Tex-Mex Meatballs

Tex Mex Meatballs1

Last night I fell asleep while putting this post together and watching a bizarre movie on Netflix. I first dozed off at around two a.m., then woke up at five to my bedroom lights still being on and the bubble screen saver on my computer screen in my lap looking back at me. I meant to put it away, turn out the lights, then actually get underneath the covers and catch some REAL zzzs.

But then I blinked, and suddenly it was six thirty a.m.. By then I just figured, never mind. I’d settle for the “Half-sleep” and just wake up early, which is why I probably feel groggy right now. But oh well.

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I remember some time back in the December before last when I went to the surplus store and bought a huge bag of frozen meatballs, grape jelly, ketchup and chili sauce to throw in my slow cooker.

(What? Why are you looking at me like that? Yes. Sometimes, even EYE buy/cook with frozen food. Not often. But meatballs are the exception)

I got everything together,lined the slow cooker, poured the meatballs in with the grape jelly. Next was the chili sauce which typically comes in a glass bottle. For some reason, I had some trouble pouring it out. No matter how many times I shook it and banged on the bottom with my hand, that chili sauce just would not come out.

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So I got a silver mixing spoon to bang on the bottom of it, thinking maybe the impact would succeed in loosening the sauce in the bottle. Well, turns out I thought wrong. I banged on the bottom of the bottle with the flat end of the wide spoon…

And the bottle shattered. I’m talking large and tiny shards of glass that almost completely all landed into the slow cooker on top of the meatballs.

Guys. I was do disappointed I could’ve cried.

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I had to throw out EVERYTHING. The entire jumbo 5 lb. bag of meatballs.

You would have to know me, to know how being forced to do something like that would absolutely devastate/piss me ALL the way off. But I shook it off and binned the glassy food….

After which I promptly went back out to Gordon’s to buy another 5 lb bag of meatballs. Because I had planned on having meatballs for dinner and darn it if I wasn’t going to have meatballs for dinner.

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This time around, there was fortunately no broken glass and also no do overs. It’s a very simple, quick dish that can easily be made for a weeknight dinner. I actually prefer using ground turkey for my meatballs, so that’s what I did; if you prefer ground beef then by all means, have it. The red sauce I thought needed some further dimension, so I went ahead and added red chile sauce to the red enchilada sauce. It gave the dish that ‘tanginess’ that I love to have in my sauce whenever I’m eating meatballs. The flavor of the crushed corn chips provide a pleasant savory complement to the sweet tangy sauce. I like these, guys. I have a feeling you would too. So give ’em a try.

I’ll be taking my dish to this week’s Fiesta Friday #128 as well. Cheers!

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Tex Mex Meatballs

Recipe Adapted from Southern Living

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Ingredients

  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed yellow tortilla corn chips
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 2 (10-oz.) cans red chile enchilada sauce
  • 1 (12-oz.) bottle of red chile sauce
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 -2 1/2 Tbsp. light sugar, divided

Directions

Preheat broiler with oven rack 5 inches from heat. Broil poblano pepper on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet 6 to 8 minutes or until blistered, turning occasionally. Place poblano in a zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal and let stand 10 minutes to loosen skin. Peel poblano; remove and discard stem and seeds. Pulse poblano, onion, garlic, and cilantro in a food processor until finely chopped.

Stir together corn chips and milk in a large bowl; let stand about 5 minutes or until chips soften. Stir in eggs, salt, pepper, and poblano mixture. Fold in ground turkey. Shape into meatballs (about 2 tablespoonfuls each). Place 1 1/2 inches apart on a lightly greased (with cooking spray) rack in an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan.

Preheat oven to 400°. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until browned. Transfer meatballs to a large Dutch oven; add enchilada sauce, chile sauce chicken broth, and 1 Tbsp. light sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened, turning meatballs halfway through.

Pot Roast-Style Meatballs

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Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving Everyone!

Did you all have a great holiday with their families? Cook a lot? Eat too much? Watch lots of TV?

