Monday, December 21, 2009


Today's Recipes: Hoppin' John/BEP Melange, Turkey Burgers/Meatballs/Tacos,

Well, I promised a few recipes, then I fell of the face of the blog... This last week strangely busy, yet not... and the weekend was CRAZY busy, and FUN... except for the fact that I feel crummy... just sinusitis (I hope), but I still feel yucky and very sorry for myself... and I still have to finish (or at least start) decorating our stockings, and cleaning/clearing out the guest room before Christmas Eve.

Today I'm making my grocery shopping list for Christmas Eve through Boxing Day. This means that I got to sit down and make out a menu - which I LOVE to do. Maybe if Miss Lily Ruth stays asleep through the typing of this post, I'll add it at the end!

Let's see. I made a black-eyed pea dish that I thought was going to be absolutely inspired. In truth, it was good, but I may go back to the original recipe or tweak my variation again next time. Here's what happened - I had a package of fresh 'cream peas' from Central Market, but none of the other ingredients for Hoppin' John (my usual recipe here) and I needed to use the peas before they went bad. Here's what I DID have:

SO, here's Rachel's Sausage and Cream Peas Melange:
Olive oil
1 med. onion - finely chopped
1 carrot - finely chopped
4-6 garlic cloves - minced
1 package fresh peas (black-eyed, cream or other - frozen or canned is fine) - rinsed & drained
1 package pork sausage (I like Sage)
1 tiny can of tomato paste
1/2 package of fresh okra (or more) - sliced
chicken broth
bay leaf
cooked rice

- sautee the onion, carrot and garlic in olive oil - put mixture into the crock pot
- cook the sausage in the same pan crumbling it as you cook - add it to the crock pot
- stir in the peas, tomato paste, okra & bay leaf
- mix in enough chicken broth to just cover the other ingredients. if it seems too dry later, add more!
- cook on 'high' for 3-4 hours or 'low' for 6 or more hours - check your moisture level - do you need more broth?
- discard the bay leaf & serve over rice

The next night, I made a variation of one of our favorite dinners. I usually mix these ingredients then form the mixture into patties for turkey burgers or into 1 inch balls for meatballs, but that night, I sauteed everything and served it all in tortillas... you could call them tacos, but that wouldn't really be fair to Mexican food... but it sure was good!!!

Rachel's Turkey Burgers / Meatballs / Tacos:
1 lb ground turkey
1 can corn
1 can sliced water chestnuts - finely chopped
1 pkg crimini mushrooms - coarsely chopped
Panela cheese - finely cubed (Panela is a Mexican cheese with a slightly salty taste that holds it's shape well when cooked - you can use whatever cheese you like :-P)
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach - defrosted and drained (squeeze out as much water as you can!)
Seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.)

for Turkey Burgers or Meatballs:
- mix all ingredients in a large bowl - start with 1/2 each of the corn, spinach and water chestnuts and add more if you'd like. I tend to add too much, then the mixture won't stick together... which is problematic...
- season to your preference. I change it up a lot, and one of our favorite options is Cavender's All Purpose Greek Seasoning
- form mixture into either patties or 1" balls
- for burgers, you can grill or pan fry them
- meatballs can be pan fried or placed on a greased cookie sheet in a 350˚ oven for 20 to 25 minutes - check for doneness by breaking one open... obviously, any pink meat showing is a bad idea...
- we like to serve the meatballs over egg noodles with grated cheese and maybe some broccoli if we're feeling greens deprived.

for Turky 'Tacos':
the ingredients are prepped differently, so listen up...
- coarsely chop the water chestnuts, slice the mushrooms, grate the cheese and use fresh spinach. I also add fresh minced garlic and a chopped onion. you are still going to start with half each of the corn and water chestnuts and add more if you'd like.
- sautee the onion and mushrooms - set aside
- using the same pan, begin to cook the turkey and the garlic with whatever other seasonings you prefer. when they are mostly done, mix the onion and mushrooms back into the pan. add the corn. place the fresh spinach over the top, and cover. The steam from the other ingredients will wilt the spinach. when the turkey is completely cooked, dinner is ready!
- serve on fresh tortillas and sprinkle with the cheese.
- you could warm up a can of black beans with a can of Hatch green chilis or make a batch of rice using chicken broth instead of water and adding a can of ro-tel tomatoes with chilis if you'd like... or you could be lazy and just eat the 'tacos'... guess which one I usually choose...

I will add a picture next time I make one of them, but until then...

here is Lily Ruth trying apple slices... she LOVED them, and I had to constantly sweep the pieces that she was chewing off with her new teeth out of her tiny mouth...

and here is my Yoga baby in her new favorite pose :-)

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