Thai Turkey Meatballs

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I was browsing my ol’ faithful – Pinterest – when this recipe (eventually) caught my eye. I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest when it comes to inspiring my dinner. Love – well, what’s not to love? There are literally millions of gorgeous photos, leading you to so many different recipes. It also lets me check out other blogs I would’ve never found otherwise. But sometimes it’s almost TOO much. It certainly doesn’t help me narrow down my plan if I have no idea what I want to make tonight. Even though I try to organize my Pinterest into food categories, the options are still overwhelming. Let’s take my “Chicken Entrees” board. I started there because we had chicken in the freezer that probably should be eaten. Obviously, each of these dishes appealed to me in some instance, because I saved them. So why did I find reasons to not make any of them tonight?? Browsing this board, I first clicked on Senegalese Chicken Yassa – 💭💭 nah, takes too long to make. Then, oooh Chicken & Dumplings – 💭💭 ehhh, Selim probably won’t want that tonight. Chicken Tikka Masala –  💭💭 oh yum, but I’m trying to write a new blog post and we’ve already done a tikka masala on here. Greek Chicken Meatballs – 💭💭 welllll we did just go on a rant about Greek food, so probably should hold off. But meatballs, that sounds good… let’s go down that rabbit hole… ⌨️ “chicken meatballs” 🖱️ And many clicks later, here we are.

And I’m glad we finally made it. These meatballs are great! And are a likely a bit healthier than the last meatballs you made. We ate them over rice noodles, which was great, but I think they’d be perfect as an appetizer as well.

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Thai Turkey Meatballs

(Adapted from The Bewitchin’ Kitchen blog)
Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 + 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced + 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 5 large fresh basil leaves
  • 5 turns fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the first twelve ingredients (carrots through pepper – including the 1 tbsp of lime juice and 3 sliced cloves of garlic) in a food processor. Pulse until well-processed.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mixture, ground turkey, and egg. Stir to combine well.
  4. Using your hands, form the mixture into small meatballs. (It will feel really wet!)
  5. Place meatballs on a lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then flip and bake another 15 minutes.
  7. While the meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce.
  8. In a large, high-edged pan over medium heat, swirl together coconut oil and just a dash of the coconut milk.
  9. Add the remaining garlic (2 cloves, minced) and cook for a few minutes until the garlic is fragrant.
  10. Now stir in the red curry paste. Allow to cook for just 1-2 more minutes.
  11. Then add the rest of the can of coconut milk and the remaining 2 tbsp lime juice.
  12. Maintain the sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it thickens up a smidge.
  13. When the meatballs are done, place the in the pan. Remove from heat. Coat with the sauce.
  14. Serve over rice or rice noodles or with toothpicks as an appetizer.
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Mama Z’s Cucumbers

Update 7/1/17: Soooo… turns out my memory was faulty. After talking with Jon and our other friend/my old roommate Terry, we think I mentally combined Mama Z’s recipe and Terry’s. Too lazy to change the title and the whole post, so we’ll just pretend – but give a quick shout to Terry and my muddled brain as well! 

There are some recipes that are so simple, I feel like you can barely call them “recipes.” These cucumbers fit that bill. I have to share them though, because they’re so easy to make and delicious – I’d hate to hold out on the precisely 17 people who follow this blog and are probably desperately wondering how I like to eat my cucumbers 😂😂

My friend Jon taught me how to make these cucumbers years ago, and I’ve been addicted ever since. He learned this quick snack from his mother. I’m pretty sure I still make them they way I was taught… but it was awhile ago. Hopefully so, otherwise I guess I’ll have to change the title of this post🤞🏼🤞🏼 These cucumbers will just take you a minute or two to make and are perfect for lunches or a light snack. Even better, just adjust the proportions for as many cucumbers as you want!

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Mama Z’s Cucumbers

(Recipe from my friend Jon’s mom!)
Ingredients: 
  • Cucumbers
  • Equal parts:
    • Low sodium soy sauce
    • Rice wine vinegar
  • Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
Instructions: 
  1. Slice your cucumbers.
  2. Mix together equal parts of soy sauce & rice wine vinegar. [ie: 1 tbsp soy sauce + 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar; 1/4 cup soy sauce + 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar; etc]
  3. Combine the cucumbers with the liquid and place in a dish you can cover and refrigerate.
  4. Top with a few sprinkles of crushed red pepper flakes (as little or as much as you like in terms of spiciness).
  5. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before snacking.

Shrimp Rice Bowl

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Mmmmmm… shrimp! I feel like if you polled the world about their favorite seafood, shrimp would win hands down. Shrimp is like the gateway drug of seafood – even people who “hate seafood,” seem to like shrimp. In fact, I’m pretty sure my sister’s introduction to the seafood world was with deep-fried shrimp, doused in ketchup. She now eats shrimp, crabs, scallops, the occasional fish, and lobster.

