Turkey Meatball Soup

 

Since fall in right around the corner, and we all want something warm to eat, why not try a soup that is not only delicious but is great for your waistline. My turkey meatball soup is jam packed with veggies that can be changed to your liking. For example, I didn’t include butternut squash but the next time I make it, it sure will include it! Use veggies that you have from the farmers market or your own garden. And surly, don’t skimp on them either. This soup freezes well and is awesome the next day.

 

Turkey Meatball Soup

Serves 4

  • 1 1/4 lb Ground turkey (85% lean)
  • 1 Carton chicken stock or broth
  • 1 can Great Northern Beans
  • 1 Medium onion (1/2 chopped fine for the meat, 1/2 rough chopped)
  • 2 Garlic cloves (finely chopped and separated)
  • 1 cup Carrots (chopped)
  • 1 Celery stalk (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Bread crumbs
  • 1/8 cup Fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 box Frozen spinach (defrosted and squeezed) or 2 cups fresh spinach
  •  S & P to taste in soup and meatballs
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp Butter (unsalted)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/8 cup Milk
  • 2 tbsp Greek dressing

 

Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with tin foil. In a large bowl, combine the turkey,  fine chopped onion, 1 garlic clove, bread crumbs, half the parsley, garlic powder, S & P, egg, milk, and Greek dressing. Use your hand to mix and form the meatballs. It should make about 12 regular size meatballs or 24 mini meatballs. Bake for  35-40 minutes and cool for 5 minutes before putting the meatballs into the soup.

 

While the meatballs cook in the oven, in a large pot, melt the butter on a medium to high heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook for about 10 minutes to soften the veggies. Add the garlic, beans, chicken stock, parsley, and S & P. Stir and cover for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the spinach. Add the meatballs after they have cooled from the oven.

 

Cover and simmer the soup for about an hour. Serve with garlic bread or biscuits.  As always, enjoy!

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If stock is used, you may need to season the soup more with salt than you would with the broth.

 

Miranda’s Tips and Tricks

ATTENTION: Informational post, no pictures.

Since I have had several requests for tips and tricks when I am cooking/faking, I figured I’d better start brainstorming. First off, I’m sure these aren’t all of tips and tricks but these are the ones I use pretty frequently. Secondly, they all work! I will never share something that isn’t of use or won’t work when you try it but with that being said; follow the instructions. Many of mine will be up for debate until you try them for yourself. I’ve tried alternatives that I have come across through the internet and through others. If there is a tip you are questioning or one you don’t see on my list, feel free to ask me below in the comments. I’d be happy to test them or may have a direct answer for you!

  1. Hard boiled eggs– Completely cover in cold water. Add 3 tbsp white vinegar and cover. Bring them to a boil on the stove, lower to a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave covered for another 5 minutes. Place the eggs in an ice bath for 5 more minutes. The skins should remove easily in the ice water and the yolk is perfectly cooked with no gray ring.
  2. Pasta water– Bring water to a roaring boil and place 1-2 tbsp salt in the water. Add the pasta and wait until the water is boiling again. Stir the pasta and turn the heat down at least half way. The water will continue to boil just not as frantic. Cover and with a low boil, the water does not boil over.
  3. Cutting onions-Refrigerate the onion a couple hours prior to cutting and place knife in the freezer 5 minutes before chopping. It may not stop you from completely tearing up but it will minimize the effects.
  4. Thickening soups, stews, etc.– Gravy: 2 tbsp corn starch and 1/3 cup of warm water. Mix until smooth and no lumps. Soups and stews: 2 tbsp flour and 1/3 cup warm water or milk. Mix until smooth and no lumps. Macaroni and cheese: always use flour to conduct the rue. Cornstarch does not act the same and you will have a much thinner consistency.
  5. Fresh herbs-chop small enough to fit in ice cube trays. Fill with olive oil or melted unsalted butter. Freeze and use in different recipes such as oven baked chicken or pot roast.
  6. Tomato based foods– for soup, sauce, or any tomato filled dish; store in plastic containers or zip lock bags. Steel or aluminum will break down after the acid in the tomato is on it for so long. Wooden bowls will begin to absorb the tomato and it makes it almost impossible to remove that tomato stain.
  7. Excess cookies or brownies– freeze in air tight containers or zip lock bags for up to six months.  I freeze all of my Xmas cookies so I can enjoy them months later. (you’re welcome 😊)
  8. Cast iron pots and pans– never, ever, EVER put them in the dishwasher. Always wash by hand with warm soapy water and oil after every use. This will ensure that they remain a true cast iron with no rust. Put a couple drops of oil in the dried pan and rub the pan with a paper towel.
  9. Bacon– Yup! Let’s talk bacon! Bake it, don’t fry it! Why? More crispy, completely flat, little to no mess. Line a baking sheet with non stick foil. Preheat the oven to 375° and bake until crispy (about 20 minutes). You’ll never go back to pan frying ever again.
  10. Prepping fruits and veggies– Why? It makes for a quicker and smoother transition when cooking a meal. How? Chop, dice, peel, etc. to the same size. They cook evenly and look pretty when serves.
  11. Prevent fruit and veggies from turning brown– toss in 1 tsp or lemon/lime juice or vinegar. It won’t flavor anything but it will keep it from turning brown and looking old. Also, sanitize the same way. Add a cup of water with the lemon/lime juice or vinegar. Toss the veggies/fruit in and place on paper towels to air dry.
  12. Melons– how to tell if they’re ripe? Cantaloupe and watermelon should have a yellowish color on the skin. A watermelon will have no smell but a cantaloupe will have a sweeter smell to the skin. Pineapples will not be bright green. They will be starting to turn yellow and if you gently pull on a leave it should easily come loose.
  13. Buttermilk– if you can’t make it to the store, just combine 2 cups whole milk, 2-3 tbsp white vinegar, 1 tsp cooled melted butter. Stir it together and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. It should thicken a bit.
  14. Sinking chocolate chips or berries– toss them in 1 tbsp of flour and add them to the recipe. They won’t sink to the bottom.
  15. Hot peppers– place the peppers in an ice bath for at least 15 minutes prior to cutting. This will help with watering eyes, or in my case, choking from the spicy fumes. Remove all the seeds since they contain additional heat. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and lemon juice. Avoid contact with eyes for at least an hour.
  16. Small lemons and limes– place them in the microwave for 10 seconds and roll with your palm. This with allow you to get as much juice as possible from them.
  17. Garlic– if raw garlic is too strong, roast a couple cloves in the oven. Place the cloves in tin foil with a drizzle of olive oil and salt. Form a packet and bake it for 20 minutes and 350°. The garlic will be less intense, a little sweet, and just squeeze out of its skin.
  18. Restaurant style home fries– bake the potatoes for 25 minutes at 350°. Cut them into squares and fry. Season with seasoned salt and they will taste like diner style home fries. You can freeze them after they are cooked for a quick breakfast during the week or for additional filling for burritos.

