Kitchen Concoctions: May 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Goin' Old School

I am sure you all have recipes that you have been making for years. You know the ones you don't even need the recipe and whip up whenever you are invited to a last minute dinner or just want something easy and no fuss.

Well this Chocolate Ribbon Pie is one of those desserts for me. I can't even remember where I actually found this recipe all those years ago (maybe from a magazine or on the box of Jello or a Cool Whip container, who knows). But the reason I even made this pie originally was for my final project in the 7th grade for Home Economics class. We had to create a full dinner menu, including an appetizer and dessert, plan it out, prepare our budget, create a shopping list and the prepare the meal for our families and have them grade it. We then had to present all of our recipes, menu plan, etc in a nice binder to our teacher.

Well this is the dessert I made for that dinner and I have been making it for holidays, dinners, and as a yummy treat ever since. It is SO easy, uses ingredients I usually have on hand AND everyone loves it. This is defiantly a tired and true over and over again! Because it is a simple, no bake dessert it is PERFECT for the hot days of summer!

Chocolate Ribbon Pie
Prep time: 15 minutes Refrigeration time: 2-3 hours Serves: 8

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon sugar
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon milk, divided
1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 chocolate pie crust
2 pkg. (3.9 oz. each) chocolate instant pudding
1 chocolate bar**

Beat cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and 1 tablespoon milk in medium bowl with whisk until well blended. Stir in half the whipped topping. Spread onto bottom of crust.

Beat pudding mixes and remaining milk with whisk for 2 minutes, mixture will be thick. Pour over cream cheese layer in crust.

Refrigerate 2-3 hours or until firm. Top with remaining whipped topping and chocolate shavings just before serving.

**Tip: My easy peasy way to make 'chocolate curls' or shavings it to take a chocolate bar and run a grater/peeler along the edge. Voila instant curls of chocolate.

recipe adapted possibly from Kraft?? can't remember

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Crummy Day Equals Give-Away

Last week when I did the CBOM feature, I wrote that I like to try and post a wide variety of recipes from each cookbook I choose. Last week it was a side dish with the Hoppin' John Salad and this week is a dessert.

These lemon bars were simple, fast and consumed by 8 people in about 2.5 seconds. If that doesn't sell you I don't know what will!

I really have no recipe notes (I made this recipe practically like the original) or anything else to add today (it has been one of those days).

Ok wait I guess I do have something else to add today... Since I am loving this Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Grilling Cookbook, and since summer and the grilling season is here and since I have had a pretty crummy day and want to cheer myself up and bring some good cheer to all of you... I am having a giveaway!

I am giving away a copy of the Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Grilling Cookbook to one of you lucky readers!

You have THREE ways to enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite summertime food is. I love burgers right off the grill, ice cream and popsicles, all the fresh summertime fruits and veggies, and a big ole glass of lemonade!

2. Become a follower of this blog and come back to this post and leave a comment letting me know. And if you are already a follower just leave a comment letting me know that too.

3. Tell someone about this giveaway, whether it be on a blog, Facebook or Twitter. Then come back here and leave a new comment letting me know.

This give-away closes Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 11 pm CST. Winner will be chosen at random announced sometime Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

This giveaway is sponsored by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions. This giveaway and looking at these bright lemon bars are already making my day better!

Lemon Cream Squares
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Serves: 15 squares

1 (18.25 ounces) box lemon cake mix
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg

For Top Layer:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 (3-ounce) box lemon gelatin
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 by 13-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

For crust layer:
In a large mixing bowl, beat with an electric mixer on low speed the cake mix, butter, and egg until well combined and smooth. Press cake mixture evenly into prepared pan; set aside.

For top layer:
In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon gelatin on medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and beat until smooth.

