Chronicles of a Chipotle Pepper; Entry 4: Southwest Style Meatball Skillet

This is a recipe I pinned from cinnamonandspiceandeverythingnice.com, because I thought it looked delicious!  (Spoiler: It was!).  The funny thing is, I had already decided to make this dish before I even realized that it called for a Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce…I originally didn’t plan for it to end up in this series!  How fun is that?!  It was just…meant to be!  😉

I did change it up just a bit, because I was feeling energized and creative that evening, but however you make this its gonna be great.  I just watched a special on travel channel about meatballs.  Apparently it is a revolution.  I unknowingly joined the revolution.  The meatball revolution.  You should join too.  And make this skillet!  All you need is a little quinoa and you have a whole meal.  We both LOVED the flavor of these meatballs.  They were moist and packed with tastiness!  You gotta try!

 

So, here’s what you need for the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb Ground Turkey or Beef (I used turkey because it’s what I had in the freezer)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 C Ezekiel Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp Chile Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Chipotle Chile Powder (Optional)
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dry Cilantro (Note, I used these two because I didn’t have any fresh.  It tasted great, but if you have fresh go for it!)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dry Parsley (Note, I used these two because I didn’t have any fresh.  It tasted great, but if you have fresh go for it!)
  • 3 Pieces Turkey Bacon
  • Salt and Pepper…of course
  • 1 Tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil

And for the Skillet:

  • 1/2 Large Onion, Diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper, Minced (With tsp of sauce)
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 C Corn
  • 1 1/2 C Black Beans
  • 1 (15 oz) Can Diced Tomatoes in juices
  • 1/2 C Broth (Beef or Chicken)
  • Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 8 oz Tomato Sauce
  • 3 Pieces Bacon
  • 1 C Uncooked Quinoa

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. First things first:  Bacon.  We don’t want the bacon to be soggy…but we don’t want it to be too black either since it is going to continue cooking.  So get out your big cast iron skillet and get it cooked (all 6 pieces) until it is just barely starting to get browned.  Just a few minutes!  Now cut it into little strips for both uses: meatballs and skillet.
  2. Grab all of your meat ball ingredients (except the butter or coconut oil) and combine them in a bowl (including half of the bacon you just cut up!).  Form into balls (the original says golf ball sized!)
  3. In same skillet, melt the butter or coconut oil…hopefully you still have some of the bacon grease in there too, even though turkey bacon is lean it still produces a little of that goodness!!  Very carefully add the meat balls and cook for a couple minutes, turning to get a brown around the outside.  Remove from the skillet for now.  If you are using beef, you will need to drain some of the fat off at this point, but leave some to cook the veggies in.  🙂
  4. Add onion and cook until beginning to become transparent.  Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds more.
  5. Add Chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, paprika, and cumin.  Stir and cook about a minute more.
  6. Add corn, beans, tomatoes, broth, lime juice, tomato sauce, salt and pepper and mix well.  Return meat balls to the pan along with the remainder of the turkey bacon.
  7. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, preferably covered.  Serve over a hot steamy pile of quinoa (to cook that, just boil 2 C water, add quinoa, and simmer for 12ish minutes ;))

Yaaaaay yummy!  Seriously super delish, we brought it to the church the next day for lunch cause we were going to be working there all day…and just ate it out of the Tupperware with a fork and enjoyed ourselves immensely.  The Rodgers family has joined the Meat Ball Revolution.  Will you?!

 

After you have partially cooked your bacon to just barely browned status, add all of your meatball ingredients (minus butter) to a bowl and combine.

Photo (8)Form into golf ball sized meat balls…

Photo (9)Heat butter or coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet.

Photo (10)Gently add meat balls…

Photo (11)Cook just a couple minutes, turning to get a browned color on the outside.

Photo (12)Remove from skillet.  If needed, drain some excess grease from the bottom of the skillet, but leaving just enough to cook your veggies in.

Add your onion. and cook a few minutes until beginning to become translucent.  Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.  Stir in Chipotle Pepper, Adobo Sauce, Paprika, and Cumin.  Stir and cook about a minute more.  Add corn, beans, tomatoes, broth, lime juice, tomato sauce, salt and pepper and mix well.

Photo (14)

Add meatballs back to the skillet, along with the turkey bacon.

Photo (16)Bring to a simmer, and let it cook about 10-15 minutes, preferably covered.

Photo (18)Yummy!

