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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Sweet Red Onion Marmalade and Garlic Butter (Steak Additions)

I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!

Onion marmalade?!  Who has ever heard of that?!  I sure hadn’t until I was browsing Pinterest and saw a picture of one.  I am ALWAYS on the lookout for fantastic new sauces to take a typical mid-week meal’s protein to the next level.  Every day to extraordinary!  This marmalade did not disappoint!  In fact…we loved it so much that we made it again a few days later, haha!

Now garlic butter isn’t new or unheard of…but smeared around on a hot steak, then topped with this marmalade…it simply can’t be beat!  So I wanted to inform you of the great potential it has in this dish.  😉

I’m sure you are intrigued, so let’s get down to business.

Adapted from bonapetit.com

So, here’s what you need:

  • Steaks of choice!  Something good for grilling!

Onion Marmalade:

  • 2 Tbsp Butter (Or Coconut Oil)
  • 3 Red Oinons, sliced
  • 1/4 C Agave
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/3 C Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 1 Tbsp Thyme Leaves
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (A little heat is fantastic in this, do it to taste)
  • Kosher Salt

Garlic Butter:

  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, or a tsp or more of garlic powder
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Start your onion marmalade almost an hour before you are ready to serve.
  2. Heat your butter or coconut oil over medium heat.  Add in your onions and agave and cook for 35-45 minutes, so you have beautiful caramelized onions.
  3. Add the rest of the marmalade ingredients.  Cook until the marmalade is thickened nicely, at the consistency you desire.  Should take just a few minutes.
  4. Now…,for the garlic butter.  You can do this two ways.  The fancy, original way which is definitely the more “foodie” way.  Put it all in a pan and melt it and cook it just for a minute or so, then remove from the heat and let it sit so the flavors can fuse.  Or…if you are starving like I was and are just done waiting…put the butter in a microwave safe dish, melt it in the microwave and whisk in the garlic powder and pepper flakes.  (You could use fresh garlic too, just microwave it with the butter.)
  5. Now you know how to do the rest.  Grill your meat and baste it often with the garlic butter.  Top with your fantastically delicious, sweet, kinda spicy, all delightful marmalade!!  Yeaaaah!

 

 

Slice your onions and toss in a pot over medium heat with your oil and agave!  Cook for 35-45 minutes until caramelized!

Onion Marmalade 1

 

Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for a few more minutes, until thickened.  Yummy!  What a pretty color!Onion Marmalade 2

 

Now serve atop a garlic-butter-basted steak fresh from the grill!!  Heavennnnn!

Onion Marmalade 3

 

This is our little back porch picnic party, just me and my love, Mr. Rodgers!!

Onion Marmalade 5YUMMYYYYYY!

 

Cauliflower “Fried Rice”

Yes you read that right.  This was dang delicious, and reminded me so much of fried rice.  I LOVE fried rice.  But this was cauliflower!!!  How is that even possible?!  Well, it is.  Stay tuned to find out how!   You won’t be disappointed!!  So tasty, but so healthy!!  I never cease to be amazed by sneaky food…being so delicious but so nutritious.  Hallelujah.  I’m a happy girl.

Adapted from stupideasypaleo.com.

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Head Cauliflower, Grated
  • 2 Carrots, Sliced
  • 1/2 Red Onion, Minced
  • 6 Green Onions, Sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 inch Ginger, Peeled and Minced
  • 1 Can Sliced Mushrooms (Or fresh…mine went bad so I had to raid the pantry!!)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Bragg’s Amino Acids

 

And here’s how you do it!!

  1. Rinse your cauliflower and cut into manageable pieces and grate.  Now, you could do this by hand…but I used my handy dandy KitchenAid attachment…and you could probably use a food processor too and save yourself some work!
  2. Prep your veggies!  Slicey Mincey Choppy!
  3. Get a big pot or a wok (I love it when I can use my wok!) and melt the Coconut Oil in it over medium heat.
  4. Add Carrots, red onion, and ginger.  Stir and cook until everything is starting to soften.  (If you are using fresh mushrooms feel free to add them now.)
  5. Add grated cauliflower, mushrooms,  green onions, and Bragg’s Amino Acids.  Stir to combine and cook until cauliflower begins to soften, 5-7 minutes.
  6. Create a well in the middle of your mixture so the bottom of the wok is exposed.  Crack your eggs into the well and scramble until cooked.  Stir into the rest of the ingredients so everything is evenly dispersed.
  7. Serve and enjoy!  I topped this with my Salmon with Grapefruit Relish…and somehow the flavors worked together fantastically!!

