Turkey meatballs + noodles + roux= mmmmmm

Turkey Meatballs with Green Beans & Noodles in Roux-ly Good Sauce

What I used

Meatballs
1 package ground turkey (20 oz?)
1/2 onion, finely diced
tarragon
garlic powder
thyme
salt & pepper

Sauce
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
2 cups fresh green beans, chopped in to 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups flour
smoked paprika
garlic
thyme
any other herbs/spices you like

egg noodles

What I did

In a bowl, combine turkey (I used 85/15), onions, garlic powder, thyme, tarragon salt and pepper. I didn’t measure the seasonings but I’d guess a teaspoon of thyme, 1 1/2 tsp of tarragon and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder.

Heat non-stick pan over medium-heat. Form turkey mixture in to 1 inch meatballs and add to pan. Cook, turning periodically, until cooked through, 10-15 minutes. If you use a leaner ground turkey, you may want to add a little oil to the pan.

Remove meatballs from pan and drain most of the fat then return pan to heat. Add onions, sprinkle with smoked paprika and saute until lightly golden. Add green beans along with 1 teaspoon thyme and 1/2 tsp garlic powder (approx). Cover and cook 5 minutes until green beans begin to soften.

At the same time, prepare egg noodles according to directions.

Push onions and green beans to the side in the pan. Melt butter and flour together to form a roux (paste). When roux becomes lightly golden, stir in 2 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook until green beans are soft then return turkey meatballs to the pan and combine all along with noodles to heat through.

Garnish with fresh cut parsley.

Basking in the late-day sun


The point of making turkey meatballs is to attempt to reverse engineer these stuffed rice cakes Chris found at the Better Health Store in Novi. They were turkey meatballs surrounded by risotto then dipped in bread crumbs and baked. Pretty good but should be even better with my mushroom risotto. For the above recipe, I used 8 of the 14 meatballs. I’ll be trying the risotto cakes with the remaining 6 tomorrow.

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Out of the box Lasagna

Another recipe from the Real Simple maga-book. I’ve actually been thinking about this one in the back of my head but it hadn’t been quite the right night for it.

Until tonight. I had a bunch of errands to run so I got home about an hour later than usual but still before Chris. He’d done some light grocery shopping earlier in the day but we didn’t have a ton of fresh stuff on hand. What we did have was some things that needed using up, ASAP.

The original recipe called for frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained. I do have spinach in the freezer but decided to go a different route.

Ingredients
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 package ravioli (frozen or thawed)- I used a chicken ravioli, medium sized from Sam’s Club
1 jar pasta sauce (organic basil, may I suggest)
1 8oz package shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup 3-cheese mix with parmesan
Garlic seasoning
oregano, fresh

Directions

Preheat oven to 350

While oven is heating, saute onions and mushrooms over medium-high heat with some garlic seasoning. Cook until onions are lightly golden. Near end of cooking time, stir in fresh oregano or other fresh herbs of your choosing.

In a 9×13 baking dish, layer 1/3 of pasta sauce in the bottom then half the raviolis. Top with more sauce, half of mozzarella cheese and onions/mushroom mixture. Add second layer of raviolis and finish with last of sauce, remainder of mozzarella and the 3-cheese mix.

Bake, covered with foil, for 25 mintues. Remove foil and continue to bake another 10 minutes or until cheese turns golden and bubbly.

Remove from oven. Ideally, let set for 10 minutes to allow cheese to set up.

Served with mixed green salad.


No picture – C’mon you know what lasagna looks like! It was way too gloomy to try for nice natural light pictures anyhow. And we were hungry.
Super super easy. Next time I hope to do both the added mushrooms/onions and the spinach.

Meat and potatoes

Spring has sprung. And with spring comes after-work time spent lounging in the yard and grilling. Yesterday, I stayed in the yard listening to the loudest frogs ever, in our pond, until the mosquitoes came out. Overcast today so less time lounging but we still grilled.

Chris was in charge of that- he grilled a hunk o’ meat from Whole Foods (technically speaking it was a NY strip) which had been seasoned with salt, pepper and the ubiquitous maple sugar garlic pepper.

I was in charge of sides.

1. Fingerling potatoes with caramelized onions

2. Steamed asparagus with lemon and mustard sauce

Potatoes & Asparagus with mustardy-mayo

Ingredients

4-5 medium fingerlings, sliced in rounds
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
maple sugar garlic pepper
salt

asparagus, trimmed of thick ends
lemon juice
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 pinches of onion powder

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil with 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add onions, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook until onions begin to brown and crisp up on the sides.

