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Friday, June 29, 2012

Turkey and Italian Sausage Meatballs

♫ When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie that's Amore ♫
Sorry...... I just felt so Italian after making and serving these meatballs that I had to break out in song. Ok, Ok, I will stop singing. I promise!
These meatballs were great served with spaghetti sauce and a piping hot plate of pasta. I kept commenting while I was eating them, that they were ssssoooo  good and even after I was about to self combust from enjoying way too many, I was still commenting on how great they tasted.
So go make these and see for yourself how delicious they are. Then say to yourself "thats uh one uh wonderful meata balla"!!!
*Serve with your favorite spaghetti sauce. This is a home made sauce I have been making for years and if I get some extra time, I will sit back down here and type out the recipe.

**Recipe adapted from:  Mario Batali's Meatballs

2 Cup panko bread crumbs
1 lb ground turkey
4 oz prosciutto, diced
16 oz sweet Italian sausage (casings removed)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
1/8 cup Fresh grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
2 dashes of nutmeg
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt/Pepper to taste
2 cups tomato sauce
1 1/2 -2 cups milk

Soak the bread crumbs in water to cover for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water.In a large bowl, combine the turkey, prosciutto, sausage, bread crumbs, eggs, milk, Romano Cheese, Parmigian Cheese, Italian parsley, nutmeg, and olive oil and mix very gently with your hands. Season with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. Place the meatballs in your favorite spaghetti sauce and simmer them over a low-med fire for 30 minutes or until done.


As I'm typing this, I am thinking "Why are you even putting this recipe on this blog Joni, everyone had their own chili recipe." I had mine own too, from my mom that I had made for years. Too many years too mention as a matter of fact. So when I stumbled upon a chili recipe on the Internet that sounded good, I thought I'd give it a try. I doctored it up a little to suit my tastes, but it was really good. I actually think this will be my new "go to" chili recipe from now on. I was going to say that I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks, but then I would be referring to myself as old and as a dog. So with that being said "woof woof" ...until next time! ;)
*Sorry the pics are still horrible. My camera is still not cooperating with me!

2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained 
1 large onion, chopped 
3 large bell peppers, chopped 
2 stalks of celery, chopped 
3 large garlic cloves, chopped 
1 (15 oz) can Ranch Style Beans, don't drain
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans,don't drain 
1 (10 oz) can Rotel Tomatoes 
1 (15 oz) can stewed tomatoes
30 oz tomato sauce
1 pks Chili seasoning (use your favorite brand)
1 tsp salt
2 jalapenos, chopped (chop with the seeds if you want extra heat. If not, remove the seeds first)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder

Combine all the ingredients together in a large pot. Turn heat on high. After the chili begins to boil a little bit, turn down the fire to low. Simmer for 4 hours. Serve.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Zucchini and Tomato Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce

Last night I made a great dinner. I took a bunch of pictures, only to figure out that something is wrong with my camera and all the pictures were dark and blurry. None of them even showed how wonderful the meal looked. Unfortunately I didn't figure all this out until after the food was gone. Oops! Since I had some leftover cooked linguini from last night's meal, I decided that for lunch today I would make another meal like last night's, only I didn't have all the right ingredients. So I had to get creative. I'm glad I did because it actually worked well. The link to the original recipe  can be found here: Linguini with Garlic and Mushrooms.

8 oz linguini
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces
2 leeks, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
15-20 cherry tomatoes
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup half and half (you can use regular cream also)
Salt/Pepper to taste

1 tsp cornstarch
Fresh oregano, chopped
Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Chop all the vegetables. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguini and cook for 10 minutes. While the linguini is cooking, heat the tsp of olive oil in a large skillet. When the olive oil is hot, add the zucchini and leeks. Cook until tender, but still firm. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Cook for another couple of minutes. Add the lemon juice and the cream. Stir well. Add salt and pepper and stir again. Heat through. In a small bowl, put the cornstarch along with a little bit of juice from the zucchini skillet and stir together. Add this cornstarch mixture to the skillet to thicken the lemon/cream mixture. Serve the zucchini and sauce mixture over the hot linguini. Top with fresh oregano and Parmesan cheese.

Lemon Vegetable Salad

After speaking  with my sister on the phone yesterday, she had mentioned that she had friends from South Africa that make a salad called "Sambal". I decided that I just had to have some of it because it sounded so light and refreshing, not to mention delicious! I have always known Sambal to be a chili type sauce, so I decided to change the name to a lemon vegetable salad just in case the title was lost in interpretation or something. There is no recipe, as it just required blending a bunch of vegetables together and tossing with lemon, salt and pepper. So next time you want to have a side salad and you want it to be lighter and hardly any calories  at all, try this one. Super healthy and amazingly tasty!
*Next time I make it I will try adding avocado and some crushed red pepper. 
Fresh Tomatoes
Red Onion
Fresh jalapenos
Fresh garlic
Bell pepper
Lemon Juice
Salt/Pepper to taste

Chop all vegetables into bite size pieces. Toss together with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lemon Chicken with a Kick

I know, I know, another post with spicy ingredients. It's a problem of mine. I admit it. The first step in getting help, is admitting you have a problem, so does that mean I should go to "spicy eaters anonymous?" I think NOT! If any of you want to make this and don't like spicy food, I'm sure it would be just as good if you cut back on the amount of jalapeno, or just don't use it at all. Using lemons from my sister in laws house and jalapenos from my garden ( I wish my garlic was ready in my garden, but it's not) sure made this recipe inexpensive and home grown!

