Hu are You?

Happy Wednesday y’all!
Well, the first day of 2013 was definitely a success for my family and I. By success I mean that mom and I set out to run a few much needed errands which ended in her purchasing a new rug for the floors. You see, my dad decided to rip up the carpet in the living room yesterday morning only because my parents are deciding between getting hardwoods or tile in the house. Oh, and this all started because I couldn’t fit a pan into the oven in our kitchen. Somehow the small oven translated into new kitchen, which translated into new floors. I see a pattern here. Anyway, if you have thoughts on tile or hardwood floors, throw them my way! Let’s talk about food. Duh.

I can’t even begin to remember when the last time it was that I ate meatloaf. When I was little I developed an adverse relationship towards this mystery meat. Mystery meat meaning God only knew what was in there and it gave me anxiety trying to figure it out. Mystery meat be gone!

A couple of weeks ago my older cousin mentioned to me that he had eaten the best Paleo meatloaf at one of his new fave Paleo restaurants in New York, Hu Kitchen. After checking out the Hu Kitchen website, not only was I jealous that I didn’t have one here, but I felt the need to create my own version of each item on the menu. It all just looked so good! Yesterday, I got to work on this meatloaf.

You start with a good saute of red and orange bell pepper along with some yellow onion and garlic.

We are going Italian-style on this meatloaf yo. 

Bada-bing!

I spooned some of my dad’s leftover homemade slow roasted tomato sauce over the top of the meatloaf mid-way through the baking process. 

Ummmm…not the prettiest meatloaf (mainly because I didn’t have the patience to allow it to cool completely) but for sure the tastiest!

The bell peppers add a hint of sweetness that balances the savory quality of the tomato sauce. 

Paleo Italian Turkey Meatloaf. Boo-yah Jack!
Paleo Italian Turkey Meatloaf (GF):
Ingredients:
extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
half of 1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. of ground turkey (I used about 80/20)
2 T. Italian spice blend (recipe follows)
1 egg, whisked
1/3 c. fresh homemade tomato sauce (try my Garlic-Herb Tomato Sauce)
Italian Spice Blend:
1 t. sea salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. granulated garlic
1 T. granulated onion
1 T. ground sage
1 T. ground fennel seeds
2 t. dried parsley
2 t. dried basil
2 t. dried oregano
Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with evoo. Combine all of the ingredients for the Italian spice blend in a small jam jar and shake until evenly distributed. Set aside. 
2. Heat a drizzle of evoo in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, onion, and garlic and saute until the onions become translucent about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3. Place the mixture into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. 
4. Add the ground turkey, spice blend, and egg. Mix using your hands until well combined.
5. Spread the meat mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven, and spread the tomato sauce out over the top of the meatloaf.
6. Put the meatloaf back into the oven and bake for an additional 40-45 minutes.
7. Let the meatloaf rest until slightly room temperature. 
8. Slice and serve.
Makes 6 slices of meatloaf.
MANGIA!!!

Food Buzz Tastemaker: Sweet N’ Low.

Happy Thursday y’all,
I am pretty excited to share some fun things with y’all today! So, I may have mentioned that I am a part of the Foodbuzz family (well, now they are called the daily buzz, but that is beside the point). One year and going strong! Anyway, Foodbuzz has these amazing opportunities for it’s featured publishers every so often (I think it might be each month) to opt-in for a specific partnership. This allows their featured publisher’s, aka ME, to get to sample awesome food/drink products. I was super excited when Foodbuzz partnered up with Sweet N’ Low this month for the Tastemaker Program, and lucky me, I was one of the chosen blogger’s…whoop!
 Now, I was pretty freaking excited when my package showed up on the door yesterday from Foodbuzz + Sweet N’ Low with a sweet little cocktail shaker, great drink recipes, and of course, numerous samples of Sweet N’ Low. My imagination began working immediately. No joke. Plus, this was my first go around as a bartender on my blog. Look at me now! 
I mean, who doesn’t remember growing up with Sweet N’ Low? They were my first sugar substitute and to this day, I still sprinkle a little over my strawberries for a quick snack! 
Let’s get down to business. 
Tomorrow is Friday. Let’s start this drinking game early, shall we?
The essentials: strawberry puree, coconut water, tequila, Sweet N’ Low, and a squirt of lime juice.

