Mini Turkey Meatloaves

Mini Turkey Meatloaf

First of all, let’s be real… Meatloaf just is not pretty (and it’s not easy to make pretty in pictures). But trust me when I say that this meatloaf is damn tasty and super fast and easy to make, which makes it basically a perfect main course. I’ve made this a couple times  now and it’s still as good as the first. I tend to not like extra lean ground meat. It usually seems to dry, but with this recipe extra lean turkey worked perfectly. You get a lot of moisture with the sauce you add in to the mix and it does not turn out dry.

Speaking of sauce… I highly recommend Trader Joe’s pasta sauces. As far as jarred sauces go they are my personal favorite. The Roasted Garlic and Arrabiata are my two favorites.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves
From  Better Home & Gardens

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup jarred pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs (I used Kinnikinnick GF Panko Crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped if large
  • 1 1/4 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a medium saucepan bring lightly salted water to boiling. In a large bowl combine egg, 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce, bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of the basil, and salt. Add beef and 1/2 cup of the cheese; mix well. Divide beef mixture into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a 5-1/2×2-inch oval loaf. Place loaves onto a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Spoon on remaining pasta sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature registers 170 degrees F.

Gluten Free Brussels Sprouts & Bacon Pizza

Gluten Free Brussels Sprouts & Bacon Pizza

I wanted to make this pizza the second I saw it. I finally got around to it this past week. My brussels sprout obsession has been well documented. Put brussels sprouts and pizza together and I was easily sold. If you are a brussels sprout skeptic, I swear this recipe could make you a convert! If you have already seen the light and love b. sprouts as much as I do, I know this will quickly become a new favorite. I’m currently debating with myself if making it again already is too soon? I don’t think it is.

Gluten Free Brussels Sprouts & Bacon Pizza

I will definitely make this again. I thought that the garlic and onion in the dough made the crust extra tasty and really added to the overall flavor of the pizza. You could easily just mix garlic and onion powder into any pizza dough recipe. I also liked how the brussels sprouts and onions got coated with a bit of a caramelized balsamic glaze. Definitely make sure you toss them in balsamic and olive oil! It makes all the difference. I would also probably leave the bacon off. Bacon just does nothing for me. I don’t understand the obsession at all. Plus, the addition of blue cheese definitely gave the pizza a flavorful, slightly salty bite that could easily replace the need for bacon on it at all.

Gluten Free Brussels Sprouts & Bacon Pizza (adapted from Shutterbean)

  • homemade or store-bought pizza dough (I used Chebe’s Garlic-Onion Breadstick Mix)
  • 3 pieces bacon, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 cup of shredded Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced.
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided, plus more for baking sheet
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, divided
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with a cooling rack placed inside, cook bacon in oven for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside on a paper towel to drain.
  3. Oil a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet liberally with good extra virgin olive oil. Place  the dough on the pan and stretch and press it out to the edges. If it springs back wait a few minutes and then proceed. The dough is very thin. If it tears, piece it back together.
  4. In a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar. Mix together with salt and pepper and brush on pizza dough. In the same bowl add the remaining tablespoons of olive oil and balsamic and toss brussels sprouts and onions in it to coat.
  5. Evenly top the pizza dough with mozzarella, bacon, garlic, red onion, and Brussels sprouts. Add a heavy pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired. Put the pizza in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes. To serve, top with crumbled blue cheese and serve!

Chili-Garlic Shrimp

Chili Garlic Shrimp

The shrimp! That’s what this dish is called at my favorite Irish pub in Santa Barbara (Dargan’s). Dargan’s is definitely a favorite meeting spot for me and my best friend Jessica. We have spent many an hour chatting away over pints there. The shrimp is one of my go to dishes if we happen to be grabbing dinner there (their black bean burger is pretty amazing as well). Well unfortunately, Jess and I have been busy ladies lately and we haven’t been to Dargan’s in a while, but I had a hankering for the shrimp, so I tried my best to recreate the meal at home. It’s not an exact replica, but it’s pretty close and just as delicious.

For some reason I had never thought to combine mashed potatoes and shrimp into one dish before having it at Dargan’s. The two never seemed like a combination that would work all that well. I was definitely wrong about that. Quite frankly I should have known better; obviously two of my favorite foods are going to be amazing together…Obviously.

