Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tasty Turkey Burgers

These burgers really live up to their name - they are TASTY. We had them for dinner Sunday night and they are delicious.  I love a good turkey burger, but I think that even folks who are a little wary of turkey would like this.  It will definitely be a regular on our grilling/burger rotation.

Tasty Turkey Burgers
Recipe from Southern Living
1 pound ground turkey
½ cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons Fresh Herb Marinade*
4 hamburger buns

Combine first 7 ingredients. Shape mixture into 4 equal-size patties.
Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until no longer pink in center, basting each side occasionally with Fresh Herb Marinade. Grill buns, cut sides down, 2 minutes or until toasted. Serve burgers on buns with desired toppings.

* Fresh Herb Marinade
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Stir together first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Season with pepper to taste.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Asian Turkey Meatballs

Well, ahem, it's been ... a while. Sorry 'bout that. I cook - really, I do - it's just that my child, my husband, my job, my house and my other obligations (family, friends, church, etc.) keep me running. Oh yeah, I'm training for a half marathon, too, so I'm running a lot - literally. All of that leaves precious little time for other stuff I like to do, like reading and blogging. I know I'm not alone in feeling this way, either... we all could use a few more hours in our days, couldn't we?

But I made a promise to my friend Andrea and I'm sticking to it!! After this post, though, I think I'm going to start posting my recipes (okay, those I actually post) on my other blog, www.karawitherow.wordpress.com. Having one blog will be easier to keep up with and maybe - just maybe - I'll be able to keep up with one. Here's hoping!

On to better things ... food!  I found these delicious and healthy meatballs via skinnytaste.com, a great food blog full of healthy (Weight Watchers friendly) recipes. (You won't find butter and heavy cream in her recipes like you will in mine - ha!)  But despite their lack of butter, these meatballs are so, so good.  All three of us love them. I serve them with brown rice and edamame for a quick, easy, healthy meal.

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce
Recipe from www.skinnytaste.com
¼ cup panko crumbs
1 ¼ pounds 93% lean ground turkey
1 egg
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Dipping Sauce
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1 chopped fresh scallion (green onion)

Preheat oven to 500°F.  Mix ground turkey, panko, egg, salt, scallions, ginger, cilantro, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 2 teaspoon oil and mix with your hands until combined well. Shape ¼ cup meat mixture into a ball and transfer to a baking dish. Repeat with remaining mixture. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

For the dipping sauce, mix together lime juice, water, soy sauce, and remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a bowl. Add scallions.  Transfer meatballs to a serving dish. Stir sauce, then drizzle meatballs with 1 tablespoon sauce.  Serve meatballs with remaining sauce, about 1 tablespoon per person.  Makes 12 meatballs. (3 large meatballs equals one serving. The photo above is of two small appetizer-sized meatballs.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Dinner Inspiration

Easter is one of my favorite holidays of the year.  I love that it’s spring and (hopefully) warm and sunny and pretty.  I love that our family gets together to celebrate the day with some of our closest friends (these days, the children outnumber the adults!).  My favorite part of the day, though, is the celebration of our risen Lord and Savior.  He is alive - hallelujah and amen!

And, I must admit, I do also enjoy the food (and desserts!) that are associated with Easter.  Big surprise, huh?!?  So when the Grace Graffiti girls asked me to do another guest post about an Easter meal I was thrilled and jumped at the chance. It gave me an opportunity to pull out a couple of my favorite side dish recipes and try a couple of new recipes, too. 

I made this meal for one of our weekly Thursday night meals with the Akins family and it received rave reviews all around (their words and Patrick’s, not my own!).

This meal is perfect for a small Easter family gathering, and would feed 8 to 10 people.  The flavors are great and go well together.  It’s also an easy meal that doesn’t take a ton of time or effort to make.  The Twice-Baked Potato Casserole can be put together on Saturday and popped in the fridge overnight.  The asparagus takes 10 minutes - total - to make, and the pork tenderloin took five minutes to prep before I put it in the oven.

Patrick and I liked the pork loin so much that it’s going on my baby girl Nora’s first birthday party menu!  I’ve also asked the Easter Bunny to put a double oven in my Easter basket …

Herb-Crusted Pork Loin
Recipe Courtesy of Paula Deen
One 4-pound boneless pork loin, with fat left on
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Place the pork loin on a rack in a roasting pan. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. With your fingers, massage the mixture onto the pork loin, covering all of the meat and fat. Roast the pork for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 425 degrees and roast for an additional hour. Test for doneness using an instant-read thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees, remove the roast from the oven. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before carving. It will continue to cook while it rests. Serves 10-12.

