Slow Cooker Sunday: Turkey Meatballs in a Cranberry Chili Sauce

The book I got this recipe from touts them as satisfying your craving for Thanksgiving, while that may be true, I think they are a great appetizer if you are having a small get together, a game night, or a nice accompaniment to stuffing – if you are really hankering for that Thanksgiving flavor.

Begin by combining ground turkey along with panko breadcrumbs, an egg, chopped onion, sage and salt. Gently mix to combine. I used a cookie scoop to scoop the mixture and then rolled it into golf ball-sized meatballs. I baked them in a 425 F preheated oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 15 minutes.

While the meatballs were in the oven I combined a can of jellied cranberry sauce and chili sauce in the insert of my slow cooker and stirred it until the cranberry sauce had completed broken down and the two ingredients were well combined. Once the meatballs were cooked I added them to the sauce and gently mixed them in. I covered the slow cooker and cooked it on low for 90 minutes, until the sauce was heated.

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs in a Cranberry Chili Sauce

  • Servings: Makes about 20
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Ingredients:

1 lb. ground turkey

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

12 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 teaspoon ground sage

1 teaspoon salt

1 14 oz. can jellied cranberry sauce

3/4 cup chili sauce

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except the cranberry sauce & chili sauce. Gently mix the turkey mixture until just combined and roll into golf ball-sized meatballs.

Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until browned and cooked through.

In a slow cooker mix the cranberry sauce and chili sauce together. Add the meatballs gently toss with the sauce. Cover and cook on low for 90 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Homemade Gnocchi In A Mushroom Sauce

I’ve been wanting to make Gnocchi for quite some time. Not really sure why though because I’ve only had it once or twice. I think it’s the challenge of it all… Can I really make it? One thing that was holding me back is that most recipes call for a potato ricer. Something I don’t own and was reluctant to purchase. I went to a couple of stores and couldn’t find one and truthfully didn’t want order one online. I did find a few recipes that said you could mash the potatoes but then I found some recipe reviews that said mashing the potatoes wouldn’t turn out good gnocchi. And then, I found a recipe that used a large hole grater and I was ready to go.

To make the dough I baked 3 medium Russet potatoes at 400 F for about 45 minutes. I let them cool for a few minutes, then peeled them and grated them using the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. I added in a lightly beaten egg and salt and then added in flour, a little at a time, until the dough wasn’t sticky. I then dumped it out on a lightly floured surface and kneaded it.

Next, I divided the dough into 6 smaller balls and rolled out each ball into a rope about 3/4-inch thick.

I then cut the dough into 1-inch pieces.

Once I had rolled out all of the dough and cut it. I boiled them in a pot of well-salted water. I knew the gnocchi was ready once it floated to the surface of the water.

Next, I finished off the gnocchi in a mushroom sauce. And here’s the funny thing about this… the first day it tasted good, the 2nd day it was delicious, but, on the 3rd day not so much. I think by then the gnocchi had absorbed a lot of the sauce and it just turned an odd color and the flavor was off. So, apparently homemade gnocchi is good for 2 days and that’s it.

Homemade Gnocchi In A Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients:

Gnocchi:

3 medium Russet potatoes (about 2 lbs.)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Mushroom Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

12 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup shallots

1 14.5 ounce can low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

5 ounces baby spinach

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

For the Gnocchi:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Flip the potatoes halfway through the baking time. Let the potatoes cool slightly.

Peel the potatoes and then grate them over the large holes of a box grated over a large bowl. Add the egg and the salt and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Add the flour to the potatoes, a little at a time, using only as much as you need so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. When the flour has been incorporated dump it and any remaining floury bits onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough. Press down and away with the heel of your hands, fold the dough over, make a quarter turn and repeat. Knead for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball and then divide into 6 smaller balls. Using your fingertips roll each ball into a rope about 3/4-inch thick and cut into 1-inch pieces.

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the gnocchi in batches. Once it rises to the surface remove from the water and set aside on a baking sheet.

For the Mushroom Sauce:

Cook the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the butter begins to brown. Add the mushrooms and shallots and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth and parsley; simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the gnocchi and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and stir until wilted.