Oh boy.  My tummy just growled and I haven’t even posted the pictures yet, haha!

 

Cauliflower Fried Rice 1Rinse your cauliflower and cut into manageable pieces!

Cauliflower Fried Rice 2

 

Now grate using whatever method you prefer…I must say I highly recommend the use of a KitchenAid or Food Processor.  See how easy that looks?

Cauliflower Fried Rice 3

 

Now you should have a nice big bowl of cauliflower “rice.”  Yay!  We’re gettin there!

Cauliflower Fried Rice 4

 

Heat coconut oil in a wok (or big pan).  Add your carrots, red onion, and ginger and cook a few minutes, until everything begins to soften.

Cauliflower Fried Rice 5

 

Now add your cauliflower, green onions, mushrooms, and Amino Acids.  Sorry the picture was fuzzy, it was starting to get steamy in there, haha!

Cauliflower Fried Rice 6

 

Mix everything together and cook until cauliflower begins to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Cauliflower Fried Rice 7

 

Create a well so you can see the bottom of your wok.  Crack three eggs into the well and scramble until cooked.

Cauliflower Fried Rice 8

 

Now stir it all together!!! SOOOO yummy!!!

Cauliflower Fried Rice 9

 

Happy happy happy!!!  Enjoy this healthy version of an Asian favorite!!

 

Broiled Salmon with Grapefruit Relish

Yum.  This is one of those “I look really fancy” meals.  As I grow in cooking, I am realizing something quite amazing.  All these different fancy recipes…not a lot of them are crazy different seasonings on your meat, or some new “unheard” of cooking method…its simply taking a meat, sprinkling some salt and pepper, cooking it until its done, then topping it with some yummy sauce/relish/salsa/chutney.  The variety is in the topping!!  Not in every case, of course.  But that discovery was such a relief for me.  The thought of coming up with a new, unheard of sauce is a lot less daunting to me.  Big sigh.  🙂

This relish…was yummy.  Cause I loooooove grapefruits.  I think you’ll like it.  So read on. 🙂

Adapted from http://www.wholeliving.com.

So, here’s what you need:

  • 2 lb Salmon Fillets
  • 3 Large Ruby Red Grapefruits
  • 3 Tbsp Agave
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (Yes, this makes it a little spicy…we like that :))

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Start by preparing your first two grapefruits.  You may want to scroll down to my pictures to see how I did it, but I will try and explain it in a way that makes sense.  First, slice a tiny bit off the top and bottom, so that all the peel and white stuff is gone in that area.  Then, take your knife, start from the top and cut down to the bottom in a curve, separating the peel from the grapefruit.  You want to remove as much of the white stuff as possible.  Then separate the segments over a bowl (to catch the juice) and set them aside.  Using a knife helps!  Squeeze the peels over the bowl to squish out as much juice as possible.
  2. Juice the third grapefruit.  You need about 1 1/2 C juice.
  3. Start your relish!  Get a small pot and pour in your juice, agave, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil and cook 15 minutes or more, until its thick and syrupy.  It should reduce a LOT, the original says to have about 1/4 C when it’s all said and done.
  4. Pour half of the “syrup” out into a small bowl and set aside, and return the pot to the oven.
  5. Add the grapefruit segments to the pot (if there is more than 1 C, you can reserve some to serve with it on the plate as a garnish :)).  Bring to a boil and let it cook until the segments have broken down so that it goes from “syrup” to “relish.”  Should take about 12 minutes.
  6. Preheat broiler.  Put your salmon fillets on a lined baking dish (or sheet) and salt and pepper them.  Brush fish with the reserved grapefruit “syrup” and plop in the oven on the top rack.  Cook until it flakes easily with a fork, about 6-7 minutes.
  7. Plate your fish and top with relish, and serve.  Yummmm!!!!

Start by prepping two of the grapefruits.  Cut a thin slice off the top.  I should have cut down farther so that all the white is gone of the top.  I nailed it on my second grapefruit 😉

Salmon with Grapefruit Relish 1

Take your knife and cut from the top to the bottom in a curve, so that you are separating the peel from the fruit.

Salmon with Grapefruit Relish 2

See?  Continue around the whole grapefruit.

Salmon with Grapefruit Relish 3

Perfect!