                                          *Right before putting the chicken in the oven
                                          *It might not be as pretty after it's cooked, but it sure was tasty!
*This recipe is for 7 chicken breasts

Zest of 4 large lemons
Juice of 4 large lemons
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 jalapenos, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
7 chicken breasts

Heat oven to 375°.
Make the marinade in a shallow dish by combining all of the ingredients except the chicken. Stir together to combine everything. Add the chicken breasts and marinate for a few hours. Bake chicken in 375° oven until cooked through. This time will vary depending on the size of your chicken breasts. I cooked these for 35-40 min and they were rather large chicken breasts. 

Recipe adapted from:

Spicy Ceviche

I'm sensing a theme here. My last couple of posts have begun with the word "spicy". I guess that's what happens when all your chili peppers ripen at once in your garden. That, plus the fact that I can't get food spicy enough anymore for me. I think I must have burned a hole in my stomach that the spice goes through, because I almost don't taste it anymore. I watch people at work actually break into a sweat when they barely dip their chip into the salsa and I almost want to burst out laughing. Me? Give me the spiciest version of food and I probably won't think it's spicy. So for those of you that wouldn't want your food so spicy, just be sure to take the seeds out of the jalapenos as you make this ceviche. Try it just might like it!

3 Tilapia Fillets, chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup tomatoes - diced
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, choppped
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon Franks Red Hot sauce or Tabasco sauce

In a bowl, mix together the fish and lemon juice. Place the bowl into the refrigerator for 4 hours. (No less than this...the lemon needs this long to absorb into the fish and change the texture)

After it has been in the refrigerator for 4 hours, drain off the excess lemon juice. Add the tomatoes, jalapenos, bell pepper, onion, garlic, garlic salt, cilantro and red hot sauce. Stir well. Keep in the refrigerator until serving time. Serve with tortilla chips or over shredded cabbage.

Spicy Roasted Vegetables

There are no words to explain how happy I am to be off of work for the summer. I am able to spend much more time in my garden, reading and cooking! Today I found out that our city offers a rebate program if you buy a fruit or shade tree. So off to the nursery I went. I wish I could confess that all I came home with was a fruit tree, but of course I picked up some other things while I was there. Me in a garden nursery is almost as bad as my hubby in a Lowes or Home Depot. So after we planted the new peach tree, I picked some zucchini and some jalapenos out of the garden and went inside to make some dinner. This dinner was healthy, yummy and satisfying.
 *There is  no definite amounts in this recipe because it depends how many vegetables you are making. Just use all seasonings to taste. Top with as much Parmesan as you would like

Carrots, thinly sliced or shredded  (I used shredded)
Zucchini, thinly sliced
Onion, thinly sliced
Italian Seasoning
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Salt to taste
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375°.
Place thinly sliced vegetables on greased cookie sheet. Shake all seasonings onto the top of the veges. Top with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese. Bake at 375 for approximately 20-30 min, or until the veges are tender. This time will depend on how thin you slice your veges.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Paw Pops

For those of you that know me, you know that I despise shopping! So when I needed to buy a specific something, I called my friend Tami and she knew just where to find it. We found it this morning and it worked perfectly for what I needed it for. So when she told me she needed help making some paw pops, how could I refuse? They were fun to make and it's always great to spend the day with a friend. Making these today, sure made me wish that I had dogs again. Unfortunately we lost both our pets last year. So instead of getting another dog, I planted a garden instead. I'm sure having fun with that too. I guess when I need a "dog fix" I can always make these paw pops ;)
 This requires a dog paw mold and various kinds of melted chocolates. We used white chocolate, milk chocolate and peanut butter melts!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Grilled Lime Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette Dressing

It's not very often that I make the same food twice. Of course I have my lazy days, when I don't feel like being creative or following a recipe. It's on those days that I make something I have made before, so there won't be much thinking involved. Today was one of those days. Now that I'm off for summer, it's super easy to get lazy and not try anything new. I will try not to let that happen too often. So this is a re-post for those of you that have been following my blog since it's beginning days. This salad is easy to make and sounded so light and refreshing for a hot afternoon. For any new readers, I hope you enjoy this one.....for my faithful followers, this is a good one to try again!

For the chicken: 

1 lime, juiced 
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce 
2 tsp honey 
1/4 tsp cumin 
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

1/2 head romaine lettuce lettuce 
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped 
1 cup red cabbage, chopped 
1/2 cup carrots, shredded 
1/4 cup canned or fresh corn 
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced 
1/4 of a red onion, sliced

In a medium bowl, add all the "for the chicken" ingredients except the chicken. Stir or whisk together. Cut the chicken into strips. Place the chicken in the marinade for 30 minutes to an hour. After chicken has marinated, grill the chicken until cooked through. (Make sure you throw away any marinade you didn't use. You do NOT want food me on this one) Put the grilled chicken on a plate and let it rest while you make the salad.

