Kait’s Turkey Meatballs

Kait’s Spicy Turkey Meatballs!

Since I don’t eat red meat and I need my protein from somewhere, I make these meatballs to add to my homemade sauce! They’re so good and addicting to eat. I’ll actually freeze some meatballs separately and eat them plain.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of hot turkey, chicken, or poultry sausage. (Typically I use 6 sausages).
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/4 of a large onion, minced not chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • 1 tsp perfect pinch seasoning (garlic and bell peppers)
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup italian bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Add ground turkey and sausage to a medium/large mixing bowl. Be sure to take the casing off of each sausage. I like to mix plain ground turkey with the sausage, because the sausage has a lot of flavor already.
  2. Add onion, garlic, basil and spices.
  3. Add the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
  4. Once all of the dry ingredients are added, add the egg and olive oil. Both of these ingredients are important. The egg helps hold everything together and the olive oil helps moisten the turkey since it’s typically on the dryer side.
  5. This is the messy part. The next step is to stick your hands in the mixture and mix it all together!
  6. Roll the mixture into balls and place onto a baking sheet that has been pre-oiled (I use the EVOO pam). Size of balls are your preference. I typically like mine bite sized.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  8. Bake meatballs for 10 minutes and then flip. I like to flip so that I get the meatballs evenly cooked.
  9. Cook for another 5-8 minutes. Based on thermometer. I will cook them till they get to about 158 degrees F and then cook them the rest of the way in my sauce. If you are not adding them to sauce, make sure you cook the meatballs to 165 degrees. However, adding them to sauce gives them a lot more flavor and moisture!

Kait’s Sauce Recipe

Nothing like homemade sauce!

Ok ok, it’s mostly homemade. I don’t grow my own tomatoes (but I wish I did). I really, really, realllyyy dislike store bought/jarred sauce, so I’ve created my own sauce recipe, specified completely to my liking! I typically cook this recipe by just throwing in the ingredients, but I tried to put it into measurements for a specific recipe that’s easier to follow. Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

  • 3/4 large onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil (fresh!!!)
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • 2 tsp of perfect pinch seasoning (contains garlic and bell peppers)
  • spicy garlic grinder (I use a liberal amount, maybe around 10-15 twists). This spice is great, because it contains garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. If you don’t have a grinder with these seasonings, just add the ingredients separately.
  • 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28oz can of tomato puree
  • 2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes

Directions

  1. There’s a lot of garlic in this recipe, because I just love it. Omit a couple of cloves to reduce the amount of garlic.
  2. Start off by chopping your onion and basil, and mince your garlic.
  3. In a large pan, oil the bottom with extra virgin olive oil (about two spins around the pan).
  4. On medium heat, sauté your onions for about 3-4 minutes. Add your garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the basil and spices.
  6. Pour in all of the cans of sauce. Keep the juices from the diced tomatoes. I typically use the puree, because I like a thicker sauce. You can use any sauce based on your preference.
  7. Turn heat to high so that the sauce boils. Once the sauce is boiling, reduce heat and cover.
  8. Cook for as long as you would like. I typically will have my sauce on low heat all day.

Stuffed Chicken Marsala

Ok, typically I like the quick dish kind of recipe, so forgive me for this one. I can’t lie, it was definitely time consuming, but sooo very worth it in the end. I love Olive Garden, especially their stuffed chicken marsala. Here’s the copy cat recipe! I think I might like this more than the original 😉

Cheese Stuffing

  • 
1/2 cup smoked shredded cheese (provolone or gouda)
  • 
8-oz package mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, crushed
  • 
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomato, chopped (drain first if in oil)
  • 
1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 
3/4 cup sour cream (6 oz)
  • 
1/2 tsp salt
  • 
1/2 tsp black pepper

Sauce

  • 1/2 large red small onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Marsala wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 8oz container of cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 fl oz olive oil for frying
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F and have a baking dish ready.

Combine all the cheese stuffing ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.

To prepare the chicken, butterfly the thickest section of chicken breasts to create 2 halves. Place each breast in a large ziptop storage bag and pound it with the flat side of a meat mallet until ¼” – ½” thick.

Place the flattened chicken breasts on a plate and add a desired amount of cheese stuffing on one half of each chicken breast. Try not to overfill. Gently press stuffing down and fold over other half of chicken breast; it does not have to seal.

* You may have some extra cheese stuffing leftover. One way to use it up is to top slices of Italian bread and bake until the cheese melts – it makes a great snack or appetizer!

Place flour in a shallow pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Dredge stuffed chicken breasts in flour, shaking off excess.

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add oil and heat until shimmering.

Sauté the flour coated chicken breasts in the preheated oil, cooking until each side is golden brown. Remove chicken from pan and place in the baking dish you have on hand.

Bake the browned chicken in the preheated oven for 10-20 minutes, or until juices run clear and the center of chicken reaches 165°F.

Meanwhile, add the onions and garlic to the cast iron skillet and stir to loosen chicken drippings. After 2 minutes, add mushrooms and fresh chopped parsley. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms begin to caramelize.

Add the Marsala wine to the skillet to deglaze the pan – make sure to incorporate drippings from bottom of pan. Allow the Marsala to come to a simmer and then add the heavy cream. Simmer on low heat until reduced by half.

Place the cooked chicken breasts on a plate and top each with this Marsala-mushroom sauce.

Recipe and directions found at What’s Cookin, Chicago?

