Category Archives: Meat

Turkey Chili

I am excited to share one of my favorite go-to’s, Turkey Chili.  When I started my weight loss journey I came up with a few recipes that were easy,  nutritious and most importantly, taste great!   One of the reasons I was successful in losing 60 pounds is that I know how to cook.  I never felt like I was on a “diet” because I came up with recipes like this which are extremely satisfying and filling. I made this once a week for months and still cook it often now. 

I usually make this with dark meat ground turkey – ground turkey thigh.  I think it more flavorful and filling with the dark meat.  It can also be made with ground turkey breast, lean ground beef or veggie crumbles if you want to make it vegan.  The chili has a great taste due to the fresh garlic, onion and pepper.  The spice combination is wonderful; the vinegar adds a little bit of tang while the bay leaf adds depth of flavor.  

It is fun to add different toppings.  Some of my favorites are guacamole or plain diced avocado, diced tomatoes, scallions, fresh cilantro or crushed tortilla chips.  The more toppings the better in my opinion!  I also like to add a few dashes of hot sauce and a squeeze of lemon or lime right before serving.  

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Yield: 3 – 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium bell pepper, diced, any color you like

1 pound ground turkey

8 oz. can of beans, either black beans or kidney beans

8 oz. can of fire roasted diced tomatoes

¼ can of water

1 tablespoon vinegar (either red wine or apple cider)

1 teaspoon tumeric

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 bay leaf (optional)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

A few grinds of black pepper

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottom pot.  Add the onion, bell pepper, turmeric and a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté until the onions begin to soften and garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes.    

Raise heat to medium-high. Add the ground turkey and sprinkle in ½ teaspoon salt, the chili powder,cumin,  pepper and oregano.  Work spices into the meat cook until it is crumbled and no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the beans, diced tomatoes, vinegar and bay leaf.  I put a little bit of water into the tomato can and stir it around to get the stuck tomatoes and juice out and add that to the pot as well.  Stir well so that all the ingredients are cooking together. Bring to a boil. Cover with a tight lid and reduce the heat to low.  Let simmer for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove the lid, stir well and it is ready to serve. 

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Asian Lettuce Wraps

Welcome to my first post in over four years!  I am still amazed that there are people coming of this blog on a daily basis without new content.  I would like to think that it is because the recipes and articles I have published in the past are timeless and useful to the readers who have been visiting site in my absence.  Thank you to all of the followers!  

Even though I have not been actively blogging I can assure you that I think about it often, have written dozens of posts in my head and envisioned a grand relaunch.  The reason I actually am writing this post is because I am scheduled to cook this for a group of 50 ladies this week for my local Chabad Culinary Club.  I was forced to put pen to proverbial paper and write this recipe. I figured that since I was taking the time to actually type it out I should post it as well.  And here we are.

I have had the opportunity to demo other recipes for the club in the past.  It meets once a month and is a place to learn new recipes, sample tasty food and socialize.  This month the theme is Asian food and I thought my Lettuce Wraps would be a fun dish to add to the menu.  They are easy, healthy and so very delicious.

There is another reason I wanted to share this dish.  While I have been on hiatus from blogging I have been on a weight loss journey that has changed my life.  I have lost 60 pounds over the past 2 years and have kept it off for over a year.  The transformation has been equally physical and mental.

These lettuce wraps have been a staple for me while losing and maintaining my weight. They can be made with ground chicken, lean ground beef or veggie crumbles if you would like to make them vegan.  They are a popular  restaurant menu item, and there is no reason you cannot easily make them at home with probably half the fat and sodium.  They are incredibly flavorful and have a good amount of veggies as well as protein which makes them surprisingly filling.  Plus, who does not love eating a lettuce wrap?

I hope to share the many other recipes that have helped me with my weight loss.  Between my hectic job, family, kids activities and my own fitness and self care blogging simply fell by the wayside.  It is my hope that this first step will be the impetus I need to share the dozens of posts, recipes and tips that have been floating around in my head all these years.

 

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time:  20 Minutes

Yield: 4 servings

 

1 head bibb, butter or romaine lettuce

1 pounds of ground chicken breast or lean ground beef

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, diced very small

4 scallions, chopped

4 large cloves of garlic, minced 

4 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger or ginger puree (frozen such as Dorot or fresh)

8 oz. crimini mushrooms, chopped fine

1 medium green pepper, diced small

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon siracha hot sauce (optional)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Take apart the head of lettuce, rinse each leaf and set aside to dry on paper towels.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté the ground meat with a healthy pinch of kosher salt until cooked almost all the way through and crumbly, about 5 minutes.