 

I hope these tips, tricks, and ideas help you in the kitchen as they have myself. Please, leave me comments of you have questions abut any you see here or any for the future. As always, enjoy!

Triple Berry Pie

Homemade pies always seem to take people back to their past or even to childhood memories. My grandmothers both make amazing pies and nothing I could do, would match the taste, warmth from smiles, and love that each bite holds. My favorite pie, growing up was strawberry but as an adult, there are too many to count. I have made this triple berry pie for several years and this has truly become a top favorite just because there are so many textures that take your taste buds in different directions. Please, give it a try and it may give you a glimpse back to your past for a few moments.

 

Triple Berry Pie

Approximately 8 slices

 

Crust (Optional)

  • 2 Cups AP flour
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Crisco (Butter flavored)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 tip Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Ice cold Water (maybe more or less)

Mix all ingredients together except the water in a large bowl. The dough should turn into pea size shapes. Add the water slowly and then use your hands to combine into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 4 hours. * Feel free to use store bought crust.*

Once the dough is cold, flour a flat surface and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough. Depending on the pie plate size, the dough should be rolled into a round shape approximately 10″ in diameter.  Carefully roll the dough onto the rolling pin and roll back off onto the pie plate. The dough should hang over all the side. Pinch the sides or use a fork to crimp the crust.  Prick the insides about a dozen times all over to let steam escape when baking.

 

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups of each berry- blueberries, strawberries (sliced), cherries (pitted and sliced)
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup White sugar
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • 2 tbsp Spiced Rum
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/3 cup corn starch or tapioca (according to directions on back)

Mix all the ingredients together and let sit for 45 minutes to an hour. If the mixture is very soupy, add more corn starch to thicken it before pouring into the pie crust. After the filling has set and is fully combined, add to the pie dough in the pie plate.

 

Brown Sugar Topping

  • 1/2 stick Butter (cold and cubed)
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp AP flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup Oats
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined. Pour into the pie crust with the berry filling and press down slightly. Make sure the topping goes to all the edges. Preheat the oven to 325° and bake for 60-65 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for one hour. Place in the refrigerator for another hour or so. This should make the pie easier to cut and solidify. Cut and serve.

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*Heat in the microwave for 15 seconds to warm before adding ice cream or whipped cream. As always, enjoy!

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Refrigerator Pickles

If you are wanting to enjoy fresh ingredients, make wholesome food for your families, save a little green, then this recipe is great way to start off. Pickles are a low fat food to begin with and are great for additional flavor for diets. Double or even triple this batch and share them with your family and friends with any meal or even during summer get togethers.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

1 serving

  • 1 English cucumber (sliced)
  • 1/4 cup White distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 tsp Coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp White sugar
  • 2 tbsp Dry dill (fresh dill-1/4 cup chopped)
  • 1 tsp Black peppercorns
  • 3 large Garlic cloves (cut in half)

 

Combine all the ingredients into a air tight container. Let the pickles set at least 24 hours to maintain dill flavor. Serve on burgers, sandwiches, or eat plain. These pickles will last up to 10 days in a refrigerator. As always, enjoy!

