Tiny Turkey Meatloaves with Roasted Vegetables

I’ve been doing some meal planning/catering which has me prepping a breakfast, a lunch and 2 – 4 dinners per week for a local family. Needless to say, I am spending a lot of time in my kitchen cooking! In an effort to streamline the process and make it not only tasty but also cost effective, I have begun to double everything I make for my client’s family and use half of it to feed my own. In addition, I am not only seeking out healthy and unique recipes, but also ones that feed a crowd and aren’t too time consuming. I came across this recipe in Cooking Light and tweaked it just a bit to suit my needs. I think you’ll agree, it’s super simple yet truly tasty! Check it out!!

Ingredients: Feeds 4

  • 1 1/3 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup quick oats
  • 6 tbsp ketchup, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 lb green beans, trimmed
  • 4 large carrots peeled and quartered
  • 6 small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the first seven ingredients including 3 tbsp of the ketchup and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl mix Worcestershire sauce and remaining ketchup.
  3. In another large bowl, combine the green beans, carrots and potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder and pepper. Toss to coat.
  4. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions. Using your hands shape each into a small loaf and place them equidistant on the baking sheet. Brush each with the Worcestershire-ketchup sauce.
  5. Scatter the vegetables around the loaves and bake everything for 25 – 30 minutes, turning the veggies half way through cooking time.

 

Sorta Light Pumpkin Muffins

Inevitably, as the weather changes and the air cools, so do my cravings and my habits in the kitchen. Not only do I yearn for soups and stews, roasts and gravies; I also want to bake things! Now I’ve said this before, I am much better at cooking than I am at baking, primarily because I hate to measure. Baking is a science and if you don’t measure properly your muffins/pastries/cakes/cookies simply don’t turn out right! With cooking (you need to measure of course) I feel like there’s a little more wiggle room and the opportunity to go off script. Bottom line; not staying the course when baking can be disastrous if you’re not mindful to the changes/chances you’re taking!

I originally found this recipe for Pumpkin Maple Loaf in Cooking Light magazine and it intrigued me because the author found a way to take a classic fall favorite and lighten it up a bit! But by sheer stubbornness I needed to find a way to make it my own and go off script! First, I decided to make muffins with the batter versus a loaf. Second, I didn’t have access to dark maple syrup or dark brown sugar so I used grade A syrup as well as a brown sugar/stevia blend as substitutes. Lastly, the original recipe called for roasted pepitas to top the loaf; I know it defeats some of the purpose of “cooking light” but, I decided to mix in chopped pecans and white chocolate chips instead! Regardless, these somewhat lightened-up, twist on pumpkin loaf-style muffins are the bomb!! Enjoy:)

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Ingredients: Makes 12 muffins

  • cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar/stevia blend
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with papers and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  2. Combine buttermilk and oats, let sit 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk together pumpkin, syrup, oil, sugar, extract and eggs and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl mix together flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add the oats and buttermilk to the pumpkin mixture and stir. Then add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine.
  6. Gently fold the pecans and chips into the batter.
  7. Divide batter among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes.

*Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, Lighten Up Pumpkin Bread

 

Texas Caviar

I cannot take credit for the catchy name or the tasty combination of ingredients; I know quite a few home cooks who have their own version of this recipe on file! However, I can tell you how I make it as well as list a few unique ways to repurpose your leftovers!

Ingredients: Serves 10 – 12

  • 24 oz frozen corn, thawed
  • 1, 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro (loosely packed), chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (plus extra)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (plus extra)

Directions:

  1. Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the last six ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Add the liquid to the corn mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Adjust seasoning to your personal taste preferences by adding additional salt and/or pepper..
  5. Let chill 2 – 3 hours, allowing flavors to develop.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.

Leftovers:

IF you have them… consider the following (drain any liquid that accumulates first):

  • Add it to eggs in a scramble or a quiche, or use it in egg cups (search site for recipe).
  • Fold into corn bread batter to jazz up your corn muffins/corn bread.
  • Top grilled chicken or fish with a scoop.
  • Toss it with a green salad.

German Eggs

I first tasted German Eggs while staying at a B&B on Martha’s Vineyard a few summers back, called the Outermost Inn. The Outermost is a magical place which literally sits on the outermost edge of the Vineyard, up-island as they say. The inn is owned and operated by Jeannie and Hugh Taylor. Hugh just happens to be James Taylor’s brother and although they look alike, you’d never make the connection because Hugh would never solicit that kind of attention. They are lovely people living a simple life on the edge of one of the most beautiful cliffs in the world (while running a five star B&B). But I digress… German Eggs changed my life and solidified a tradition which now involves spending a week or so every summer on the Vineyard at the Outermost with Jeannie and Hugh. When I first asked Jeannie how she makes her eggs she couldn’t really tell me amounts; she rattled off a bunch of ingredients and ended with, “just google it”! So I did! And since then I’ve been making German Eggs for my family and most recently for a great group of yogis from NYC on a yoga retreat upstate! My yogis raved and so I knew it was time it went on the blog! Enjoy!!

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German Eggs

Ingredients: Feeds 12

  • 15 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups cottage cheese, small curd
  • 1 lb Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour melted butter into the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 casserole dish.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl slightly whisk the eggs. Continue to whisk while adding the flour and baking powder. The dry ingredients should be incorporated but the egg mixture should not be overly whisked.
  4. Add the cottage cheese and shredded Monterey Jack cheese and mix well.
  5. Pour egg mixture into the casserole dish. The melted butter will be pushed to the sides. Do not mix even though you’ll be tempted to do so!
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until eggs are firm and the top of the dish is bubbly and lightly browned.