We just made a Skinny Spiked Strawberry Coconut Agua Fresca. 
Boom!
 Oh, and you know in my kitchen, drinks and food go together. 

Asian Turkey Meatballs 

with 

a Sweet (because there is sweet n’ low in it) and Spicy Tropical Peanut Dipping Sauce. 
I could definitely get used to this Tastemaker thing. 
Thanks a bunch to DailyBuzz and Sweet N’ Low
Skinny Spiked Strawberry Coconut Agua Fresca:
Ingredients:
1 c. fresh strawberry puree, divided (blend about 6-7 strawberries until smooth in a food processor or blender)
1/4 c. agave tequila 
1 c. plain coconut water 
juice of 1 small lime
2 packets of Sweet N’ Low 
4-5 ice cubes
extra sliced strawberries, optional
Instructions:
1. Place 1/2 c. of the strawberry puree and the remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker, do a little shaking dance, and pour into a large margarita glass.
2. Stir the remaining puree into the glass.
3. Garnish the drink with extra sliced strawberries or toss a few into the drink. It’s your call! 
Serves 1
Asian Turkey Meatballs with Sweet and Spicy Tropical Peanut Dipping Sauce (GF):
Ingredients:
For the meatballs:
1 lb. of ground turkey (I used a 90/100 ratio)
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 of a carrot, grated
1 T. fresh ginger, grated
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly cracked black pepper
1 T. low sodium soy sauce
For the dipping sauce:
3 T. coconut water
1 T. light coconut milk
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. smooth peanut butter
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
1 t. freshly grated ginger
1 t. Sirracha
2 packets of Sweet N’ Low
Instructions:
For the meatballs:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl using your hands. 
3. Roll the mixture into small meatballs, about 2 tablespoons worth for each meatball. 
4. Place in the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
For the dipping sauce:
1. In a small bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth. Serve in a small bowl for dipping the meatballs. 
Makes about a dozen meatballs and 1/2 c. of dipping sauce.
MANGIA!!!

Bacon.

I really, really, ridiculously don’t know how this happened. One, I haven’t eaten bacon since I was probably ten years old. Second, I only ate bacon cooked by my father, or Ronald McDonald, who served it with a side of kiddie cakes. What have I been missing? Apparently, a lot. 
This past Saturday I took a trip to my local health food store and for some reason, all I had was bacon on the brain. The weekend will do that to you, right? Anyway, I bought some hormone free pork bacon, not even glancing at the price, because I am sure it was something like $5 dollars for four slices…o mah gawd. However, it was the tastiest bacon ever. 
So, now I’m on this bacon train and I won’t ever get off. My dad also had an epiphany last week and decided to revamp his diet…somehow my seester convinced him to go Paleo. Luckily, for my dad, bacon is food of the Paleo God’s. So, last night for dinner I got creative. That is if you want to call…
turkey burgers over a bed of spinach creative.
Wait for it…
Then I add some juicy, sweet, sliced white flesh peaches all up on it

wait for it…
B-A-C-O-N
 
Now, obviously I don’t even know what to call this…it’s like a burger, but a salad, and a leaning tower of sweet, salty, crispy, goodness all in one!

Now, all I need to do is find someway to incorporate bacon into my morning smoothie this week…

yep.
Paleo Peach and Bacon Burgers (G/F):
Ingredients:
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. of ground turkey (I used about 90/10 fat content)
salt and pepper, to taste (or your choice of burger seasoning)
1 large white flesh peach, pitted, and sliced lengthwise into thin slices
8 strips of full-fat pork bacon 
fresh spinach leaves, optional
Instructions:
1. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. 
2. Form the turkey meat into 4 patties, season both sides of each turkey patty.
3. Cook the turkey burgers for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until slightly golden and slightly firm to the touch on top. Once finished, transfer the patties to a plate to rest. 
4. Slice the peach and set aside.
5. Place the bacon in a large non-stick skillet over low-medium heat, cook the bacon for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until slightly crispy. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain.
6. Place each turkey burger over a bed of fresh spinach leaves, top with about 2-3 slices of peach, 2 slices of crispy bacon and stuff!
Makes 4 turkey burgers.
MANGIA!!!

Game Face On.

Happy Saturday all!!!

