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.

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Rosemary Nuts

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I cannot express how delicious these nuts are. I started making them as a snack to bring to parties. But soon, I found myself making them all the time.

That being said, these are the perfect snack. These are a great combination of sweet, spicy, and savory. The rosemary adds a lovely herbal note. Additionally, they are super easy to make! I used a combination of almonds and pecans because they are my favorite kind of nuts, but you can use whatever combination you prefer.

It seems like this recipe is everywhere on the internet, so I chose the one I used, although you will find more similar posts all over. All those food bloggers can’t be wrong!

Adapted from The New York Times

1/2 pound pecans
1/2 pound almonds
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon dried rosemary (You will need a quality brand. I use The Spice House. If using fresh, use 3 tablespoons.)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake nuts until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. While nuts roast, mix butter, rosemary, sugar, cayenne and salt in a bowl. Add nuts and toss. Serve warm or cool.

The Best (Healthy) Chicken Salad Ever

I know that the title might seem hyperbolic, but this is seriously the tastiest chicken salad I’ve ever had. Honestly, I don’t even really like chicken salad that much. Something about the texture of gooey mayo with chunks of whole chicken just doesn’t do it for me. However, I have found a magical solution to my texture problem – don’t use mayo.

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I know what you are thinking. That’s crazy! Mayonnaise is what makes chicken salad stick together! It is the classic glue of chicken salad! But here is the rub with mayo. 1. It has a strange, sticky texture that doesn’t really lend itself gracefully to nice, delicate chicken salad 2. It is not very healthy.

I’m not saying chicken salad HAS to be healthy. But if you can make it more healthy, and more delicious, why not?

I scoured the internet for recipes for versions of chicken salad that didn’t use mayonnaise. Most use greek yogurt. But I wanted a punch of flavor in mine. Not just plan old yogurt. So, what is a great option instead? Tzatziki!

This is a light, refreshing, Greek flavor inspired chicken salad. It is what I always imagined chicken salad to be. It works really well.

The Best (Healthy) Chicken Salad Ever – A Delectable Endeavor original

1 lb chicken breast cooked and cubed

1 cup tzatziki

5 scallions, thinly sliced

1 red or yellow pepper cut into small, bite-sized pieces

1/2 cucumber cut into small, bite-sized pieces

2-3 oz crumbled feta (depending on how much you like feta)

squeeze of fresh lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Start by draining the tzatziki. You need to get rid of some of the water, or it will make your chicken salad watery and unappetizing. I do this by lining a sieve or strainer with cheesecloth (or paper towel will work too). Place the strainer over an empty bowl. Pour tzatziki into lined strainer and let sit in your refrigerator for a couple of hours.

After tzatziki is strained, take strained mixture and place into a large, clean bowl. Add cubed chicken, scallions, pepper, cucumber, and feta. Fold the mixture gently until well incorporated. Finish by folding in a squeeze of fresh lemon and a little salt and pepper to taste. I like to eat it with pita chips.

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Remember how I said I was going to make more vegetarian food?  Here’s a doozy.

When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to made it. Stuffed shells sound and seem like a fancy meal, but they are actually quite easy. Shells are quite forgiving. Even if you tear one, you can just stuff it with some delicious filling and bake away – no one will even notice! And although this is a special-looking dish, it is easy enough to make any night of the week, rounded out with a nice salad.

Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon

approximately 25 jumbo pasta shells

2 Tbls olive oil 0-1

1 1/2 cup marinara sauce

1/3 cup Parmesan, grated

1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, washed and torn into pieces

2 cups part-skim ricotta

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 shallot, minced

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tablespoon basil, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour marinara into the bottom of a 8 x 8 pan.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt, pasta and stir. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to box instructions. Drain pasta and toss with olive oil while still warm.

In a large bowl, mix ricotta, egg, shallot, basil, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using a spoon, scoop a small about (about a Tablespoon) into each shell, then place shell into the baking dish, on top of sauce. Top with parmesan cheese.

Lightly spray a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover baking pan. Cover pan with sprayed side down, facing the shells. Tightly cover the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Then, remove foil and continue to bake for approximately 5 more minutes or until parmesan bubbles. Remove from oven and let set for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Bacon Jam

I know, I know. The combination of these two words just blew your mind. After you’ve picked up the pieces of your cranium, please, take a deep breath and read the rest of IMG_20130106_141048this post.

Bacon and jam are usually separate parts of a delicious breakfast. But I have found a way to marry them together in a deliciously amazing concoction. However, I can’t take full credit for it. The internet is full of people posting recipes for bacon jam, and they vary widely. I studied many of them before coming up with my own. This is encouraging because it means that this recipe is flexible. If you don’t have *just* the right ingredient or amount of something, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have your own delicious bacon jam.  It will just be a slightly different version.

