Sunday, January 29, 2012

Honey-Chipotle Pork Meatballs

Here is another recipe from my Magazine of the Month, Everyday Food January 2012: The Light Issue.  This time I made the Honey-Chipotle Turkey Meatballs.  I wanted to make this with ground turkey, but when I went to the grocery store to get the ingredients, there was no ground turkey.  I know that sounds crazy, but the last two times I have tried to get ground turkey, it wasn't available.  Maybe there is a shortage or a recall of which I am not aware, but fortunately there was ground pork on sale, so I decided to make the meatballs with that instead.  Granted, they are a bit fattier with turkey, but after making these meatballs, I think any kind of ground meat would work well with this recipe.

I loved these meatballs, they had a great flavor, and the combination of sweet and spicy was spot on.  I did make some changes.  I like my meatballs to be a bit saucier, so I doubled the ingredients of the sauce.  I used a chipotle sauce instead of the straight chilies, because I thought it would add a bit of a richer, more complex favor than the chilies alone.  The original recipe called for shaping the meat into 16 meatballs, but they seemed too big to me.  I wanted bit-sized meatballs, so I shaped mine into 20 meatballs instead.  These would make a great appetizer for a dinner or if you want to take them to a tailgate or potluck, you can easily double or triple the recipe.  

Honey-Chipotle Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey or pork
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion, minced finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped finely (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, add the ground meat, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Mix together until just combined, being careful not to overmix as the meat will become tough when cooked.  

Form into 16-20 meatballs depending on the size of meatball you like.  In a large ovenproof skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil to medium high.  Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Transfer skillet to the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes.  Test for doneness by cutting one of the meatballs in half to make sure it is cooked all the way through.  

While the meatballs are cooking, stir together the honey, chipotle sauce, and cider vinegar.  

Remove the oven from the skillet and transfer the meatballs to a serving bowl, draining any fat that has accumulated (if using pork).  Pour the honey-chipotle sauce over the meatballs and toss to combine, serve immediately.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Asian Chicken and Orzo Salad

I made this pasta salad when I had a few friends over for lunch one Sunday.  It's a great dish because you can make it the night before and serve it cold or at room temperature.  I found this recipe over at the Food Network.  It's from Paula Deen if you can believe it or not, and it doesn't contain one bit of butter.  Based on the reviews I changed things from the original recipe, like I reduced the oil in the recipe and added more soy sauce and some of the other ingredients.  I thought the changes added a lot of flavor, and I really liked it.  This recipe makes a lot, so it's great for a party, light and pretty healthy too.

Asian Chicken and Orzo Salad

  • 1 cup of shelled, cooked edamame (you can cook them by blanching them in boiling, salted water for about 4-5 minutes if they aren't cooked when you purchase them)
  • 1-16 oz package of orzo, cooked and drained
  • 1 cup water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 2 green onions, whites and greens, sliced thin
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil (any neutral tasting oil will work)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil 
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the orzo, chicken, edamame, green onions, and red bell pepper.  In a small bowl, whisk to combine the canola oil, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin, and Sriracha.  Pour over the pasta and chicken mixture and toss to combine.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.  Can serve cold or at room temperature.

Note: When you are ready to serve, give it a taste, it may need more soy or hoisin sauce.  Mine felt a bit dried out the next day, so I drizzled some extra soy sauce  and hoisin sauce over the top, stirred to combine, and it was just great.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Easy Blackberry Cake

If you are looking for an easy weeknight cake studded with delicious fruit, then this is recipe for you.  I found this over at Pioneer Woman's website.   She calls it a cobbler, but to me, cobbler is usually a fruit filling topped with a biscuit-like crust.  In this recipe you make a batter, then scatter the fruit over top, and as the cake/cobbler bakes, the fruit sinks down into the batter and releases its delicious juices.  She does have another recipe for blackberry cobbler that is more like to kind I am used to, and I will have to try it sometime.

