Quick and Healthy – Greek Turkey Meatballs

My husband and I have been looking at new places to rent and I keep running into the same problem – Small Kitchens!  Some places have less counter space than we have now, which I thought was impossible! When will builders begin making what I want? A house that is half kitchen! I don’t need a bigger bedroom – all I do is sleep in there! Give me a big kitchen.

Sigh. In the meantime, I continue to bake away in the tiny kitchen we have now.

I have been making these meatballs a lot lately. Mainly because they are so versatile. You could easily double this recipe for a small family and use the leftovers to make, meatball sandwiches, toss with pasta, or eat with some roasted vegetables. They are packed with flavor too. Really, these should be called healthier-than-sausage meatballs because they taste a lot like pork sausage, but with much less fat. I like to eat them with tzatziki and pita.

And just wait to see how easy they are to make.

A Delectable Endeavors original

0-31 lb of ground turkey

1/2 cup of breadcrumbs (I like panko)

1 large egg

1/3 of an onion finely minced

red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp cracked oregano

1/4 cup of crumbled feta

Mix everything together with your hands. Form into 1 inch large balls.

You have 2 choices for baking. 1. Lightly spray a baking pan and bake them at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. 2. Lightly spray a saute pan and cook them until nicely brown on all sides and cooked all the way through.


Soup Sundays – Chicken Wild Rice Soup

I recently started making soup on Sundays.  I didn’t intend for this to become a tradition, but it quickly did.  Every few Sundays, I would make a large pot of soup in my amazing dutch oven on the stovetop.  My husband and I would enjoy some soup, then freeze the rest for the upcoming week.  Not only is this a great way to use up some of the leftovers you have sitting around, it is incredibly easy and tasty!

Wild rice soup is probably one of my winter favorites.  The smooth creamy base with hearty chicken and nutty wild rice, all complimented by fresh veggies make this soup the perfect way to warm up.  Plus, this is one of those soups that is is actually better the next day, so it is great to freeze.

This particular recipe has quickly become a standard at our house.  Mainly because, every once in a while I like to buy a whole roasted chicken at the grocery store.  That means I don’t have to think about dinner.  Just go home, and chow down.  Since there are only 2 of us, it also means a lot of leftovers.  So I make leftovers into delicious soup!  It is also easy to make with any leftover vegetables you have around; you don’t have to stick to what is here.  I left the mushrooms out, because they get somewhat slimy when cooked in a roux, but typically this type of soup would have mushrooms.

Adapted from What Megan’s Making

½ cup butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup carrots, sliced
¾ cup all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
2 cups cooked chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups whole milk

Melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the onion, cook for 2-3 minutes.  Then add celery and carrots and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until vegetables all begin to become soft.  Add salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley and ground black pepper, stir.  Add flour and stir well.  Cook the flour until fully incorporated into the excess butter.  This is known as a roux and is what will make the soup creamy.

Over medium heat, gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat to low and let simmer, while stirring, until it has thickened slightly.

Next, add the chicken and rice to soup. Allow all the ingredients to heat through and then pour in the milk, stirring frequently. Let the soup gently simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  It will thicken slowly as it cooks.  Serve warm, or don’t! (like I said, it is delicious the next day)

Chicken and Leek Puff Pastry Tart

This might be my best invention yet.  It is reminiscent of something you might get in a French cafe, and it’s incredibly simple to make.  I imagine you would look like quite the host if you whipped this up for a lunch with friends.  Served with a side of mixed greens, it looks like something you might pay a pretty penny for in a trendy restaurant.

I had originally planned to make this recipe from Kayotic Kitchen.  But, in true home-cook fashion, I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed, including the bacon I had cooked and my husband ATE when he wasn’t supposed to.  *ahem*  So I had to improvise, and the end product had little to no resemblance to Kays’ recipe.  But it DID turn out amazing!

I still totally love her blog, and HIGHLY reccommend you check it out.

