Thai Turkey Zucchini Meatballs


I always love to find recipes that use ground turkey. This recipe was just for the meatballs and the sauce, but I felt it needed some vegetables in there as well. I didn’t want to add zucchini because that was in the meatballs and I thought it would be boring. Red and green pepper slices, carrots and green onions all had just the right amount of crunch to help make this a very tasty meal that was pretty easy to make. But honestly, any vegetables would taste great with this sauce. I was lucky I just happened to have everything in this recipe at home, even the Thai red curry paste. It had been sitting in the refrigerator for more time than I want to admit because I didn’t have a recipe for it. Well, I have one now!

For Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground turkey, extra lean
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded and liquid squeezed out
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely choped
  • 2 Tbsp basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 2 Tbsp coconut milk, light (canned)
  • 1/8 tsp hot pepper chili flakes (I didn’t add this because the red curry paste is hot enough for me)
  • Cooking spray

For the Sauce:

  • 1 + 1/2 cup coconut milk, light (canned)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (can be increased to 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp red curry paste (with caution; this stuff is hot!)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce  (had to add more at the end for my tastes)
  • 1/8 tsp hot pepper chili flakes, or to taste
  • 5-6 kaffir lime leaves (optional)

For Veggies

  • 1 small green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red pepper thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • (have also added zucchini sliced like matchsticks and broccoli)
  • lime, fresh cilantro or lemon basil and green onions for garnish


  1.  In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for meatballs, and mix with your hands thoroughly.  Make 28 meatballs by spooning a heaping Tbsp of mixture and rolling between your hands.  Lay on a cutting board or plate. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside.
  3. Wash and slice vegetables. You can microwave the carrots a bit so they are somewhat softened.
  4. Preheat large, 12″ or larger skillet on high. Spray with cooking spray. Add meatballs and cook until brown, for about 2 or 3 minutes.  No need to cook the meatballs through. Add the sliced vegetables. (For al dente vegetables, add them after the meatballs have cooked for 10 minutes.) Add the sauce, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.
  5. Taste and readjust seasonings. If you want it saltier, add a bit more fish sauce.  If you want it spicier you can add the red pepper chili flakes now. I always squirt fresh lime into the sauce to brighten the taste a bit.
  6. Serve warm with brown rice or brown rice noodles. (Have used soba noodles, yakisoba or ramen.)  Add garnish like fresh cilantro or basil and green onions and more fresh lime.
Published in: on May 20, 2017 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stuffed Shells with Turkey and Eggplant


This was one of my first attempts to slip turkey into our meals.  As the article on the recipe says, “Turkey in this form is low in fats, calories and cholesterol when compared with most other meats.”  There’s so much “stuff” in the stuffing that Luigi never really noticed that it was turkey rather than beef.  In the meantime I cook with a lot of turkey and he is used to it. I don’t make this much any more so whenever I do make it, Louis is quite thrilled, turkey stuffing or not.

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup grated, peeled eggplant
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup red wine OR water
  • 1 tsp. each garlic salt, oregano, basil
  • 1/2 tsp. each tarragon and crushed red pepper
  • 1 package (12 ounces) jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

Brown turkey, onion, eggplant and garlic in hot oil, but do  not burn; season with salt and pepper and reserve. Simmer tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine and seasonings for 15 minutes. Cook pasta shells until done, but still firm; drain. Combine turkey mixture and Parmesan cheese with half of tomato sauce.  Stuff shells; place in 9 by 13-inch pan.  Spoon remaining sauce over each and top with Mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Note: If shells are stuffed ahead of time and refrigerated, do not add sauce or grated cheese until just before baking and increase cooking time by 8 to 10 minutes.  I have also frozen them by first placing them in the freezer on a  baking pan so they don’t touch.  When they were frozen I tossed them into a freezer bag.  When I  was ready to use them, I defrosted them, added the sauce and mozzarella cheese and baked till they were heated through. Tasted just as yummy to us as the freshly made ones.

