Saturday, September 25, 2021

Asian Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps

Meatballs coated in a Thai sweet chili sauce are mixed with bell peppers, and snow peas. Fold this in to crisp lettuce leaves for a refreshing meal.  

Asian Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps

When you need a quick yet filling meal I turn to Asian food.  I love making stir fry and fried rice dishes because they are pulled together so quickly.  This variation on a lettuce wrap is just as quick and easy but has a wonderful spin by using meatballs as the protein.  I used beef but turkey or chicken or pork can be substituted with perfect results.  

Make these for an easy dinner or lunch.  Kids love the fork-free meal and adults will love the complexity of flavor involved.  Enjoy!

What Ingredients do I need?

  • lettuce
  • Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • tamari
  • panko
  • egg
  • canola oil
  • sirloin
  • green onions
  • snow peas
  • red bell pepper
  • garlic cloves
  • ginger

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use ground turkey, chicken or even pork for the meatballs
  • Add mushrooms or shredded carrots to the vegetables
  • Add roasted peanuts or cashews on top

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Tamari is a Japanese soy sauce that is wheat free so is actually Gluten free.  Use soy sauce if Tamari is not available.
  • Prep all your vegetables first then work on the meatballs for quicker cooking.
  • The meatballs are broiled instead of baked.  This allows a shorter cook time.

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Asian Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps

makes 6 lettuce wraps

1 head green leaf lettuce
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
1 Tablespoon tamari
1/4 cup panko
1 egg
canola oil
1/2 - 3/4 lb ground sirloin
2 -3 green onions
1/2 cup chopped snow peas, thinly lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise in thin strips
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic clove
1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
kosher salt & pepper

Preheat broiler with a rack in the upper third. Cut peppers in half crosswise. Trim the scallions, then thinly slice.

Mix together chopped garlic and ginger.  Transfer ¾ of the ginger-garlic mixture to a medium bowl. Add beef, panko, egg, ¼ cup of the sliced scallions, and ¼ teaspoon salt to the bowl, stirring to combine. Form into 12 equal meatballs; transfer to a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet.

Broil meatballs on upper oven rack until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes (watch closely).

Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, stir to combine the tamari, Thai sweet chili sauce, and 2 tablespoons water.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add peppers and cook, stirring, until tender and lightly browned in spots, 4–5 minutes. Add snow peas, remaining ginger-garlic mixture, and half of the remaining scallions; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add sauce to skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Add meatballs, and simmer, turning to coat in sauce, until just heated through, about 1 minute. Separate lettuce leaves; wash and dry well. Serve meatballs and vegetables in lettuce wraps. Garnish with remaining scallions. Enjoy!

adapted from Marley Spoon

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Strawberry Banana Crumb Topped Muffins

There's nothing more comforting than a piping hot, steamy muffin from the oven!  This one is bursting with juicy sweet strawberries, and ripe bananas, topped with a delicious crumb topping.  Hello breakfast!

Strawberry Banana Crumb Topped Muffins

I've been slacking in the muffin department.  I've actually made quite a few different kinds but haven't posted any in a LONG time.  So today I'm going to present to you my wonderful Strawberry Banana Crumb Topped Muffins.  They are bursting with sweet strawberries.  You can still get great ones in the markets so pick some up.  Add in a ripe banana that you have sitting around and you have a muffin made in heaven.  But wait!  You have to make sure the you put on this wonderfully simple crumb topping.  It brings some texture to the muffins and makes them extra special!

Perfect for breakfast, brunch, on the go, or as a snack.  These muffins utilize my basic muffing recipe and will whip up in a flash.  The batch makes 6 standard muffins which is great as a small family batch.  Enjoy!

What Ingredients do I need?