If you are using ground beef it is best to remove it from the pan and drain the excess fat.  If you are using ground chicken breast or veggie crumbles you can leave it in the skillet.

Add the diced onion, 2 chopped scallions, green pepper, garlic and ginger.  If the vegetables are sticking, you can add a bit more oil.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes until all the vegetables have softened.  If your ground beef is on the side this is where you would add it back to the skillet.

Add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and stir well.  Lower heat to low and add the hot sauce and toasted sesame oil.  Allow the mixture to cook for 3 or 4 more minutes so that all the flavors combine.

If your lettuce is wet you will want to pat it dry before serving (no one wants to eat a soggy lettuce wrap).  Place a generous amount of the meat mixture in the middle of each lettuce leaf.  Garnish with finely chopped scallions.

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Lemon Ginger Stir Fry

This post was supposed to be published last week.  Unfortunately, it was derailed by my son getting sick.  For all you parents out stir fry done in panthere, I think you will agree that there is nothing more stressful than your child getting sick.  You can have stress in your job, your relationship, or any area in your life, but there is nothing as stressful as watching your little one ill.  Last week was my son.  This week is my 6 month old baby.  To say I am at my wits end is an understatement!

Since I have both kids in bed right now I decided to go ahead and write this post.  This is actually one of the first recipes that I created back in college.  I used to make lots and lots of stir fries in college and this one became a favorite.  I remember a visit to London where I was staying with a friend who lived in a flat with several roommates.  As a thank you for letting us stay I made this for everyone for dinner.  It was such a hit that people were literally licking their plate clean.  I knew I had a winner at that point!  Recently I gave this recipe to my sister and her husband.  They liked it so much they decided to make it again and photograph it for me – thanks Ro and Bill! (notice the adorable dog in the picture – that’s Wrigley)

My original version of this recipe was made with chicken so that is how I always make it.  However, you can leave the chicken out for a vegetarian dish.  You can also change up the vegetables for whatever looks good, or you happen to really like.  Different colored peppers and zucchini are also great in here.  With all the veggies, little fat and lean protein this is as healthy as it is tasty.  I like to serve this over white or brown rice.  Delicious!

 

 

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 – 20 Minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

 

 

2 tablespoons canola oilStir Fry Prep 2

2 scallions, chopped

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Juice of 1 large lemon, or 2 small lemons

1/4 cup soy sauce (I prefer low sodium)

2 large chicken breasts, cut into chunksStir fry wrigly

1 head of bok choy, washed well and chopped

2 cups chopped broccoli

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup and a half snap peas, halved

Sesame seeds (optional)

 

 

Put up water for whatever rice you plan to make.  Prepare the rice.

In a large skillet heat the canola oil over medium heat.  Place the ginger and scallions in the pan and sauté until the scallions just begin to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and soy sauce and stir.

Stir fry scallions and ginger

Place the chicken into the pan and let cook for four to five minutes.

stir fry chicken in pan

Add the broccoli and let cook for two or three minutes, until it begins to soften.  Add the bok choy and stir. Once that softens a bit add the snap peas and mushrooms.  The idea is to add the vegetables in order of which will take the longest to cook.

stir fry in pan2

Sauté over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve over whatever rice you like best.

stir fry in bowl

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Classic Hamburger

I am happy to announce that I am participating in the Joyofkosher.com Kosher Connection Link Up for Kosher food bloggers again (see below!).  The theme for this month is grilled food.  Perfect – right up my alley!  I love almost anything grilled, from lettuce,to meat, to fish, to fruits and veggies.  I had a hard time deciding what to post since you can make so many great recipes on the grill.  I was having thoughts of grilled sandwiches, desserts, kabobs and all sorts of grilled concoctions.  After many days of obsessing I could not decide what to post, but kept coming back to my favorite thing to make on the grill – a good old fashioned hamburger.

I love this recipe because it is quick, easy and delicious.  It is kid and adult tested and always a winner!  There are only a few ingredients, and these burgers are really flavorful.  They can be made on an outdoor grill or year round on a grill pan.  For many years I lived in an apartment and did not have an outdoor grill.  These are still great made on the grill pan.

I love this burger on a bun topped with ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato pickles and a slice of onion – the classic.  You can also get creative with what type of bun you use and top it with any of your favorite toppings.  Some other toppers I love are sliced avocado, grilled onions and mushrooms, spicy mayonnaise or any pickled veggie.  The possibilities are endless!

