespoon fig preserves
  • Butter
Instructions
  1. Butter a slice of bread and lie the butter side down onto a surface to build the sandwich.
  2. Spread the bread with ½ of the fig preserves.
  3. Place one slice of cheese onto the preserves.
  4. Place the sage ribbons onto the cheese.
  5. Next add the turkey, followed by the other slice of cheese.
  6. Butter the second slide of bread.
  7. Spread the non-buttered side of the bread with the fig preserves putting the butter side out.
  8. Place the sandwich onto the Panini press and cook until it becomes nicely browned and the cheese is melted.
  9. Alternate cooking method:
  10. If making this sandwich on a skillet:
  11. Cook it over medium low heat until the bread is nicely browned and the cheese is melted.
  12. I put a foil tent over the sandwich, leaving the sides open for the steam to escape. It melts the cheese nicely while letting the steam escape so the sandwich is not too soft and soggy.
  13. Turn the sandwich over and cook the second side.

 

 

 

 

Traditional Turkey Meatloaf

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I have been making this turkey meatloaf for years.  The recipe was actually from the Jennie-O package the ground turkey came in.  Sometimes it does pay to read those recipes printed on the labels of your foods!  This meatloaf never fails and it’s moist and delicious.

Traditional Turkey Meatloaf
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main Course, What' For Dinner
Cuisine: Turkey
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup onion - chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey - I use the 93% lean (not the ground turkey breast that is 99% lean)
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup catsup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and cook approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the turkey, bread crumbs, egg, ¼ cup catsup, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to the onion mixture.
  6. Mix well with your hands.
  7. Pack the mixture into an 8x4 inch loaf pan.
  8. Spread the remaining ½ cup catsup over the top of the meatloaf.
  9. **Note - I often spread balsamic vinegar over the top of the meatloaf with the back of a spoon. It's awesome. (See photo above).
  10. Bake for 55 minutes until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.
  11. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before cutting.

 

Turkey Burger Panini with a garlic aioli spread

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A go-to quick and delicious dinner for me has got to be Paninis or grilled sandwiches.  It’s a meal that’s hard to mess up as pretty much anything can go between a couple of slices of bread.  Add some cheese and heat it until melty and warm and voila… an instant meal that looks like you really planned it out.

This turkey burger Panini is kind of like a patty melt.  The addition of the grilled onion and a garlic aioli spread really set it over the top.

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Turkey Burger Panini
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Grilled Sandwich, Panini
Cuisine: Main Dish, What's For Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the Sandwich:
  • 8 slices of whole grain bread (or the bread of your choice)
  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 2 Tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 large Vidalia onion - sliced into thick rounds
  • 4 slices of Swiss or Monterey Jack cheese (8 slices if you want 2 slices of cheese per sandwich, the more cheese the better right?)
  • For the garlic aioli sauce:
  • 1 cup mayo - I use canola mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the grill or griddle to medium high heat.
  2. Mix the Montreal seasoning into the ground turkey with your hands
  3. Form into 4 patties and use your thumb to put an indentation into the middle of each burger to prevent the burger from popping up in the middle when cooking
  4. Place the burgers onto the grill/griddle and cook to an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Turn the burger only once and don't press down on that burger with your spatula while cooking unless you want a dried out burger!
  5. Brush the onion slices with olive oil on both sides
  6. Cook the onions on the grill/skillet until nicely browned, turn and repeat on the other side.
  7. Butter one side of each slice of bread
  8. Assemble the sandwich with the garlic aioli spread on the bread (opposite side as the butter).
  9. Layer the cheese, burger patty, grilled onion, another slice of cheese (if desired)
  10. Place the sandwiches in the Panini maker or on the griddle and cook until both sides of the bread are nicely browned and the cheese is melted.
  11. For the garlic aioli
  12. Blend all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined
  13. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating

 

 

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