Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes

Image source: Kalyn’s Kitchen

When the temperature dips below 20 degrees F and we’re covering our faces not because of a virus, but because our cheeks may freeze, hot comfort food is in order! I’ve posted recipes for Vegetarian Chili and Beef Chili, but Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes is my new favorite warm-up-in-cold-weather recipe. I made this Turkey Chili in a crockpot, but it can be cooked on a stove. Have extra? Freeze it for another-ummm–chilly day. Do you make Turkey Chili? Do you add sweet potatoes? Have suggestions for other ingredients to add?

Stay warm, hon.

Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes (I used one can diced tomatoes and one can crushed tomotoes)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can red kidney beans
  • 1 cup water or 1/2 cup beef broth and 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder (adjust if you like things more or less spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (yup–cocoa powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Directions:

1.  Brown ground turkey.

2.  Place browned turkey and remaining ingredients in crock pot, stirring to blend.

3.  Cover and cook on low setting 6 hours.

Don’t have a crock pot?  Don’t worry.

1.  In a frying pan, saute ground beef and onions until soft.

2.  Drain off fat.

3.  Transfer mixture to a large pot.

4.  Add remaining ingredients.

5.  Bring to a boil, them simmer, covered, approx. 45 minutes. Chili’s ready when sweet potatoes can be sliced easily.

Yield:  Approx. 8-10 servings.

Chanukah is Here! Potato Latkes Recipe (aka Potato Pancakes)

Potato Latkes
Potato Latkes

Chanukah Treat! 

Shout out to my niece Eli, who brought potato latkes to Thanksgiving! Why? Because, this year, the two holidays coincided. I have a love/hate relationship with these delicious Chanukah treats. I love to eat them, but don’t love making them. Trust me when I say oil splatters everywhere and energy must be reserved for a rigorous clean-up. I once heard a colleague say she fries hers outside on her deck in an electric frying pan. I own one, but am always cooking for a crowd. I’d need several electric frying pans…

Hmmm, food for thought!

IMG_2753

potatoes grated in food processor
Grate potatoes in food processor.

onions grated in food processor
Grate onions in food processor.

Latkes frying.
Fry latkes in oil until medium brown on each side.

Latkes frying.
Add more oil to frying pan when oil level drops.

Drain latkes on brown paper bags to retain their crispiness.
Drain latkes on brown paper bags to retain their crispiness.

POTATO LATKES

Ingredients

4 large potatoes, peeled and grated (I used a food processor to grate potatoes and onions.)

1 cup onions, grated

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup flour

Salt and pepper to taste

Corn, canola or vegetable oil

brown paper grocery bags, cut open and flattened on a counter

Directions

1.  Insert grating disc in food processor and grate potatoes.  Place potatoes in a colander sitting in a bowl or sink.  Drain excess liquid.

2.  Grate onions in food processor.

3.  In a large bowl, combine drained potatoes with eggs, salt, pepper, baking powder, flour and onions.  Mix well.

4.  Pour a layer of oil in frying pan and heat on a medium heat.

5.  Drop potato mixture by spoonfuls into hot oil.  (Be careful, because they splatter.)

6.  When one side of a latke is medium brown, turn and brown other side.

7.  Drain on paper bags.

Yield:  approximately 25 latkes, depending on the size of the spoon and amount of mixture you drop into the oil.

*If not serving right away, you may freeze latkes once they’ve cooled. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place latkes in a single layer on foil-lined cookie sheets.  Bake approximately 15 minutes or until crisp.

Serve with applesauce or sour cream.

Muffin-Tin Turkey Meatloaf with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Image source: delish.com

I admit it. I’m not a huge fan of ground turkey, but I like it when cooked in savory Turkey Chili. Searching for a new recipe for an out of town guest who is a fan, I came across Delish.com’s Muffin-Tin Turkey Meatloaf. Hubby made his yummy mashed potatoes to serve on top. We added roasted cauliflower and broccoli and a side of whole-berry cranberry sauce. The meal was a winner!

Happy cooking, hon.

Muffin-Tin Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray or baking cups, for muffin tin
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
  • garlic mashed potatoes, click here for a recipe

Directions:

Yield: 12 mini turkey loafs

Tip: Cook ahead of time, freeze, defrost and re-heat for about 30 minutes on 325 degrees F.