Photo (19)Pile on top of hot quinoa and enjoy!  We sure did!

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Chronicles of a Chipotle Pepper; Entry 3: Four Cheese Chipotle “Macaroni” and Cheese

Yum.  This little experiment has been in my brain for a long time!!  Ever since I first posted on facebook asking my friends what their favorite recipe is with Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce, in fact!  A wonderful, genius-in-the-kitchen lady from my church commented and told me about how her family blends chipotle peppers into their macaroni!  I have only tried to make home made macaroni once before…it didn’t work too well.  It was in the crock pot, and the recipe had an option where you mix eggs in.  Well, being a young cook at that time (well, honestly…I’m still a young cook)…I didn’t think about how that could be weird.  I like to use everything in the recipe the first time I make it, to make sure I get the full flavor.  So I put in the eggs.  Yeah.  Eggs.  Macaroni.  Crock pot.  Not a good combo.  It was like scrambled egg macaroni.  Gag.

This attempt was the opposite of gag.  It was super successful and delicious!  And I am proud to say that this is very nearly “healthy macaroni!!”  I say “very nearly” because…well, frankly, it’s macaroni and cheese.  The “diet” we try to loosely follow, The Maker’s Diet, says that dairy should be raw and less than 25% of your daily intake.  This exceeds the dairy limit according to that standard.  However…as far as macaroni and cheese goes, this is pretty phenomenal because of the substitutions I used in place of some of the more traditional ingredients.   Curious?  Read on!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1/4 C Ezekiel Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 C Almond Milk, divided
  • 1 Medium Butternut Squash (Alternately, apparently you can find frozen winter squash puree)
  • Small amount of butter or coconut oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 lb (2 Boxes) Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pagodas
  • 1 1/3 C Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated
  • 2/3 C Monterrey Jack Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 C Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Powdered Mustard
  • Pinch of Chipotle Chili Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan, Grated

And here’s how you do it:

  1. First, you gotta get your squash started, because it takes the longest.  Obviously, if you are going the “frozen puree” route then you can skip these next couple steps.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Very carefully cut your squash in half long ways.  You may have to cut into the squash as far as you can, then use a rubber mallet or something similar to tap the blade through.
  2. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  3. Place on a foil-lined pan.  Rub with a small amount of butter or coconut oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper!
  4. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes.  When done, turn your oven up to 375* for your macaroni.
  5. Grate your cheese.
  6. In your food processor, dump your ricotta, 1/2 C of the almond milk, 1 chipotle pepper with a tsp or so of the sauce (depending on how spicy you like it), garlic cloves, salt, mustard, and chipotle chili powder.
  7. As soon as your squash is cooked, spoon the flesh into your food processor.  Pulse until smooth and creamy!
  8. Time to start your noodles!  Cook them according to the package directions.
  9. Now, pour your squash puree into a pan over medium heat.  Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 C of almond milk.  Stir until combined and creamy
  10. When squash mixture is getting bubbly, mix in your ricotta/chipotle mixture and stir until combined.  When your noodles are cooked and drained, you can stir in the cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese.
  11. Dump in your noodles and stir to coat.  Dump into a baking dish (9X13 or comparable)
  12. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, oil, and parmesan.
  13. Sprinkle on top of the macaroni.  Slide into your preheated oven and bake about 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and bread crumbs are browned.  Flip your oven on to broil if you want more brown…but watch it close and only leave in there for a minute or two.  It’s amazing how fast things burn in the broiler!

Chipotle Macaroni .5First, you gotta get your squash started, because it takes the longest.  Obviously, if you are going the “frozen puree” route then you can skip these next couple steps.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Very carefully cut your squash in half long ways.  You may have to cut into the squash as far as you can, then use a rubber mallet or something similar to tap the blade through.

Chipotle Macaroni 1Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

Chipotle Macaroni 2Place on a foil-lined pan.  Rub with a small amount of butter or coconut oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper!

Chipotle Macaroni 6Bake until tender, about 40 minutes.  When done, turn your oven up to 375* for your macaroni.

Chipotle Macaroni 3However, that is a long time, so while you are waiting, prep everything else!!  Grate your cheese…which is really easy if you a fancy little grater attachment.  🙂  Gotta love wedding present goodies, even two and a half years later 😛

Chipotle Macaroni 4In your food processor, dump your ricotta, 1/2 C of the almond milk, 1 chipotle pepper with a tsp or so of the sauce (depending on how spicy you like it), garlic cloves, salt, mustard, and chipotle chili powder.

