Asian Turkey Meatballs with Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce

Asian Meatballs

I really like teriyaki sauce. I used to really like the one Soyaki from Trader Joe’s and while there are some gluten-free teriyaki sauces available, there aren’t any that aren’t too sweet and with the chunks of garlic and ginger. To remedy this random and very specific teriyaki craving, I decided to make my own! And as far as I can remember this was a pretty close replica of the teriyaki sauce I’ve been missing.

I also recommend baking your meatballs. Baking them makes way less of a mess to clean up and it’s healthier than frying them too.  I served my meatballs with brown rice and spinach sautéed with garlic. The teriyaki sauce was fantastic with the rice and spinach as well as the meatballs.


Asian Turkey Meatballs with Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce


For the Meatballs:
  • 1 1/4 pound extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 1+ teaspoon sriracha or asian chile sauce
  • 1 egg
For the Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup gluten free, low sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon water


For the Meatballs:
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, carrot, green onions, cilantro, breadcrumbs, chile sauce and egg. Gently mix to combine and form into 1 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs.
  3. Place meatballs on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.
For the Sauce:
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce, except for the cornstarch and last tablespoon of water, in a saucepan on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. When sugar is dissolved, mix 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Heat sauce on medium high heat and add cornstarch water mixture. Simmer until thickened

Goat Cheese Polenta with Turkey & Vegetable Ragout

Goat Cheese Polenta with Turkey & Veggie Ragu

This dish is pure comfort food if you ask me. It’s hearty enough for a cold winter’s night, but still light enough to be a great transitional meal when spring hasn’t quite decided if it wants to be hot or cold yet. The meat and vegetables make it both filling and nutritious. You will get a lot of leftovers out of this recipes, which is a plus in my book. I also thought that the ragout tasted even better then next day.

Polenta is not everyone’s favorite food, but I happen to really like it. I think it makes a great base for a meal and keeps amazingly well for leftovers. You can top it with just about anything. I really like making my polenta with added goat cheese. It gives it both a creamy and tangy bite that I think goes really well with tomato based sauces.

Goat Cheese Polenta with Turkey & Vegetable Ragout
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens.

For the Turkey Ragout:
  • 1 1/4 pound extra-lean ground turkey
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (14 1/2) ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 large red sweet pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

For the Polenta:

  • 1 cup quick-cooking/instant polenta
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, slightly crumbled
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For Serving (optional):
  • Pesto
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese


  1. In a large skillet, cook ground beef until brown. Drain off any extra fat.
  2. In the same skillet, heat olive oil. When heated add onions and bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add in carrots, zucchini and garlic, along with undrained tomatoes, broth and salt and pepper.
  3. Cover and cook on low-heat until all the vegetables are cooked through and tomato and broth have slightly thickened.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare polenta according to package directions. I recommend using low-sodium vegetable broth for extra flavor. When polenta is almost cooked through, stir in goat cheese and butter.
  5. Spoon polenta into individual serving bowls and top with ragout mixture over polenta. Top individual bowls with pesto and garnish with basil and freshly ground pepper.


Gluten Free Runza (or Bierock)

Gluten Free Runza

I am currently enjoying the wonders of Omaha, Nebraska! Whenever I go on a trip somewhere new I like to see what there is to do there and what kinds of food the area is famous for. Before this trip I had only ever hear of Omaha Steaks (which are delicious), but there are all sorts of other culinary delights that are famous in Omaha. Yesterday I shared a gluten-free Reuben salad, which was my take on the famous Reuben sandwich that originated in Omaha. Today I made something that I had never heard of before! A runza!

A runza, which is sometimes called a bierock, came to the Midwest with the German, Russian and Eastern European immigrants that settled there. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the runzas I made. They were delicious. I am partial to Eastern European food, so cabbage, onion and meat can’t really be bad in my book. With the addition of some spices and extra-lean ground turkey (they are traditionally made with ground beef or pork, but that’s not my style) to light it up a little, the end result was a perfect hand held sandwich. If I was the make runzas again (which I just might, because I think they would freeze and keep really well) I would probably add some grainy dijon to the cabbage mix. The flavor was good, but I think mustard would make it perfect. I was a bit short on time this week, so I cheated and rolled out some Chebe dough for my crust, which worked perfectly. I was able to get 8 big runza out of one bread mix. I ended up with a lot of left over cabbage and meat, so next time I might try to make mini ones instead.