 

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time:  10 – 12 Minutes

Yield: 4 servings

 

1 ¼ pounds of lean ground beef

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly cracked pepper

 

Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill over medium-high heat.

Combine the salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder in a large bowl.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and meat to the of the spices.  Mix until just combined – do not over mix.

Create 4 burgers out of the mixture.  Create a dimple in the middle of each burger to help cook evenly. Place the burgers on the grill.

Grill for 5 – 6 minutes on each side for medium burgers.  A minute less for medium rare and a minute or two more for well done on each side.

 


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Sweet and Savory Meatballs

I really love the traditional Italian meatball with a good red sauce and spaghetti.  But this meatball is good too!  It is totally different from the Italian meatball and is normally eaten with rice as opposed to pasta.  I personally like it over rice pilaf.  The sauce is sweet and savory at the same time (hence the name) and it is really easy to make.  The ingredient list may make you pause – grape jelly in your sauce?  I was skeptical too!  I promise that you do not even know it is in there.  I just ask that you try it and see what you think. You will not be sorry 🙂

This is a great Passover dish because you can easily substitute the bread crumbs for matzo meal.  The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a lot of guests.  Even if you are making this for two or three people I suggest making the whole batch as leftovers are delicious!

 

Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time:  45 minutes
Yield:  4 – 6 servings

 

Sauce:
Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil in a Misto (preferable)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 can tomato sauce (8oz), plus 1 can of water (use tomato sauce can)
1 small can tomato paste
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of grape jelly
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Meatballs:
1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg
1 tablespoon of sugar
3- 4 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs, can substitute matzo meal
Pinch of allspice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Coat a heavy bottomed, medium sized pot with cooking spray (or oil in a Mist0) and sauté the onion over medium heat until softened, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir until the tomato paste and grape jelly are completely melted into the sauce.  Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.   Bring sauce to boil and reduce to simmer.

Mix meatball ingredients in a large bowl until just mixed through.  Roll meat into balls and add to sauce.  Bring meatballs and sauce to a low simmer and cook 45 minutes, covered shaking the pot often to prevent sticking.

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Lamb Kebabs

I polled a few family members and friends to ask what my second recipe posting should be.  Being that I recently made these kebabs this recipe was the most in demand.

I love kebabs!  We make many different kinds in my family.  They originated in the Middle East, but have been adapted by many cultures.  Whether they are made with beef, lamb or chicken, made with ground meat or chunks, on a skewer or off, they are a very flavorful way to prepare meat or even veggies.  You can spice them up a number of ways and they are always a crowd pleaser.

I must admit that I have taken some short cuts with this recipe.   Kebabs are traditionally cooked and served on skewers.  It is absolutely fine to place these kebabs on skewers if you wish.  In the interest of time I normally skip this step.  Kebabs are also traditionally grilled.  You can either use a grill pan or flame grill to cook these and they would be great.  The reason I cook them in the oven is to save some time and not have to baby sit them.  That way I can multitask and do other things while they are cooking.  I also use two of my favorite kitchen gadgets in order to save time, the lemon zester and mini food processor.

This is actually a very simple recipe with few ingredients.  Lamb has a very distinct and strong flavor.  The mint is a great and natural complement to the lamb.  This can also be made with ground chicken or ground beef.  If you do not like mint you can substitute fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley.  I hope you enjoy this dish.  As always, please give me your feedback!  I am particularly interested in hearing what people think about the lemon zest as I was not sure myself if it is a good addition.  I can’t wait to hear what you think!

 

Lamb Kebabs

 

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time:  40 Minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

 

1 ½  pounds of ground lamb

½ large red onion, or 1 small red onion

3 cloves garlic

Zest of half a lemon (optional)

¼ cup fresh mint, plus 1 tablespoon chopped for garnish

1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a mini food processor pulse together the onion, garlic, lemon zest and mint.  If you do not have a processor you can also chop everything by hand.  Just be sure it is very finely chopped.

Place the mixture into a large bowl. If you are chopping everything by hand be sure to mix the onion, garlic, zest and mint together well.  Add the ground lamb, salt and pepper.  Mix until all ingredients are just combined.  Do not overwork or over mix.

Divide the meat in half and keep dividing it in half until you have 8 mounds of meat.  Roll each mound into a ball and then roll the middle of the meat lengthwise until you have a short log.

Place each kebab on a tin foil lined baking sheet.  If you have a cooking rack you can also place them on the rack on top of the baking sheet.

Cook the kebabs for 20 minutes.  Turn over and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through.  Garnish with chopped mint.

The kebabs can be served as an appetizer or main dish and served with cous cous or rice.

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