While onions are browning, put potatoes in boiling water. Cook until just tender. Remove from water, drain. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter to saute pan. Add potatoes, laying rounds flat so they can get crispy.

Meanwhile, add asparagus in a steamer insert to the pot of boiling water. Cook until greened up and cooked through- about 5 minutes for the thick stems we had tonight.

Combine 1 tablespoon mayo with 1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard and the 2 teaspoons onion powder. Divide in to two cute serving cups (or dollop on the plate).

Garnish asparagus with freshly ground pepper and lemon juice. Serve with potatoes and onions and the grilled hunk o’ meat of your choice.

A Complete Meal


The frogs are so loud, we have the TV volume at least 3 ticks higher.


Artsy shot

Lobster Salad & Chris’s SuperSpecial Tomato Soup

Chris has a soup, tomato-based, that he likes to make on occasion. It makes a ton of soup so we sometimes freeze it but it becomes part of lunch for the next several days too. He made that soup today. Yesterday, he picked up some lobster tails at Meijer which we let thaw overnight in the fridge.

Since he’d made the soup during the day, I was in charge of the lobster preparation. I considered just boiling or broiling them with butter but they were smaller tails and I wasn’t sure how sweet the meat was going to be. Then I remembered we have picked up some challah rolls at the Grain Train in Petoskey over the weekend. Voila- the lobster roll! I used a recipe from Eating Well as my base.

Lobster Salad on Challah buns

Ingredients

2 5-ounce lobster tails
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, approx.
2 challah buns (or hot dog rolls or bread of your choice)
1/2 cup sugar peas, trimmed
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced shallot
1 1/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon, or less, sugar

Directions

1. Heat broiler.

2. Cut lobster tails in half using a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Brush meat side of tails with olive oil

3. Place, cut side up, under broiler. Broil 3-5 minutes, until shells are turning red, and meat begins to brown on top. Flip and cook another 2 minutes until shells are bright red and meat is opaque. Remove and let cool.

4. Combine celery, mayo, lemon juice, shallot, mustard, tarragon, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a bowl.

5. Bring a small pan of water to a boil. Add sugar snap peas, cooking just until peas turn bright green. Drain and let cool slightly.

6. When both the lobster and peas have cooled enough to handle: remove lobster meat from shells and chop coarsely. Slice the peas width-wise in to thin pieces.

7. Combine peas and lobster with the dressing. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes for flavors to meld.

8. Slice challah rolls and toast lightly (either under broiler or in toaster/toaster oven). Pile high with lobster salad and dig in!


Because the lobster meat wasn’t particularly sweet, I added a little sugar to the dressing. This is definitely a taste preference and would vary depending on the type of lobster. This lobster was from South America and the shells were more tan/brown than you might be used to seeing on American East Coast caught lobsters. Whether this difference is because it was a different kind of lobster or simply the season of the catch, I felt it needed a little sweetness boost.


Chris’s SuperSpecial Tomato Soup

If you are my mom, don’t like lobster or really like tomato soup, you probably skipped right down to this section. Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe for this soup. Ha-HA!

Here are some basics, though:

1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 carton Imagine creamy tomato soup
1 small can tomato sauce
Onion
Celery
Carrots
Sage
Thyme
Basil
Cilantro- fresh!
Dried hot pepper flakes (small amount, optional)
salt & pepper
Garlic
Corn (1/2 can)
Olive oil & butter
fingerlings, red skins or other thin-skinned potatoes

Small dice the celery, carrots & onions. Saute in equal amounts olive oil and butter in a large stockpot.

Add seasonings (no measurements here) but Chris says mostly sage, then thyme and basil. He adds some cilantro now but most comes in after its been simmering.

Add tomato products & potatoes (which have been sliced in to thin rounds, maybe quartered first). Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer 20 minutes. Add corn and rest of fresh cilantro. Continue cooking about 5 minutes more.

Options: Add water with tomatoes for a thinner soup. Or add cream for a creamier soup. You can also mash up the stewed tomatoes a bit and/or blend some of it with an immersion blender. We don’t do that because I don’t have one. Yet.

We have also made this with wild rice instead of potatoes- that needs to cook longer or be pre-cooked and added towards the end.


Originally, Chris was going to add some kale to the soup as apparently he really likes it. Then he forgot. So, I made Kale Chips, using this recipe from Steamy Kitchen. We just added them to the top of the soup bowls but you can eat them out of hand too.