I know what you must be thinking. Really, Chelsy? A post on Saturday? Well, all I have to say is that I am on fire, well, not literally, but to put it simply, I have been having a blast rolling out the recipes this week. I am really getting acclimated to being my parents’ personal chef and I have finally begun to discover what they like to eat. Basically, it’s all about quick, simple, and flavorful meals in this house. While I really do enjoy slaving over a hot-cooked meal…there is nothing better than biting into a slow-roasted chicken at the end of a long workday, there is nothing wrong with a little convenience now and then. I have spoiled myself with these simple recipes! Seriously, not the “oh my gosh I am sixteen and I just spent all my Daddy’s money at the mall on shoes and a Coach hand bag kind of spoiled,” but more of the “I am exhausted from a week full of work and now I am going to go get a much needed pedicure and a massage for myself kind of spoiled.” Yes, simplicity is the name of the game people. Speaking of games? Isn’t there some big game played with a brown pig-skin tomorrow between hot guys in tight pants? O yea, well this recipe would be the bomb.com for Sunday’s Super Bowl game. 

There is nothing wrong with chopping up some fresh veggies (do it ahead to save time)
 Add some fresh herbs…you can see where I am going with this right?
Add some turkey, mix it
 all together now…
 Bam! Mexican-Style Sweet and Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Maybe even top it with some fresh Pineapple Apple Salsa.

It doesn’t get more healthier than that, people. Do it. Do it now. Then you can share with your friends and family sit in a corner with the entire platter, surrounded by a fortress of ice coolers on Super bowl Sunday. Game face on.

WHAT ARE YOU COOKING/EATING FOR SUPER BOWL SUNDAY?
DID YOU ENTER MY LARABAR GIVEAWAY YET? YOU HAVE 6 MORE DAYS!



Mexican-Style Sweet and Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps:


Ingredients:
1 T. olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey (I used 97% fat content)
1 orange bell pepper, seeds discarded, roughly chopped
1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. ground chipotle powder
1/2 t. ground Spanish paprika
1/2 t. ground chile powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. green onions, roughly chopped
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 large head of iceberg lettuce


Instructions:
1. Heat olive oil in a heavy frying pan over medium heat. 
2. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic, saute for about 3 minutes, just until the mixture has “sweat down” a bit.
3. Add the spices and mix thoroughly, cook for around 1 minute.
4. Add the ground turkey and salt, cooking over a medium-high heat. Make sure to break apart the turkey with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks. 
5. Cook the turkey for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown.
6. When the turkey is lightly browned, add the green onions and cook for about 2 minutes.
7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice.
8. Spoon 2-3 large spoonfuls of the turkey mixture into each piece of lettuce. Top the meat mixture with salsa (see recipe below).


Pineapple Apple Salsa:


Ingredients:
1 Serrano pepper, seeds discarded, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds discarded, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 c. cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 c. pineapple, cut into small chunks
1 pink lady apple, peeled and cored, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 T. distilled white vinegar
salt, to taste


Instructions:
1. Prepare everything as noted. Place all ingredients, except for lime, vinegar, and salt into a large bowl.
2. Toss everything together with the lime juice and vinegar.
3. Season to taste with salt.






MANGIA!!!

Pre-gaming for Thanksgiving!

Happy Thursday all!

We are exactly one week from Thanksgiving and things are looking pretty stellar if you ask me! Now, obviously I haven’t made it clear how excited I am to indulge in the flavors of Thanksgiving. I cannot wait to get a mouthful of that juicy, tender turkey, ham crusted with a honey glaze, cornbread stuffing packed with chopped veggies, and pumpkin pie so sweet that I might just go back for seconds…and thirds. Now, I must confess that yesterday I had the last straw with my contemplation and anxiety over Thanksgiving food. Of course I had my food breakdown when I was in Whole Foods staring through the glass case at the two different types of sliced turkey breast, cranberry sauce, gravy, balsamic glazed green beans, sweet potato crunch casserole, and the list goes on.

Basically, I have kept myself from indulging in the real Thanksgiving food because I want to be surprised on Thanksgiving. It’s not Thanksgiving food if you have it every day leading up to Thanksgiving! Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth? Maybe it’s just me, but I like to indulge in Thanksgiving food on the actual day! However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t re-create the flavors of Thanksgiving, now does it? Yes, people I have found a loop hole. A loop hole that would allow me to create my pre-gaming Thanksgiving meal. I believe I mentioned that I enjoyed a fabulous roasted root vegetable puree at Foodbuzz Festival, and ever since then my little hands have been eager to recreate my own roasted vegetable puree.