Spread cream cheese mixture over cake layer. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake barely start to pull away from sides. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Store leftovers in refrigerator,

adapted from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Grilling

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Little Southern Luck

When I choose a cookbook of the month cookbook I usually try and choose books that have recipes for all parts of the meal. I like books that have appetizer, main entree, side dish, and dessert sections. Added bonuses are always when there are also bread sections, or soup and salad sections, etc... Well anyways, (there I go rambling again) I always try and pick a wide variety of recipes to make from the cookbooks I choose so that I can truly get a 'feel' for the cookbook.

So this is the recipe I choose for the side dish to feature. Hoppin' John Salad is a traditional Southern dish. It is traditionally eaten at New Years because in the South, black eyed peas are eaten to bring you luck throughout the new year. However, I know I could use some 'luck' any time of year so I went ahead and whipped up this rice salad (plus why wait to have a good thing only once a year).

Some versions I have had of this salad are served as a warm salad while others I have eaten chilled or at room temperature. Because I wanted a warm side I changed the cooking and preparation procedures slightly from the directions listed in the cookbook.

This was a tasty and quick version of a classic dish. I served this salad with some baked tilapia which accompanied it perfectly. But if you want to go all out and have a traditional Southern feast, make this Hoppin' John Salad and serve it with some juicy fried chicken!

(Oh and please ignore that big green leaf in the middle of the picture. I was trying to be creative or maybe artistic but failed miserably!)

Hoppin' John Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: 5
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (8 ounce) box dirty rice
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 (15 ounce) can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup chunky salsa

In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to boil over high heat. Add dirty rice mix, return to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

While rice cooks, heat oil in a saute pan. Add diced onion, celery, and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes; add black eyed peas and salsa and heat through. Once rice is finished cooking mix stir in cooked vegetables and serve warm.

adapted from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Grilling

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Some Sibling Bonding For The Sake Of Mom

I was able to go home for Mother's Day and cook a nice dinner for my Mom and my sister, who is a new Mother and celebrated her first Mother's Day. I made the works: homemade lasagna (forgot to take pictures to share the recipe with you... oh well I guess I will just have to make it again... I don't mind, honestly) rolls, salad, and delicious lemon pie for dessert.

I even got my little brother (I should say younger not little because he towers over me now) to help with everything. I was so proud of him that he put down his video games and came and set the table, made the entire salad all by him self and helped me make this pie. I got to teach him all about measuring ingredients, tempering eggs, and how to cut fruits and veggies. He even seemed some what interested (this coming from a kid who if left alone to fend for himself for the evening thinks heating soup from a can is too much work). I guess I had better make a few more trips home in the next few weeks to teach him the basics so that he won't starve when he leaves for college this summer.

This lemon pie was the featured Pillsbury calendar recipe for the month of May. When I saw it I knew Mother's Day would be the perfect occasion to make this pie (I mean I could have made it 'just because' for just Eric and I, but that would have been detrimental to my health thighs).

This pie tasted great. I love lemon/citrus desserts but some people are not fans. This pie has just the right amount of lemon flavor: not too little and not too over powering, just right. I also loved how I could taste every flavor element of the pie, the lemon, the cream cheese, the white chocolate.

Notes: The original recipe uses a traditional pie crust. The first time I baked the crust it shriveled up on me so I had to make it again. This crust did not taste bad, but I think the next time I make this pie I will use a graham cracker pie curst. This will be much easier and will eliminate the need to turn the oven on (which in the summer months is the last thing you EVER want to do). Also, the original recipe uses water but I always like to substitute milk when I bake for the added richness. However, because I did this my pie did not turn out looking like the pie pictured in the calendar; with one distinct cream cheese layer and one distinct lemon layer. I was slightly bummed about this because I liked how neat it looked with the separate layers. But after eating this pie and loving how smooth and creamy my version turned out I like my way better. Plus if you use milk and don't try to separate the pie filling into two separate layers you save time and dirty up less dishes; and I am all for that!

Oh, and P.S.
The original recipe also calls for topping this pie with whipped cream, um I totally used sliced strawberries that I had sprinkled with some sugar and let sit for about an hour to let some of their natural juices form. THIS was the perfect topping for this perfect Mother's Day dessert!