*Adapted from cooks.com

Bucatini Carbonara with Peas

I love to eat but truth be told, I love to feed people just as much! Tonight we hosted my neighbor and her three small kids for supper. Her husband has been away all week traveling for business and I figured she could use a night “out”! I made two pasta dishes; one for the kids and one for the adults and poured her a much needed glass of wine! My older kids helped entertain her younger ones and when it was all said and done, everyone was “fat and happy” as I like to say!  Why am I telling you this? Because I want to show that hosting and sharing a meal with people doesn’t have to be super fancy or stress you out, especially if it’s rather spontaneous!  Make it simple, keep it low key, set a few extra seats at the table and dig in!  It’s truly the thought that counts!! 

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz pancetta, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 12 oz bucatini (I use Barilla)
  • 3 eggs, yolks separated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated plus additional as garnish
  • salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pancetta and peas. In a skillet, start browning the pancetta over medium heat.  As it cooks down and the fat renders, add the diced onion and continue to cook, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the skillet.  Once pancetta is nearly cooked and the onion is soft and starting to caramelize, add the garlic and the frozen peas.  Continue to cook another 2 – 3 minutes allowing peas to defrost and warm. Remove from the heat and set entire pan aside.
  3. Once the water boils, cook and drain the bucatini, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return pasta to the pot and add the egg yolks, tossing to cook the egg and coat the pasta. Stir in the pancetta and peas mixture.  If dry, add small amounts of pasta water to loosen the sauce.  Add the grated parmesan and salt and pepper (to taste).
  4. Serve immediately, garnish with additional parmesan and red pepper flake if desired.

Suggestions:

This dish could be made with any of your favorite pastas or pasta substitutes like zoodles or spaghetti squash “noodles”!

*Adapted from Sun Basket, Bucatini and Pancetta Carbonara

 

First Impressions

I am feeling kinda bad because it’s been several days since I’ve posted a recipe on here!?! Things have been hectic at home and it’s one of those weeks when I don’t have a ton of time to plan, shop and cook the way I’d like to.  Knowing this would be the case, I finally bit the bullet and decided to give one of those meal service plans a try, and scheduled our first delivery for this week! So instead of a recipe, I figured I’d share my two cents on my meal service experience thus far. Keep in mind, it’s Week 1, Meal 1 at this point but I’ll share my first impressions anyway…

Why Sun Basket?

  • For starters, I’ve been saving up advertisements and coupons from various companies for a while now and Sun Basket offered the best start up deal ($50 which works out to be a 30% savings) on the first order. Not to mention, most of their ingredients are organic, they’re committed to sustainability and they encourage you to recycle the packaging and make it easy to do so.
  • Variety; once you choose a theme (including but not limited to Paleo, Mediterranean, Vegetarian or Family Friendly) you get to choose from a wide variety of recipes for the week.  I found the selection to be eclectic and unique, allowing you to try foods and flavor combos you might not otherwise expose yourself too; this in addition to traditional fare as well.  What’s also great is that the website includes eye catching pictures to make it easy to get a sense of what your going to be making.

First Impressions

  • Arrival… The first delivery was scheduled for Tuesday by the “end of the day”.  For me that meant 5:00pm and that I’d be able to cook something from the box that night for supper.  Well that didn’t happen.  According to FedEx, the end of the day is more like 7:30pm, so Tuesday night we ate out, lol!  All that said, the perishable food items were still cold and packaged well and nothing was damaged in transport.
  • The First Supper – Spicy Roasted Shrimp with Kale and Ajo Blanco.  See… cool flavor combos like I said!!! I chose to make the shrimp our first meal simply because they were the most perishable item in the box (and also the recipe I was most excited to try). The order came with a magazine which contains all the recipes for that week (at the very least I’ll use this as a guide for recipe design and meal planning on my own in the future). Anyway, the directions were easy to follow and all the ingredients and nutrition info is listed as well.  What I liked were the tips and the suggestions they include like ways to make the dish your own. This idea wasn’t listed but I actually cooked tri-color quinoa on the side and transformed this dish into more or less a grain bowl, giving it a little more oomf.  And although I was supplied with enough food to feed four people, we actually split this among three (because my youngest is super picky and won’t go near spicy shrimp or unusual white sauces…).  Not surprisingly, we three finished everything on our plates!  Leaving me to wonder if I hadn’t added the quinoa side or had split this among four, we might be hungry later this evening!?! Overall however, we were really happy with the taste, it was appealing to look at and easy to make, taking less time than the recipe called for.  Two thumbs up for Meal 1!

 

THANK YOU

Below is an excerpt from my Instagram, thanking my followers for their continued support!  I wanted to share it on here as well and thank you all for following me too!  I feel truly blessed in many ways for being able to follow my dream and try and turn what I love (cooking/eating/feeding and inspiring others) into a job!  Please read and know that I am grateful!

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Hey, ya’ll! Just a quick thank you to everyone who follows me and “likes” what I’m doing on here! I just reached 500+ followers, thanks to you!!
This may seem like no big deal to some, but for me it is! When I set out a few months ago to share my love of food and feeding people with the world, I had no idea how I’d be received. From Day 1, the support, positive feedback and love that I’ve received from like minded foodies like you has blown me away!
I truly appreciate each and every “like” and comment and I want you to know how much I deeply enjoy cooking every meal, taking every picture (can’t leave out eating every meal😋) and sharing this journey with “my peeps”!
It’s been a trip watching my following grow and it fills me with a great sense of pride, confidence and satisfaction one can only appreciate if they are fulfilling their passion.
Thanks again for joining me on my food journey and here’s to the next leg of our adventure… I’ve got a really awesome collaboration in the works which I can’t wait to share with everyone, so stay tuned!
XO, Leigh