turkey mozzarella meatballs

turkey meatballs served

Previously I posted my recipe for beef meatballs, and since that post they have quickly become one of my husband’s favorite meals, but lately I’ve been making them using ground turkey more often than with beef. Because the ingredients are identical to the beef recipe, I haven’t posted the specific recipe. So today I’m updating the recipe and posting it now.

In the past year and a half I’ve made meatballs about every other week. They are so easy, economical (one pound of ground meat makes enough for over two meals), and delicious.

Another change, other than using turkey, is that I now usually cook the meatballs in the oven instead of on the stove top. Cooking them this way allows me to kind of ignore them for a while, so that I can make the sides or do the dishes or catch up on my shows on DVR.

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Turkey Mozzarella Meatballs

1 egg

1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

garlic powder

salt

pepper

2 cups pasta sauce (any kind you prefer — homemade or from a jar), divided

1 pound ground turkey breast

1/2 – 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

olive oil

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Heat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, stir together the egg, bread crumbs, seasonings, and 1 cup of the pasta sauce. Mix in the ground turkey, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, and the Parmesan.

(*Note: I do not enjoy mixing raw meat with my hands, and have found that stirring with a large serving fork mixes the meat and ingredients well.)

In a deep baking dish, pour enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

Using a large soup spoon, form the meat into balls about the size of golf balls. From the one pound of meat I get about 15 meatballs.

Place the meatballs into the baking dish and cook for 15 minutes.

ready for the oven

ready for the oven

Use a large spoon to gently turn each meatball, then return them to the oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and pour the remaining sauce over the meatballs and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, if desired.

Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce is heated and the cheese (if added) is melted. *Note: In the top photo you may notice the lack of cheese. I chose not to put it on this time. 

Enjoy!

 

Thanksgiving turkey

Last year’s Thanksgiving turkey post … getting ready for tomorrow!

food with pictures

I am not posting pictures of my Thanksgiving turkey from this year, because I don’t find pictures of turkeys all that appetizing. Or maybe it’s only the photos I took don’t look that appetizing. Anyhoo, the turkey today tasted great. It was tender and delicious. But no photo, sorry.

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I am thankful to have been given my mother’s oval roaster. Amazing results every time! This roasting pan is one of my favorite things.

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Remember that bag of onion, celery, garlic and carrots from the other day? That’s what goes into the bottom of the pan when I make my Thanksgiving turkey. Then I add a cup of chicken broth.

The washed and dried bird goes on top, then a generous dusting of Bell’s. That stuff is awesome! Now, sure, you could make your own poultry seasoning using a combination of rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, and…

View original post 249 more words

stuffing

Another Thanksgiving recipe to get us ready for the big day this week. Stuffing … my favorite part of the meal! And easy to make in the slow cooker, saving valuable space in the oven for the turkey and other sides.

food with pictures

I shall start by saying that I am fully aware the name of this should be “dressing” rather than “stuffing” since stuffing is meant to stuff inside the turkey, and dressing is meant to be cooked on the side. I have always called it stuffing and will continue to do so. That is my prerogative. And now to continue with the post. 🙂

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When I was in 7th grade I took Home Ec class. That would be Home Economics to you young people. Or what they now call Teen Living or FACS (Family And Consumer Sciences). In the fall of that 7th grade year we were in the kitchen section, and in the spring we went to the sewing room. I enjoyed both, but especially the times we cooked. No surprise there.

That fall, prior to Thanksgiving, the class was making all the components of a typical Thanksgiving feast…

View original post 694 more words

orange cranberry sauce

Once again, now that Thanksgiving is just days away, my favorite cranberry sauce recipe.

food with pictures

cranberry sauce


I was not a fan of cranberry sauce when I was young. Growing up, on our holiday table we’d usually have the jellied cranberry sauce that came from a can — you know, that popular unappetizing red blob. No thank you. I was happy with all the other foods on the table except for that one. But as the years went on, the can was no more and my mom experimented with cranberry sauce recipes. Unfortunately, I had no intention of trying any of them after experiencing that red blob for so many years.

Then I got married and my husband is a huge cranberry sauce guy. He prefers the whole berry cranberry sauce, and is used to the canned variety. Okay, not as bad as the jellied version, but still not anything I’d eat. So the can of whole berry cranberry sauce was part of our Thanksgiving table for…

View original post 295 more words

Preparing for our Thanksgiving feast

gravy

Do you see that cool swirl from the steam off the gravy? No photoshop tricks here. I didn’t even know this happened until after I was reviewing the photos!