Chili Garlic Shrimp

Chili-Garlic Shrimp
(serves 2)

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 large shrimp
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sweet chili sauce
  1.  Place the peeled and cubed potatoes in a pot. Cover with water and boil until tender, about 15-20 minutes.  When the potatoes are quite soft, drain them completely and return them to the pan over medium heat. Add the butter and cook for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring the potatoes vigorously to help any leftover water evaporate. When any remaining water has evaporated, and the potatoes are quite smashed up and smooth, remove from heat. Add the warm milk and garlic powder. Mix together until everything is smooth and creamy (I usually use a hand mixer, it’s easier and faster).  Season to taste with pepper and salt.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add in the shrimp and garlic. When the shrimp are nearly completely cooked (pink) pour in a generous drop of the sweet chili sauce and stir to coat.
  3. When the shrimp are done, dish up the potatoes on two plates. Divide the shrimp between the plates with any of the remaining sauce in the pan. Feel free to add more chili sauce if you want it.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

World Famous Cornbread Stuffing (Gluten Free)

 

So, I have been seriously slacking on blogging as of late. Things around here have been a bit crazy and something had to give. But now I’m back to share one of my favorite things in the whole world; my cornbread stuffing!

 

Stuffing is so easy to make, I really don’t know why people used the boxed stuff. I came up with this recipe many, many years ago, and it has become one of the few tried and true essentials of every Thanksgiving feast I make. It has been made at Thanksgivings in 4 countries and has been a hit in all of them, hence the ‘world famous’ title. I must note though, I found it very interesting that a lot of the non-Americans/Canadians that have tried this were not a fan of the dried cranberries because they were too sweet, but also thought the actual cranberry sauce was too tart.

 

Now, a quick comment on the cornbread, I’ve made it with gluten-free cornbread mix, Jiffy cornbread mix, and cornbread made from scratch. I always make the cornbread the same day I make the stuffing. I just wait until it cools enough to handle, and break it into pieces in a large bowl, let it cool completely and then start making the stuffing; turns out perfectly every time. Since this is a recipe I made up long, long ago, there aren’t really exact measurements, and it kinda, sorta slightly changes from year to year according to taste, but it is always delicious and it is always a big hit.

Cornbread Stuffing

  • 1 package of cornbread mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Dill
  • Garlic powder
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter + more for greasing.
  • Dried cranberries (I like Trader Joe’s Orange Flavored Dried Cranberries)
  • Low sodium vegetable broth
  • Dry white wine (optional)
  1. Make cornbread according to directions on the package. Let cool slightly until cool enough to handle and crumble into pieces in a very large bowl and allow to cool completely.
  2. When bread is cool, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. When hot add onions. When softened, about 5-7 minutes, add garlic powder and dill, stir to coat. Remove pan from heat and add onion mixture to cornbread.
  3. Heat oven to 350 and grease a large baking dish with remaining butter, make sure it’s really well greased.
  4. Add desired amount of dried cranberries to cornbread (I generally do a good handful). Then add a bit of broth to the cornbread (start with about 1/2 cup and work up) and a dash of white wine for extra flavor (I just use the same wine I’m using to baste the turkey). Mix the ingredients together until slightly damp.
  5. Place cornbread in the greased baking dish and bake 25-35 minutes, until the top starts to turn golden.

Dried Cherry-Cranberry Sauce

I’m a big fan of cranberry sauce. Freshly made cranberry sauce, none of that canned business. Even though my friend Lauren tried to persuade me of the merits of canned cranberry sauce, I just don’t get it. Fresh is where it’s at. I don’t really have a go to recipe for cranberry sauce, I like to try something different every year. This one piqued my interest when I first saw it in Cooking Light and it turned out to be delicious, tart and not too sweet, which is perfect in my book.

Dried Cherry-Cranberry Sauce (from Cooking Light, Nov. 2011, p149 or here)

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup port wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup cherry juice
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté for 4 minutes. Add sugar and the next 4 ingredients (through cranberries); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat, and stir in orange rind.
  2. Combine dried cherries and cherry juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Drain. Add drained cherries to cranberry sauce. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

I love asparagus and this is by far one of my favorite asparagus recipes. It combines two of my favorite things, asparagus and balsamic, so I knew right off the bat that it was going to be a keeper. It could not be simpler to make and it will be ready in less than 15 minutes. What’s not to love?

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus (adapted from allrecipes.com)

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • cooking spray
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake asparagus 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until tender.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Pour over the baked asparagus to serve.

Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts and Fried Capers

I love brussels sprouts. Love them. They are a very misunderstood vegetable. Most people have some sort of traumatic childhood experience of being forced to eat brussels sprouts in order to not offend some distant great aunt or something. When brussels sprouts are prepared well, they are simply delicious. This recipe is so simple and so fast and has such amazing ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong. I mean, capers, hazelnuts, and brussels sprouts together, what’s not to love?

If you have a food processor, definitely use it to shred the sprouts, there is no need to fool around with a knife or a mandoline if you don’t have to. If you don’t have a food processor, slice carefully, no one wants to lose a finger on Thanksgiving.

Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts and Fried Capers (From The Kitchn)
Serves 4

  • 1 pound small Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup capers, well-drained
  • 1 lemon, squeezed for juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black peppe
  1. Remove any loose or yellow leaves from the Brussels sprouts, and slice each sprout in half from top to bottom. Then chop them roughly into shreds, or hash them in a food processor.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the chopped hazelnuts. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan frequently. When the nuts are turning golden brown and smelling toasty, remove them from the pan and toss with the hashed Brussels sprouts.
  3. Add the olive oil to the pan and set it over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the capers. (Stand back and be careful; the oil will spit and splutter up!) Fry the capers for about 60 seconds, or until they start opening like little flowerbuds.
  4. Add the Brussels sprouts and hazelnuts back in to the pan. Stir thoroughly to coat the sprouts with the oil and to mix in the capers. Pour in the lemon juice and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the sprouts are tender but still snappy. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Brie with Apples and a Balsamic Reduction

You definitely don’t need to add any extra stress or work on Thanksgiving. This appetizer is perfect for Thanksgiving. It’s super simple and super tasty. The sweetness of the cooked apples (or pears) goes so well with the creamy brie and the balsamic reduction just makes everything in life better. It’s definitely an appetizer with something for everyone.

Brie with Apples and Balsamic Reduction (adapted very slightly from Living Tastefully)

  • 1 eight-ounce wheel Brie or Camembert cheese, cold
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large Granny Smith Apple or Bosc pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 8 walnut halves
  1. Slice cheese wheel in half crosswise; set aside.  In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the diced pear, and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the brandy, and cook 1 minute more.  Add rosemary, and stir to combine.  Remove from heat, and spread over bottom half of reserved sliced cheese wheel, reserving 2 tablespoons of the mixture for garnish.  Transfer cheese to serving plate.
  2. Return skillet to stove, and heat the balsamic vinegar and honey until simmering.  Simmer mixture until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.  Pour half the glaze over cheese and reserved pear mixture; top with remaining half of cheese wheel and pears.  Drizzle with remaining glaze, and garnish with walnut halves and rosemary.  Serve immediately.

It’s Thanksgiving!

Now that silly birthday things are out of the way, it’s time to get down to some very serious business.

IT’S THANKSGIVING!

Well, almost, but it’s my favorite holiday of the year, so I take it very seriously. I am also more than a little peeved about the unnecessary encroachment of halloween and Christmas on T-giving’s turf. Back up off my favorite holiday, yo!

I have a habit of not being in America for great American holidays, but in no way does that put a damper on the celebration. I’m actually pretty excited to be in the States for this Thanksgiving, because the last few years, I’ve kind of been all over the place… This one year I was on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, then I was in Budapest, the next year I was in Italy, then the year after I was in London and cooking for 25 with 1 oven and a raging case of meningitis, and then I was back in Budapest again and I nearly burnt down a really important historic building owned by the US Government. True story.

My preliminary planning for Thanksgiving may or may not have begun in February of this year… Stop it right now! Don’t you dare judge me. It’s called enthusiasm!

Like every family, we have our own traditions and favorite dishes, but I always like to try out a couple new dishes every year as well. Regardless of where in the world I’ve been or who I’ve been cooking for, I have a couple steadfast rules and traditions on which I will not budge.

  • There will be cornbread stuffing and it will be awesome
  • There will be no canned cranberry sauce (unless Lauren is there and only then)
  • There will be no canned cream of something soup anywhere near my green beans
  • Turkey is not that big a deal
  • If you want pumpkin pie, you can make it yourself, pecan is where it’s at
  • And most importantly keep the g.d. celery away from the stuffing! (celery makes me want to punch things)
So, all that being said, let’s talk menu. There are some things that will always be on my menu, some things will come and go. Here’s a look at how this year’s menu is shaping up:
  • World Famous Cornbread Cranberry Stuffing
  • Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce
  • Horseradish and Chive Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Bean Casserole w Madeira Mushrooms
  • Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic and Shallots
  • Some kind of turkey
  • Pecan Pie
This week, I’m going to share some other recipes that would also make for a great Thanksgiving.

Chicken Picatta

This was one of my favorite dishes growing up. Every year on my birthday, I got to pick the meal for dinner and, vegetarian years excepted, the meal always rotated between chicken picatta and chicken parmesan. Always. Even as a kid I loved vinegary things like capers and tangy things like lemon and my love of the two has only grown over the years.

Traditionally, you are meant to butterfly the chicken breasts, which is fine and all if you want to go to the effort and dealing with sharp knives. I tend to cause myself great bodily harm when attempting to do something like that, so I like to pound the chicken with the flat side of a meat tenderizer. It also doubles as a great stress reliever.

This is a recipe I’ve made a million times, so the measurements are more rough suggestions than strict rules. I like a lot of capers, garlic, and lemon, but if you don’t just adjust to your tastes.

Chicken Picatta
Serves 2

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Mix)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (extra might be needed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine (you could substitute stock if desired, but wine gives a better flavor)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-4 tablespoons capers
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter with olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.
  3. Into the pan add the lemon juice, wine and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor (these are the best bits). Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. If pan is looking dry, add 1 tablespoon butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.
  4. Serve and enjoy!