Divide among bowls and drizzle with parmesan cheese.

Gnocchi Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Mushroom Sauce adapted from Epicurious

Zucchini, Corn and Basil Stir-Fry with Chicken

Quick and delicious meals are something I am always searching for. And, meals that aren’t written for 6 or more servings. Since I cook for just myself 4 or less is perfect. It gives me enough for leftovers for the following day. While you can find quick to prepare food at the supermarket, you know those flavored rice’s and pasta sides, have you ever noticed how much sodium is in them. I am by no means a health nut, but, I do try to avoid certain things whenever possible. Sodium being one of them. Today, I am bringing you a quick dish that can be made with tofu, chicken or shrimp and has a healthy amount of vegetables… A Zucchini, Corn and Basil Stir Fry. What’s really nice about this dish is that there are no sauces that are giving this dish a flavor. Just some salt, pepper, garlic, onions and basil. Yum! And, it’s written for 2 servings… Perfect for me.

Zucchini, Corn and Basil Stir Fry

Ingredients:

8 ounces tofu, chicken breast or sausage, or shrimp

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

3 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into half-moons a 1/2 inch thick

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 ear of corn, kernels sliced off*

1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced into ribbons

Salt and pepper

Red pepper flakes, optional

*This is approximately 3/4 cup of corn if you want to sub frozen or canned corn

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, season the oil with salt and pepper. Cook your chosen protein to your liking, fully cooked if chicken or shrimp. Set aside.

In the same skillet, add more oil if necessary, add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the zucchini, and continue cooking for about 5 minutes until the zucchini is golden, stirring frequently.

Add the garlic and corn and cook for an addition 2 minutes, stirring. Add more salt and pepper.

Cover the skillet and let it steam for 3-4 minutes. Check the zucchini with a fork for doneness. When the zucchini is ready add the basil and adjust the salt.

Add the red pepper flakes, if using and return your protein the skillet and heat through.

Recipe from Feasting At Home

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

So, funny thing, pretty much the only reason why I made this was because I had celery in my fridge and I didn’t want it to go to waste. That always happens when I buy celery. I use a few a few stalks and then the rest gets thrown out. I was determined not to let that happen again. So, I knew I wanted to make something in my slow cooker but wasn’t sure what and then came across this recipe in my favorite slow cooker cookbook.

What was even better, this is one of my favorite types of slow cooker recipes – throw it in there and let it cook. I know that doesn’t sound to proper considering we are talking about food, but, I will assume that you know what I mean. In my slow cooker I added in chicken, andouille sausage, okra, green bell pepper, celery, onion, cayenne pepper, salt, can of diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Now, it may look like there isn’t enough liquid in there….

But, after cooking on low for about 4 hours there was more than enough liquid. One thing I didn’t do that the recipe called for was adding a cornstarch-water mixture after 3 hours to thicken the liquid. I find that I am not too keen on thickening the liquid because it tends to look congealed after refrigerating it. Granted, all is well once it is warmed up, but, since I am cool with the thinner liquid I stick with that. One more thing, this was delicious, but, if you don’t like spice, I suggest using less cayenne pepper. To go along with the gumbo I made white rice and it’s the perfect accompaniment to soak up all the juices.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 lb. andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 pound okra, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3 celery stacks, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup cornstarch

White rice, for serving (optional)

Directions

In a slow cooker combine the chicken, sausage, okra, pepper, celery, onion, cayenne pepper and salt. Add the diced tomatoes, along with their juices, and the chicken broth and give everything a few good stirs to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.

In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch along with 1/4 cup water. Stir into the gumbo to thicken it, cover and continue cooking for an additional hour or until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with white rice.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Slow Cooker Sunday: Herbed Turket Breast

Have you ever thought about cooking your Thanksgiving turkey in a slow cooker? Well, unfortunately you can’t put a whole turkey in there, but, you can cook a turkey breast. Believe it or not, they actually say slow cooker friendly on the wrapper, well, at least the one I picked up did. My friends and I had our 2nd Annual Friendsgiving Celebration last weekend, and when I offered to bring the turkey in my mind I was already thinking of a slow cooker turkey breast since there wasn’t going to be that many of us. I decided on a turkey breast that was 7.5 lbs. Now, when I brought him home and tested him out in my slow cooker I freaked out a little bit because he didn’t fit. Well, he fit I just couldn’t put the cover on the slow cooker. But, I thought to myself that once he thawed out he should just fine.