Gluten Free Runza



Gluten Free Runza (or Bierock)


For the Filling:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/4 pounds extra-lean ground turkey
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • onion powder, to taste
  • smoked paprika, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage shredded (or a bag of cole slaw mix)
For the dough:
  • 1 box of Chebe bread mix, or dough recipe of choice


For the Filling:
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan. When heated add onion and cook until well browned and starting to caramelize. Add turkey and break apart to cook. Add spices and brown the meat.
  2. Add the cabbage and cover pan with lid slightly off to allow steam to escape. Remove lid when cabbage is almost completely cooked and allow excess moisture to evaporate.
  3. When cabbage and meat are both cooked through, remove pan from heat and allow filling to cool slightly.
For the Dough:
  1. Follow instructions on box and when dough is mixed, roll out on flat, well floured surface.
  2. Cut the dough in to 8 pieces that you will be able to fold it into a rectangle.
  3. Place filling in center of each piece and fold together into a rectangle
For the Runzas:
  1. Heat oven to 375. Place folded runzas on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

Joe’s Special

Joe's Special Scramble

I started the fall semester yesterday morning. In order to recover from the trauma, I’m taking a long weekend trip (can 6 days really be considered a ‘long weekend’?) up to San Francisco to visit some friends. What better excuse that to share some tried and true San Francisco favorites.

This dish is a San Francisco classic. It originated in the 1930’s at Original Joe’s. Even though the dish is a classic, I had to put my own spin on things. I substituted extra-lean ground turkey for the ground beef. I used a ton of garlic (10 cloves, but they were all pretty small) and fresh basil and oregano from my garden. I have to admit that I like the fact that the eggs are not the main focus of this egg dish. I feel like the egg is just there as a loose binder rather than the main feature. It makes for a nice change from a traditional Quiche or frittata. It also makes the dish much more adaptable to meals outside the morning hours. In true San Francisco style, Joe’s Special is traditionally served with sourdough. I have yet to discover gluten-free sourdough, so I served my scramble with a couple slices of gluten-free toast (Canyon Bakehouse is my favorite at the moment). Not quite the same as sourdough, but it did the job.

I made Joe’s Special for Sunday Brunch over the weekend and this morning I heated up the leftovers for breakfast. It was even better! This would be a great made-ahead meal for brunch or for anytime you want to have a meal that you can reheat in a hurry.

Joe's Special



Joe’s Special

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5+ garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 pounds extra-lean ground turkey
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, finally chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/3 cups parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk/cream/half and half
  • a generous dash of tabasco (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the Tabasco, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until beginning to brown. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in ground turkey; cook, stirring, until browned and all moisture evaporates, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring, until beginning to soften. Add spinach; cook, stirring, until wilted. Add eggs; cook until eggs are cooked and mixture is slightly dry, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve with bread.

Turkey Pot Pie with Gluten Free Cheddar Biscuit Topping

Turkey Pot Pie with Gluten Free Cheddar Biscuit Topping

Way back over New Year’s on my little jaunt up to San Francisco, my friend Nancy made mini-chicken pot pies with her awesome mini pie maker. I’m fairly certain it was the first time I have ever had chicken pot pie and I’ve had pot pie on the brain ever since. I know today is the first official day of spring, but it was sort of cold and super windy here today, so warm comfort food seems fitting.

I was super impressed with how the biscuit topping came out. I really didn’t have high hopes for Bisquick, but there was no way I wanted to try to roll out my own crust. The biscuit topping was the perfect solution. It was quick and easy and ended up being perfectly fluffy and crusty all at the same time. I served my pot pie with garlicky mashed potatoes and delicious roasted asparagus in garlic brown butter (there’s a garlic problem in these parts).

