Monday, October 24, 2016

Turkey, Spinach & Feta Mini Loaves with Dill Mashed Potato Topping

Sometimes you just feel like a meatloaf, no?  I know I do!  I've been trying to keep it more on the healthy side lately to be honest.  I'm getting older and wiser, at least that is what I'm telling myself.  So I'm trying to incorporate more "natural" and less processed in our diet.

Studies have shown that the "good 'ol US of A" is the only country in the world where cancer, diabetes and autoimmune diseases are running rampant.  How does one wrap their minds around this fact or better yet even attempt to understand it?
It's what in our foods.  Basic and simple.  The other countries do not allow such ingredients to be placed in their foods, it's that simple.  
I'm not going to go into a fact rant of any kind, trust me.  There is more than enough blogs out there where you can learn more,  I'm simply telling you, I am leaning towards more "natural" ways of preparing our meals.

With that being said; These mini loaves were absolutely delicious!  They were unbelievably moist, with the addition of oatmeal, bursting with Mediterranean flavor, and just a perfect dinner!  The addition of the salad was a complete meal for us.  

Now I have to tell you, between you and me that;  I attempted this recipe 2x.  The first time, I tried to take the mini loaves out of the cupcake tins after I had placed the mashed potato topping on them.  That was an EPIC failure! Mashed potatoes to the left, the right, ugh!
So the second time, I took the loaves out of the muffin tins, placed them on a baking sheet, and then added the potato topping.  PERFECT!

You know how I am about adding additional plates/pans when cooking or baking.  However, this time, an additional baking sheet was indeed needed.

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 35-40 minutes
Yield: 12 Mini loaves

Mini Loaves:
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup oatmeal (not steel cut)
16 oz frozen chopped spinach, strained and squeezed dry
1 cup (4oz) feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning  

Mashed Potato Topping:
4 cups mashed potatoes (leftover is perfect or can use instant)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried dill
pinch of salt and pepper
1 egg

-Preheat oven to 375F.

-In a medium bowl add all the ingredients for the mini loaves and mix well.  Place them in the muffin tins which you have sprayed with non stick baking spray and bake for 20 minutes.

-As the loaves are baking, in a bowl add all the ingredients for the mashed potato topping and mix well and set aside.

-You can either add the topping into a plastic bag and pipe the topping onto the loaves, or you can just spread them over with a spoon/knife.  I chose to pipe, plus it's easy clean up, you just throw the bag away.

-After 20 minutes, remove the turkey loaves out of the oven and carefully take them out of the individual tins and place them on a baking sheet.  You might have to use a knife to gently go around each one.  To some I did, to some I didn't have to, stubborn little things!

-Pipe/spread the mashed potato topping onto the mini loaves, and return to the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes till the mashed potatoes have been warmed thru and are just starting to get golden.

*The reason I add an egg to the mashed potato topping is the egg helps with the consistency of the mashed potatoes, and honestly gives them the most super creamy texture.*

-Remove from oven, let rest for approximately 5-7 minutes, and serve.

The aromas will be wafting thru your house and you will not be able to wait to dig in.
This recipe is easy, healthy, bursting with flavor but above all, delicious!  Not to mention it's a show stopper when they are presented on a platter.

Till next time!  

 Dishin with Didi

Monday, October 17, 2016

Autumn Vegetable Soup

 To me there is nothing more satisfying and warming to the soul, than soup!  The aromas wafting through the kitchen and house as it is slowly simmering, especially on a dreary day! 

I just love soup, I really do... but I love it the most on a chilly damp day!

This was exactly the type of day it was when I was making this soup.  Chilly, dreary, rainy, and damp...
But the aromas wafting through the kitchen?  Priceless!

 I served it with crusty bread and grated Parmesan cheese.  Even my carnivore hubby not only loved it, but asked for seconds!  I was very happy to give him some because this is not only healthy, and chock full of goodness, it's also absolutely delicious!

We had it for dinner that day, and I froze the other half to be used for another day! So, even though this soup makes a ton, trust me, it freezes beautifully and will provide another meal for the family.  Score! 

Ready for the recipe?
Here we go;

Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time:  35-40 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings

3 cups potatoes, peeled and diced into cubes - (3 large)
4 cups zucchini, washed and diced into cubes (3 medium)
2 cups fresh green beans, washed trimmed and cut in half
1 large green pepper, diced into cubes
2 cups celery, diced
2 cups carrots, diced
8 oz (227g) fresh spinach
6 green onions, diced (can use 1 medium onion)
1 can (15.5oz - 439g) Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2-32oz (907g) chicken broth
2 cans (14.5 oz - 411g) diced fire roasted tomatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp Herbes de Provence
1-1/2 tbsp sugar

-Prep all your veggies, set aside.