Published in: on October 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hot Pepper Lentils with Herbed Turkey Meatballs


This is a delicious recipe for ground turkey. The fennel seeds, garlic, balsamic vinegar and the tomato sauce makes what is normally fairly bland meat really tasty. The lentils can be as “hot” as you want them.  No need to make them really spicey if you don’t like that. There are so many delicious flavors that you don’t need a lot of spice. I sometimes add thinly sliced carrots to the lentils, just for more veggies.

Hot Pepper Lentils

2 servings

  • 3/4 cup fat free, low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh oregano, or 1- 1/2 tsp dried
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

Bring chicken broth and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add onion and crushed red pepper. Rinse lentils in a strainer and remove any foreign particles. Slowly pour lentils into boiling liquid so that it continues to boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, covered for 20 minutes. Check after 10 minutes. If lentils are dry, add more water or chicken broth. If there is liquid left in the pan after 20 minutes, remove the lid and let boil several minutes until it evaporates. (Also, check whether lentils are done; I’ve had to cook longer than 20 minutes.) Add oregano, salt and pepper to taste and serve with the meatballs.

Herbed Turkey Meatballs

2 servings

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey meat
  • 1/2 TBSP fennel seeds
  • 2 TBSP plain bread crumbs
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place onion, garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes in a medium nonstick skillet and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes while you prepare the meatballs. Mix turkey, fennel seeds, bread crumbs and balsamic vinegar together. Add a little salt and pepper. Roll into small meatballs, about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. There should be about 8 meatballs. Add to skillet and simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Turn meatballs over and cook, covered, 5 more minutes. (It’s important not to overcook the meatballs. You don’t want them to get hard. Turn off the heat as soon as you think there is  no more pink meat in the middle.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over lentils. We like to sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Published in: on July 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm  Leave a Comment  


Nothing like a little belly-warming chile on a day of clouds and drizzle. Ev doesn’t make basic chile – she makes one with complex and delicate flavors.

She is so far from basic chile, as she almost finished cooking she said, hmm something is missing – but what??

I had to tell her: BEANS!

It is was yummy – but I had to dumb mine down by adding some jalapeño peppers. I also had to promise not to comment on who the sour cream piglet was in the duo, as seen in the photo  =)

Now I bet I get in trouble….


Turkey Chili  (From The Gourmet Gazelle Cookbook by Ellen Brown)

I usually make chili pulling from many different recipes, but here is one that has a nice “full-bodied” taste, so I can just follow this one without adding from other recipes. Nevertheless no recipe is sacred to me; I always make changes and adjustments according to what I have in the kitchen. I got this recipe from a newspaper so I was curious about the cookbook and did a little sleuthing on the Internet.  It dates back to 1989, and one reviewer wrote:  “Brown says that she wants her food to be sensual in the most literal sense of the word and to that extent her recipes are often aromatic and frequently sharpened by the addition of chilies or hot spices.”

Aromatic. That’s a good description for this chili with cocoa, coffee and tarragon vinegar in it.

 (6 servings)

  • 1 TBSP veg. oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped  (peeled? really? who WOULDN’T peel an onion first?)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced  (see previous comment about peeled…)
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 green pepper, finely diced  (recently I just had only a yellow pepper so that’s what I used, but not so finely diced)
  • 1-1/2 lbs ground turkey meat (I’ve used chicken and beef)
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 3 TBSP chili powder
  • 2 TBSP ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cocoa
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup tarragon vinegar  (I’ve never owned this so I use either red wine or rice vinegar and I put in 1/2 – 1 teaspoons tarragon)
  • 2 TBSP strong brewed coffee
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans plum tomatoes, crushed or diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt  (or to taste)
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (We like lots of beans and variety is good. I might add a can of black beans and another can of kidney or pinto beans. 2 cans might be more like 3 cups of beans, but that would still not be too many beans.)