Now let me abate your worries. This is not a jammy-sweet, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth kind of food. It is bacon in a somewhat sweet, somewhat savory mixture that loosely resembles the consistency of jam. It is really more like bacon chutney. I recently made this for a BLT appetizer where I spread some on crostini with arugula and tomato a la Spoon Fork Bacon. It was a big hit! But then, people started using it in different, creative ways, like on top of scrambled eggs. Delish! So let your little bacon-obsessed brain get creative with this surprising little dish.

Bacon Jam – A Delectable Endeavors original

1/2 lb bacon, cut into small pieces (I use Trader Joe’s Classic, sliced dry rubbed)

1 Tablespoon bacon fat

1 Tablespoon butter

1 large shallot, minced

6 ounces of your favorite dark beer, scotch ales and stouts work best (I used Tyranena’s Sheep Shagger Scotch Ale)

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee (do not used flavored coffee)

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Cook bacon in a large pan on medium heat. Render the fat completely so that bacon is nice and crispy. Remove bacon from pan using a spatula, so you can save the bacon fat in the pan. Place cooked bacon on a paper towel to drain.

Drain all but 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan. Add 1 Tablespoon of butter to Tablespoon of reserved fat in the pan. Add chopped shallot and cook until translucent (this should only take a couple of minutes). Add beer, maple syrup, vinegar, and coffee to pan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add bacon bits and thyme and mix.

Let this mixture simmer lightly for approximately 30 minutes, or until it reaches desired jam-like consistency. Like I said, this recipe is flexible, so if it gets too thick, feel free to add a little coffee or beer. If if is too loose, let it simmer a little longer.

Once cooked, let cool before putting into your favorite jar. Keep in the refrigerator for up to a week (if you don’t eat it all before then). Canning will keep the jam for longer.

The Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts

One of my favorite restaurants is Zaytinya.  They have delicious small plates so you can try a bunch of different things and the best pita bread on earth.  But I really love them because they taught me that I love brussels sprouts.  I have never been a big fan of cooked cabbage smell, but these brussels sprouts are out of this world!

I decided I wanted to try to replicate these on my own at home. I’ve tried them a couple of different ways, and, by far, the best concoction is that of Slate writer L.V. Anderson. Anderson writes a column called “You’re Doing it Wrong” where she tells readers how to prepare foods in the most delicious way. I don’t always agree with her advice (a ginger snap crust does not necessarily save a pumpkin pie, and I’m personally not a huge fan of the feta/watermelon combination), but she does have this one spot on. You can read her column here.

However, the real secret to delectable sprouts is char. I don’t mean burning them to a crisp, but certainly getting some delicious brown on there so the edges begin to wilt and become crunchy. This is an essential part to fully cooking a brussels sprout. Those little things are tightly wrapped balls of water-holding buds that need some coaxing to get to the melt-in-your mouth with an edge of crunch consistency that makes this dish shine. (In other words, it takes a while to roast them.) Additionally, these little guys are super healthy!

From L.V. Anderson at Slate

Soy-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Oil for greasing the pan
1¼ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons peanut oil (I’ve used canola and olive just fine)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Black pepper

Heat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 13- by 18-inch baking sheet. Toss the Brussels sprouts with oil, soy sauce, mustard, and a little black pepper. Transfer to the greased baking sheet in an even layer and roast until the sprouts are partially tender, about 15 minutes. Stir and raise the oven temperature to 400°F. Continue to roast, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the sprouts are browned and fully tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Brunch Series – Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

These are so delicious and easy, I’d be crazy NOT to post them. I have quite the affinity for fall food. Squash, and dark greens, apples and blood oranges. If I had to choose one season to always eat in, Nay, live in, I would choose fall.  That is why my husband I and I chose to get married in the fall – because we love it so much. I feel a special kind of happiness when a chill hits the air and the trees start to turn, and these pancakes are the perfect companion for a brisk autumn Sunday.

Even though you have to process your oats to make these pancakes, it is a small effort that makes it totally worth it. These pancakes are surprisingly fluffy and delicious. My husband, especially loved their sweet, creamy pumpkin flavor, coupled with the airy texture. With just a little bit of butter and a light drizzle of maple syrup, they are all the things I love about fall bundled into a delicious little concoction.  I highly recommend.

Adapted from Running to the Kitchen

1 1/3 cups of quick oats

2 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup of almond milk (although, I’m sure cow’s milk would work as well)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp mace (optional)

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

pinch of salt

Heat a large griddle or pan.  In a food processor, grind oats into a fine meal, nearly flour consistency.  Add all ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to combine.  Grease griddle and pour mixture into small circles.  Cook until edges begin to bubble, then flip.  Cook the other side completely.  Enjoy warm.