Best Black Bean Burgers

Photo courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

I love good veggie burgers but, often, one bite in and they fall apart. There I am making a mess, while attempting to use a fork and knife to eat a crumbling burger.  No more with my new favorite Black Bean Burger recipe thanks to Sally’s Baking Addiction. SBA advises partially drying out the black beans to cook “big, thick, hearty, and flavorful” burgers that can be grilled or baked. Whether they’re eaten on a bun, plain, or on a salad, these delicious veggie burgers are “easy, healthy, satisfying, juicy, spicy and NOT MUSHY!” They were a winner with my family and friends.

Happy cooking, hon!

BLACK-BEAN BURGERS

Ingredients:

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans black beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (1/2 of a pepper)
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (1/2 of a large onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or oat flour
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, optional
  • corn kernels cut off 2 ears cooked corn-on-the-cob, optional (left over from the previous night’s dinner)
  • 2 large eggs (to make vegan & vegetarian, see note)
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (to make vegan & vegetarian, see note)
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup, mayo, or BBQ sauce
  • pinch salt + pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Spread beans evenly onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until slightly dried out.
  2. In olive oil, sauté chopped pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat until peppers and onions are soft, about 5-6 minutes. Gently blot some of the moisture out. (My veggies weren’t too liquidy, so I skipped this.)
  3. Place sautéed mixture in a large bowl with remaining ingredients (cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, Worcestershire, ketchup, salt, and pepper). Add beans. In a food processor, pulse everything together. (Tip: you may need to process mixture in small batches.) Alternately, the bean/veggie/spice mixture can be mashed with a fork. Either way, don’t completely mash the beans. Leave some larger chunks of beans to create a “bulky and satisfying texture.”
  4. Form into patties– about 1/3 cup of mixture in each. Shape the black bean burgers however large or small desired, keeping in mind the larger they are, the more unevenly they’ll cook. To bake: Place patties on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 375°F (191°C) for 10 minutes on each side, 20 minutes total. To grill: Place patties on greased aluminum foil and grill 8 minutes on each side. “Generally, black bean burgers should grill on medium-high heat about 350°F (177°C) – 400°F (204°C).”
  5. Serve with favorite toppings. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Yield: 6 to 7 burgers

Notes:

  1. Freezing Instructions: Stack cooked or uncooked patties between parchment paper in a freezer container or zipped-top bag. Thaw in refrigerator and reheat or, if uncooked, cook according to instructions above. Thawing can be skipped; just cook from frozen for an extra couple minutes.
  2. Vegan & Vegetarian: Since Worcestershire sauce is not vegan or vegetarian, leave out or replace with a condiment such as BBQ sauce. To make burgers vegan burgers, (1) leave out the Worcestershire sauce or replace with favorite vegan condiment, (2) leave out the cheese, and (3) replace the eggs with 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato.
  3. Creative Toppings:  For a light lunch, skip the bun and eat on a salad. Creative toppings ideas are mashed avocado + caramelized onion, pepper jack cheese + spicy mustard + sweet pickles, herbed goat cheese + roasted red peppers, sriracha + sautéed mushrooms, mozzarella + pesto, corn salsa + cheddar cheese, or even chunky mango guacamole, BBQ sauce + Swiss cheese + grilled pineapple

Roasted Cauliflower with Date-Parsley Gremolata

Shout out to my daughter Morgan and her new cookbook Eating Out Loud, Bold Middle Eastern Flavors for All Day, Every Day by Eden Grinshpan. I love it when Morgan cooks dinner!

Of the cauliflower– ‘Its deep, roast-y deliciousness is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet, herbaceous date-parsley gremolata. You are going to be blown away by how much brightness you get from the preserved lemon and how the dates balance the tartness with their dense texture.”Of the cauliflower– “Its deep, roast-y deliciousness is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet, herbaceous date-parsley gremolata. You are going to be blown away by how much brightness you get from the preserved lemon* and how the dates balance the tartness with their dense texture.’