On the day of the get together I got up early just in case it took longer than directed and in case of any other mishaps. I began by placing a chopped carrot, onion and celery in the bottom of my slow cooker. I then placed the turkey breast on top of the vegetables and sprinkled him – oh, and yes, I always refer to my turkey as him or he, it’s because of Tom The Turkey – with an herb and spice mix and then drizzled melted butter over him. If you don’t have the specific spices that I used below feel free to create your own spice mix.

After a little coercion I was able to get the cover snug on top and I set him to cook on low. I was planning on him being done between 6-7 hours.

While the pop-up time did pop out at 6 hours I decided to leave him in there a little longer just to be sure. I figured he wouldn’t dry out in a slow cooker. And unfortunately the one downfall of cooking a turkey in a slow cooker is not getting that nice browned skin.

But, that was nothing that a few minutes under the broiler couldn’t resolve.

So, would I make a turkey breast like this again? Yes! It’s stress-free and pretty much guarantees that you will have a juicy turkey. I am tempted to go my usual route of brining the turkey beforehand next time though. Oh, one thing I was able to make with this turkey that I had never been able to do before was gravy. There was a decent amount of drippings left in the slow cooker and I must say, homemade gravy from the drippings beats anything you buy in the store hands down.

 

Slow Cooker Herbed Turkey Breast

Ingredients:

1 carrot, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 celery stalk, chopped into 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons onion powder

1/2 teaspoons sage

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 6 to 7 lb. bone-in turkey breast

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons cornstarch

 

Directions:

In the slow cooker toss together the carrot, onion and celery.

In a small bowl mix the herbs and spices.

Place the turkey on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Try to get some of the mixture under the skin of the turkey as well. Drizzle with the melted butter. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, or until fully cooked – 165 F

When the turkey is done, preheat the oven to broil and place the turkey in a roasting pan and broil for a few minutes to brown the skin. Don’t leave it in the oven too long or the turkey could dry out.

Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water.

Strain the remaining liquid in the slow cooker into a medium saucepan. Bring to a bowl over medium-high heat. Whish in the cornstarch mixture and cook until the gravy thickens.

Slice the turkey and serve with the gravy.

 

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

 

 

Brussels Sprouts & Cranberry Sauce

So, I’m working a little backwards here. Yesterday I brought you a delicious pie you can serve for Thanksgiving dessert and today I am bringing you two sides. A roasted Brussels sprouts dish and homemade cranberry sauce. Come back on Sunday for Slow Cooker Sunday where I will tell you how I slow cooked a turkey breast – see, definitely working backwards!

I know Brussels sprouts is not a favorite vegetable for many, but, I think the reason is because they are not preparing them the best way. Yes, they have a bitter flavor, just like broccoli rabe, but, when you season and roast them in the oven they take on a whole new flavor. Even the little charred sections taste good. And, they get perfectly tender. The recipe I recently tried called for them to be roasted in the oven and then topped with a glaze made with grapes, honey & scallions… YUM! I can’t wait to make it again and I am pretty sure it will make any Brussels sprout skeptic think twice about that vegetable that looks like a baby cabbage.

I grew up eating cranberry sauce from a can, not the whole berry sauce one, but, the jellied version. It’s weird, I won’t eat the whole berry one from a can because I feel like it’s too fake but I will eat the jellied version. Yes, I will still eat it with my turkey and stuffing. I don’t really know what prompted me to try making cranberry sauce myself since I was content with the can stuff, but, I’ve used the same recipe now for quite a few years and it’s one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. I look forward to a sandwich with leftover turkey warmed up with melted cheese (preferably provolone) and topped with cranberry sauce every year after Thanksgiving. I am dreaming of it now as I type… LOL! So, what is so special about this sauce? I think it’s the simplicity of it. There are no out of the box ingredients. It’s simply a bag of fresh cranberries, sugar, water, fresh ginger, orange zest, a cinnamon stick, ground cloves and salt. I tried getting a little fancy one year, but, it just didn’t top the simple yet delicious taste of this cranberry sauce. Make a few days before you intend to use to really get the best flavor.