Was anyone brave enough to venture out this morning for Black Friday- I hope not. Honestly I just don’t think it’s worth the effort anymore. The Internet and online shopping has (I think) done a good job of making it so that there doesn’t necessarily have to be such a rush or panic for good deals. Granted, there are some things that you have to go and stand in line to get, but c’mon, honestly: are they REALLY worth it?

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Alright, alright. I confess: I have participated in Black Friday a handful of times before. But it was mostly during the 90’s, when online shopping was just getting started and stores were only making their deals available in-house. It does give you a weird kind of adrenaline rush, but not a particularly enjoyable one. Me, I’m a worrier: so naturally, the build up to Black Friday for someone like me would be the fear that I’m getting up early in the morning, risking my safety and raising my stress level for something I’m not even 100% guaranteed to get. What if I can’t run fast enough when they open the doors? What if I’m next to some psycho crazy woman who elbows me in the face as we’re reaching for the same thing? What if someone literally tries to take it out of my cart or hands even if I do get it?

Not that any of that has actually happened to me before (in fact, on the few occasions I did go out for Black Friday, I got what I wanted), but I say all of that just to emphasize that my personality is just not suited for all that craziness. I don’t like conflict, chaos or mean people…and that’s basically what Black Friday is ALL about. So I just stay out of it now.

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So, this is Pot Roast weather. You have to make pot roast during the winter. It’s pure comfort food that sticks to your ribs and just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Problem  is, depending on the size of the meat, it can be a little time consuming. I encountered this problem a little while ago when I wanted some pot roast, but #1, didn’t have enough time to make it, and #2, didn’t really want to pay full price on a piece of good beef that wasn’t on sale at the grocery store. What was on sale though, was the ground turkey, which gave me the idea of trying to replicate the flavors typically found in pot roast, in a meatball. It worked out very well with my Pizza Meatballs, so I didn’t see why it would be so bad to try it out here.

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This may not be true pot roast, but I am still really happy with how it turned out. The flavors still REALLY do come out in the meatballs, and because they’re ground turkey, you can feel a little bit better about having them versus red meat (if you care about watching your red meat intake anyway). If you read the recipe, you will see that I did cut some corners and used one of those Liptons packets to make my gravy. If you’re a purist who believes in only flour-roux based gravy, then that’s fine. Make it that way. I was just in a hurry and needed some gravy for my pot roast meatballs, and this does the job in a pinch. All in all, this is dish turned out really good. It’s not pot roast, but it definitely still has that comforting, stick to your ribs quality that’s really good for this time of year.

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I was very glad that Angie@TheNoviceGardener asked me back to co-host this weeks Fiesta Friday #44 with my good friend Prudy@ButterBasilandBreadcrumbs. It’s a real treat, and I hope all of you can join us, as we always have a lot of fun. If you’re interested in swinging by to contribute, or even just to see what the rest of us are bringing to the party this week, then just click the icon link below. Hope to see you there!

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Pot Roast-Style Meatballs

Recipe by Jess

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Ingredients

For Meatballs

  • 3 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 lb. Turkey sausage
  • 1 packet (.87 oz) of onion (or brown) gravy mix (Like Liptons)
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. ground thyme
  • A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs (and 1/2 cup more, if needed)
  • 1 egg, beaten

For Gravy

  • 1 packet of Brown gravy mix (Like Liptons)
  • 1-2 tbsp. flour

 Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place a wire rack over a half sheet pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside

2. Combine all ingredients for meatballs together in a large bowl. If mixture feels too wet to shape, then add remaining half cup of breadcrumbs.

3. Shape meat into golf-ball sized meatballs and place onto wire rack. Bake in oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until meatballs reach an inner temperature of 165° F.

4. Follow package instructions for gravy, adding additional flour to thicken, if desired. Drizzle on top of the meatballs and serve with white rice or egg noodles.

Spiced Turkey Breast

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The president came to town two days ago, guys.

My town, that is. If any of you out there follow news from The White House, then you may have read or seen that President Barack Obama was in East Lansing, MI on Friday afternoon for a few hours to sign a new agricultural bill at Michigan State University (which also happens to be my alma mater). It’s not everyday that the President comes to town- especially this lame town- so, it created somewhat of a stir in the media in the days leading up to his visit. I’ve been a fan/admirer/supporter/whatever you wanna call it of Barack Obama since before he was even elected into office, so I was happy that he was stopping by my hometown and my school…partly.