Eating Out Loud by Eden Grinshpan

Roasted Cauliflower with Date-Parsley Gremolata

Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Gremolata

  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Medjool dates (about 5)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • approx. 1/2 lemon juice, squeezed from fresh lemon (*The recipe calls for preserved lemon, but Morgan used freshly squeezed lemon juice.)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and salt. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet (or two-you want to make sure the florets have room to breathe so that they get cartelized and crispy instead of steamed) and roast until the cauliflower is golden brown, 20 – 25 minutes.
  3. Make the gremolata: In a large bowl, mix together the dates, sparsely, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. If making this ahead, leave out the vinegar until just before you serve.
  4. Scatter the gremolata over the roasted cauliflower and serve.
  • Yield: Serves 4.

What’s For Dinner? Sweet-n-Sour Meatballs Recipe

Photo care of Eli Kovacs.

In the last few weeks, several friends and family members have asked for this recipe. Maybe the cold weather and snow has put them in the mood or maybe it’s because it’s delicious. Either way, this Sweet-n-Sour Meatballs recipe is easy and a winner!

Happy cooking, hon.

–I prepare and bake my meatballs before simmering them in sauce for approximately 25 minutes.

–Don’t eat meat? Try Trader Joe’s “Meatless Meatballs” or a similar product. Simmer them in the Sweet-n-Sour for about 25 minutes.

Sweet and Sour Sauce:  In a shallow pan, mix one 15-oz can of whole berry cranberry sauce with about 8 ounces of chili sauce. Simmer meatballs in sauce on medium to medium-high, adding salt and pepper and any other spices you like to taste. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Serve over pasta or rice.

Meatballs ready to simmer in your sauce of choice.
Meatballs ready to simmer in your favorite sauce.

Meatballs

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup bread crumbs

about 1/4 to 1/2 cup water

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried parsley (or fresh parsely)

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1/4 ground garlic)

dash of black pepper and dash onion powder (or about 1 tsp finely chopped onion)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking trays with heavy duty foil and spray with non-stick spray.  Combine ground beef with the bread crumbs, water, egg and spices.  Mix thoroughly.  Form meatballs and line trays.  Cook for approximately 25 to 30 minutes total, checking meatballs after 10 to 15 minutes.  I turn each meatball over and rotate trays in oven for more even cooking.  When you think the meatballs are done, cut one in half to make sure it’s brown all the way through. They can be light brown on the inside and not overly cooked on the outside since they will cook more when simmered in sauce.

Serving the same night? Simmer in sauce on medium to medium-low heat for approximately 25 minutes.  Serving in the future? Cool first, then refrigerate for a few days or freeze in an airtight container.

Yield: depends on the size of the meatballs, but about a couple dozen.

Top Ten Unexpected Positives in 2020

Happy New Year Hon!

Thinking about the holiday events we’d be attending and hosting if we weren’t in the midst of a global pandemic, my mind turned to silver linings. In 2020, believe it or not, there was actually amazing news (Polio has been eradicated in Africa) as well as mundane news (Flour was in high demand.). Focusing on how the pandemic effected everyday life and in no particular order, here are the…

Top Ten Unexpected Positives of 2020

  1. Dogs were happy. Very happy. “Shelters, rescues and breeders report increased demand as Americans try to fill voids with canine companion” (Washington Post)
  2. Kids rode bikes to socialize. “How the pandemic has inspired some teens to get off their laptops and go outside” (Washington Post)
  3. Walking was a pastime. “Why Walking is the Ideal Pandemic Activity” (National Geographic)
  4. People stayed outside, even in the cold and rain. “Why You Should Brave the ‘Bad’ Weather” (The New York Times)
  5. Books sales increased. “A Surprisingly Strong Year of Book Sales Continues” (Publisher’s Weekly)
  6. Comfy clothes took over closets. “Dressing for success these days means ‘Athleisure'” (CBS News)
  7. Home cooked meals promoted healthier eating. “Home cooking is the new normal.” (Smart Brief)
  8. Families sat down to dinner together. “The return of family dinner” The Boston Globe
  9. Exercise classes were more accessible than ever. “Virtual workouts have exploded in popularity—and they’re here to stay.” (MindBody Business) And…
  10. Grandparents learned how to FaceTime! “Grandparents, thank you for FaceTiming and learning how to use Zoom during this quarantine” (Motherly)

Roasted Autumn Vegetable Soup

Image source: Taste of Home

Thanksgiving’s around the corner, which means lots of baking and cooking! This year will be significantly different as we plan to host the holiday meal outside. Hubby’s installed heaters, created a plastic barrier for a corner of the porch, and we’re altering the meal with ease of serving in mind. There will be less of us as no one’s visiting from out of town, but leftovers are welcome!