Here are links to the recipes I’ll be using for our Thanksgiving feast this year.

My meal will include:

turkey with gravy (for the gravy, the link will take you to the gravy I made from a roast chicken — same process for turkey gravy)

stuffing To save oven space for the bird, I now make the stuffing in a crock pot.

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vegetables

veggies

sweet potatoes

sweet potatoes

smashed potatoes

mashed potatoes

rolls

cranberry sauce

cranberry sauce

apple pie (I will post the recipe for the pie pictured below very soon. Can’t believe I haven’t posted it yet!)

apple pie

pumpkin pie (I am not a huge pumpkin pie fan, though my husband and oldest son love it, so I use a can of organic pumpkin and follow the typical pumpkin pie recipe — pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves.)

pumpkin pie

chocolate pie (my daughter and youngest son will not eat apple or pumpkin pie … and I don’t mind one bit adding a chocolate pie to the menu!)

chocolate pie

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Here is a link to shortcuts I take to make my Thanksgiving meal easy and less work the day of the feast.

Thanksgiving prep

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To start the day I’ll serve baked French toast. Such a holiday favorite of mine!

baked french toast

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What items are on your Thanksgiving meal menu?

creamy chicken and veggies with cheese biscuit topping

step 9

Remember back in November when I posted the link to Mel’s Kitchen Cafe‘s Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake Pie?  Have you visited her site yet? If so, I’m sure you’re like me and have drooled over so many of her tasty recipes!

The most recent one that caught my eye was called Confetti Chicken with Cheddar Biscuit Topping.  Since that day I read her recipe (less than a week ago) I have not stopped thinking about cheddar biscuits. It was clear I’d have to make those soon, and today proved the perfect opportunity.

Our freezer and refrigerator have been wonky lately. The freezer, even while set at the lowest setting, has become an iceberg. The refrigerator section on the other hand, while at the highest setting, can not keep anything cold. I have had to toss many of the foods that warm temperatures are not so kind to. That also resulted in needing to get a rotisserie chicken from our local grocery store for dinner last night, due to having to purge all the chicken and beef that I had planned to cook, but which had to be tossed for safety reasons. For tonight’s meal, using the leftover rotisserie chicken, I was planning on making creamed chicken and serving it over biscuits. But then I remembered Mel’s recipe! Yes! I was excited to make the creamed chicken as I usually do, but add extra veggies, as per her recipe, and top it all with her cheddar biscuit topping!!! It was the highlight of my day, let me tell you.

So that’s what I did tonight. I adapted her recipe — ever so slightly — to accommodate the fresh veggies I had on hand (onions, celery, carrots, green pepper), my solid as a rock frozen peas, and the technique I usually use to make the creamed sauce (I remove the veggies from the pan before making the cream sauce, and my quantities are a bit different).  For her recipe of the cheddar biscuits, I followed it as is, but used the cheese that luckily was stored in my spare but temperamental basement refrigerator — a mix of cheddar and jack along with a few other white cheeses. (Since this recipe was first posted, I now make this with all cheddar and it is simply divine! Really, really good!).  Her recipe called for a bit more sauce than mine, and my husband gently commented that more sauce would have made this dish even better (though he had no other complaints while eating two large servings). Update: I’ve since changed the quantity of the chicken broth from 1 cup to 2 cups, and noted it as such below in the recipe. Now my husband is very, very happy.

Thanks Mel!

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Creamy Chicken and Veggies with Cheese Biscuit Topping

Step #1: Heat oven to 350F. In a large skillet, heat a small drizzle of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. Add chopped onion, celery, green pepper, and carrots (and/or other fresh veggies you have available).  Cook until tender, stirring often; about 5 minutes. Add frozen peas if desired (and/or any other frozen veggies you like). Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to sit for about 3 minutes.

step 1

Step #2: Chop cooked chicken and place into a deep casserole dish.

step 2

Step #3: Add cooked veggies to the cooked chicken in the casserole dish.

step 3

Step #4: In the pan, over low heat, melt 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup) and add to that 2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour. Whisk until combined into a smooth paste. Add 2 cups chicken broth and continue whisking. Once combined, add 1 cup milk. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens. Add salt and pepper, and garlic powder (if desired). 

step 4

Step #5: Pour this cream sauce over the chicken and veggies. Gently stir.

step 5

Step #6: Make the cheese biscuit topping.

