This salsa is great! Can I have the recipe?

I hosted a baby shower on Saturday for my best friend who is having a girl in August.  I had hoped to make a great spread of tasty appetizers but space and time being a premium this week, I went with veggie trays, cake from Sam’s Club and cheese and crackers instead.

But no party hosted by me is complete without something homemade.  A few weeks ago, I came across a recipe at 101 Cookbooks for a Cherry Macaroon Tart that sounded interesting and with Michigan being a big cherry growing state, figured I could get my hands on some nice fresh sweet cherries without much effort.  The cherries I did find were a little more tart than sweet but the tart was still pretty good. A lot was eaten at the shower and my dad was chowing on the leftovers today.

I knew I’d have some down time during the baking of the tart and decided I’d make some salsa too. I have a spinach dip I’m kind of famous for but didn’t have a food processor on hand for that.  Salsa only requires a knife and cutting board, which I did have. Oh, and this salsa required a can opener.

At the shower, I’m talking with some old friends and one says “I have to get the recipe for this from you.” I said okay, but its really hard and time consuming.


What you gotta do is….

a. chop up 1/2 a red onion

b. chop up 1 red bell pepper

c. Open a can of corn, a can of black beans, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes. Drain/rinse (beans).

Dump all of the above in a bowl.  Squeeze some lime juice over the veggies, add some chopped garlic and as much cilantro as you like plus a little salt and pepper. Mix it up.

Add chopped jalapenos as desired.

DONE!

Now, for the garlic, I actually sprinkled the salt over the chopped garlic then used the side of my knife to mash it in to a paste.  I let it all sit in the fridge overnight then adjusted the lime juice in the morning.

And I bought an avocado thinking I might dice that up and add it right before the shower. But then I didn’t so instead I’ll eat that avocado all by myself tomorrow with tuna over my salad, for lunch.

Easy-peasy salsa-reasy!


You could of course use fresh tomatoes if desired.  This “concept” for this salsa came about as I was packing up the pantry in anticipation of moving.  I just held out the cans of beans, corn and tomatoes.  And of course, tomato pickens’ are slim at the moment, what with all the deadly salmonella running around. Or not.  Or running around, not on tomatoes.

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Oopsa Daisy Turkey

So, we bought some turkey tenderloins at the grocery store earlier this week. I’d never seen them before- you get two big tenderloins in the package. Well, after opening it, more like 1 big one and one medium size one.  I wasn’t really sure what to do with them so I Googled turkey tenderloin recipe and clicked on a few of the results.

I came across one for roasting with potatoes and it made a sauce. And it had mango chutney in the ingredient list. We happen to have a jar of this and Chris loves all things mango- chutney and salsa especially.  Seriously,  if you want chips and salsa at our house, be prepared for mango.

The orignial recipe is from a show called Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller on the Food Network. I’ve never seen it but Robin’s picture is a little wide-eyed for my tastes.  Now the recipe, entitled Roasted Turkey with Potatoes and Tarragon Broth seemed pretty simple and I was looking for something that I could make in the oven with our russets.  I knew from the start that I’d be making some changes as I intended to have baked potatoes (why? because we bought a tub of sour cream for having with tacos and I don’t want to waste it; I also had made some chive butter from our herb collection and wanted some of that too) instead of the new potatoes in the recipe.

And I didn’t have fresh tarragon so I used dried.  I also substituted vegetable broth for chicken and rice wine vinegar for apple cider. Its all about what’s in the pantry.  But, I followed the measurements as called for.  Except, when I read the directions, it didn’t mention the mango chutney. The ingredient list said 4 tablespoons chutney but where did it go?  I figured it must be part of the broth so I mixed in it.  And poured the broth over the turkey and popped the pan in the oven.  About 20 minutes in I decided the broth was poaching the poultry so I siphoned most of it off in to a saucepan.  I cooked that broth on the stovetop and added 2 tablespoons of butter to help it thicken up a bit.

After the turkey was done (40 minutes being too long, by the way), I sliced one tenderloin and poured some of the slightly thickened broth/sauce over it. Served with a yummy baked potato and sauteed snap peas.

I admit, the tarragon and chutney flavors were a bit of a twist but not bad.  Now Chris, he loved the sauce- on his baked potato! In fact, he wants me to make mango chutney mashed potatoes with the remainder.

The turkey needed a stronger flavoring or perhaps time in a marinade before roasting.  Or gravy. Gravy can fix so many sins.

Now that dinner is over and I am still perplexed by the recipe’s mango chutney contradiction, I went back to the web and looked at the recipe again.  And then I looked at the link to the episode of Robin’s show. I’ve never seen Robin’s show; I probably won’t since she kind of scares me in that picture on her website.  Really intense.  But from the website, I glean that she makes one dish that can be used over the course of several days. In this episode, she uses one turkey tenderloin with 1/2 the potatoes and broth for dinner.  She then takes the other 1/2 of the potatoes and broth to make vichyssoise. In case you are wondering, that is a soup made of leeks, onions, potatoes, cream and chicken broth.  Pureed and served cold.

No mango chutney.  And honestly, that would just be weird.    I can only presume the listing in the ingredients is a typo.

It all turned out fine for us in the end.  I have to believe that I have enough cooking common sense to recognize if something was horribly wrong or could go horribly wrong.  I probably won’t make this again but if the broth works well with mashed potatoes, it could be interesting.

Psgetti and Meatballs

More fun with ground turkey tonight. Orginally, I was going to make 1 batch of turkey meatballs and 1 batch with ground beef but Chris thought the ground beef was getting too old.