Turkey Pot Pie with Gluten Free Cheddar Biscuit Topping

Turkey Pot Pie with Gluten Free Cheddar Biscuit Topping

For the Turkey Mixture

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups cooked, shredded turkey
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4+ garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 ounces baby bella or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used Gluten Free Bisquick)
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry or dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
For the Biscuit Topping
  • 1 1/2 cups biscuit/baking mix (I used Gluten Free Bisquick)
  • 3/4 cup shredded EXTRA sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Heat oven to 400° degrees.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the leek, onion, and carrots. Season generously with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. While the vegetables are cooking, shred/cut the turkey into bite-sized pieces. When the vegetables are just tender, transfer to the bowl with the shredded turkey. Return the pot to the heat.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Increase the heat to medium-high, stirring often, until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are somewhat browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the chicken and the vegetables. Return the pot to the heat.
  4. Melt the butter over medium heat. When it is fully melted, whisk in the flour so that no clumps remain. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, milk and sherry. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme and lemon juice. Stir in the turkey-vegetable mixture and the frozen peas. Adjust seasoning to taste.
For the Biscuit Topping
  1. In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients; spoon over top of turkey mixture.
  2. Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly and topping is golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

I made these wraps a few weeks ago when I was getting over a cold/throat/lack-of-functioning-tastebuds type of thing. Since I had gone for about a week without being able to really taste anything, once I was feeling better I wanted flavor and lots of it. These lettuce wraps did not disappoint. Apart from being super, super fast and easy to throw together, I really liked how the flavors worked together. They all combined to create an amazing dish, but you could still get little hints of the individual flavors in every bite.

As for the lettuce, I would stick to Bibb or large butter lettuce. In these parts it’s usually sold as ‘living’ lettuce with the roots still attached in a little plastic box. Or iceberg. I know iceberg has no nutritional value apart from practically being water, but I love it. It’s got a great crunch to it. The iceberg also helped tame the spice from the turkey. It ended up being a good balance.

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wrap


Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from Tablespoon.

  • 1 1/4 lb ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons peanut butter (I used chunky)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic and red chile paste (use less if you don’t like spice)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped salted peanuts (can omit if using chunky peanut butter)
  • 12 medium lettuce (Bibb, Butter or Iceberg) leaves, rinsed, patted dry with paper towel
  1. In large nonstick skillet, cook turkey over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with garlic powder and the juice of one lime. Stir frequently, until thoroughly cooked; drain and return to skillet. Stir in green onions, cilantro, lime juice, fish sauce, peanut butter, and chile paste. Cook 3 to 4 minutes longer or until hot.
  2. To serve, spoon 2 heaping tablespoons turkey mixture, 1 tablespoons carrot and 1 teaspoon peanuts (if using) onto each lettuce leaf; wrap around filling. Serve warm.

Turkey & Apricot Bread Salad

Turkey & Apricot Bread Salad

I’m absolutely in love with this salad. Just writing about it makes me want to make it again. Even though it is still the middle of winter in most places, I’ve been on a huge salad kick thanks in part to our wacky weather (it was 80F/27C here over the weekend and now it’s cold and rainy…). This might be the perfect balance of light and salad-y and filling and hearty, which makes for a pretty good winter salad. The flavors in this salad combine perfectly. Every bite had the perfect balance of sweet, savory and tangy. I would preferred to use fresh apricots, and even though we are lucky enough to be getting in the start of our summer fruits here in Southern California, I just couldn’t find any fresh ones up to snuff. Dried worked just as well, but I personally like the fresh version over dried. I actually thought that the turkey was kind of lost in this salad. I would have enjoyed it just as much with out.

In theory this salad should be pretty quick to make. It’s easy enough to make if you are using regular bread and pre-cooked/leftover turkey, but since I like to make things difficult, that’s not the route I went. I made gluten-free focaccia and poached turkey tenders. Neither really took that much time at all, but definitely a little more work than the original recipe, but nothing over the top. You could still make this as a delicious weeknight meal even if you have to take a few extra gluten-free steps. It might be a bit strange to see bread as a major ingredient in a gluten-free salad, but I really liked how the [Chebe|] Focaccia worked. They reminded me of the croutons I used to make from ‘real’ bread many moons ago.

Turkey & Apricot Bread Salad
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens.