In a large bowl, combine:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl stir together:

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk

Whisk the egg mixture into the dry ingredients (or stir with a fork).

Then stir in:

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

 

step 6

Step #7: Pour this mixture over the chicken and veggies in the casserole dish.

step 7

Step #8: Bake for 30-35 minutes, until topping is golden brown and sauce is bubbly.

step 8

Step #9: Enjoy!

creamy chicken and veggies

stuffing

I shall start by saying that I am fully aware the name of this should be “dressing” rather than “stuffing” since stuffing is meant to stuff inside the turkey, and dressing is meant to be cooked on the side. I have always called it stuffing and will continue to do so. That is my prerogative. And now to continue with the post. 🙂

~~~

When I was in 7th grade I took Home Ec class. That would be Home Economics to you young people. Or what they now call Teen Living or FACS (Family And Consumer Sciences). In the fall of that 7th grade year we were in the kitchen section, and in the spring we went to the sewing room. I enjoyed both, but especially the times we cooked. No surprise there.

That fall, prior to Thanksgiving, the class was making all the components of a typical Thanksgiving feast, and the teacher allowed us to bring in family recipes if we wished to. I was so proud of my grandmother’s stuffing and was excited to show it to the teacher, in hopes that she’d pick it for the recipe the class used. Well, when I wrote it out to give to her, I called it stuffing when it was actually dressing. Or vice versa. I can’t remember the exact details. But what happened next was one of the worst moments of my 7th grade year: The teacher converted the recipe to be the opposite of what it actually was. For example, there is more liquid in dressing than in stuffing, since when stuffing is in the bird the natural juices of the turkey add that extra necessary liquid, but when cooking it on its own, you need to have more liquid to start with. So I can’t quite remember if she added liquid or reduced the liquid in my grandmother’s recipe, but she did one of the two. I was quite a shy child and especially nervous around adults, so the mistake was never corrected. Consequently, when the class made our Thanksgiving feast, the stuffing was not what it should have been. It was not even close to my grandmother’s amazing stuffing.

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The following recipe is not my grandmother’s recipe. I’m sad to say I don’t have a copy of her original. What I have done is created a stuffing that I enjoy. And by “enjoy” I mean “love so much I could eat it and only it for meal after meal, especially on Thanksgiving day and the next morning for breakfast … and for snack”.

I usually make this without sausage, but while doing my Thanksgiving shopping this year, my local store had pork sage sausage sitting right there at eye level, calling my name. I like their sausage, since it has no fillers or strange ingredients.

So I decided to make two batches — one with sausage and one without. Due to limited space in the oven, I did the sausage-free stuffing in the crockpot while cooking the one with stuffing in the oven. This is the second time I’ve used my crockpot for stuffing, and it turned out wonderful! It’s also fast and stays warm without drying out. And it frees up much needed oven space.

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Stuffing

In a skillet melt:

  • half a stick of butter

Over medium/low heat, slowly cook in the butter:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped onion
  • 4 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • a few cloves of garlic, finely chopped (optional)

Add:

  • a few teaspoons of Bell’s seasoning or a few teaspoons sage (I’m usually very generous with this seasoning and add about 4 teaspoons)

Note: The day before Thanksgiving I prepped these ingredients by having them all chopped and put into a baggie with the butter and seasoning.

 

Stirring often, cook until the onions and celery are very tender.

 

 

In a greased casserole dish (or greased crockpot … I use butter to grease these), put in:

  • half a bag of cornbread cubes
  • half a bag of herb seasoned bread cubes
  • the cooked onion and celery
  • cooked chopped pork sage sausage, if desired

 

Stir the ingredients.

 

Now pour into the casserole dish (or crockpot):

 

Using a spatula or the back of a large serving spoon, press the mixture, making sure all of the bread gets saturated with the chicken broth. If you can see some of the liquid on the edges when pressing down on the bread and vegetables, you’re good. If not, add more liquid (broth or water).

 

 

In a 325F or 350F oven, cook covered for about 30 minutes, then remove the cover and continue to cook for about 15 minutes more (exact cooking time will depend on the size of your pan, and your oven).

Or…

In the crockpot, cook on low a few hours, or on high for a shorter time. (Note: I started mine on high for one hour, then changed it to the warm setting and kept it there all afternoon … tasting it often.)