Chicken Parmesan

This recipes is one of my favorites to make!

Ingredients:

  • chicken tenders
  • bread crumbs (I use the italian garlic blend)
  • garlic powder
  • parmesan cheese
  • sauce recipe of choice (I have my homemade sauce always frozen and on hand)
  • pasta of choice
  • eggs
  • mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, add eggs and garlic powder (amount depends on how much chicken you are making).
  2. Place an equal amount of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese on a plate (again the amount depends on how much you make, you need enough to cover the chicken you will be cooking).
  3. Take the chicken tenders and place them in the egg mixture. Take out of egg mixture and place the chicken in the breadcrumb/parmesan mixture. Make sure chicken is fully coated.
  4. Oil a pan and cook chicken on medium heat. Careful not to burn the breading, adjust heat as necessary. I use chicken tenders, because they’re a nice small size and cook quickly.
  5. Once chicken is fully cooked, add mozzarella cheese to the top of the chicken and place in oven. Set oven to broil and leave in just long enough to melt the cheese.
  6. Add sauce to the pasta, plate, and add the chicken!

Chicken Italian in Foil

(Photo before chicken was added)

This recipe came out of one of my grandma’s old recipe books. It’s very simple and tastes amazing!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 tomatoes, cut in wedges (I used cherry, cut in half)
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts (I used only 2)
  • salad oil (I used a garlic dressing)
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • garlic powder to taste (ingredient I added, because I love garlic!)
  • onion (also added by me, because who doesn’t love onion?!)

Directions:

  1. Cut potatoes into wedges (whatever size you would like)
  2. Lay potatoes on foil (18 X 12, double layered) and sprinkle with salt
  3. Add sliced peppers and tomatoes
  4. Add garlic powders to potatoes and vegatbles
  5. Lay chicken on top of vegetables and brush with salad oil
  6. Mix ketchup, oregano, and butter, pour over chicken
  7. Wrap foil around chicken and vegetables
  8. Bake at 400 degrees until tender for 1 hour

Butterfly Cupcakes

For those of you who know me, you know I absolutely love butterflies. Once springtime hit and I had a reason to bake multiple cupcakes (I hate when I’m stuck eating a whole batch myself!) I couldn’t resist making these. If you’re on a time crunch (which I was), I made the butterfly wings in advance and made the cupcakes the next day.

For the cupcakes, you can use any basic cupcake recipe as a time saver. However, I used the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake recipe again, because I love it that much. I have a basic description here for how to make the butterflies, but you can check out Annie’s Eats for a more detailed (with pictures) description!

Ever heard of white chocolate candy melts?! That’s all these butterflies are. You can purchase several colors, I personally went with green, pink, and blue for the spring.

First you draw out a pair of wings on a sheet of paper. Place wax paper over the drawing and there you go, there’s your template!

I cut out several pieces of wax paper so I could keep switching the paper over easily.

The next step is to melt the chocolate (brown colored) candy melts in a small plastic bag in the microwave. Once the candy is melted, cut the tip and pipe along the outline of the wings. I suggest doing one wing at a time so that it stays melted. Then, melt whatever color you have for your wings. Cut the tip and pipe along the inside of the wing, I used a toothpick to spread it on the inside. While the candy is still melted, take a toothpick and with a quick motion make swirls. Start with the chocolate into the color. Once you’ve done that, I used white, rounded sprinkles to place on the ends!

Once you’ve completed all of the wings and they have dried, assemble your cupcakes!

Here’s my flock 🙂 I used chocolate frosting for the bodies of the butterflies and the chocolate melts for the antennas!

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I’m not typically a sweets person, I’d much rather indulge in a delicious meal. However, cupcakes are addicting to eat and make. Especially these peanut butter cupcakes. I absolutely love peanut butter, so this is a great recipe for all the peanut butter lovers out there. The filling is amazing and I can literally eat the frosting by the spoon full!

Ingredients:

For the Filling-

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Cake-

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs

For the Frosting-

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup of frozen whipped topping, thawed.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. Filling: Combine the confectioners sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls (at least 24) and set aside on a baking sheet.

3. Cake Batter: Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk together and set aside. In a liquid measuring cup, sit together sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated.

4. Spoon a tablespoon or two of batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Place a ball of the peanut butter filling in each cupcake well and top with the remaining batter so that all the cups are filled. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out cleans. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter until smooth. Slowly mix in the confectioners sugar, beating until smooth and well blended. Mix in the whipped topping until smooth and fluggy. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Recipe from: Annie’s Eats

Suggestions:

I had a major cupcake blunder…I was being impatient and frosted the cupcakes while they were warm. Lesson to be learned, DO NOT do that!!! The frosting was a melted mess and it didn’t achieve the nice height that it should have. Still delicious nonetheless! Also, I had to add a ton more confectioners sugar for the frosting. I’m not sure why it was so runny, but it definitely was. I would have an extra bag of confectioners sugar on hand just in case. I also used the fat free whipped topping, which could have been the problem. The second time I made these I used just the regular whipped topping and it wasn’t nearly as runny. I still had to add extra confectioner sugar regardless, but not nearly as much as the first time. Additionally, under step 2, I was not able to make 24 balls out of that mixture, I had to make a second batch. Other’s on Annie’s Blog mentioned that the filling ended up melting too much, leaving a hallow space when the cupcakes were done. I actually made my peanut butter balls larger and didn’t seem to have this issue.