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole
Recipe Courtesy of Paula Deen
8 medium baking potatoes, about 4 pounds
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 pint (2 cups) sour cream
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup chopped chives, for garnish
6 sliced bacon, cooked crisp, drained, and crumbled, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pierce the potatoes and place on a baking pan. Bake the potatoes for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until very soft. Peel and mash the potatoes in a large bowl with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Add the cream cheese, butter, 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese, and the sour cream. Stir well. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and stir again. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Place the potatoes into the dish. The casserole may now be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready to bake. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the potatoes for 30 to 35 minutes, until hot. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup Cheddar cheese over the top of the casserole and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, until the cheese melts. Garnish with the chopped chives and crumbled bacon before serving. Serves 10-12.

Oven-roasted asparagus
Recipe courtesy of Southern Living
3 pounds fresh asparagus*
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted*

Wash and dry asparagus. Snap off and discard tough ends; place asparagus on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or to desired degree of tenderness. Transfer to a serving dish; sprinkle with almonds. Makes 8-10 servings.

Dinner Rolls
Recipe courtesy of your grocer's freezer
Purchase a bag of Sister Schubert's Yeast Rolls. Bake according to package directions. Eat and enjoy.
(Really, with Sister Schubert's available, why on earth would I ever make homemade rolls??)

Carrot Cake
Recipe courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and grated

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9 by 13-inch cake pan with vegetable oil spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

Whisk the eggs and sugars together in a large bowl until frothy and the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 1 minute. While whisking, slowly add the oil until the mixture is thoroughly combined and emulsified, about 1 minute. Whisk in the flour mixture until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in the carrots.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Run a paring knife around the perimeter of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack, peel off the parchment, then invert the cake again onto a serving platter.

This cake can be made as a sheet cake, a layer cake, cupcakes or even a bundt cake. The only difference is the baking time.  If making a layer cake, though, you’ll need to use a classic frosting because the cream cheese frosting isn’t stiff enough. A bundt cake could be dressed up with a Cream Cheese Glaze or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.  Baking time adjustments: for two 8-inch cake layers, reduce the baking time to 25-30 minutes. For a bundt cake, increase the baking time to about 55 minutes. For 24 cupcakes, reduce the baking time to 30 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar

Process the cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in a food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the confectioners’ sugar and continue to process until smooth, about 10 seconds, scraping down the bowl and blades as needed. (I used my hand mixer instead of a food processor and it worked fine.)

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Guest blogging with the GG girls

Hey, y'all,
Check out Grace Graffiti today for a fun guest blog from yours truly!  If you're looking for a festive meal to celebrate St. Patrick's Day I've got you covered.  And while you're at it, give their super-cute home decor, jewelery and accessories a looksie.  Here are our house we're celebrating the (hopefully soon) arrival of spring with an adorable egg door hanger.  



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Saltine Chocolate Pieces

As promised, Rachael, this is for you!

Growing up, these yummy treats were a staple dessert/snack during the Christmas season. They are so yummy and everyone seems to like them - they're a crowd pleasing treat. And they're incredibly easy, quick and cheap, which makes this a win-win recipe! I keep these in the freezer and eat them cold - so good!! (But I'm also one of those people who likes her Girl Scout cookies frozen ...)

I like them so much that I've decided that they are no longer going to be relegated to just the holiday season ... I'm busting out the traditional barriers and have declared these to be year-round treats!

Saltine Chocolate Pieces
I think the recipe is from Mamie, a dear family friend
1 sleeve saltine crackers
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
12 ounces (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate pieces
3/4 cup chopped nuts (we prefer pecans)

Line a 10x15 cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with foil; spray very lightly with cooking spray. Cover sheet with crackers. Combine the brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan and boil for 3 minutes. Pour over cracker and spread evenly. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let set for 1 minute, then spread the melted chips with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with chopped nuts (if desired) and lightly press down. Cool until firm, then break up. Pieces can be frozen.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

French Onion Soup

On Christmas Day, we all gathered together at Patrick's parent's house for Christmas dinner. Everything was delicious, but one of my favorite courses was Scott's French Onion Soup. I had never had it before, always shying away from it because of the abundance of onions. I have never liked onions, but I have recently realized that it's raw onions I don't like, not all onions. I like grilled onions, caramelized onions, roasted onions, etc. Scott is a great cook, so I knew that whatever he made would be good.