Basically, tear a couple cups of kale in to small pieces. Dry very thoroughly using a salad spinner. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with a bit of olive oil (a teaspoon or so?). Bake in a 350 degree oven about 10 minutes until kale is crackly but not browning. Season with salt as per the recipe, OR use something like Maple Sugar Garlic Pepper, our latest go-to for all things that normally would get salt (i.e. popcorn, baked sweet potato fries, bread and butter (that is all Chris, I might add)). We might have to start rationing this, a jar purchased in Vermont on our honeymoon, until I find a more local source. Next time we go to Vermont, possibly as soon as this August, I’m going to buy 6 jars or more.

Carrot Mushroom Barley Stew

Or, Mushroom Carrot Barley Stew. Or even Barley Stew with carrots and mushrooms.  Also includes kale, carrots, onions and ginger.

My Christmas Present!

Earlier this week, I tweeted about prepping for a pork stew in the slow cooker. I cut the veggies and combined things in plastic containers so that come morning, Chris could just toss things in, season the pork and set the crockpot on low. I would get home from work around 5 pm which would be the right time to take the pork out and shred it then serve.

It all worked perfectly. But.  But.

It was not tasty. Not at all.

Fatty/greasy broth and you could barely taste the aromatics (allspice and thyme plus garlic and ginger). This recipe was one of several I’d pulled from a copy of Food Network TV magazine. Last Sunday I’d made a chicken chili, using a recipe in an advertisement for crockpots and it was delicious. In fact, I’m going to make it again this week since my slow cooker is small and I had to halve the original recipe so I have extra everything.

But this pork stew was not good. We tried adding salt/pepper. We tried adding various acids to cut the fatty taste. I added fresh herbs. Nope, nada, nothing. I put the whole thing in the fridge as we were going to the movies. Now, its sitting in there, hogging my slow cooker insert with a not very appetizing layer of congealed fat on top. Mocking me.

So…. it was with great apprehension that I went forward with my plan to make this Barley stew tonight. I have been itching to use my new Le Creuset pot, I had all the ingredients and no real purpose for the shiitake mushrooms than this recipe. It was time to bite the bullet.

Now, I’m going to have to make a third recipe from the magazine to break the tie.

This soup was fantastic.

It smelled amazing in the pot, especially when I was toasting the barley and mushrooms.

This smelled divine!

The carrot added some sweetness which was balanced by the earthy mushrooms and just slightly bitter kale. This will defiinitely go on the repeat list.

Carrot-Mushroom Barley Soup

Ingredients

2 cups carrot juice
10 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and reserved, caps sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup instant barley
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, including leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
4 medium carrots, cut in to 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups kale or mustard greens, leaves torn
1 tablespoon grated ginger
salt & pepper

Directions

1. Bring carrot juice, 3 cups water and mushrooms stems to a boil in a saucepan

2. Heat olive oil and two tablespoons butter in large pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and barley, stirring to coat. Cook approximately 5 minutes, until barley is toasted.

3. Add onion, celery and rosemary, season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes.

4. Add carrots and cook 2 more minutes.

5. Increase heat to high and add half of carrot juice, omitting mushroom stems. Bring to a boil and cook until most of liquid is absorbed, about 6 minutes.

6. Add remaining carrot juice, kale and ginger, stirring to combine. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

7. Stir in remaining two tablespoons butter.

8. Serve!

Notes: Everything took longer than listed but that could just be me being conservative and trying to work out the best temp for my new cast-iron pot.

I added more rosemary, probably doubling to 1/2 teaspoon. I still didn’t notice it being strong in the end product but if you don’t like rosemary, stick with the original.

The recipe indicates this makes 4 servings at 333 calories each. I can’t imagine eating a full one-quarter of the pot-full of soup. Both Chris and I had big bowls and I still divided the rest up in to 3 more containers which felt like a lot of food per person. I also question the nutrition analysis based on this have 4 tablespoons of butter and two of olive oil.

Final Product- Look at those colors!

Ah-ha, I ran this recipe through Nutrition Data’s analyzer and it came back as 495 calories per serving, assuming we divide the total by 4. Thus, the calories listed at 333 are probably right for the size of serving I had and I would call the “serves 4” an error.

This was a great first dish for the Le Creuset- next up will have to be something from the newly arrived Art of French Cooking since Julie & Julia inspired the purchase to begin with.

**Full disclosure: those last two pictures are Photoshopped. I was playing with Actions and that last one, Sunshine, perfectly described how this soup stew tasted to me. Also, it counteracts the high noise levels becuase I was shooting in horrible light and had to boost the ISO.