For the salad:
Chop the lettuce, spinach, cabbage and place on a large plate. Top with the carrots, corn, bell pepper and red onion. Lay the grilled chicken on the top and serve with lime vinaigrette dressing. (Recipe below)

For the Dressing:
3 fresh limes, juiced
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 large basil leaves
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1 c. olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

In a blender, combine all dressing ingredients and blend until smooth.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rigatoni with Parmesan and Broccoli

Today was the type of day where I wasn't on top of my game mentally. So when I found this recipe, I had nothing in me to even think about adding to it or taking away from it like I usually do with recipes. I'm actually glad now that I didn't change it at all as it turned out really great. After a wonderful afternoon hanging out with a sweet friend, I also didn't have a lot of time to cook for dinner. So this recipe was perfect because it was very quick and super easy to throw together. Will I make this one again? Definitely yes, although the hubby has requested to put grilled chicken in it next time. Sounds like a great suggestion to me!

Recipe Source:
*There was much more broccoli and cheese in our dinner. My camera went nuts and only took blurry pictures, so I had to go back and take pictures of our leftovers, after we had eaten most of the goodies out of it! 

1 pound broccoli florets
1 pound rigatoni
5 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄3 cup dried Italian breadcrumbs
5 cloves garlic,  thinly sliced
1⁄4- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1⁄2 cup grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese
Salt to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.Add the broccoli and cook for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Set aside.

Bring the water back to a boil and add the pasta.While the pasta cooks, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over low heat. Add the bread crumbs, stirring, until the crumbs are golden brown. Remove the breadcrumbs to a small bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining olive oil, garlic, and pepper flakes.Cook for aout 1 minute, then stir in the broccoli. Stir the broccoli to coat it with the oil and taste for seasoning.  Keep warm while pasta is cooking, but don't burn the broccoli.

Drain the pasta and add it to the broccoli mixture. Cook over high heat for 1 minute. Stir in the bread crumbs and cheese. Serve immediately.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Zucchini, Tomatoes and Mozzarella

After arriving home from vacation yesterday afternoon, I was surprised that my sweet little neighbor that was watering my garden for me, had left all the ripe vegetables on the vines. I had told her to take anything she wanted that was ripe while we were gone, but I guess she decided not to. So needless to say, I had zucchini and tomato overload! There was a zucchini the size of Texas...yes it was that big...and tons of ripe cherry tomatoes. So after eating a lot of tomatoes, I decided to save some of them to throw together with some zucchini for dinner. I didn't cook the zucchini that was larger than most adults, but trust me, I will soon and you just wait until you see the picture of this bad boy! But I did cook up a couple smaller zucchini's and made this really tasty side dish. The hubby and I really liked it.
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large zucchini, sliced
1 cup sliced onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
Italian Seasoning, to taste
Salt/Pepper, to taste
Crushed red Pepper, to taste

A handful of Cherry Tomatoes
Grated mozzarella cheese (you can use as much or as little as you prefer)
Grated (Fresh) Parmesan cheese (you can use as much or as little as you prefer)

In a skillet, heat olive oil. Add the zucchini, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  Saute until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in the tomatoes and the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cook just until the cheese is melted.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Swirled Lime Meringue Cookies

If you could have heard the conversation that transpired over these cookies, you would have laughed. I had these cookies sitting out after I had baked them. My hubby comes in and actually says to me "Is that pepper on those cookies"? My answer "oh my goodness no, are you serious...pepper on cookies?" He proceeds to say "Well you do put some crazy things together and they generally come out tasting great." So I told him that it was green colored sugar on the cookies and we both had a good laugh.

 I found a recipe for swirled meringue cookies on but after looking in my pantry and realizing that I ran out of vanilla a few days ago, I had to come up with something different. So I substituted lime for the vanilla and lime zest for the orange zest in the original recipe. They actually turned out great. The texture may not have been perfectly "meringuey" (Is that a word?...well it is now) but the refreshing lime taste made these wonderful. I suppose because of the added lime juice, they are a little more "chewy" then traditional meringue, but I would definitely make these again.

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
Lime juice (half of one small lime)
Large pinch of salt
Large pinch of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
Green, gel-paste food coloring

Preheat oven to 200°  Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Add the lime juice. Set the  bowl over a pot of simmering water, and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm, about 3 minutes. Add salt and cream of tartar.Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and meringue is mostly cooled, about 8 minutes. Add in the lime zest and mix together. Using a small paintbrush, paint 3 vertical stripes of green food coloring inside a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip.  Using a spoon, fill the bag with meringue, and pipe circular shapes 2 inches apart on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.  As you finish piping the circle, swirl the tip off in a circular motion. Bake meringues until crisp on the outside but still soft inside, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool completely.