Now, I am not a huge fan of mashed potatoes, but hey, when I want some comfort food, all I can think of is getting my hands on a heaping plate of garlic mashed potatoes. So, as I was wondering through the produce aisle yesterday gazing at vegetables I don’t usually identify with, I saw the itty bitty sign labeled parsnips. Now, I was kind of confused because I thought parsnips were round, like a rutabaga. However, the produce guy informed me that “Parsnips are those ugly yellow things that look like carrots.”
Now, I had no idea that these things right here were parsnips!
So, I took those parsnips and made this!
Roasted parsnip puree…pretty damn inventive, no?
I would say that this dish definitely satisfied my mashed potato tooth, and may have even been better than mashed potatoes. No, they were DEFINITELY better! All I did was roast those parsnips, saute garlic and onion, put it all in a food processor with some vegetable broth, pinch of salt and pepper, and a handful of fresh green onions. Give it a whirl or two, and BAM! You have a healthy Thanksgiving side dish! Now all I needed was something to satisfy my turkey tooth. That was a no-brainer. I did what I do best, meatballs, turkey-style. Remember that sage from my pumpkin-sage sauce a few days ago? Well, I obviously didn’t use all of it, so I thought, why let a a good thing go to waste? So, I made turkey-sage meat-a-balls! Super easy! I have said before that I don’t like a lot of crap in my meatballs, i.e. fillers. You know, I like to actually be able to taste the meat. I love meatballs so I definitely knew what I was doing.
I mix-a the meat-a-ball and I scoop-a the meat-a-ball…

Before going into the oven…


And after…gorgeous, right?

I looked at my two dishes and knew that I was missing one extra thing to bring it all together. That’s when I decided to make a cranberry-orange relish. I told you I have a sweet tooth, and combining sweet and savory together is my forte.

The finished product…
Up close and personal…are you drooling yet? I hope so!
Let’s just say I am definitely excited for my lunch today…

And that my friends is how you make a pre-gaming meal for Thanksgiving. I would also like to add that making comfort food brought in the cold weather round these here parts last night. Nothing better that a warm helping of comfort food on a cold and windy fall day. If you are having Thanksgiving anxiety, this meal is a sure fix to last you up to Thanksgiving day. I suggest you get into the kitchen and whip you up some of these Thanksgiving comfort flavors stat!

Roasted Parsnip Puree and Turkey-Sage Meatballs with Cranberry-Orange Relish:

Ingredients:

For the Roasted Parsnip Puree:
1 lb. of parsnips, peeled, and top stems cut off
olive oil
1/2 of a white onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. chopped green onions

For the Turkey-Sage Meatballs:
1 lb. of ground turkey (I used 7% fat)
1/2 of a white onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs. fresh sage, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil

For the Cranberry-Orange Relish:
2 (12 oz.) bags fresh cranberries
2 oranges
1 c. sugar

Instructions:

For the Roasted Parsnip Puree:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the parsnips on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
3. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
4. Allow the parsnips to cool.
5. In the meantime, add the onion and garlic to the food processor and blend.
6. Place a saute pan over medium heat on the stove, drizzle with olive oil, add the onion and garlic to the pan.
7. Saute for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
8. Place the parsnips, onion, garlic, green onions, salt and pepper into the food processor. Process for one minute.
9. Add the vegetable broth and process until smooth.
10. Plate and garnish with fresh chopped green onions.

For the Turkey-Sage Meatballs:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Pulse the onion and garlic together using a food processor.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion, garlic, turkey, sage, salt and pepper.
4. Roll the turkey mixture into 1-in. balls (you can also use a cookie dough scooper or an ice cream scooper if you want larger meat balls).
5. Place each meatball on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

For the Cranberry-Orange Relish:
1. In a sauce pan, combine one bag of cranberries along with the zest and juice of one orange.
2. Bring the mixture to a simmer for three minutes. Allow to cool.
3. Add the remaining bag of cranberries to a food processor.
4. Cut the remaining orange into 8 pieces and add to the food processor.
5. Pulse the cranberries and orange together until finely chopped.
6. Combine this mixture with the cooked mixture and serve.

MANGIA!!!