  • 2 cups gluten-free focaccia bread, torn into bite-sized pieces (I recommend Chebe)
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken, torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, cut in thin slivers
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Cracked black pepper (optional)

Turkey Parmesan Meatballs

Turkey Parmesan Meatballs

When I was growing up, I always got to pick my birthday dinner. Apparently I was not a very creative* child because I only ever picked one of two things; chicken picatta or chicken parmesan. Both dishes remain two of my very favorites. My birthday is tomorrow, so I am once again faced with making this difficult decision.

I used turkey to made this, only because it was what I had on hand already and ground chicken did not entice me enough to make an extra trip to the store. Even with the turkey, these meatballs tasted exactly like the rich and flavorful parmesan dish that I love so much. I generally find making meatballs sort of gross (I wear gloves), but all things considered making meatballs were still easier than making traditional chicken parm with all the dredging and frying and cooking. I think I might be sticking with meatball in the future.

* – My lack of creativity can be further illustrated by the fact that my teddy bear’s name was ‘Teddy’ and my other favorite stuffed animal, which was a big bear, was named ‘Big Bear’. I was a very literal child.

Turkey Parmesan Meatballs
From Dinner a Love Story.

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Panko)
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 jar storebought pasta sauce (I recommend Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic or Barilla Olive)
  • about 4 ounces fresh mozzarella (I used sliced mozzarella)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F, setting rack to upper third part of oven.
  2. In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix together first 8 ingredients (turkey through egg). Shape into balls (somewhere between a golf ball and a tennis ball) and place a few inches from each other on a foil-lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix two tablespoons of your pasta sauce with olive oil. Brush this mixture on top of each meatball. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove meatballs from oven, spoon some sauce on top of each meatball, and cover each with a slice of cheese. Broil another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden. Heat remaining sauce in a small saucepan. Serve meatballs with sauce.

Turkey & Sage Sausages

Turkey & Sage Sausage

A couple weeks ago I got the weird idea that I wanted to make my own sausage. Just patties, dealing with casings and grinding my own meat is far too gross and far too much work for brunch. I had almost forgotten about my plan, until it came time to make Sunday brunch this past weekend. Since I had a little extra time, I figured why not. Making sausage this way is really just like making mini-burgers, which made these a quick and easy addition to brunch.

I was really happy I ended up using sweet Italian sausage for this. I feel like they would have been super, super bland without the extra Italian flavors. I thought that the mustard and sage really complemented each other. I think that this could be made with plain ground chicken or turkey, but you would definitely need to add a lot more seasoning if using ‘plain’ ground meat.

Turkey & Sage Sausage

Turkey & Sage Sausages
Adapted from Martha Stewart.

  • 1 1/4 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 3 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Using 2 forks, gently combine turkey, shallot, garlic, sage, carrot, mustard, salt, and pepper. Loosely shape mixture into 2-inch patties (about 1/2 inch thick), being careful to not overwork. Place sausage patties on a baking sheet.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook sausage patties until cooked through and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add more oil to skillet between batches as needed.

Butternut Squash & Turkey Salad

Butternut Squash & Turkey Salad

For some reason I always ignore the recipes that come on the packaging of food. I bought some hot Italian turkey sausages last week. I really had no clue what to do with them, but they were on sale, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. As I was attempting to figure out how to even cook the things, I noticed a recipe on the back of the package. Surprisingly it actually sounded pretty delicious. I had nearly everything on hand, so I went for it.

I was very pleasantly surprised about how this turned out. It was great. The mustard dressing really complemented the flavors of the sausage and the roasted vegetables. The original recipe called for sweet potatoes instead of butternut squash. Either one works. I also think that this salad would be a great way to use up leftover veggies and turkey from Thanksgiving, so keep it in mind for later in the month…

Butternut Squash & Turkey Salad
Adapted from Jennie-O

For the Mustard Dressing

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired
For the Salad
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired
  • 1 package Hot Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 4 cups mixed baby lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 cup smoked almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

To Make the Dressing

  1. Put oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and salt and pepper, in a jar or bowl; shake or mix until well combined.
To Make the Salad
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Combine oil, butternut squash, onion and salt and pepper, if desired, on prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Roast, uncovered, in preheated oven, turning once during cooking, for 30 to 40 minutes until tender and golden.
  2. Cook the turkey as specified on the package. Slice links into 1/4 inch rounds. Put butternut squash, onion, turkey, lettuce, and almonds in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss gently to coat.