-In a large stock pot, add the olive oil, let warm for about 1 minute.  Add in the onion and zucchini.  Stir and saute for 1 minute.  

-Add in the remainder of the vegetables, stir.

-Sprinkle in the spices, except for the sugar, stir to incorporate.

-Pour in the diced tomatoes with juices, and the chicken broth.  Stir once more and then add in the sugar.  Stir again and bring to a boil.

-Once it starts boiling, reduce heat to very low and place the lid of the stock pot in semi covered position over the pot.  Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

-After 30 minutes, test to make sure vegetables, especially the potatoes are soft and cooked through.  Add the spinach to the soup and continue to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes till the spinach has wilted.

-After the spinach has wilted, ladle into bowls and enjoy!

I strongly suggest serving this hearty soup with crusty bread and Parmesan cheese.  You can even add a nice melting cheese on top of the soup while the soup is still hot, this will give you a very nice stringy cheese topping.

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did.  It's easy, hearty, comforting, good for you, but most of all delicious!

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, October 3, 2016

Garlic Parmesan Wings - Baked Not Fried

 Who doesn't like crispy wings?  I know right!  I love chicken wings on game day, seriously, that and pizza.  My two favorites for a good game!  Now that being said, have you seen the prices of wings when ordering out lately?  "Holy are we short on chickens batman"?  I couldn't believe what they want for 1 dozen or 12 wings.  

The other thing about ordering out is that I never seem to get them crispy just like I like them.  I mean crispy, not soggy and soaking in sauce of some kind.  I like my wings very crispy outside and juicy on the inside and definitely not saturated with sauce.
So, me being me, I made my own!  I have to tell you, they are out of this world delicious.  I love Buffalo wings, I really do.  However their is something magical about the "garlic and Parmesan" combination.  I can't explain it to you in any other way other than it is a perfect marriage!  You get a hint of that amazing perfectly seasoned garlic flavor, and then; "SLAM" the Parmesan hits you.  Yes!

These wings are baked and not fried, there is very little butter involved in a 4lb bag of wings, which allows you to actually indulge and not feel guilty.  This is what I tell myself, and I'm sticking to it!
This recipe was inspired by Alton Brown's Buffalo Wings.  He is a very good chef, odd, but a very good chef.  I've tweaked his recipe to;

  • Make it easier
  • Don't use as many pans
  • Clean up is a breeze
I mean it's okay when you have someone cleaning up your kitchen and all, but when you are a home cook, well we take shortcuts, at least I do.

Alton Brown's Recipe:  HERE

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time:  20 minutes
Bake time:  1 hour and 15 minutes
Yield: 6 appetizer servings

Chicken wings:
4lbs - 64 oz (1.81kg) bag chicken wings, still frozen is fine
1-1/2 tbsp garlic salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp tsp cayenne pepper (can use more if you like it hot) 

3 tsp butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grated Pecorino/Parmesan Cheese (the kind from the green container is fine)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

-Using a large stock pan, rinse your chicken wings, (can still be frozen), and place in pan.  Add enough water to cover by an inch.
Bring to a boil, skim off any scum if needed, reduce heat and simmer for 17-18 minutes.

- Once cooked, with tongs, remove onto paper towel lined baking sheet and allow to cool.  Using the paper towels, make sure wings are dry.

-While wings are cooling, assemble the spice mixture, set aside.
Preheat oven to 400F (200C).

-In a medium bowl, add the first layer of wings, season with spice mixture, keep layering and seasoning till both wings and spice mixture is used.  Toss to ensure all wings are coated, set aside.

-Remove paper towels from baking sheet, wipe dry, line the baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and spray with non stick baking spray. I'm all about easy clean up you know!

-In a single layer, add the chicken wings to the baking sheet.

 -Bake for 25 minutes, turn wings over and return to oven to bake another 18-20.  This will make for very crispy wings. 

-As chicken wings are baking, melt your butter and add the garlic powder to it, mixing well, set aside.  Mix cheeses together in a small bowl, set aside.  Wash and dry medium bowl, we are going to use it again.

 -Once wings are cooked, layer a few wings into the medium bowl, drizzle a few teaspoons of butter and sprinkle with cheese, continue layering, drizzling and sprinkling till the all the chicken wings, butter and cheese have been used.
                                        I know...

Place on a pretty platter or basket and get ready for accolades.  Don't forget to grab one for yourself!

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi