Turkey Feta Meatballs

Before going away for more than a day or so, there is always the challenge to clean out the refrigerator.  Mister and I are going down to South Carolina to visit his parents [snowbirds, not permanent residents] and to celebrate his upcoming birthday – which means its time to clear out the remnants of meals past and planned.

For dinner last night I googled a few ingredients from the fridge to see what I could muster and turkey meatballs came up and sounded like a nice change of pace. I didn’t have any spinach on hand, and wasn’t about to add anything to the stockpile, so I made up my own recipe.

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • half cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • two whole eggs
  • zest of one whole lemon
  • juice of half lemon
  • about 1/2 to 1 cup of feta cheese crumbles
  • Penzy’s Greek seasoning

Mix. Ball. Bake on a foil lined tray sprayed with non -stick cooking spray.

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While these were baking at about 400 degrees for 20 ish minutes – I put together some pasta salad.  Leftover pasta, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, diced pepper, the other half of that lemon juiced, balsamic vinegar dressing that was nearly empty, the rest of the feta cheese.

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I’ll be honesty – I’m pretty hooked on these meatballs. Like I might’ve eaten a handful more before packing them up. Will definitely be making these for lunches in the future, since it was super easy and I feel like a pretty healthy options [maybe minus the feta and add some spinach].

 

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Weekly Meal Prep

I have no idea if anyone reads this.  Or if the people that do read this even care what I cook every week.  But if you do, this is what I “meal prepped” for this week.

  • 1 lb ground turkey cooked with chili powder, tomatoes, jalapeno
  • 1 lb ground turkey cooked with italian seasoning, onions, garlic, and diced tomatoes
  • half dozen baked egg muffins (liquid egg whites, diced canadian bacon, baby spinach, shredded cheese)
  • used veggie pasta shredder thing to make zucchini noodles

On the menu for this week:

  1. egg muffins for breakfast with either Puffin cereal, some berries, or oatmeal.
  2. Lunch/Dinner options: taco salad (ground turkey, romaine, Trader Joes super 8 chop, guacamole, pico de gallo), or zucchini noodles with turkey tomato sauce.

I’ve got a few bags of frozen veggies or burgers in the freezer to mix into the rotation too, just in case. I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s (frozen) grilled, marinated eggplant and zucchini slices.  They’re an easy meal base, or addition to simple sandwich. I also try to always keep some Trader Joe’s frozen, sliced, fire roasted peppers on hand; they are way more flavorful then plain frozen peppers, and are perfect for omelettes, salads, stir fry etc.

Worthy Weekend

Some weekends are spent with a jam packed itinerary of events; some are lazy.  And some are filled with unplanned adventure, which is usually the best.

After running some quick errands Saturday morning, we were both a little hungry but not starving.  We wanted to grab something at the Honest Weight Food CoOp since we were in that neighborhood, but then just as we were driving there I remembered reading about Chester’s Smokehouse, which is just down the road.

Chester's Smokehouse

Chester’s Smokehouse

We were a bit awestruck at first.  Is that the right word? We sort of stared at everything, unable to formulate a plan at all. Mister and I eventually decided to split a smoked turkey sandwich, with bacon of course, on rye bread.  We also picked up two bags of their own jerkey ($5/bag), a hunk of in house smoked sharp cheddar ($2.50), and a quarter of a pound of bacon (equaled five slices) for Sunday breakfast.

We took the sandwich to Washington Park, and enjoyed a chilly (but dog free) moment of fall sunshine.

Chester's Smokehouse

Chester’s Smokehouse

They do not mess around with wimpy sandwiches.  When we unwrapped this mountainous sandwich, Mister and I were both surprised by how much turkey there was.  This is half of the sandwich, the smaller half I might add, and my tiny hand is stretched to the max trying to hold it all.

While they weren’t stingy with the turkey, it was on the bland side so there wasn’t anything magnificent about it.  It wasn’t bad, but between the turkey and the lettuce, I felt like all the flavor was being sucked out of the rest of the ingredients.  The bacon was crispy, burnt greatness; combined with a little horseradish dressing it was the better part of the sandwich for sure.  If nothing else, I’m intrigued to try out their other offerings.

After this “snack,” we were hungry for an early dinner, and decided to head up to Ala Shanghai.  Since we were there at around early-bird special hour, the place was nearly empty and we were in and out much faster than we anticipated.  Maybe because it was Halloween night and everyone was out doing more interesting things?

Pork Soup Dumplings & Scallion Pancake

Pork Soup Dumplings & Scallion Pancake

Scallion Beef, House Half Duck, Chicken Lo Mein

Scallion Beef, House Half Duck, Chicken Lo Mein

I wasn’t a huge fan of the duck (there was no part that was crispy, and no sauce or seasoning; maybe I just ordered wrong)  The lo mien was pretty standard takeout fare, but the beef was really great.  There were leftovers of course, but that’s usually the best part.

As if we weren’t gluttonous enough that day, we stopped at Bella Napoli on the way home.

Requisite Bella Napoli

Requisite Bella Napoli

Mister got his standard cannoli, we got a piece of peanut butter cheesecake to share, and a black and white (half moon) cookie for Sunday.  How have I never had their cheesecake before? It was so incredibly creamy, I could have easily eaten the whole piece myself.

Sunday morning we shared chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, and the Chester’s bacon.  The bacon was really good, and it cooked much faster than store bought bacon.  Is this a chemical preservative type thing thats missing from their bacon…or is it just a weird thing that happened? [If it matters at all, I normally cook bacon on a tinfoil lined sheet pan in the oven.]

After all of that food and eating, we ventured out to the Indian Ladder Trail at Thacher Park.  This is my favorite time of year to do this trail, its not as crowded, the weather is just cool enough, and the views are amazing.

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After Christmas Soup

After looking through some past posts, I feel like I should rename this blog things from Trader Joes that I cook in my Creuset dutch oven. Seriously, that yellow blessing gets a lot of use. Thankfully she is photogenic.

Tonight I cooked Italian Turkey and Orzo Soup, which I’ve since renamed Christmas soup. This recipe from Cooking Light created a vibrantly red and green soup that was just filling enough.

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Ground turkey, olive oil, garlic, sliced mushrooms, and Penzys Italian seasoning. Cooked for a bit and then joined by chicken broth, water, diced tomatoes, salt, some more random seasonings from the pantry. Boil. Add orzo and spinach.

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Yum. Slippery orzo, lots of protein-rich ground turkey, flavorful broth. I added extra olive oil in the beginning which definitely created a satisfying broth, the only thing Mister and I agreed is that it needed more salt.

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I topped mine with some shredded parmesan, and more salt. Good thing I don’t wear any rings because with the amount of salt I would prefer (and the wine instead of water I’m drinking with dinner) my fingers will probably be little puff nuggets. Oh well….the Christmas soup was pretty worth it. I ate two bowls. A third is packed for lunch tomorrow.

Just Sandwiches

Lately I’ve been on a sandwich kick. I’ve had a turkey sandwich for breakfast most days this week, and a grilled cheese will almost always be my late night snack of choice.

Peanut butter and banana. Turkey and cheese. Egg and tomato. Sandwiches can be fancy or elaborate but those usually taste better when someone else makes them for you.

This morning I went for a cold run. I signed up for the Troy Turkey Trot 5k and have never really run much, especially outside in November. I’m doing it though, any advice appreciated!

Post run I was hangry. I stretched and showered and wanted to eat everything I could think of; breakfast is the best meal after all. So I went for a sandwich.

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Boars head low sodium turkey, a smashed avocado, Munster cheese, a fried egg, and a dash of horseradish mayo. Grilled to crispy levels of hunger satisfying goodness. Proteins, healthy fats, carbohydrates.

I’ve been loving this bread lately:

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It’s not artisan, local, or fancy. But it’s pretty great.

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This sandwich isn’t anything special. It’s probably not even worth writing about. But doesn’t that describe most of our meals?

New Classic

The changing leaves, the crisp mornings. Fall makes me want to cook; the urge hit hard and hasn’t waned in two weeks.

It seemed like a good time to make a batch of chili, to be eaten throughout the week. But I wasn’t really craving the typical tomato base, so I looked around at a few different recipes and figured it out from there.

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I started with lean ground turkey, browning it and then draining the fat. The turkey was set on reserve in a dish while I sautéed diced onion with minced garlic.

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The turkey went back in the pot. With canned white beans, canned pumpkin, and a small can of diced chilis.

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About two cups of chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and a few other spontaneously chosen spices all went into the pot.

Ideally this would be made in a crockpot for convenience I’m sure, but I have the day off and the lid to my crockpot is a little damaged.

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I’m going to let it simmer for a bit longer, but I’ve already tasted a few spoonfuls. It’s great texturally, creamy and filling. But I’m tempted to add some carrots for crunch, or maybe corn for a bit of contrast. The flavor profile is perfection, spicy and sweet without the acidity or burn of tomatoes. It doesn’t have a strong pumpkin flavor, if any at all.

Suggestions or similar recipes?