I usually serve Velvety Vegetable Soup, but wanted to change it up. Taste of Home’s recipe for Roasted Autumn Vegetable Soup is a winner! It’s easy to follow, hearty, savory, and my new favorite!

Happy cooking, hon!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 medium)
  • 2 pounds carrots (about 8 large)
  • 1-1/2 pounds parsnips (about 6 medium)
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 cartons (32 ounces each) chicken broth
  • 1 cup fat-free evaporated milk (I used 1/2 cup non-dairy creamer.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Minced fresh parsley and sage

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Peel and cut sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips into 1-1/2-in. pieces; place in a large bowl. Add onions and garlic cloves; drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Divide mixture between 2 greased 15x10x1-in. baking pans. Roast 40-50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Transfer vegetables to a Dutch oven. Add broth, milk (or non-dairy creamer), salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; simmer, uncovered, 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  3. Puree soup using an immersion blender. Or cool soup slightly and puree in batches in a blender; return to pan and heat through. Sprinkle servings with minced herbs.

Yield:

12 servings (4 quarts)

Mark Bittman’s How to Grill Everything–Huli Huli Chicken

Photo courtesy of Andrew Purcell for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Guess what’s for dinner tonight? I made this recipe once before and it’s time to make this delicious teriyaki-inspired dish from Mark Bittman’s  How to Grill Everything again. Bittman says, “In Hawaiian, huli means ‘to turn,'” which is a reminder that the chicken needs to be turned occasionally as it cooks. The recipe calls for spatchcocking the chicken, but I used bone-in chicken breasts with skin.

Happy cooking, hon!

Huli Huli Chicken
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt ad pepper, optional
  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces or spatchcocked (I used chicken breasts on the bone instead.)
  • 2 Tablespoons or more chopped fresh cilantro
Directions:
  1. Whisk soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, and oil together  in a large bowl until sugar dissolves. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Trim excess fat and skin from the chicken without exposing the meat. Add chicken to the marinade and turn pieces to coat. Let sit at room temperature while preparing the grill. Or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  3. Start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium-high indirect cooking. Make sure the grates are clean. If using charcoal, put a drip pan under the direct portion of the grill; for gas, empty, clean and replace the fat trap.
  4. Put the chicken on the indirect side of the grill skin side up, so the dark meat is as close to the fire as possible without any danger of fat dripping onto the flames or pilot lights. Put the breasts farther from the fire. Close the lid and cook, turning the pieces and rotating them 180 degrees for even browning after 15 to 20 minutes for breasts, 20 to 30 minutes for dark meat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink at the bone; depending on the size of the pieces, this can take 25 to 40 minutes total for the breasts and 40 to 50 minutes for dark meat. (Nick with a small knife and peek inside.)
  5. Move the chicken directly over the fire, skin side down, to crisp up for 1 to 3 minutes; if using gas, first turn the heat down to medium. Transfer the chicken to a platter, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

What’s For Dinner? Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad

Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad is a perfect summer dish! Add grilled, sliced chicken, salmon or steak for protein, and dinner’s served. Going on a picnic? Pack it for lunch. Kids can cut up the veggies (with adult supervision), measure ingredients and mix it all up, making this a contender in the Easy DIY Kids Crafts & Recipes category. Not into pasta? How about mixing brown rice with the grilled veggies and tossing it all with the yummy balsamic dressing? Hon…guess what I’ll be serving later this week? 

Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad
Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1 medium red sweet pepper, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups cooked whole grain penne pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, snipped 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Tip: Grill additional veggies to add to dish.
Directions:
  1. Lightly brush vegetables with 1 Tablespoon of the oil. Grill sweet pepper, zucchini, and onion on the rack of a covered grill directly over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until tender, turning once. Add asparagus the last 3 to 5 minutes, cooking until tender, turning once. Let cool slightly. Cut vegetables into 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. In a large bowl, combine vegetables and pasta. Add remaining 2 Tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with oregano.

Tip: Add grilled chicken breast, steak or salmon for protein.

Yield: 4 servings

Source: Better Homes & Gardens