Skinny Thai Meatballs

Sushi, Indian, and Thai.  These are my favorite cuisines for eating out.  Mainly because I tend to be intimidated by these recipes.  There are so many ingredients, somewhat complicated steps, and patience.  Patience is a virtue…one I constantly work on.

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Recently I decided I needed more yoga in my life, to a) clear my mind b) appreciate my body c) teach me breathing exercises  d) improve posture and flexibility e) increase that patience.  I bet we could all use a little yoga in our lives?!?  Since I had this revelation I have only made it to one yoga class, but thankfully Seattle has an abundance of yoga studios and most of them offer free classes for first-timers.  That means I can shop around for a little extra zen ;)

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Moving on to the star of this blog post.  Skinny Thai Meatballs.  I was inspired to create this dish by a recent date night adventure.  Andrew, my rock and number one fan, clearly knows the way to my heart.  For my birthday he surprised me with a gift certificate to Hipcooks in Seattle.  Hipcooks is this awesome twist on cooking classes.  The classes are small group, specific cuisine (from Moroccan to Sushi and everything in between), include an entire dinner menu, cook without measuring cups, and you enjoy the meals family style.  Then you get an email with all the recipes and where to shop for ingredients.  I know, I am one lucky girl :)

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Well my birthday was in errr November and we just went in March (things have been kind of crazy).  But I knew I wanted to go to the Thai Cooking Class from the start.  Spring rolls, coconut shrimp rice balls, pad thai, red and green curry, forbidden rice dessert…are you salivating yet?!?!  This class helped me overcome some of my Thai cooking fears.  The flavors are sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and savory.  Most of the ingredients you have on hand or at your local grocery store.

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Good food tastes even better, when you know it’s a bit healthier.  So inspiration from thai cooking class meet amateur food blogger who is always trying to prove that healthy tastes damn good too!  I decided to use ground turkey as the protein source, but you can always substitute ground chicken.  I also minimized the oil in the recipe, threw in some peanut butter (because I have a peanut butter addiction), and subbed light coconut milk for coconut cream or full fate coconut milk.  The trick is to buy light coconut milk and look at the ingredients.  The label should say coconut milk and water.  I buy my light coconut milk from Trader Joe’s.  If you can’t find the good stuff then use less regular coconut milk and thin it out with water.  You will get the creamy coconut flavor and your waist line will be thankful!

Skinny Thai Meatballs

You can serve these meatballs over quinoa, rice, cauliflower rice, spinach, lettuce, or just eat them plain.  The red coconut curry peanut sauce is AMAZING.  I might have scraped the pan clean with the spatula to make sure a drop of sauce was not wasted.

Skinny Thai Meatballs

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 20-25 meatballs

The Players: 

For the meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 C panko break crumbs
1 T fish sauce (alternatively substitute soy sauce)
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped (alternatively substitute thai basil)
1/3 C diced red onion (~1/4 of a large red onion, alternatively substitute scallion)
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced, divided
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 T peanut oil

For the curry sauce
2 t peanut oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
**Second half of ginger from meatball recipe
2 T red curry paste
14 oz can light coconut milk
2 T creamy natural peanut butter
1 T fish sauce
1-2 t sriracha (alternatively minced thai chiles)
1-2 T brown sugar

optional: lime wedges as garnish

The Rules: 

  1. Combine all the ingredients for meatballs, except for peanut and sesame oil, in a medium mixing bowl.  Mix, using your hands, until well incorporated.
  2. Shape into meatballs (~size of golf balls) and set aside.
  3. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the peanut and sesame oil ~1 minute.  Slowly add the meatballs to the hot pan.  Cook, rotating the meatballs until all sides are browned.  When all sides are browned, transfer the meatballs to a separate plate.  (Note: I used chopsticks to gently rotate the meatballs, cook time 6-8 minutes total)
  4. To your hot pan, add peanut oil, garlic, ginger and cook for 1 minute.  (Note: Do not burn the garlic, you want to infuse the oil)
  5. Add the remaining curry sauce ingredients, whisking until well-combined.  Taste and adjust to desired sweetness (brown sugar), saltiness (fish sauce), and spiciness (sriracha or thai chiles).
  6. Transfer the meatballs back to the pan containing curry sauce.  Reduce heat to low, cover pan with lid, and allow meatballs to simmer for ~10 minutes. (Note: The sauce will thicken as the meatballs cook)
  7. Serve the meatballs warm, with freshly squeeze lime juice, over rice or desired base.  Store meatballs in an airtight container refrigerated.

 

 

 

Spinach & Cilantro Turkey Burgers

It’s almost Spring!  Two weeks until it’s officially the season, but the weather in Seattle has been stunning :o)  I cannot stop smiling with all this sunshine.  I never realize how much the weather impacts my mood, until it is gorgeous and bright outside.  The Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom and the Seattle grey is becoming oh-so green.