This recipe incorporates this delicious shellfish with fresh veggies and herbs, brought together with a great Asian umami flavors. It’s easy enough to throw together for a weeknight dinner, full of flavor, and contains more vegetables than average American dinner plate. Enjoy!

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Shrimp Rice Bowl

Ingredients: 
  • 3/4lb of shimp, peel & de-vein
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar, divided
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 20 baby carrots, sliced length-wise
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, divided
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 large leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • Rice, prepared as you prefer
Instructions: 
  1. Allow coconut oil to liquefy in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add minced garlic to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until beginning to turn golden.
  3. Now add 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of rice wine vinegar, and the carrots. Cover and steam for 4-5 minutes. (If you prefer your cooked carrots on the softer side, extend this time. We prefer our carrots still a bit crisp.)
  4. Lower the heat just slightly. Remove lid and add 2 more tbsp of soy sauce, the other 1 tsp of rice wine vinegar, the bell peppers, crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp of brown sugar, and roughly 3/4 of the basil. Stir a few times to combine and return to lid to the pan.
  5. After ~3 minutes, add the shrimp to the pan, along with the remaining 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of brown sugar.
  6. Leave the lid off this time and return the heat back to medium. Cook until the shrimp are all pink and opaque. This will take less time than you think – should be < 5 minutes. Try to avoid overcooking – rubbery shrimp are no fun!
  7. Serve over rice and top with the remaining fresh basil.
Dinner for two!

“Chicken Lo Mein” Zoodles

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Every time the new year rolls around, it seems like everyone makes a resolution involving weight loss, healthy eating, or general fitness. We’ve been eating zoodles for awhile now (see here, here, here, & here), but I think they’re a great way to simultaneously cut calories and add more healthy vegetables to your dinners! This zoodles dish was inspired by a recipe I’ve had saved on Pinterest for awhile now from the blog/website SkinnyTaste. On this site, you can find so many healthy recipe ideas and healthier variations of classics. Given that takeout chicken lo mein can top out anywhere from 1000 to 1500 calories per carton (obviously varying between restaurants and preparations), this homemade version will probably serve your New Year’s resolution AND your waistline well!

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“Chicken Lo Mein” Zoodles

(Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste)
Ingredients: 
  • 12oz chicken breast
  • 2 med-large zucchini
  • Vegetables to stir fry – options:
    • Carrots
    • Bell peppers
    • Onions
    • Mushrooms
    • Green onions
    • Snow peas
    • Broccoli
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 3 tsp sesame oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
Instructions: 
  1. Prepare the zoodles. (Click if you need more instruction.)
  2. Slice the chicken and your choices of vegetables.
  3. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp of garlic powder.
  4. Heat the 1 tbsp of neutral oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until no translucent spots are visible.
  5. Remove the chicken to the side and wipe clean if needed.
  6. Add 2 tsp of sesame oil to the pan and increase heat to medium-high. Once oil is quite hot, add the vegetables. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1 tsp of sesame oil, chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, and flour.
  8. Remove vegetables to the side and lower heat to medium.
  9. Add sauce to the pan. Allow to warm for 2-3 minutes, stirring as needed.
  10. Add zoodles, other vegetables, and chicken to the pan. Cook over medium heat for ~5 additional minutes so everything is coated in sauce and vegetables are cooked to your liking.
Serving sizes depends on how many vegetables you choose to add!

Spicy Korean BBQ Tacos with Tangy Slaw

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Before we moved to South Carolina for school, we were lucky enough to work on a unit (we were ICU nurses) with some amazing people who became great friends. Luckily for us, several of them share our love for food and cooking. Along the way, one recipe sort of became known as “the recipe,” and got passed around and around via email. We got it from Mike, who got it from Christy, who got it from… someone? As best I can tell, the recipe actually originates with the blog, My Kitchen Addiction.

This is “the recipe” because everyone loves it. We’ll use my family as Exhibit A. We go to the Outer Banks with my extended family on my dad’s side every summer. Traditionally, each night one pair of adults would cook dinner for the entire family – we’re talking 30+ people. After my grandparents died, there ended up being a free night. As one of the oldest grandchildren, I decided that my generation should probably step up and take over cooking one night… especially when you consider that we’re still getting a free vacation out of our parents for a week each summer! Two summers ago, Selim and I announced that we would take charge of that extra night, and that we’d be making this dish. There was immediate skepticism… my family prefers staples like hamburgers, spaghetti, steak, and tacos. They also think that Selim and I like “fancy, weird food.”

Well guess what? They all loved it! People came back for seconds and thirds. One of my cousins ate so much that he actually vomited. Not kidding. Moral of the story? This dish is delicious and everyone loves it. We’re sure you’ll love it too!