Chicken and Leek Puff Pastry Tart, inspired by Kayotic Kitchen

2 chicken breasts – approximately 3/4 lbs

1 package of puff pastry – two

sheets, defrosted

1 egg

1 large leek

1 Tbl vegetable oil

2 Tbl butter

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dried parsley

2 Tbl dry, white wine

1 1/2 Tbl stone ground mustard

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

Preheat oven 400 degrees.  Chop chicken into small, bite-sized pieces.  Clean and chop the leek into fine pieces.   Heat the oil on medium-low heat.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook chicken in oil until nearly done.  Then, add butter until melted.  Add garlic and parsley and toss. Add leeks to chicken mixture.  Cook for a few minutes until bright green.  Add wine and deglaze pan.  Let the wine cook off a bit, approximately 7 minutes.  To finish, add mustard and mix well.  Take pan off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

In a separate bowl, add cream cheese and chicken mixture from pan.  Mix well.  Place chicken and cream cheese mixture in the middle of defrosted pastry.  Pinch edges well and brush the pastry with whisked egg.  Cut a couple of slits in the top of the pastry.

Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and flaky.  Cut into 1-2 inch pieces and serve warm.

Grapefruit Curd

I’ve been doing quite a bit of baking lately (with pictures to come!).  After baking many items that required copious amounts of egg whites, I began to acquire quite the store of egg yolks.

Whats a girl to do with so many yolks?  As it turns out, after some googling, I found out the perfect thing to do is make curd!

Curd is an amazing food.  It has a soft jelly-like consistency and manages to be both sweet and sour at the same time.  You can even spread it on scones!  What a wonderful invention.  Now, I’ve spent years coveting the traditional lemon curds you find in grocery stores, often covered in a thin layer of dust in the British isle, or something obscure like that.  I am not sure why some people consider curd only acceptable for elderly woman at tea time.  But you can put it on ice cream, with oatmeal, in yogurt, and in macarons!  (soon to be made)  Curd is delicate and delightful and if you have not tried it, you certainly need to.

As it turns out, curd is actually incredibly easy to make.  I would highly recommend giving it a try if you have some aging fruit and older eggs. I had the perfect companion to the abandoned yolks, an aging grapefruit.  So in quite a complementary way, my soon-to-be discarded scraps became delicious grapefruit curd.  I love it when cooking turns out that way.

From Good Life Eats

1/2 cup grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
1 – 1 1/2 cups sugar
8 egg yolks
10 tablespoons butter, sliced into tablespoons

In a saucepan, combine first 4 ingredients.  Heat over medium heat until the sugar mixture reaches a simmer.  Make sure all the sugar is dissolved, then turn heat down to low.

Whisk egg yolks until smooth.  Pour approximately half of the warm dissolved sugar mixture into the bowl with whisked egg yolks. Vigorously whisk together until combined.  Then, pour the combined egg and sugar mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining sugar and juice mix.

Continue to cook over low heat while whisking until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, which should take about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time.

Cool to room temperature then store refrigerated in an airtight container for about a week.

Brunch Series – Lorraine Egg Souffle with Spinach

I am starting a brunch series!  That means, I’ll start posting a series of recipes, one by one, that complete a delicious brunch!  My first go at this is a delicious brunch of muffins and egg souffle.  Add some healthy fruit, and it even LOOKS delicious, as you can see.

This “egg souffle” is actually somewhat like scrambled eggs cooked into a pastry shell.  You may recognize these from Panera Bread.  It is a flaky, buttery crust with a light, fluffy, eggy filling.  It is basically an envelope of deliciousness.

Even though these look very fancy, they are actually very easy to make.  They didn’t take too long either.  If you were going to make this brunch to impress some friends, you could easily make the muffins a day or two ahead of time, and make these tasty souffles in the morning without breaking a sweat or wasting more than 30 minutes!  Although the recipe is only for 4 souffles, you can easily double the batch for company.  If you don’t have ramekins, these would be cute in some oven-safe coffee cups.

Adapted from Todd Wilbur’s Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2

4 slices thick cut bacon
1 container of Pillsbury Croissants
2 tablespoons flour, for dusting
5 eggs, divided
5 tablespoons half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup swiss cheese, divided
1/2 cup spinach, washed and torn into small pieces
4 tablespoons shredded parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 4 oven-safe coffee cups or ramekins with non-stick cooking spray.

Place bacon on a microwave safe plate between paper towels (as in plate, 2-3 paper towels, bacon, topped with another paper towel). Microwave on high 7 minutes. Bacon should be nice and crispy. Once bacon is to cool, crumble.