Salmon with Grapefruit Relish 4

Separate the segments (using a knife helps) over a bowl so you catch as much juice as possible.Salmon with Grapefruit Relish 5

 

Juice third grapefruit, you need about 1 1/2 C of juice.  You can also squeeze peels over the bowl to get extra juice if you need it.

Put your juice, agave, and red pepper flakes in a small pot on the stove and stir.  Bring to a boil and cook for 15 or more minutes, until it is syrupy and has reduced to about 1/4 C.Salmon with Grapefruit Relish 6

Pour out half of the syrup and set aside.  Put the pot back on the stove.

Salmon with Grapefruit Relish 8

Toss your grapefruit segments in the pot and stir.  If you have more than one cup of the segments, you can save them to garnish later.

Salmon with Grapefruit Relish 7

Boil until the segments have broken down and become more of a “relish” texture, about 12 minutes.

Preheat broiler.  Place salmon on a baking dish lined with foil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Brush reserved syrup on the fish and pop in the oven on the top rack for about 7 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Salmon with Grapefruit Relish 9

Look how good it looks already?!!  Now place on your serving plate (or in my case, the Tupperware you and your husband are going to eat out of on the way to church), top with relish, and DEVOUR!  Sweet, tart, crispy, moist, salty…how can it be all those things at once?  Sooooooo good!

Salmon with Grapefruit Relish 10

See?  My fancy Tupperware!  This is served on top of cauliflower “fried rice,” which was also super amazing and I can’t wait to share with you!

Salmon with Grapefruit Relish 11

Reliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiish!

Let me know how you like it!!  What is your favorite sauce/relish to top meat with?!

Asian Inspired Green Beans

Yummy.  I love green beans.  For real.  Especially with garlic and ginger.  So this recipe made me happy, happy, happy.  Beautiful side dish for any kind of protein.  One of my favorite things about starting the journey to health is the fact that I have discovered that there are SO many different ways to make vegetables…so many flavors you can use, and so many different ways to cook them!  It blows my mind and makes me so excited!  I think a lot of people who say they “hate vegetables” or “don’t do green” just don’t know that veggies don’t have to be boring.  In fact…it’s pure injustice if you let them be.  Because they are worth so much more than that!!  This recipe is a perfect example of a green living up to it’s potential.  Try it out!!!

Adapted from www.foodandwine.com

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 lb fresh Green Beans
  • 4 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tsp Ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp Bragg’s Amino Acids (Soy Sauce Substitute)
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

And here’s how you do it:

  1. In a large pot of water, bring water to boil and salt it.  Toss in the green beans and boil until tendercrisp, about 4 minutes.
  2. While beans boil, prepare a bowl of ice water.  As soon as beans are done, toss them into the ice water to stop the cooking process.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, probably about 30 seconds.
  4.  Add ginger and red pepper flakes, then green beans and amino acids.  Toss together and saute for a few more minutes.  Serve and enjoy!!

 

Asian Inspired Green Beans 1Don’t they look good?  They were!  They were slightly reminiscent of Garlic Ginger Peas, but I thought somehow this flavor was even better.

Here it is next to a steak and chicken breast my husband grilled for me…we had just been given the grill a few days prior for his birthday, but hadn’t had a chance to try it out yet…so even though we were busy all day, he ended up being so excited to try his man grill that we grilled at 11 at night, haha!  The beauty of being young, impulsive, and childless 😉  These beans were the perfect green side for the tasty main course.

Asian Inspired Green Beans 2

 

Try it out, make it your own, and let me know how you like it!!!

 

Asian Inspired Salmon Salad (AKA Sweet Pepper Chutney Salmon Salad)

You know what I think is amazing?  Those moms who raise a bunch of kids and still have time to cook HEALTHY food that the kids actually love, on top of staying within a small budget.  Forget Superman.  I’d like to see Clark Kent try to do that!  To all you supermoms…you are phenomenal and I want to be just like you when I grow up! 😉  Shout out to my sister-in-love, Becca “Jim” Kirkwood, cause she’s got it down!!!

Anywho.  I just started a blog post with a bunny trail, ha.  Let me explain to you why my mind went there!!

LEFTOVERS.

