Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cheese-Stuffed Turkey Meatballs and Weird Creamy Sauce with Spaghetti

So I know I SAID "no more substitutions"...

But I could not make this week's recipe without substituting. I was short on time tonight and didn't have time to come up with a plan B after I got to the store and realized Safeway did not have all the elements I needed. The recipe calls for ground chicken but I could only find ground turkey, and it also calls for "small boccacinni"--which is spelled wrong--and all I could find were mozzarella balls. They worked perfectly, in my opinion.

Also, at the moment, I cannot upload my pics for some reason. When I inserted the SD card, all the sudden my laptop said, "You must configure" something... Boo. It's probably better, though, because the sauce ended up looking...already consumed. And since I can't find where I got this recipe from in the first place, I can't even copy the photo that I have on my page to show you what it's SUPPOSED to look like. Author's note: I finally was able to upload a photo. It's at the foot of the article. Look ONLY if you must.

Excuses aside, this dish was fun. The house smells amazing. I was a little worried that my soft mozzarella-stuffed meatballs were going to de-ball when I was trying to brown them, but instead they just got a little warped, so it all worked out. I'd say the execution was fairly simple, although I SHOULD have made the sauce first. *makes note on recipe*

As far as the taste goes, it was fine if you like bold Italian flavor. It's got cayenne, which gave it a nice kick and the Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs made a subtle difference in the meat. The taste could have been improved in 2 ways: by using a half teaspoon less of oregano and by not adding the herb and garlic cream cheese to the sauce. I'd much rather have had just a tomato sauce. (Note: I did test a meatball and spaghetti with some jarred marinara, and I didn't like it. Too many things going on. If you don't want to make your own sauce, then just get stewed or diced tomatoes and add some salt and pepper.)

DOH! I just realized I forgot salt and pepper in my sauce! Oh well...guess I didn't need it. Anyway, I'll keep trying to upload my photos and will post an update if I get one.

At the end of the day, I'd say give this one a shot! It's simple, and there's something satisfying about stuffing and serving your own handmade meatballs. :^}

P.S. I imagine this concept would work just fine with your own favorite meatball recipe, too. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Polenta Lasagna

Here is another gluten free recipe, and it's also vegetarian. Could be vegan, if you don't add cheese. Which brings me to my first comment about taste--but wait, lemme 'splain the dish first.

This is more of an assembly dish than anything else. The instructions say the difficulty level is intermediate, but I beg to differ. Polenta Lasagna has been my most successful dish thus far, which means it MUST be for the beginner. The only part that made me feel like I was "cooking" rather than just putting together this dish making was the polenta. The recipe calls for 25 minutes of stirring as it thickens and by golly I had my wooden spoon in motion for 25 minutes.

The directions also say you should chill the polenta for an hour, "but longer is better". It's a good thing, too, because I was unable to finish the dish last night, and it kept very well for 24 hours (covered). The filling between the polenta "noodles" is just mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash sauteed then simmered in store-bought marinara. Spinach is stirred in right before serving.

As far as the taste goes, it was good. Mild flavors, depending on the marinara you use. To me it got just a little bland, but it was nothing that a little more cheese wouldn't fix. Or some chili flakes. The texture might seem too mushy to some, but the majority of people in this house like cooked veggies to be pretty soft.

I give this recipe 2 thumbs up for sure. I will definitely make it again, but I'll add a protein and use less yellow squash.

You can find the entire recipe here, in the Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen.

And the winner is...


Thanks for playing, Everyone! I appreciate your suggestions SO much, and I'm definitely going to incorporate them into my kitchen and blogging experiences. 

This is not going to be my only contest, so make sure you keep following. Also, keep the suggestions coming! I need 'em. :^}

P.S. To ensure the results were not rigged in any way, I had a witness.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My First Contest

I am learning that if I really want legit blog, I need to have a contest. (I also need to have more followers, but this should help with that, I hope.) So I'm gonna! The very first Recipe Resolution prize is...wait for it...wait for it...

How to Cook Like a Top Chef Cookbook! 

And for those of you who already follow me on Twitter or Facebook, no, this is not the very same book that I just won from Bravo's Top Chef All Star Challenge Sweepstakes. I mean, yes, it's the same book, but this is not the same copy. I'm keeping mine! :^} And if you're wondering why I chose this as my first prize, you must not know me! But, in any case, if you need some encouragement to enter, here's a page from one of my favorite sections:

Here's how to enter:

1) Become a "follower" of my blog;

2) Comment on this post with any food-related suggestion. 

That's it! And if you know someone who'd be interested in winning this prize, please share this contest with them! I'm taking entries until this Friday, February 18th, at 12pm Pacific.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nutella Biscuits

Okay. I'm making a promise: No. More. Substitutions.