Chipotle Macaroni 7As soon as your squash is cooked, spoon the flesh into your food processor.

Chipotle Macaroni 8Pulse until smooth and creamy!

Chipotle Macaroni 9Time for your noodles!!  Now, I know that these technically aren’t “macaroni’s,” but as far as pasta goes, I have found these to be the best noodles as far as health nerds go…they have quinoa flour in them, they are gluten free…and yet they are still a great texture and taste!

Chipotle Macaroni 10Cook according to directions on your package.

Chipotle Macaroni 11Now, pour your squash puree into a pan over medium heat.  Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 C of almond milk.  Stir until combined and creamy

Chipotle Macaroni 13When squash mixture is getting bubbly, mix in your ricotta/chipotle mixture and stir until combined.  When your noodles are cooked and drained, you can stir in the cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese.

Chipotle Macaroni 14Dump in your noodles and stir to coat.

Chipotle Macaroni 15Dump into a baking dish (9X13 or comparable)

Chipotle Macaroni 12In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, oil, and parmesan.

Chipotle Macaroni 16Sprinkle on top of the macaroni.

Chipotle Macaroni 17Slide into your preheated oven and bake about 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and bread crumbs are browned.  Flip your oven on to broil if you want more brown…but watch it close and only leave in there for a minute or two.  It’s amazing how fast things burn in the broiler!

Chipotle Macaroni 18Yummy!!!  Doesn’t that look heavenly?!

Chipotle Macaroni 19Crispy, creamy, cheesy…

Chipotle Macaroni 20Doesn’t that look amazing?!  It is!!  The perfect amount of heat…not overwhelming like a Chipotle Pepper has the potential to be…but just a kick at the end.  A fantastic saltiness from 4 favorite cheeses…and just a hint of sweetness from the squash.  And more than a hint of health because of that same squash!

Chronicles of a Chipotle Pepper; Entry 2: Chipotle Turkey Burgers

The beauty of a can of chipotle peppers!!!  As I discussed in my Black Bean Chicken Tacos post, I have recently started using chipotle peppers more often!  And as I have done so, a few revelations came along with it:  1) Chipotle peppers are potent, and you usually only need one for a whole recipe.  2) If you only need one chipotle pepper for a whole recipe…then a tiny little can of these beasts can be the inspiration for four, five, maybe even six meals!!!  How crazy is that?!  And they’re like…what…a dollar per can?!  Yowza!!  So I am on a mission to help you discover what meals you can use your little can of chipotle peppers on!!!  Here’s number two…ready, go!!!

These burgers had a fantastic flavor.  A nice kick of heat, with the smoky flavor of the peppers, the sweet crunch of the grilled corn, and the classic feel of the black beans.  It’s just…wonderful!  So, enough talking about it, let’s get down to it!!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1/4 C Red Onion, Minced
  • 1/4 C Grilled Corn
  • 1/2 C Black Beans, Rinsed (Soaked and cooked if you are using dry)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper, Minced
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

And here’s how you do it!!!!

  1. So…for my corn, I had left over ears that we had grilled for a friend’s birthday party a few days before.  I just sliced it off the ear.  It was a great flavor addition, but you can use any other kind of corn if you want!!  Chop and mince all your veggies!
  2. Combine it all in a bowl!!
  3. Combine it with your hands, and form into four patties.  Make an indentation in the middle of each.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Melt a small amount of butter or coconut oil in the bottom, and gently drop the patties into it.
  5. Cook about 7 minutes, and flip.  Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked through and browned.
  6. Serve on a bed of lettuce, or a nice whole grain roll.  Great with salsa and/or guacamole!! Enjoy!

Chipotle Turkey Burgers 1Prep your veggies!!

Chipotle Turkey Burgers 2Toss it all in a bowl!!!

Chipotle Turkey Burgers 3Use your hands to combine, and form into four patties.  Make an indent in the middle of each patty.

Chipotle Turkey Burgers 4Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and melt a small amount of butter or coconut oil in the bottom.  Carefully drop in your patties.  Cook 5 to 7 minutes per side, so that patties are cooked through and browned.

Chipotle Turkey Burgers 5See?

Chipotle Turkey Burgers 6Serve hot on a bed of lettuce or a nice whole grain roll…with a side of salsa or guacamole!!