Spinach & Cilantro Turkey Burgers

Spring weather gets me so excited for the summer.  We are lucky in the PNW because you can grill and be active outdoors year-round, but firing up the grill after a sunny, warm day spent outdoors is my happy place.  Pair that with a beer or wine and your hunny or friends = perfect evening.

Spinach & Cilantro Turkey Burgers

This turkey burger is a great Spring/Summer grill-able since I tend to crave lighter meals when the weather is nicer.  The turkey is a great, lean source of protein and you can shape the patties into slider-size or large burgers.  I did an in-between size for Andrew and I since we were going bun-less–not because we are counting carbs/calories, we were just too lazy to stop by the store for some…hehe.

Spinach & Cilantro Turkey Burgers

I love this recipe because it is a great way to sneak some greens into your meal.  The spinach blends into the turkey flavor and the cilantro is a nice refreshing surprise in each bite.  Cilantro was also the perfect last-minute addition, since we love Mexican and smother anything edible with avocado.  Ahem…see below.

Spinach & Cilantro Turkey Burgers

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 minutes
Servings: 3-4

The Players: 

12 oz ground turkey
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 C cilantro, rinsed and roughly chopped
1/3 C red onion, diced
1 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper

The Rules: 

  1. Clean the grill and spray with non-stick cooking/grilling spray.  Preheat grill to 400F.
  2. Squeeze the spinach to drain and remove most excess water.  Pull apart spinach and place in medium-sized bowl.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients with the spinach.  Form patties.  (Note: I made 9 larger turkey sliders)
  4. Place the patties on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side.  (Note: You want nice char marks without burning or drying out the burger) Remove from the grill and serve warm with your favorite toppings.

One-Pot Meatballs n’ Zoodles

I got a new kitchen toy.  AND I AM OBSESSED.  Literally kitchen gadgets are always on my gift “wish list.”  One of my friends is an Eagle Scout and he refers to all his outdoorsy stuff as “gear.”  Well, I am a collector of kitchen gear.

One Pot Meatballs n' Zoodles

I see all these recipes for primally-inspired meals that substitute vegetable “noodles” for pasta.  I LOVE the idea of switching up a recipe and putting a unique twist on it.  Hence why I had to purchase, needed (not wanted) a vegetable spiralizer.   I was always obsessed with these devices when I was younger because they made awesome, fun apple spiral snacks.  Now I can be equally, if not more, excited about veggie spirals.

One Pot Meatballs n' Zoodles

An easy, healthy alternative to pasta…sums up “zoodles.”  A.K.A. zucchini noodles.

I went with a classic italian flavor profile with lots of garlic, tomatoes, herbs, mushrooms, and meatballs.  I decided to keep things easy and healthy by using frozen, pre-cooked turkey meatballs.  You could use any protein source or keep the dish vegetarian friendly.

One Pot Meatballs n' Zoodles

Believe me you will enjoy this week night meal and rave to all of your friends about your new fav kitchen gear ;)

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players: 

1/2 red onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 C sliced crimini mushrooms
14 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/4 C vegetable stock
1 T balsamic glaze
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
10-15 frozen pre-cooked turkey meatballs
2 large zucchini, rinsed and ends removed
salt and pepper to taste

The Rules: 

  1. In a medium-large sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion, cooking until onion is translucent (~3 minutes).
  2. Add mushrooms and cook an addition 3-5 minutes.  Once the mushrooms start to brown add tomatoes in sauce, stock, spices, balsamic, and meatballs.  Stir to combine.  Replace lid on sauté pan, cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. While the sauce is cooking, prepare your zoodles.  I use a Paderno® Spiral Vegetable Slicer and leave the skin on the zucchini for the added nutritional value.
  4. Once the meatballs are tender add the zoodles to the sauce and toss to combine.  Cook an additional 5-10 minutes–zucchini should be tender, but still firm.  Serve warm with optional fresh parmesan as a garnish.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

Do you ever have one of those nights where you come home from work and all you want to do is pour yourself a glass of vino and snug your pup?  It doesn’t have to be a overly strenuous or bad work day.  I just think a cozy night like that sounds pretty perfect whenever I get a chance to sneak one in.  Teek and I did just that today.  Well after he helped me prepare this yummy meal of course.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

DSC_0905

I am pretty excited to share this recipe.  I was inspired to make this dish by one of co-workers and friends from South Africa.  She makes the lasagna dish for hey hunny that uses spaghetti noodles, ground ostrich, veggies, and a white sauce.  Ground ostrich is AMAZING, but since we are in good ole America I decided to make a unique lasagna casserole with another lean protein: ground turkey and sans the pasta.  Oh yeah, this another “healthafied” twist on an old school fav.

If you have not figured out by now I LOVE spaghetti squash.  Seriously, once you make it once you will be hooked too.  The spaghetti squash was the pasta substitute in this recipe and I decided to add some more nutritional value with the spinach.  If you want to re-create this dish to be vegetarian-friendly, you can easily replace the ground turkey with a meat substitute or sauteed mushrooms.  I chose the easy way out and used store-bought pasta sauce.  I have made home-made pasta sauce in the past and it is such a nice alternative to an off-the-shelf pasta sauce.  Reaching fo
r a jar is so much easier when your throwing together a week night meal.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

This dish does take some prep and time. It does not require any particular cooking skills, it just requires patience since you have to prepare the ingredients before assembling the lasagna.  The end result is well worth the effort!