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or deep skillet. Add the onion, garlic, peppers and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring constantly and breaking up any lumps with the spoon.

Stir in the flour, chili powder, cumin and cocoa. Stir over low heat, stiffing frequently, for 3 minutes to cook the spices.

Add the remaining ingredients except the black beans and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Simmer the chili, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 45 minutes, unitl it is thick and the turkey is tender. Add the black beans and cook for 5 additional minutes. We usually top with chopped green onions and shredded Jack cheese and/or yogurt or sour cream.

Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Turkey Pesto Loaf with ‘Rice-a-Roni Rafforzata’

Turkey Meat Loaf

Luigi wanted me to use up pesto from Trader Joe’s that was way too salty.  I had made this meat loaf before, and he thought it would be a good way to get rid of this salty pesto.  He was right!  Not only did it taste OK, it looked really pretty with the tomato sauce on the outside and the green pesto and mozzarella cheese on the inside. Recipe is in my Black Recipe book. (3 years later – 2012 – HA! that comment about the recipe being in my black recipe book was written before I decided I needed to make this an online recipe book to save all my good recipes from the day that the books get burned in a fire or get lost in a move. So, I will add the recipe now.)

Pesto Meatloaf

  • 1-1/4 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped (fine)
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (divided use)
  • 4 tblsp prepared pesto
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly oil a nonstick cookie sheet with sides

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, onion, bread crumbs, eggs and 1/3 cup of the tomato sauce.  Mix well.

On a large piece of aluminum foil, spread the mixture in a rectangle about 12 inches by 10 inches. Spread the pesto sauce over the meat mixture. Top with the shredded cheese. Leave a 1-inch margin around the loaf to prevent the cheese from  seeping out during the baking. (fat chance; it always seeps out for me.)

Roll up the meat mixture jellyroll style. Smooth seams with wet hands.

Place the loaf on the cookie sheet and bake 50 minutes. Pour remaining tomato sauce over the loaf. Bake another 15 minutes. Let the loaf sit 10 minute before slicing.

(From the Great American Meatloaf Contest Cookbook; Hearst Books)


Rice – a- Roni Rafforzata

As a side dish I wanted to make a mushroom risotto, but didn’t have time to go to the store to buy arborio rice.  So, I gave up on the idea and decided to just serve Rice-a-Roni with the meat loaf.  But then I realized that Rice-a-Roni also has short round rice like arborio rice and I thought I’d try the mushroom risotto recipe with the packaged  rice-a-roni.  I combined risotto recipes with the directions on the Rice-a-Roni box  and came up with an enhanced Rice-a-Roni, but it sounds so much better in Italian — Rice-a-Roni Rafforzata!

Here’s what I did:

  • 1 package Rice-a-Roni (chicken, low sodium)
  • 1  1/2 cup quartered mushrooms (crimini and white button mushrooms)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 glove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry marsala wine
  • 2 cups water (may need to add another 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or other Italian blended cheese
  • minced parsley

Saute onions in olive oil for a few minutes.  Add Rice-a-Roni and saute, stirring constantly until vermicelli starts turning golden.  Add 3/4 minced garlic.  Stir another 2 or 3 minutes till garlic is aromatic.  Add marsala wine. Stir until wine evaporates.  Slowly add the water, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until the water simmers. When it starts to simmer, repeat, adding the next 1/2 cup  and stirring until all two cups are in the pan.  Add about 3/4 of the seasoning mix. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, slice the mushrooms and saute with the remaining minced garlic.  Set aside.  Stir into the rice after it has cooked for 15 minutes.  Add more liquid if necessary.  Let simmer another 5 minutes or until rice is cooked to perfection.  Add cheese; adjust seasonings to taste.  Just before serving stir in parsley.   Enjoy  Rice-a-Roni Rafforzata, a San Diego treat!

Published in: on December 4, 2009 at 3:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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