Lemon Truffle Pie
Prep Time: 1 Hr 10 Min Total Time: 3 Hr 10 Min Serves: 10

1 premade graham cracker pie crust

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup white vanilla baking chips or chopped white chocolate baking bar (6 oz)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 tablespoon sugar

In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and flour. Gradually stir in milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Stir about 1/4 cup hot mixture into egg yolks until well blended. Stir egg yolk mixture into sugar mixture in saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Cook an addtitional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Stir in butter, lemon peel and lemon juice. Stir in vanilla chips and return to stove and cook over low heat just until chips are melted, stirring constantly.

In small bowl with electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in melted vanilla chip/lemon mixture until well blended. Spread into pie crust. Refrigerate until set, 2 to 3 hours.

In another small bowl toss strawberries with sugar. Place in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours or until pie is ready. Serve prepared strawberries over pie.

recipe adapted from

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

At a loss

For the first time ever in my blogging career I am at a loss for words. I guess I am just WAY to tired or it is just WAY too late. Maybe I am still trying to recuperate from a long stressful week at work last week or from traveling over the weekend. But whatever it is I am just going to get to it.

This is the second recipe from the Semi-Homemade Grilling cookbook. I love chicken caesar salads and pitas so I knew I wanted to give this version a try. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical of how the melted cheese and the room temperature lettuce would taste together, but of course it was great. This was a fast meal that I think would be easier and faster not doing it on the 'traditional' grill. A fast, tasty, low ingredient meal is perfect to have on hand for those busy and tiring nights!

Notes: The original recipe says to use a pizza crust but I thought the pitas bread would work better for holding and serving individual 'pita pizzas.' Plus I love pita bread!

Side Note: Briannas Home Style Asiago Cesar Dressing is by far one of my favorite cesar dressings especially of the premade/store bought stuff. LOVE IT! I could totally just drink it from the bottle. It is a little bit more expensive than some of those other brands but TOTALLY worth the extra couple of dimes. In my humble opinion this dressing is what made this chicken cesar salad pizza pitas ROCK!

Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza Pitas
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 20 min Serves: 4

3/4 pound chicken tenders
1/2 cup Caesar salad dressing, plus 2 tablespoons
4 pita bread
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
4 cups hearts of romaine, shredded
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup Caesar salad dressing
1 cup seasoned croutons

In a bowl, combine chicken tenders with 1/2 cup salad dressing; set aside. Brush pita bread with remaining 2 tablespoons of dressing and top with Italian cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; set aside.

Remove chicken from marinade and cook on hot oiled grill, George Forman, on in a saute pan for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until just done.

While chicken is cooking, place cheese topped pita bread under broiler or in a toaster oven to toast and melt cheese; approximately 8 minutes.

Once chicken is done cooking, cut into bite sized chunks. Toss shredded romaine with lemon juice. Add 1/4 cup dressing, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and prepared chicken. Toss and set aside.

Remove pitas from oven when ready. Top with salad and garnish with croutons. Serve immediately.

adapted from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Grilling

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Year: 2010; Month: 5; Day: 8

Man time sure does fly! Just typing that sentence makes me feel soooo OLD! But I really do feel like the older wiser I get the faster time goes by. I can't believe it is already the 5th month of the year 2010... and it is already the 8th day of May! How can time possibley go this fast!?!

Anyways, since it is already the 8th day of the 5th month of the year 2010, I guess I had better announce May's CBOM (cookbook of the month). I am so excited about this cookbook and am already having fun making the recipes. This month since summer is fast approaching I thought I would feature Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Grilling. I know I have featured a Sandra Lee cookbook in the past; and although I feel like some of her recipes a 'too simple' or 'too basic' at times, I have always had success with any SL recipe I try. Plus isn't grilling and summer time supposed to be an easier lazy time of year.