Oh and anytime there’s a yummy Italian dish, I HAVE to serve it up with a baguette and some infused dipping oil.  That’s probably why I favor the lower-carb, spaghetti squash lasagna…I can “justify” (that’s what Andrew calls it) as much bread and oil as my heart, more like tummy, desires.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 50 minutes (includes roasting spaghetti squash and lasagna assembly)
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6-8

The Players: 

1 organic spaghetti squash
1 lb ground turkey
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
24 oz organic red pasta sauce (divided into 1 cup and 3 x 1/2 cup)
1 C ricotta cheese
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t red chili flakes
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/2 C freshly grated parmesan
6 slices mozzarella cheese (alternatively 1 C freshly grated mozzarella cheese)

The Rules:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F and line baking sheet with aluminum foil.  (Note: keep the oven on the whole time, you will bake the lasagna at this same temperature)
  2. Prepare the squash: Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise.  Hollow out the inside and remove the seeds. Rinse the squash. Spray the inside face of each half with coconut oil cooking spray.  Place squash face down on the baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes.  Flip the squash over when there are 10 minutes remaining and allow the face of the squash to brown.  Remove from the oven.  Use a fork to flake the edges of the squash in a downward motion and create spaghetti.
  3.   While the squash is baking prepare the remainder of your lasagna ingredients.
    1. Prepare the sausage: in a pan, over medium-high heat, brown the turkey and season with oregano, chili flakes, basil, salt and pepper.  Set aside in a bowl.
    2. Prepare the filling: Using the same pan, coated with coconut oil cooking spray, over medium heat sauté onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes.  Add spinach and cook an additional 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Mix in 1 cup of pasta sauce.  Remove from heat.  In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer combine the ricotta cheese with the spinach mixture.   Set aside.
  4. Assemble the lasagna.
    1. Spray a casserole dish (12 x 9) with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.
    2. Spread half the spaghetti squash on top of the pasta sauce.  Then top with half the ground turkey.
    3. Spoon half the spinach ricotta filling over the turkey layer.  Spread evenly using a spatula.
    4. Layer 1/2 C of the pasta sauce over the spinach ricotta filling and repeat steps B and C.
    5. Top the lasagna with the remaining 1/2 C pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan.
  5. Place the casserole in the oven and bake at 425 F for 20 minutes.  (Note: turn your oven setting to broil for the last 2 minutes of baking and allow the bubbly cheese to get golden)
  6. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow to cool 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Buranija (Green Bean Stew)

Buranija (Green Bean Stew)

This weekend I caught up with my aunts and grandmothers in Bosnia (via this awesome little piece of technology called Magic Jack…look it up if you have family overseas).  And majka, my mama’s mama, asked me if I have been making Bosnian food for Andrew.  Of course I told a white lie and said yes, but I will be the first to admit (to you all, not to majka) I have been slacking on cooking Bosnian food.

Buranija (Green Bean Stew)

So with a slightly guilty conscience I was inspired to make a one of my childhood favorite stews: buranija (boo-raani-yah).  I did not want to fuss over the meat I used in the stew.  Traditionally, beef stew meat or chicken thighs/wings are used.  I wanted minimal effort, with a tasty end result.  I always keep frozen turkey meatballs on-hand for these lazy chef emergencies.  Usually, I do enjoy making my own meatballs, but it was a week night and I just wanted a one-pot, 30-minute meal.

Buranija (Green Bean Stew)

The starch from the potatoes will thicken the stew, you can always add extra water to thin the consistency if that is what you prefer. 

This stew is very similar to grašak (the pea stew I have previously posted on here).  Whenever people ask me what Bosnian food is like the answer is: stews, pita (savory pies), Ćevapi (grilled kebabs), and lamb.  Stews are a staple in bosnian cuisine.

Buranija (Green Bean Stew)

Enjoy this little piece of my heritage the next time you’re looking for a quick, hearty meal for your family.

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4-6

The Players:

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, rinsed and sliced (1/4 to 1/2 inch thick)
12 oz frozen cut green beans
10-12 frozen turkey meatballs
2 1/2 C water
1 T tomato paste
1/2 t smoked paprika
1 t garlic powder
1 t dried dill
salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 t Vegeta in place of salt)
optional garnish: 1 T fresh chopped parsley

The Rules: 

  1. Heat 1 oil in a dutch oven or stockpot on medium-high heat then add onions and carrots and cook until onion is translucent ~3 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients (except optional parsley) and stir well.  Bring the stew to a boil, and reduce heat setting to medium.  Replace lid on pot and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Let the stew cool for 10-15 minutes before eating.  Garnish with optional parsley.