Monthly Archives: January 2011

BBQ Turkey Meatballs

Yesterday morning I woke to news of my grandfather’s passing. It was a very difficult, emotional day. We had seen him earlier this month and I knew then that it was probably the last time we would see him. But, as ill as he was, he was still the same grandfather I remember. Smiling, laughing, telling his stories, and giving us his signature “Toodley-doo” goodbye wave. 
He was an amazing person. And he made me want to be an amazing person. I’ve been reading comments from others who knew him and it is heartwarming to know how well loved he was. I will miss him tremendously.
BBQ Meatballs

Ingredients

1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup chicken & rib barbecue sauce
Directions

Preheat oven to 400°. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients, except barbecue sauce, in a large bowl. Form into 1″ round meatballs and place on baking sheet. 
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through. Heat barbecue sauce in a small pot on the stove or in a bowl in the microwave. When the meatballs are finished cooking, turn into a serving bowl and pour barbecue sauce over them. Stir to combine. 

Recipe adapted from Momma Hen’s Kitchen.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Almond Cups

I’m feeling a little blue today. My best friend’s year of maternity leave is up and today is her first day back at work. For the past few months, we have talked every morning and we got together at least once a week. When we moved here in 1999, she was the first friend I made and we went through a period where we didn’t really talk. Not because we had fought but because our lives were in completely different places. It’s been wonderful having babies 2 1/2 months apart and watching them grow together.
I made these with the intention of giving her some to bring along with her for her first day back at work. I may have the ulterior motive of having her think about me so fondly that she decides to quit her job to spend her days having coffee with me. Yep…I’m going to miss her and her little man.
Dark Chocolate Cranberry Almond Cups

Ingredients

6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
Directions

Line a mini muffin tin with liners. Mix together almonds and cranberries in a medium sized bowl.
On the top of a double boiler, melt dark chocolate 3/4 of the way. Remove from heat and continue to stir until the chocolate has melted completely. Pour melted chocolate over almonds and cranberries and stir to combine. Scoop into mini muffin cups and refrigerate to set the chocolate. 
Recipe from Fallon’s Cucina.

Cake Box Cookies

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my husband?? I’ve been in a bit of a photography slump…I really want to take great pictures but I only had the lens that came with my camera (18-55mm). I started looking into new lenses and I was torn between a 50mm lens or a 55-250mm zoom lens. The low aperature and price had me sold on the 50mm but I started imagining all of the things I could do with the zoom lens. As my husband walked out the door (to bring boy #2 to a birthday party), I mentioned he was more than welcome to pick up a lens for me.
And he did! My first food picture with the new lens was these cookies and I have to say, I’m kind of in love. With my husband AND the lens. Plus the cookies were good…I should probably mention that since this IS a food blog and all… If you notice that the recipe is nearly identical to Nana’s Freaking Good Cookies, well..that’s because they are. New name, though, since trying to explain why they are called ‘Nana’s Freaking Good Cookies’ is long and sometimes uncomfortable. 
Cake Box Cookies
Makes 3 dozen
Ingredients

1 chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup Rice Krispies
1 egg
Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients. Roll dough into 36 balls and flatten slightly with a fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Vegetarian Chili

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions… I feel like they are just promises to myself that I’m sure to break. Instead, I set goals. Is that the same thing? Maybe it is… but I set attainable goals. This year I was inspired by the photo 365 projects that some of my friends are doing but instead, I am doing a 365 mile project. In 2011 I will walk, run, bike 365 miles (on top of my regular exercise program). 
See? Attainable! 1 mile a day is all I need to do. My husband decided to get in on this as well, pushing me to complete my goal. We have a calender taped onto the treadmill and while I’m on the treadmill I add up my miles. (then I add up his and feel relief that I’m still ahead) 
Bulgur’s texture, once cooked, is almost identical to ground meat. The test, however, was to see if my kids could tell that there was no meat in their chili. My husband and I set out the bowl…with a mischievous smile, we asked if they knew what was missing. None of them noticed! I have hope that we could have one meatless meal a week without a lot of fuss.
Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red belly pepper, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
14 oz can black beans
14 oz can kidney beans
1 cup corn kernels (thawed if using frozen)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Directions

Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions, carrots, and garlic; saute until onions are softened (about 5 minutes). Add red pepper, jalapenos, celery, and chili powder. Cook for another 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, corn, salt, and spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes. Stir in bulgur wheat. Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add balsamic vinegar right before you serve the chili.
Recipe from Door Sixteen.

Chicken Cassoulet ~ January Daring Cooks’ Challenge

I had my January Daring Cooks’ Challenge piece made early and in all of the craziness of Christmas, our trip, back to school,… I completely forgot about the reveal date! 
Last fall when I first signed up as a Daring Baker/Cook, I didn’t expect to be as challenged as I have been. I look forward to each challenge…even the ones that I have determined to be out of my comfort zone. Cassoulet wasn’t necessarily out of my comfort zone but the technique wasn’t something I had done before. The length of cooking time made me hesitate slightly because I would hate to spend a day making something that no one would eat. 
I did switch up the duck for chicken since duck legs aren’t readily available here. I sat, nursing the baby, while everyone else ate…Waiting for some commentary as to how the meal was… But I heard nothing! Nothing is good! Nothing is great!!! They ate it, they loved it, they were full. When I finally dove into my meal I was so pleasantly surprised that I wondered why I had ever been worried! Halfway through the bowl I was stuffed. 
The best lesson from The Daring Kitchen has been that being open to trying new things will open up a world of learning! In 2011 I have every intention of participating in every Daring Challenge and I look forward to it!
I have yet to find where my recipe disappeared to…my inspiration for this dish came from Amateur Gourmet.
Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.