One thing I like about Sandra Lee cookbooks are the tip and info pages at the front of the book. In this section she shares grilling tips, useful tools, and pantry staples (specifically for grilling). Another feature about this book that I enjoyed is that each recipe has directions on how to prepare that recipe on the grill AND also gives directions on how to make that same recipe without a grill. This is great because if you are like me and don't have access to a grill on a daily basis (I mean I have my trusty George Foreman; but not a get the coal hot and ready manly man type of grill) or if you do have a 'manly man... get the coal ready type of grill' but want a burger or grilled steak in the dead of winter you know you got other options.

This cookbook features everything from burgers to steaks, to fish and chicken, to sides and desserts and cocktails... all made on the grill (ok the cocktails aren't made on the grill, they are made for sippin' while working the grill). So far the recipes I have tried from this book are quick and easy (perfect for a busy weeknight or lazy weekend) and taste great. I can't wait to try more. And because I have limited access to a grill I have included Sandra's (and my own) modifications on how to make all of these recipes in the comfort of my own home.

First up I made these Cheesesteak Sandwiches. These were easy peasey and delicious. Eric makes a great, classic Philly Cheesesteak, however these were not your classic Philly's. These sandwiches were loaded with flavor (loved the marinade) and Eric's homemade jalapeño mayonnaise give these sandwiches that extra love. And did I mention these were super easy made off the grill.

Cheesesteak Subs
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes Serves: 4

1 pound top round steak
2 green bell peppers, 1/2-inch slices
1 large onion, 1/2-inch slice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion soup mix
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
12 slices swiss cheese
12 slices provolone cheese
Jalapeño Mayo (recipe below)
4 sandwich rolls

Slice steak into very thin slices. Place sliced steak into large zip-top bag, set aside.

In another zip-top bag, add sliced peppers and onions. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic powder, onion soup mix, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour half of marinade into each of the zip-top bags. Mix marinade into meat and veggies, making sure to fully coat all meat and vegetables.

Preheat saute pan. Saute vegetables (in the marinade) until caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add steak and saute. Remove and set aside.

Split rolls in half. Spread sandwich rolls with Jalapeño mayonnaise. Top each half of the rolls with the steak and vegetable mixture. Add three slices of provolone cheese on top of one half of the sandwich and add three slices of swiss to the other half. Place sandwiches under broiler to toast and melt cheese. Serve.

adapted from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Grilling

Eric's Jalapeño Mayo
by Eric (and Heather) of Kitchen Concoctions
Prep time: 15 minutes Makes: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup mayo
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño pepper
1/2 of a small green bell pepper, seeds removed
salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until blended. Serve on your favorite sandwich.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

You win some, you lose some

About a year-year and a half a go I was really obsessed with recipe contests. I was mostly obsessed with finding the different recipes contests and what the different requirements were. I entered a couple but realized that my ambitions were much greater than the amount of time I had to dedicate to creating the recipes and then filling out all the paperwork to enter them in the contents and keep track of all the due dates, etc. So after my short little stint with the couple I entered I became (gasp) a quitter. I do check back from time to time and see what ones they having going on but between a full time job, this blog, and everyday life I don't have time for them.

One recipe contest I did enter though was the Betty Crocker cookie contest. The object of the game, I mean contest, was to use at least one pouch of Betty Crocker Cookie Mix (in flavors: peanut butter, chocolate chip, oatmeal, sugar, chocolate chocolate chip, and oatmeal chocolate chip) and transform it into a 'new' bar or cookie. I created a recipe and tested it out on friends and family, at a birthday parties and even domino night. Everyone raved and raved about the Lime Cheesecake Dessert Squares and asked for the recipe. I knew right then and there that these bars were worthy enough to enter in the contest and so I did.