  • eggs
  • milk
  • canola oil
  • flour
  • sugar
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • banana
  • strawberries

What different ways can I serve muffins?
  • breakfast
  • brunch
  • snacks
  • with coffee or tea
  • dessert
  • perfect for grab and go breakfasts or snack
  • bridal showers
  • baby showers
  • garden tea parties

Substitutions and Variations
  • You can do 1/2 the amount of flour in whole wheat flour if you like
  • Use a sugar substitute suited for baking if you like.
  • Leave off the crumb topping, or switch the sugar to brown sugar
  • Switch up the berries and make blackberry banana muffins.

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • 1st rule of thumb when making muffins is not to "overmix" the batter.  You want it batter to just come together.  Little spots of flour is okay.
  • To get high muffin tops turn your oven up to 400 degrees.
  • Make sure you are using fresh baking powder.  To test put 1/2 teaspoon into 1/4 cup of boiling water.  If it bubbles, you are good.
  • Purchase a 6 well muffin tin for small batches.
  • Double the recipe for 12 muffins.
  • Muffins can be frozen individually and kept for 3 months.
  • Fill the muffin tin almost to the top for nice big muffins.

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Strawberry Banana Crumb Topped Muffins

yield:  6 muffins

1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 medium banana, diced
1/2 cup diced strawberries

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons cold butter, diced

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 6 well muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

To a large bowl add the egg, milk, and canola oil.  Whisk to combine.  Add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder.  Stir until just combined.  Do not overmix.  Fold in the strawberries and bananas.

To make the crumb topping add flour, sugar, and butter to a small bowl.  Cut in butter in to the mixture until small crumbs forms.  You can use 2 forks or a pastry cutter for this.

Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter evenly among the 6 muffin wells.  Spread the crumb mixture evenly among the muffin tops.

Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown and set.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Serve.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Summer Fresh Recipe Series: Avocado & Peach Spiral Pasta Salad

My favorite pasta salad isn't your typical idea of one.  It's one filled with ripe tomatoes, nuggets of ripe summer peaches, chunks of buttery avocado, a little arugula,  and the cutest twirled pasta.  All of this is doused with a light orange vinaigrette.  It's heaven on Earth!

Avocado & Peach Spiral Pasta Salad

I'm bringing you a wonderful summer dish just in time for your Labor Day cookout!  This is no ordinary pasta salad, this is a summer fresh, scrumptious pasta salad!  Dare I say my new favorite.  I've made this three times in the past month.  It's filled with ripe summer tomatoes, and fresh summer peaches, plus the buttery avocado brings in the perfect combination.  You are going to love this salad.

The dressing is a light citrus vinaigrette so that it doesn't compete with the fresh fruit in the salad.  Perfect for the upcoming Labor Day holiday if you are doing a cookout, potluck, or just a family dinner.  We can't get enough of this pasta salad and I'm sure you won't either!  Enjoy!

What Ingredients do I need?

  • short pasta such as cavatappi
  • arugula
  • peaches
  • shallots
  • fresh dill
  • heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • avocado
  • olive oil
  • a fresh orange
  • Dijon mustard

Substitutions and Variations

  • try nectarines or plums instead of peaches
  • use baby spinach instead of arugula

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Make sure your peaches are ripe but still a little firm
  • You want a light salad green in the salad, one that's not too heavy
  • Orange in the vinaigrette makes the dressing light and a little sweet.
  • This salad won't keep but a day in the refrigerator as the avocado will oxidize.  Leave the avocado out and add as you eat it for more refrigerator life.

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Avocado & Peach Spiral Pasta Salad

    1/3 lb. Cavatappi pasta
    3 cups Arugula
    2 peaches, thinly sliced
    3 Tbsp. shallot, finely chopped
    2 Tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
    1 cup heirloom Cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 avocado, diced

  • Dressing:
    3 Tbsp. olive oil
    1/2 orange, juiced
    1 tsp orange zest
    1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
    2/3 tsp. Kosher salt
    3/4 tsp. Pepper

Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente according to package directions.   Drain and rinse. Set aside.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  To a large bowl add the arugula and pasta.  Top with chopped peaches, shallot, dill, tomatoes, and avocado.  Drizzle half the dressing and gently toss to combine.  Taste for seasoning and if needed toss with additional dressing.  Serve.


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