So like I said, this is an easy weeknight recipe, and you will see why.  It's a recipe that comes together in a flash, you don't even need to get out your mixer.  You can easily throw it in the oven while you are baking dinner on the stovetop, and it will be ready by the time you are finished eating dinner.  I made mine with blackberries like the Pioneer Woman did, but I think it would be good with almost any fruit.  I would love to try cherries, blueberries, or peaches as well.

Easy Blackberry Cake

  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of sugar, divided (3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (or 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups blackberries 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a baking dish (I used a glass pie pan).

Melt the stick of butter in the microwave.  In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1 cup flour, slowly pour in the milk and mix well.   Then pour in melted butter, and mix until it is fully incorporated into the batter.

Rinse and thoroughly dry the blackberries.  Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and scatter the blackberries over the top of the batter.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup over the top of the cake.  (Don't skip this step, as it gives a sweet, crisp top to the cake).

Bake in the oven until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  For me it was about 40 minutes, but the original recipe calls for up to one hour.  So check around 35 minutes, and keep close watch from there.  Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack.  Serve alone or with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Honey-Glazed Carrots with Cilantro and New Blog Features!

So I haven't blogged in almost three months.  I really didn't want to post one recipe in November and one in December.  I wanted to come back when I was ready to devote more time to it and really make it a commitment in my everyday life.  I've decided that there is no time like the present.  In order to blog more and to utilize my great collection of food magazines and cookbooks, I am introducing two new features to my blog.  One is what I am calling Magazine of the Month.  I am going to take one of my many magazines from my numerous subscriptions and cook 3-4 recipes from that magazine during the current month.  The recipe above is from this month's choice.

Another addition to my blog is what I am calling my Current Cookbook.  I am going to pick one cookbook and cook 4-5 or more recipes from that book.  At the end, I will write a comprehensive review of the cookbook and give it a rating.  I have so many, yet I rarely cook from them, I just love to look through them and get ideas about what I want to cook.  This isn't a bad thing, I just want to try so many recipes from these books, now I am giving myself the chance to do it.  My first choice for my Current Cookbook is America's Test Kitchen's Slow Cooker Revolution.  I thought it would be a good choice for these cold winter months, and I also just got a new slow cooker that I am eager to try out.

So onto the recipe.  Like I said, this is from Everyday Food, and the reason I picked it was because it had an interesting method for cooking the carrots.  You place the carrots in a skillet with a little olive oil, then you cover it for water.  As the carrots boil in the water they become soft, and then the water eventually evaporates.  The carrots then begin to caramelize in the skillet and pick up those lovely charred spots that add a lot of flavor to the carrots, add in some honey time to bring in a bit of extra sweetness.  You then deglaze the skillet with a bit of water or broth.  The carrots are finally tossed with a bit of cilantro for some brightness.  I really love this technique.  It's so delicious and the carrots and cooked wonderfully.  I will definitely use this method from now on.

Honey-Glazed Carrots with Cilantro  
   serves 4

  • 6 medium sized carrots, halved lengthwise and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons of broth, white wine, or water
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh cilantro

In a large skillet, combine the carrots and the olive oil.  Add just enough water to cover the carrots (about 2 cups).  Cook over medium-high heat until the water is evaporated and the carrots are soft, about 15 minutes.  

At this point, cook, tossing often until the carrots are light golden brown with some charred spots. Season with salt and pepper.   Add 1 tablespoon honey and 2 tablespoons broth, white wine, or water.  Stir and scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon, until the carrots are glazed, about 2-4 minutes.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro.  Serve immediately.

Print Feature:

Another great feature that I have added is a "Print/PDF option" to the blog.  This means if you click on the icon below, you will be able to print or save a pdf of this blog post.  I really love this feature on other blogs, because when I see a recipe I like, I like to print it out immediately or save it as a PDF onto my computer, so I can use it later.  Anyway, I hope you like the new features, and I hope to be around more often!


I don't know who has checked out Pinterest yet, but it's a great website where you can "Pin" different things on your personal pinboard. It's a place to share all the wonderful things you see on the web.  People use Pinterest to remind them of ideas for cooking, organizing, decorating, you name it.  If you see  a recipe you like here, and you want to "pin" it, that would be wonderful.  Just click on the button below, and you will be able to do that.  

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