When they announced the winners on the Betty Crocker website unfortunately my Lime Cheesecake Dessert Squares were not among the recipes listed. I didn't get discouraged because I knew they were great. Well a few months later the people over at Betty Crocker contacted me to say that they wanted to feature my recipe for Lime Cheesecake Bars in the April/May 2010 Betty Crocker Magazine (thought my recipe was at least good enough for the magazine, huh Betty?). Of course I cooperated and gave them the information they needed. I may have not gotten 'gold' but at least I made it to the 'Olympics'. : )

Lime Cheesecake Dessert Squares
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions
Prep time: 30 minutes Bake time: 30 minutes Cool/Refrigerate time: 5 hours Serves: 12

1/2 cup cold butter
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated
2/4 cup key lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime peel
2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup reserved cookie crust crumbs
3/4 cup coconut
3/4 cup macadamia nuts chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In medium bowl, cut utter into cookie mix using pastry blender or fork, until mixture is crumbly. Reserve 3/4 cup of mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture in bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in condensed milk, key lime juice, lime peel, and flour. Pour filling mixture over crust.

In medium bowl, mix reserved cookie crumbs, coconut, and macadamia nuts. Sprinkle evenly over top of filling. Bake 30-35 minutes or until light golden brown and mixture is set. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Family Friendly

I can't believe I am done with another cookbook review! It seems like I just started making recipes from the April cookbook: Family Circle All Time Favorite Recipes. Maybe I feel that way because I was so far behind blogging that I DID only start making recipes from this cookbook or maybe it went so fast because I blogged about all the recipes for the review pretty much back to back in a two week time frame instead of over the course of the month. Anyways time to wrap up another cookbook review.

I thought Family Circle All Time Favorite Recipes was a great book. All of the recipes were tasty, easy to make, and used pantry staples. Totally family friendly. There are over six hundred recipes (so I didn't even scrape the surface with this one) and has over three hundred pictures.

This cookbook gives you all the information you need. From prep and cooking times, to serving amounts, to nutrition facts; which I don't know about you, but I love having this info. There are also great kitchen/cooking tips all throughout this book like what temperatures to cook meat and how to make a cookie either soft, chewy, or crispy depending on your tastes.

I would highly recommend this book. I had great success with all the recipes I tried and there are plenty more recipes I want to make.

These "Everything Cookies" were just that: "everything" you would ever want in a cookie. The 'Monster Cookie' to the extreme and totally easy to personalize and make your own depending on your favs and craves.

The meatballs in this Sweet-and-Sour Turkey Meatball dish were completely done right. We didn't really care for the sauce/veggie mixture that topped these meatballs, BUT these turkey meatballs were extremely moist and full of flavor. Will totally make these meatballs again.

Mexican Chicken Salad- perfect for Cinco de Mayo tomorrow or whenever you want a chicken salad with great, not your 'typical chicken salad' flavor. And my tortilla crispers really make this Mexican Chicken Salad a fun tasty lunch time/party time food.
Want to spicen up your snack time blues, well try this Cajun popcorn for a fun, tasty 'adventure'. Just be careful if serving a 'we lad because they might have a hard time with these fiery spices (my friend's kiddos learned that the hard way, oops)!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

On A Granola Kick

Sometimes I get into flavor/food kicks or cravings (I am sure you all do too!). The last couple of weeks it has been granola. Ever since I made those AMAZINGLY AWESOME granola bars a few weeks ago I can't get enough granola. From fruit and yogurt parfaits, to granola and milk, to eating it dry as a snack... I can't get enough. So when I saw these cookies made with granola I knew I wanted to give them a try. Plus since these cookies have just about 'everything' in them, and a lot of the same ingredients from the AMAZINGLY AWESOME granola bars previously mentioned it worked out perfectly because I didn't have to go to the store.

I am sure you have all heard of 'Monster Cookies'. You know the ones that are a cross breed of the oatmeal, chocolate chip, peanut butter, and M&M cookie. Well these Everything Cookies are the Monster Cookie taken to the extreme. And you know what is even more perfect about these cookies, is that every single ingredient (minus those for the cookie base) are interchangeable depending on your taste or craving.

Notes: In addition to changing raisins to dried cranberries and walnuts to pecans I added coconut flakes to the mix and a little bit more of the peanut butter and chocolate chip goodness. These were perfect right out of the oven with a glass of milk.