So, I hope these two dishes will make their way to your table, or, they have given you ideas of something else to try.

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Grapes

Ingredients:

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups red seedless grapes

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 450 F.

Toss the Brussels sprouts with the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Spread them on the hot baking sheet and roast, tossing halfway through until tender and charred in spots, 20 to 30 minutes.

While the Brussels sprouts are in the oven…. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the grapes and thyme and cook until the grapes starting to burst, stirring occasionally. Add the scallions and honey. Increase the heat to high and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until the juices thicken and the grapes are glazed. Season with salt and pepper.

Once ready, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a dish and drizzled the grape mixture over them

Recipe from Food Network

 

Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 2 1/2 Cups
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Ingredients:

1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of water with the sugar, cinnamon stick, ginger, orange zest, salt and cloves. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring until slightly thickened.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool before refrigerating

Recipe from Rachael Ray

Chicken Vegetable Ramen Noodle

When I was in college I used to make ramen noodles a few times a week in my trusty electric hot pot. It was one of the few things that was fool proof to make in there, besides heating up a can of soup. Once I graduated though the hot pot was thrown out and I stopped eating ramen noodles. Then last year not long after my Dad passed away I had a sudden craving for ramen noodles. There was such a feeling of comfort and safety in that bowl of noodles. A reminder of when life was easier and the safety of youth made you feel like nothing could ever go wrong or nothing bad could happen. Grief is a funny thing. It can make you remember things you completely forgot and question whether or not they happened and can make you find comfort in the oddest of things, hence the ramen noodles. To this day I still enjoy the occasional bowl of ramen noodle and have a case of it in my cabinet at all times. It got me thinking, why not try to make a traditional ramen bowl as opposed to the instant one I have been enjoying.

I began by prepping my various vegetables to have them ready to add to the pot as I was going…

And once I started it came together pretty quick, the most time consuming part of making this ramen bowl was prepping all of the vegetables. Oh yeah, and finding the miso. I ended up going to a local Oriental grocery market that I’ve known about for years. I did find miso at my local supermarket, but, the recipe called for white miso and the one they had was red and I didn’t want to take any chances with subbing ingredients.

And while it was delicious, I did have a minor mishap. I left the pot covered a little too long with the noodles so I ended up with something more like Lo Mein than ramen soup. I did have enough broth for one bowl, but, not for two.

Oh well… My noodles and veggies were just as delicious.

I’ll definitely make this again, but, I think next time I will omit the eggs and the chicken. It was definitely enough with just the vegetables.

 

Chicken Vegetable Ramen Bowl

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder, plus more for seasoning chicken

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided

1 chicken breasts (about 1 pound)

2 eggs

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1-inch piece ginger, finely chopped

3 tablespoons soy sauce

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons white miso

8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced

1 cup baby spinach

4 to 5 mini sweet peppers plus more for garnish, sliced

3 to 4 green onions plus more for garnish, sliced

1 large carrot, thinly sliced into ribbons

6 ounces ramen noodles

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle each chicken breast with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Once hot, add the chicken breasts to the skillet. Brown chicken for 5 minutes on each side.

Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through.

In a small saucepan, place the eggs and cover with water and cover the pan. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Keep lid on saucepan for 5 minutes. Drain the hot water and fill with cold water, once cool drain the water and peel the eggs.

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the remaining oil. Once hot, add onion and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.

Add garlic powder, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Whisk in soy sauce, broth and miso. Add mushrooms and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Add the peppers, green onions, spinach and carrots. Continue to simmer covered for 5 minutes. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary.

Finally, add ramen noodles and turn off heat (the heat from the soup will soften the noodles).

Slice chicken breasts and eggs. Divide soup into bowls and serve with chicken and a halved egg.

Recipe from Simply Organic