Honey-Chipotle Turkey Meatballs

Lately my husband has been doing amazingly well on his diet and I am so proud of him! As the chef in the house, helping him with his weight loss goals have not been easy. I am a meat loving-butter loving chef and I just cannot imagine living off of vegetables and low calorie seafood for months. For the first few weeks of his diet we ate nothing but grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. Talk about boring! I was to the point where if I had to eat another bite of chicken, I was going to scream!

My husband and I have very different dietary needs. He wants a low calorie diet with lots of protein and good carbs, while I could care less about my calories! Give me an extremely high protein-low carb-high fat diet and I am in heaven! I quickly realized if I were ever going to be successful in cooking for the both of us I needed to find ways to make dishes that would work for us both. Anyone who cooks for themselves or their families, you know how hard it can be to find new and interesting ideas that can fit the dietary needs of everyone in the family.

The other evening I came across the recipe for these Honey-Chipotle Turkey Meatballs, and knew they would be perfect! Ground turkey is extremely healthy and is also high in protein! My biggest fear was the meatballs could turn out dry, since ground turkey has a tendency to dry out easily when cooked. Oh my goodness, these meatball were heavenly! They were moist and tender, and the glaze gave them the perfect amount of heat while not burning your mouth to death! They were better (okay, almost better) than any kind of beef meatball I have ever made!

Photo by MarthaStewart.com.

Photo by MarthaStewart.com.

Honey-Chipotle Turkey Meatballs
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Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds Ground Turkey
1/2 cup Yellow Onion, diced small
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 tablespoons Honey
2 tablespoons Chipotle Chilies in Adobe Sauce, chopped
2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the ground turkey, onion, garlic, salt and black pepper until combined. Do not over mix the meat! Form the mixture into 16 meatballs.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the honey, chilies, and vinegar. Set aside.

In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatball and cook until they are browned on all sides, which will take 10-12 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake the meatball for 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven, pour the honey mixture on top of the meatballs and swirl the skillet to evenly distribute the sauce. Bake until the liquid is reduced and the meatball are glazed, which will take 5-10 minutes, swirling the skillet halfway through.

Source: adapted slightly from Martha Stewart.

Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken

Recently, with everything going on around the house cooking has become a little bit of a chore. Mark has been on diet and making a fresh meal every night for two has been straining on my brain since I have been trying to keep new dishes in the mix. From my dieting history, I know how boring it can get to eat the same foods over and over again, week after week. The other afternoon as I was sitting around with the dogs, suddenly it struck me that I have not been using my trusty ole’ crock pot like I should be! PERFECT, I thought to myself!! All I would have to do is toss everything into the crock pot, let it cook on its own, and then I would have a few meals worth of chicken for us!

Looking through my options, I decided that the Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken would be perfect! The possibilities are endless once the chicken is done cooking! Mark and I have eaten this chicken in everything from tacos and quesadillas, to topping rice and noodles with it. This recipe is so good that tomorrow we are making a second batch!

Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken
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Ingredients:
4 Pounds chicken breast
1 Cup Italian dressing
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1 Packet dry ranch dressing mix
3/4 Cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon chili powder

Directions:
Spray the bottom and sides of the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray and add the chicken.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk together until blended well. Pour the mixture over the chicken and cook for 3 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low.

Remove the chicken from the mixture, and shred it. Add the shredded chicken back into the mixture and cook an additional 30 minutes.

Source: adapted slightly from Chef In Training

Honey-Maple Chipotle Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Years ago while in college I decided to try cooking a pork tenderloin one night. It was a pre-seasoned loin that came with directions on how you should cook it. As this was at the one of the first meats I tried to prepare on my own, I did my best to carefully the directions as best as I could. The end result was horrible! The tenderloin was dry, hard, and completely flavorless.

For the next 6 years every time I went shopping in the meat department of the supermarket I would head for the chicken, beef, pork chops and always passed up the pork tenderloin. After such an epic fail I was determined I would never try cooking that again! Well recently, I came across this recipe for Orange-Chipotle Glazed Pork Tenderloin and it just looked amazing! Although I am not a big fan of orange, I knew that I could turn the orange-chipotle glaze into a honey-chipotle glaze which is one of my most favorite sauces to have when eating chicken crispers at Chili’s.

I decided that after years of cooking under my belt now, that this tenderloin would be successful. As I started to prepare the recipe I kept all of my fingers and toes crossed! WOW, I cannot believe that I hesitated to cook pork tenderloin this long. Boy have we been missing out! The tenderloin turned out amazing flavorful and was so incredibly moist that the meat just melted in your mouth.

Once you have the base down on how to cook a tenderloin, you can easily adapt this recipe with any sauce, glaze or stuffing that you can dream of!

Honey-Maple Chipotle Glazed Pork Tenderloin
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Ingredients:
3/4 Cup Honey
1 Teaspoon Bourbon
2 Chipotle Chilies in Adobe Sauce
2 1/2 Teaspoons Adobe Sauce
1/4 Cup & 3 Teaspoons Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 1/2 Teaspoons Pepper
2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 – 2 pound Pork Tenderloin

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a roasting pan or baking sheet with wire rack by lining the bottom with tin foil and setting aside.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the honey, bourbon, chipotle chilies, adobe sauce and 3 teaspoons of the maple syrup. Set aside.

Trim all the excess fat off of the pork tenderloin and pat dry. In a 9×13″ baking dish whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil until it is almost smoking. While the oil is heating, roll the tenderloin in the dry ingredients mix until well coated, shaking off any excess powder. Brown the tenderloin in the sauté pan until all sides are golden brown, which will take approximately 8-12 minutes.

Once the tenderloin is browned, remove it from the sauté pan and place it in your prepared roasting pan. Turn the heat down on the sauté pan to medium and add the glaze mixture to the pan. While scraping the bottom of the sauté pan to remove all the caramelized goodness, simmer the glaze for 2-4 minutes until slightly reduced. Remove 2 tablespoons of the glaze and set aside and then pour the remaining glaze into a small bowl.

Lightly glaze the pork tenderloin. Roast the pork tenderloin in the oven until it reaches 140-145 degrees, which will take anywhere from 15-25 minutes. Every 8 minutes, lightly glaze the pork tenderloin again with the glaze.

Remove the tenderloin from the oven and allow it to rest for 8-10 minutes, uncovered. While the tenderloin is resting, adding the remaining 1/4 cup of maple syrup to the reserved 2 tablespoons of the glaze and whisk together. Slice and serve the pork with the glaze dipping sauce!

Source: adapted from Pink Parsley