So…..

19 oz of ground turkey (the pre-package size from the store)
1/2 bell pepper, red or orange, diced extra small
1/2 onion, diced very small
1 tablespoon roasted garlic mash
1 egg
garlic powder
oregano, dried
smoked paprika
salt & pepper
fresh basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a shallow baking pan with non-stick spray

No real measurements here on the spices. I just mixed it all in till it smelled good. It was about 6-8 leaves of basil. Mix all together and form in to balls about 1 inch big. Place the meatballs on the baking pan. I was able to get 18 meatballs from the mix.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Now, at this point, I realized it would have been better to place the meatballs on a metal rack in the pan so the fat would drain away. But I don’t have one of those- need to pick one up this week! Instead, I took the pan out after 20 minutes and removed the meatballs to a platter, leaving most of the fat behind.

And that’s meatballs!

While they cooked, I sauteed some onion slices and chopped peppers in a bit of olive oil. Add the pasta sauce of your choice and heat through. Add the meatballs to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve over angel hair or other pasta of your choice.

Tonight, we used a creamy cheese tomato sauce. This recipe would work with any sauce though.

Things I might do different next time:

  1. Saute the diced onion and peppers for the meatballs first. I think they’d mix with the meat better.
  2. Use the rack to allow the fat to drain.
  3. Use a more Marinara style sauce and finish cooking the meatballs in the sauce.

Chris liked this dish and I made plenty for leftovers. I liked this dish because you can get 3 servings of vegetables in one dish and yet still eat “comfort food” like spaghetti and meatballs.

Not fresh or homemade but we also had some garlic bread, that frozen loaf stuff. It was ‘eh.’ But it worked out well as Chris preferred the cheesier side and I liked the more garlic butter side so we didn’t have to argue over it!

Turkey-Mushroom Noodle Leftovers

Seems only fitting that this be the first recipe I post- something I made up based on a quick phone call, to fit the fridge contents.
It needs a name beyond Turkey Mushroom Noodle Leftovers but that will do for now.

Ingredients:

16 oz ground turkey (I use lean- 7% fat)
8 oz portabella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 grated parmesan cheese (2 palmfuls for me)
2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
Egg Noodles, 4 oz dried
Salt & Pepper
Fresh parsley to garnish

Directions:

Bring water to a boil in a large pot for egg noodles.

In large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute 1-2 minutes. Add minced garlic, continue to cook, seasoning with 1 teaspoon dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste. When onions are fully softened but not browned, add 1 tablespoon butter and the mushrooms.

Add egg noodles to their pot, cook as directed on package. I used Yoder’s Egg Noodles which require 20 minutes of cooking time.

Continue to cook mushrooms and onions until mushrooms release their liquid and the pan starts to dry. Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and scrap the bottom of the pan. Saute one minute more then add ground turkey to pan, breaking it in to chunks as it cooks. Add second teaspoon of thyme, smoked paprika and garlic powder. Keep on medium heat until turkey is mostly browned then reduce to medium-low. If the pan seems dry, add up to 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth or water. Keep at medium-low until noodles are ready. There should be a small amount of liquid in the pan.

When noodles are done, drain well then add to pan with turkey-mushroom mixture. Stir to combine then remove from heat. Add 1/4 cup grated cheese and 1/2 cup whipping cream. Stir to melt cheese and allow sauce to thicken.

Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley. Excellent with steamed green beans or asparagus on the side.

Serves 4

The first night I made this, Chris called from the grocery store and asked “What can you make with ground turkey?” I’m guessing it was on sale. I looked in the pantry and saw the egg noodles at the front. We had mushrooms, large pre-sliced portabellas, and half an onion in the fridge. Truthfully, I started thinking about some old Hamburger Helper memories. And I know that Chris loves this Wild Mushroom Pastadish I make (from Cooking Light magazine).

I really didn’t know what Beef Stroganoff was but thought it was noodles and meat and onions in some kind of creamy sauce. So, I said I’d make that but with turkey. I told him to grab a container of cream then hung up to dash over to the computer and find out what I just promised to make.

Turns out Stroganoff isn’t usually made with ground meat. And its a sour cream based sauce that usually includes some red wine. But I had mushrooms and onions right! Thyme was listed in several recipes, so I used that as my main seasoning. I thought about red wine vinegar but we didn’t have any- just balsamic. We do have red wine- a lot of it- but I didn’t want to open a bottle for just this and it was a “school” night.

I plated the food served with green beans the first time; let Chris start eating and I waited for a reaction. He didn’t say much at first but I heard a few ‘mmms’, then he got up and put more on his plate. Guess that means its good!

Tonight, I made it for the second time and tried to track my ingredient amounts. That being said, its still a best guess on those seasonings. And the post-dinner verdict: Chris actually licked his plate! Until I gave him a piece of french bread and reminded him that he’s 30, not 3.

And he mentioned that if I wanted to make a double batch of this once a week, he could eat it for leftovers and lunch all week. This, from the guy that hates leftovers and won’t eat anything more than 3 days old in the fridge including deli lunchmeats. Speaking from my personal experience, it reheats wonderfully.

 

Good Food? 

  • Likes the taste
  • Uses fresh whole ingredients
  • Price per serving is low, less than $3
  • Whipping Cream and onions were locally sourced


Yep, good food!

BTW, Hamburger Helper was one of the first things I learned how to “cook”, as a junior high student. That and Betty Crocker Scalloped Potatoes