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Stinger Mac n’ Cheese

 

So here’s the thing! It’s almost impossible to add ingredients to a basic mac n’ cheese recipe and screw it up. My advice? Add what you like and make up names as you go. This recipe is my take on a stinger sub from my hometown in New York. It’s easy to make with minimal prep work and awesome results. Give it a try for your next get together or for dinner one night this week!

 

Stinger Mac n’ Cheese

Makes 6 Servings

  • Mama’s Mac and Cheese Recipe-archived (January)
  • 5 pieces of SteakUm Steaks or uncooked skirt steak
  • 2 cups Chicken fingers (cooked and diced)
  • 1 Red pepper (de-seeded and sliced)
  • 1/2 White onion (sliced)
  • 2 Garlic cloves (grated)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground mustard
  • 1 tsp Butter
  • S & P to taste

 

While making the cheese sauce for you mac n’ cheese, in a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the sliced peppers and onions on medium heat. Once they have begun to soften, add the grated garlic, S & P, and ground mustard. Keep on the heat for about  a minute and then pour the pepper and onion mix into a bowl to cool.

Add the SteakUm or skirt steak pieces to the hot skillet and cook completely. Add the pepper and onion mix back into the skillet and stir until combined. Finally, pour this into a casserole dish. Add the diced chicken fingers, cooked macaroni, and cheese sauce. Stir until mixed completely and add any additional cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 375°.

Remove the stinger mac n’ cheese from the oven. Cool slightly and serve. As always, Enjoy!

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Cozy Rice Pudding

This rice pudding is so easy to make and an awesome dessert to entertain with. People will think you spent hours making it when it really took minutes. When I was a kid, this was my favorite dessert because it was like no other.  Give this recipe a try on a week night or a cool, dreary evening. You’re family will be begging you for more!

Cozy Rice Pudding

4-6 Servings

  • 1 cup Instant Rice (uncooked)
  • 4 cups Whole milk
  • 1 box Vanilla cook and serve Jello (small box)
  • 1/3 cup Raisins
  • 4 tbsp Spiced rum
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla

 

First, soak the raisins in the rum for 1 hour or until the raisins have absorbed the rum. Next, In a medium kettle on medium to high heat, add the milk, Jello, vanilla, and rice. Stir until the pudding starts to thicken. Add the egg, remaining spices, and the rum soaked raisins. Stir the pudding together and remove from heat to cool. Serve warm with additional cinnamon. Enjoy!

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Add orange zest for additional fresh favor

 

 

Guacamole & Salsa

Woah! Two delicious party recipes wrapped into one blog post! Please, try and contain your excitement.  My guacamole recipe is loved by my family and friends but mostly, by my mother in law.  It’s so simple to make along with the mild salsa, right beside it. Since my husband and I were stationed in Texas, we fell in love with several Tex-mix recipes. The foodie that I am, tries to replicate them to the best of my taste buds abilities. Both recipes take only a couple minutes to make and have only fresh ingredients and spices in them. The guacamole is to cool you off while the salsa only heats you back up. Keep a margarita close for these two party favorites!

 

Sandy’s Guacamole

Makes approximately 2 cups

  • 1 large Haas avocado or 2 small avocados (dark skin and squishy)
  • 1/2 medium White onion (chopped)
  • 2 Garlic cloves (peeled and rough chopped)
  • 1/4-1/2 Fresh Jalapeño (no seeds and rough chopped)
  • 1 Roma tomato (diced and 2 tbsp separated for topping)
  • 2 tbsp Fresh parsley or cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 Lime (juiced)
  • S & P to taste
  • Dash of hot sauce (more or less to add additional heat)
  • 1/4 cup EVOO

Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender. Pulse for a thicker guacamole or mix on low for 30 seconds to 1 minute for a creamier texture (which I prefer). If the avocado is a little harder than desired, more EVOO and lime juice may be needed. Once the guacamole mixture to your preference, pour into a bowl and top with tomatoes and parsley. Keep in the refrigerator until serving.

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Recipe 2 below

 

 

Texas Style Salsa

Makes approximately 2 cups

  • 2 Roma tomatoes (roasted , skins removed, diced) + 2 Roma tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 Red, orange, or yellow pepper (halved; one half roasted and diced, other half diced)
  • 1/2 -1 Whole Jalapeño (chopped and de-seeded)
  •  1/4 Fresh parsley or cilantro (chopped)
  • 2 Garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 Lime (zested and juiced)
  • Dash of white sugar
  • 1/2 Small red onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 White onion (chopped)
  • S & P to taste
  • 1/8 tsp Dried oregano (optional)
  • Dash of Liquid smoke (optional)

 

Roasting tomatoes and pepper- half the tomatoes and pepper. Toss is EVOO, S &P, and garlic powder. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 400°. Remove the tomato skins after roasting and cooling.

Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse until your desired texture. Texas style is thin and soupy. Serve with tortilla chips and the guacamole recipe above. As always, enjoy!