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The actual signing and remarks that he gave were closed to the general public (meaning you either had to be a government official, related to one, or somebody with a lot of money & connections- of which I am neither), so I couldn’t be there in person to see him and was relegated to watching the whole she-bang at home on television. It all felt kinda bittersweet.

See, this isn’t the first time that Barack Obama’s been to East Lansing. He also came to Michigan State University all the way back in 2008 when he was still campaigning in his first bid for the presidency. I was just a sophomore back then, so I still lived on campus at the time. It was a Thursday that he came back then. I think that presidential elections usually bring about a general kind of high charged atmosphere, particularly in the fall when it gets close to Election Day.  But that first time that then-Senator Obama came to MSU…the atmosphere was positively electric on campus. Special police forces were called in for security and crowd control. Roads were blocked off. It was pretty much a given to most students on campus that if you didn’t have a test or quiz (or weren’t exactly…fans of the presidential candidate) then you were going to skip class to try and get a spot on the field where the rally was being set up. Heck, I even knew people that planned on voting Republican that year that were still planning on going to hear Barack Obama speak, if nothing else for the historical implications of the event. It was one of those things where “everyone” was going to go and be apart of.

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October 2nd, 2008-The day we made Obama an Honorary “Spartan for Life”

Which was why it sucked so badly that yours truly was not at the rally with everyone else seeing the man who would become the first African American man elected President of the United States speak, but instead at her job in the dorm cafeteria. Yours truly was a broke college student that couldn’t afford to take off work from either one of her three jobs at the time. So she missed her chance to see the future-President when he came to town for the first time, just like I was denied my chance to see him two days ago when he came again for the second time.

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February 7th, 2014- I’m not a member of, or family member of a member of Congress. I’m also not rich or ‘well connected’, so this is the day that I’m yet again denied the chance to see President Obama speak in person. Just saying.

It’s all good though, guys. I’m not bitter about it. Good things come in threes, so the way I figure it: the President will somehow, for some reason come back to Lansing for a third time within the next couple of years and the stars will somehow align so that I’ll be able to go and see him in person without any hindrances or obstacles- right? Of course right.

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I kinda liken this recipe to  this story in that they both feel like things that are definitely right place, but wrong time kind of things. For a long time now, I’ve had a crazy craving to have turkey and gravy with stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce. My American friends will know that these are typically foods that aren’t eaten at this type of year, but instead around November for Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas.  But yeeeeeah: my tastebuds weren’t gonna wait that long to kill that craving again, so I just finally decided to roast a bird and throw the other stuff together anyway, and to heck with holiday traditions. To make things easier on myself, I did decide to just cook a turkey breast (which is my favorite part of poultry anyway). I went with the same recipe for homemade cranberry sauce that I used for Thanksgiving, and also found a very quick and easy recipe for stuffing muffins using only Stovetop mix (I’ll post it later this week) that took me literally less then five minutes to put together. It all hit the spot…then made bomb.com leftovers when I smashed them all together between two pieces of toast.

Sometimes it’s about right place, wrong time- then sometimes it’s about right place and making your own time.

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Spiced Turkey Breast

Recipe Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 (4 1/2 to 5-pound) turkey breast, on the bone, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 10 cipollini onions
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°

2. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, garlic, cumin, oregano, allspice, chili powder, brown sugar and oil.

3. Place the turkey breast in a nine by thirteen-inch roasting pan. Spread the softened butter over the top and side of the turkey, then spread the mustard mixture over the top and sides of the turkey to form a crust.

4. Add the onions, carrots, and chicken stock to the pan. Roast for 45 minutes.

5. Cover the pan loosely with foil and continue to bake for another 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 175 degrees F. Allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes before serving.

6. Remove the vegetables and arrange on a serving platter. Remove the turkey and place on a cutting board.

7. Pour about 1/2 cup of the pan juices into a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the remaining pan juices. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Season the pan juices with salt and pepper and pour into a serving pitcher.

To serve, slice the turkey into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange the turkey slices on the serving platter with the roasted vegetables and serve with the pan juices.

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