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Spicy Slow Cooker Korean BBQ with Tangy Slaw

Ingredients: 
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  • 1 large onion, finely dice half and roughly chop the other half
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder (or other smoky pepper)
  • 2 1/2 – 3lb beef bottom round or shoulder
  • 3 tbsp flour
Slaw
  • 5 cups shredded vegetables (cabbage, carrots, peppers, whatever you want)
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Zest & juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Also
  • Tortillas
  • Extra limes, for garnish
  • Extra basil, for garnish
Instructions: 
  1. Combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. [This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated to save time.]
  2. Place liquid and beef in a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
  3. At some point while your beef is cooking, prepare the slaw. Whisk together all ingredients and pour over the vegetables. Refrigerate until ready to serve. [This can also be done ahead of time.]
  4. After 10 hours, pour the liquid out of the slow cooker into a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Let the meat remain in the slow cooker, with the heat turned off.
  5. Stir the 3 tablespoons of flour into 1/4 cup of water. Whisk together so it is well-combined and forms a what resembles a paste.
  6. Stir the flour/water paste into the saucepan. Stir while adding so it combines thoroughly into the liquid.
  7. Continue simmering until the liquid has thickened to your liking. We reduced ours by maybe a 1/3.
  8. Return thickened liquid to the slow cooker. Use two forks to shred the meat and mix with the liquid.
  9. Make tacos with the meat and slaw on top of warmed tortillas! Garnish with additional basil or a squeeze of lime.
Serves 6.

Post-dinner notes: This also goes great over rice, if for some crazy reason you’re sick of tacos! And, as per usual, I am not making any claims that this is an authentic, traditional dish the way your Korean grandma would make it.

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Ramen Egg

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Winter is coming.

It comes slowly to South Carolina, but it’s been below freezing the past few nights and the high today was only 35. For South Carolina, that’s basically the equivalent of spending a few days north of the wall.

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(And if you don’t get that reference, you should go binge-watch Game of Thrones. I’m sure you have a few days off somewhere over the holidays.)

Anyways. Cold weather = soup weather. Selim wanted to use the stock we made from Thanksgiving bones to make ramen. It was delicious and the perfect dinner for tonight. We’re not 100% confident in the recipe, so we’re going to tinker with it before sharing the whole ramen recipe on here. But we did succeed with the egg that goes in the ramen!

I’m sure the delicious egg that is frequently found in big bowls of ramen has a real name, but we’ve lovingly been referring to it as “ramen egg.” Without further ado…

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Ramen Egg

Ingredients: 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Water
  • Ice
Instructions: 
  1. Heat a pot of water so it’s simmering, but not boiling.
  2. Gently add the eggs to the pot.
  3. Cook for seven minutes. You want the water to be simmering continuously, but do not allow it to come to a boil.
  4. Remove and place immediately into a bowl of ice water.
  5. Leave eggs in the ice bath for three minutes.
  6. Remove from the ice bath. Peel the eggs.
  7. Place eggs in a bowl with the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and 3/4 cups of water.
  8. Marinate overnight (or at least a few hours).
  9. Slice in half just before placing in a bowl of ramen.

Tiger Noodles

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I have this Pinterest board called, “Ones I’ve Made and Would Make Again.” Because, as I’m sure you all know, just because you’ve saved it on a Pinterest board, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth making even once! [See the entire website PinterestFail.com] But to gain inclusion on this board of mine, I not only had to have made it, but loved it too! One of my absolute favorites on there was this recipe for Thai flavored coconut curry noodles. I say was because the link no longer works! It goes nowhere / I think the original blogger took down his/her blog or that post. I’ve scoured Pinterest, and I can find the original poster’s picture of these noodles, but not the blog itself. (And not to be a tattletale, but I found the original poster’s pictures on a few tumblr accounts without proper credit. Rude.) So, long story short, I tried to recreate the recipe from memory and the Pinterest picture.  I didn’t exactly succeed in mimicking it, at least how I remember it, but I ended up with a spicy noodle dish that we definitely enjoyed.

I decided to call them tiger noodles, because I think tigers are big, bold, and fiery – like these noodles. Plus tigers are an endangered species native to Thailand, and this dish is full of Thai flavors. And I like tigers. That’s the main reason.

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Tiger Noodles

Ingredients: 
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 10 oz chicken breast, sliced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 red bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • 10 baby carrots, sliced
  • Wide rice noodles
  • 1 lime
  • Cilantro
Instructions: 
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the curry paste and stir to combine well with the oil. Cook for another 2-3  minutes.
  4. Add the broth to the pan and stir to combine well. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Now add the chicken to the pan and cook until the chicken has lost its translucence. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  6. Now add the coconut milk, broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, and red pepper flakes.
  7. Bring to a fast simmer and cook like this until the liquid has begun to thicken, ~ 15 minutes.
  8. Lower the heat to low-medium. Add carrots, bell peppers, and the chicken to the pan. Cover and cook another 10 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and submerge the noodles in the hot water for 5-10 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
  10. Add the noodles, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, and a healthy squeeze of lime into the pan and stir briefly. Serve immediately. Top your bowl with more cilantro and/or lime if you’d like.
Makes 4 servings. 

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