Wonderful leftovers.  No, really, I love leftovers!  I have been blessed with the Kirkwood inability to make small portions of food.  Us Kirkwoods (or former Kirkwood in my case) always cook for an army.  It actually works out nicely, because the Kirkwood house is the hang out house…my parents are the cool parents that let all their kids have friends over at any time of night…and ALWAYS find something to feed them.  Usually something ridiculous like steak and mashed potatoes with garlic bread, even if its 11 at night.  Or if they are tired they’ll settle for a never ending supply of corndogs and dad’s famous rice krispy treats with essential oils!  Though my apartment here across the country from them is small…it is already starting to have the same legacy.  We have different people sleeping on our couch all the time, and you know how I love to feed people 😀  But lots of times I cook for an army…and it’s just me and Jay, and I have a lot of leftovers.  I still like it.  Cause that means less money spent next month on meals, cause this month’s meals are stretching out.  However, eating the same thing for dinner three or four nights in a row can get a little….”blah.”  So this brings me back to my adoration for supermoms.  Taking leftovers…and transforming them into something else so the family doesn’t know they are eating the same thing.  And BOOM! You saved lots of MOOOOLAH.  That was one of the first tips my sister in law gave me.  Transform your leftovers to save money and eliminate food waste.  I gave her the deer in the headlights look.  Hooooow do you figure out what to make?!  Well guess what.  I came up with this one.  Yeah baby!  Went from a tasty dinner to a creative, light, Asian style salad…all from my little brain!  Go me!  Not Super Mom yet…but maybe by the time I have kids, I will be good enough at it that I can put on the cape 😉

 

Wow.  What an intro!  Enough distraction, let’s get down to business 🙂

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce (or 2 if they’re small)
  • 3 C Spinach
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced or julienned (I decided to julienne mine because…I was thinking Asian…and when I think Asian, I think about our favorite sushi restaurant, Ruyi Asian Fusion.  And it just seemed like something they would do…because their presentation is never ordinary in any way!)
  • 1/4-1/2 a Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • Half recipe of Sweet Pepper Chutney Salmon (About 1 lb Salmon, and 1/2 C chutney)

Dressing:  (This will make about enough for 2 platefuls of salad.  If you want to be able to dress the whole salad, you can double it. )

  • 1/4 C Olive Oil
  • Squeeze of Flaxseed Oil (Optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Citrus (I used lemon juice)
  • 1/2 tsp Bragg’s Amino Acids ( my Soy Sauce substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger, paste or minced
  • Dash of Sriracha

 

And here’s how you do it: (Pretty self explanatory ;))

  1. If you do not have Sweet Pepper Chutney Salmon leftovers but still want to make this fantastically tasty salad, then click on the link and get it started now.
  2. Rinse your romaine and chop or rip it into bite sized pieces, and toss them into a bowl.
  3. Rinse and sort your spinach and add it to the bowl.  Toss with the romaine to evenly distribute.
  4. Slice your onions and cucumbers and scatter on top.
  5. Cut your (cold) salmon into small chunks and scatter on top.
  6. Distribute the chutney evenly over the top.
  7. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and serve on the side.  I do this because I hate it when I dress the whole salad and then we don’t eat it all and it gets soggy and I can’t eat it for lunch the next day.  Booooooo!!

 

How yummy does that sound?  Let me tell you a secret.  It was REALLY yummy!  And this is like…bare minimum for the salad…I didn’t have much in the cupboards, but think of all the variations you could do!  Here’s a few of my ideas:

  • Add a small can of mandarins, and sub the mandarin juice in for lemon juice.
  • Add raisins
  • Add apple chunks
  • Nuts or trail mix

What can you think of that would be tasty?!

 

Pictures, ready GO!

Get your veggies ready!  Clean them all, chop them all, and put in a large bowl!

Chutney Salmon Salad 2Chunk your salmon and add it to the top with the sweet bell pepper chutney

Chutney Salmon Salad 3

YUM!  Now take it outside and eat it in the sunshine!!!

Chutney Salmon Salad 4

 

Seriously, this was perfect for a spring front porch picnic with my husband!!  We took the puppies for a morning walk on a beautiful river-side trail and got some exercise…

Chutney Salmon Salad 1Aren’t they ADORABLE?!  The one on the right is mine 🙂  She needs a hair cut…anyways we started the day with fresh air, exercise, and their cuteness, then shortly after got to sit down in the shade, enjoy the sunshine, and eat something light, fresh, and oh-so-satisfyingly tasty!!  Such a good day 🙂

Chutney Salmon Salad 5Hallelujah!!  Enjoy!  🙂