Everything Cookies
Prep: 20 minutes Bake: 12 to 15 minutes Makes: 24-30 cookies

1-1/2 cups low-fat granola
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
3/4 cup coconut flakes
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Toss together the granola, raisins, oats, chocolate chips, walnut halves and peanut butter chips in a large bowl until well combined.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a small bowl; stir with a whisk to combine the ingredients well.

Place the brown sugar and granulated sugar in a bowl and using an electric mixer, mix to combine. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, whirling until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix until incorporated, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture. Continue to mix until just combined.

Slowly stir in the chocolate chip mixture; making sure to combine the ingredients well.

Shape the dough into 2-inch balls; place the dough 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until light brown.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on a wire rack until firm enough to lift with spatula. Transfer the cookies with a metal spatula to a wire rack to cool completely.

recipe adapted from Family Circle All Time Favorite Recipes

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Which one are you?

Are you a bowl person or a plate person? Strange question, right? I know... but I am curious. I am a bowl person. If a I am eating a pasta dish or a rice dish with the sauce/meat/veggies served over it I want it all in a bowl. So I can stir and mix and mash and so every flavor of can mesh and mingle together. Now if I were having a meal with a meat and two sides of course I want a plate with everything separated. But if I am eating Sheppard's Pie, stir-fry, or Eric's Yellow Rice Dinner, I want a bowl. Eric is the same way (good thing)! Bowls make things less messy- you don't have to worry about your food sliding off you plate and you can really get in there and dig deep. Are you like me and prefer bowls over plates sometimes, or is this a crazy/weird little habit/obsession and Eric and I are the only ones? Or have you never really put much thought into it? (I guess now that I think about it, in some situations a plate is preferred for all things because it is more classy/elegant or better for food styling.)

Well these Sweet-and-Sour Turkey Meatballs fall into that category of meals that must be eaten out of bowl. There is the rice, the meatballs, and the sauce/veggie mixture. Eric and I thought these were good but there is a sweet-and-sour chicken recipe and sweet-and-sour meatball recipe that I make regularly (I keep meaning to take pictures and blog about these recipes but they are those 'go-to' recipes for a busy night when you are starving and want a quick meal and I always forget to take pictures) that we both think is better. We did love the turkey meatballs in this dish. A lot of people don't like to cook with ground poultry because it can be dry and flavorless. But if you know what ingredients to add to the turkey to make it more moist and flavorful, turkey/chicken is usually a better option (and what I prefer) because it is cheaper and healthier. These meatballs have zucchini added to them (perfect to get a picky eater to eat extra veggies and perfect since zucchini season is coming up and everyone needs extra recipes to use the over abundance of zucchini) which help make these turkey meatballs moist!

Notes: Another thing we didn't like about this recipe is how runny the sauce was. I even let the sauce cook a little bit longer than suggested and made a roux to try and thicken it up but it was still pretty thin. I would suggest using a little less of the chicken broth.

Sweet-and-Sour Turkey Meatballs
Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Makes: 4 Servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-size onion, chopped
1 sweet green pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks, packed in juice
1/4 cup ketchup
1 slice white bread
2 tablespoons milk
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 medium-size zucchini, shredded
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups quick-cook rice

Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion, green pepper and carrot; sauté 5 minutes, until onion is softened.
Remove cooked veggies from pan. Add butter to pan and melt. Stir in flour. Continue to stir making sure all lumps are out .

Stir in broth, tomato sauce, brown sugar, white vinegar, pineapple with juice and ketchup. Add previously cooked onion, green pepper, and carrot to pan of liquids. Simmer, uncovered, 10 - 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, soak bread in milk in large bowl until milk is absorbed. Add turkey, zucchini, egg, salt, pepper and garlic. Shape turkey mixture into 10-12 meatballs, about 2 tablespoons each.

Drop meatballs into simmering sauce; simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until cooked through; turn over once during cooking.

Remove from heat. Serve over rice.

recipe adapted from Family Circle All Time Favorite Recipes
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