But the soup wasn't good.

It was to die for. Truly - it was the best soup I have ever tasted. It was so, so good. All of us said that the meal could have ended there and we'd be happy.

It was so good that I knew I had to try to make it.

I did on Saturday, and we ate it on Sunday, and it was almost every bit as good as Scott's. (I say almost because one, I had to do all the work and make it myself rather than just sit down and have it served, and two, because my cheese didn't get all nice and melty and stringy like Scott's. I've asked him his secret and will share it with you when I get it.) Patrick loved it and declared it "one of his new favorite meals."

Sounds good to me!

This is a perfect meal for this time of year. A couple of tips: make sure you have deep, oven-safe bowls (we don't have any ... yet ... and I had to borrow some. That is, after my sweet husband went to five different stores looking, in vain, for French Onion Soup bowls). Second, per the comments on the recipe (on the Food Network site), it's best served the day after you make it. Apparently that gives time for the flavors, specifically the brandy and wine, to meld. I made it on Saturday and we ate it on Sunday (and Tuesday) and it was delish.

Bon appetit!

French Onion Soup
A Julia Child recipe, courtesy of Food Network
1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 2-1/2 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour
8 cups homemade beef stock, or good quality store bought stock (I used almost three containers of Swanson beef cooking stock)
1/4 cup Cognac, or other good brandy (Since Scott used Paul Masson brandy, I did too)
1 cup dry white wine (I used cooking sherry 'cause it's what I had in the pantry)
8 (1/2-inch) thick slices of French bread, toasted
3/4 pound coarsely grated Gruyere (be prepared - this is expensive! It cost me $8.50.)

Heat a heavy saucepan over moderate heat with the butter and oil. When the butter has melted, stir in the onions, cover, and cook slowly until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Blend in the salt and sugar, increase the heat to medium high, and let the onions brown, stirring frequently until they are a dark walnut color, 25 to 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour and cook slowly, stirring, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a moment, then whisk in 2 cups of hot stock. When well blended, bring to the simmer, adding the rest of the stock, Cognac, and wine. Cover loosely, and simmer very slowly 1 1/2 hours, adding a little water if the liquid reduces too much. Taste for seasoning

Divide the soup among 4 ovenproof bowls. Arrange toast on top of soup and sprinkle generously with grated cheese. Place bowls on a cookie sheet and place under a preheated broiler until cheese melts and forms a crust over the tops of the bowls. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Amaretto Cheesecake

The week before Christmas I asked my mom what dessert sounded good to her for us to have on Christmas Eve. She surprised me by telling me that an amaretto cheesecake was what she wanted.

Nothing says "Merry Christmas" and "Happy birthday, Jesus" like an amaretto cheesecake, right??

But being the people pleaser that I am, I happily obliged. I do love to make - and eat - cheesecake!

A lot of people tend to shy away from cheesecakes, but they really are easy desserts to make, once you get comfortable making them. The cream cheese needs to be very well softened, you need to scrape down the sides and bottom of your mixer well, and never, ever open the door while your cheesecake is baking. That's a big no no. If you follow those simple rules, though, you'll have a delicious cheesecake every time!

Amaretto Cheesecake
Recipe for 1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust*
3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup amaretto
1 1/2 cups commercial sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons amaretto
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Grated chocolate, for garnish

Press graham cracker crust mixture firmly on bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan (do not bake prior to filling with cheesecake mixture).

Beat cream cheese at high speed of an electric mixer until light and fluffy; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 1/3 cup amaretto; pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until mixture is set.

Combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons amaretto; stir well, and spoon over cheesecake. Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack; chill. Garnish with almonds and grates chocolate. Yield: 12 servings.

Graham Cracker Crust
1 (5 1/3-ounce) packet graham crackers, crushed (about 1 2/3 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Firmly press crumb mixture evenly over bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. For frozen pies, crust may be used without baking. For other pies, bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes. Yield: one 9-inch crust.
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