While waiting for the bacon to cool, lay the croissants out on a floured surface (do not separate into triangles). Pinch all the seams together and lightly dust the top with more flour. Roll into a large square (the rolling will help seal the seems). Using a pizza wheel cut into 4 equal size squares. Carefully lay one square into each of the ramekins, using your fingers to press them into the base.  You want the egdes of the square with fall out of the ramekin.  Let them rest outside of it, you will be placing them on top of the egg filling.

In a microwave safe dish, beat 4 of the eggs with the half and half, salt and pepper. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the swiss cheese, the onion, bacon crumbles, and parmesan cheese. Microwave on high in 30 second increments (stirring in bewteen) until a very runny scrambled egg consistency. It should look like the when it reaches this consistency.  You can see there are some spots where it is beginning to cook up, especially around the edges, but overall it is still mostly runny.

Place an equal amount of the egg mixture into each of the ramekins and top with a tablespoon or so of the swiss cheese. Fold the edges of the croissant over on top of the egg mixture (it won’t cover the whole thing, you just want the croissants IN the ramekin, not OUT). Beat remaining egg and brush the tops of the croissant and souffle with it.

Place ramekins onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and puffy. Serve hot. You may remove them from the ramekins or serve them in them.

Happy 1st Birthday!

Firstly, I want to say Happy Birthday to my blog!  It is officially 1 year old!   It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing for a whole year now!  Reflecting on the year has made me think how much has changed.  A year ago, I was finishing school, working on my dissertation.  Now I’m working full time, engaged, and still finishing my dissertation. 🙂  I guess some things never change.

I know I have been a little absent from the blog, please be patient with me.  To make up, this year I have some BIG things planned!  Some friends (overseas and here in America) will be guest blogging again!  Hopefully I will get my fiance to do a guest blog on bread making.   (He makes a mean sourdough)  Plus, there some upcoming posts about highly requested items. . .

You’ll have to wait and find out.

Fun, New Adventures

As mentioned in the previous blog, the fiance and I recently moved to a new neighborhood.  I went out exploring the other day and found an incredible haven nearby.  There is a place called the Randolph Street Market.  It is incredible.

This market is a foodie’s dream.  The entire street is full of wholesale food vendors with everything from paper supplies to massive produce markets.  The street is also lined with beautiful restaurants with cuisine from every corner of the world.   I think you are getting the picture.

The worst part (or best, depending on how you look at it) is that this market is literally minutes from my house.  I walked, no skipped, through the street with glee, dreaming of the beautiful, fresh food I would be getting and the delicious meals that would arise.  I should not have been set loose on Randolph street; it could get dangerous.

I love that some of the vendors are small, family owned places that have been there forever.  I bought some lovely spring onions and a box of cherries from this sweet little produce place.  You could tell the cherries had come straight from the tree.  I relished in their imperfectness.  The woman who owned the place was very kind and spoke in an accent I couldn’t place.  I love places like this because they really connect me to where my food comes from.  I grew up on a farm, so stores like this remind me of home.  Plus, I try to buy locally as often as possible to support small, local farmers.

In addition to the fabulous produce, there are wholesale fish markets.  Look at that!  Fresh crab legs in Chicago!  I could hardly contain myself.  Then I went in and began looking around at the buckets of fresh halibut fillet and red snapper halves, and realized I would not be cooking that night.  I could hardly buy such fresh fish and leave it in the refrigerator for a day.  I felt that would be disrespectful.  So I moved on to the next block.

This very inconspicuous store front is my new favorite shop.  This store is a culinary fantasy.  Inside were all the items a bona fide chef would need.  Ramekins and immersion blenders, and stainless steel Japanese knives, oh my!  I went crazy.  Secretly, I was peeking around corners trying to spot a famous chef.  As it turned out, I didn’t see any, but I did find a LOT of things to add to the wedding registry.

Among those things were these adorable mini potato mashers.  So cute!  And don’t think I just like them for their miniature novelty.  They are also very functional.  I only cook for two, and use smaller bowls, so I don’t really have the room or need for a huge potato masher.  These might be the next purchase I make at the market.

Leaving the market, I saw this sign.  Wow!  I’ve always wanted to make my own wine.  Now all I have to do is convince the fiance we have the room . . .