Tonight's recipe was supposed to be a more complicated entree. But I realized that people are going to want to EAT that particular dish, and it's not one that will keep well as leftovers. Therefore, I once again defaulted to--sorry, Nat!--a Fabio Viviani *sigh* Recipeasy. Nutella Biscuits are simple and, in my opinion, would be fun for kids to do. (I've included the recipe below.)

I don't have much to say about the taste of these biscuits for 2 reasons: 1) they burned; and 2) I used half whole wheat flour because I ran out of all-purpose and didn't feel like going back to the store, hence the reason for my opening declaration. I'm positive they're great when done right, though. And maybe shave 2-3 minutes off the bake time, depending on your oven and baking pan.

Technically, this was my SECOND new recipe this week. On Super Bowl Sunday, I attempted Veggie Bites, which are shredded carrots, zucchini and potatoes rolled with flour into a ball, flattened into a two-bite patty and fried. Again, since I didn't do everything exactly like I should have, they didn't turn out well. And they weren't just sub par--they were terrible--masses of mush. I couldn't bear to record the mess in a photograph. 

Do I at least get an A this week for effort? :^/

2 cup of Flour
2 tsp of Baking Powder
1 tsp of Salt
3 tsp of Butter at room temperature
4 tbsp of Nutella
3/4 cup of Milk

1. Starting by combined all the dry ingredients
2. Add Butter and Nutella
3. Blend, then add Milk
4. Mix and place the Dough on top of a floured board and knead few times
5. Pat to 1 inch thickness and cut with Biscuits cutter
6. Place them in a oven tray Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes

This recipe can be found under Fabio's Recipeasy tab on

Thursday, February 3, 2011

She's Got the Look

I stumbled upon this blog today, and I really love her photos. I want my blog to have photos like this. I'm pretty sure she has either a photographer friend, or some skills and a fancy camera of her own. *sigh*

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Pie

If you think that isn't a mouthful, I've got some property to sell ya! The same applies if you think that just because something says "gluten free" that means it's healthy. (I shudder to think of the calorie content in this amazing concoction.) But before I get into tonight's story, I'd like to start off by thanking my sister--the mastermind behind this blog--for suggesting this recipe. I planned on going in   a different direction, but as of 3pm this afternoon, I'd experienced a paradigm shift and decided chocolate was in order. Okay, so it wasn't really a paradigm shift, per se, but the chocolate was a necessity. Period.

I'm not even going to go into the flavor of this dessert. I mean come on: chocolate, peanut butter, pudding; need I say more? Actually, yes. I do need to say that the piece I cut was too large. The richness didn't catch up with me until half a bite too late, so I recommend you have a cup o' Joe close!

Technically, I experienced some challenges. I know, you totally can't tell, but it's TRUE! Before I get into those, though, here a word to the wise: do not attempt this recipe unless you are armed with an excellent food processor/chopper, a very sharp butcher knife, or a LOT of patience. I had none of the above. That reminds me--I need GOOD knives. Anybody have any suggestions? Or better yet, DONATIONS??? ;^} 

My first challenge presented itself before I even made it to the kitchen. This recipe calls for "white vanilla baking chips". Has anyone heard of those? Because I haven't, and neither has my grocer, so I substituted white chocolate chips. (It seemed the logical thing to do, since the recipe-writer refers to pouring boiling hot cream over the PB and vanilla chips, letting it sit until the "chocolate" is melted. Say wha?

My next issue was with the pie crust. I've noticed that whenever a DIY crumb-n-butter crust is involved, I'm always falling short of glory. I guess I'm not crushing stuff finely enough, because the crust never solidifies/congeals and falls apart when serving. Could have something to do with my very advanced crushing technique involving a Ziplock and a rolling pin.

Another problem arose with the pie filling because I wasn't QUITE precise enough to the instructions. Aside: one of these days I'm going to do everything exactly the way I'm supposed to! They say to cook the egg, sugar and half & half mixture for about a minute after it just begins to boil. I think I went about 30 seconds long, so when I poured my thickened mixture through a sieve over the chopped semisweet chocolate, too much of it stayed in the sieve. You see, when you cook egg too long, it solidifies. (Hey, maybe that's what I need in my pie crusts!) Since this is pudding pie and not chunky custard pie, pay close attention to how long the egg mixture is on the fire.

My final issue was in putting on the final layer, the peanut butter topping. After setting for a half hour, the chocolate filling was still a little soft, so I smoothed on the peanut butter mixture as gingerly as I could, which resulted in spotty coverage. Over all, I give myself a C-- on this one.

This process wasn't difficult, just time consuming. It would have taken less time if I had a better chocolate chopping method. Perhaps next time I'll just skip the pie part altogether and nibble the semisweet baking squares.