Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"These are good chicken balls, honey."

I resolved to make three "real meals" a week for 2010. I am loosely defining "real meals" as meals that are not frozen pizza, Lean Pockets, or sandwiches. With leftovers, hubby traveling, ordering in at least one weekend night, and our convenience food fallbacks, three meals should cover us pretty well and improve the quality of our lives.

I put on my Meppie Homemaker hat and chose three recipes on Sunday and then shopped for the appropriate ingredients on Monday.

Of the two recipes tried so far, my record is 1-1.

We'll start with the loss so get it out of the way. I decided to try the Pioneer Woman's Cauliflower Soup. If you don't know, Ree the Pioneer Woman is a blogging legend. Visit her blog and all of your senses will be enticed. She breaks down her recipes step by step with photographs and is an amazing photographer (who takes pictures of way more than food). I challenge you to read through one of her recipes and not be drooling or licking your monitor by the end.

I am not blaming Ree, but even though I thought I followed the directions, my attempt at Cauliflower Soup did not work out as it should have. The flavor was lovely, really, but my white sauce did not thicken immediately as I was promised it would so the whole thing was more watery than creamy. I threw a little shredded cheese in to attempt to thicken it all up, but I was hesitant to add too much extra cheese to a recipe that already included butter, whole milk, half and half, and sour cream. I'll eat the leftovers, but I am pretty bummed at how it all turned out and am still trying to shake it off.

I imagine you all are thinking what hubby was thinking, which was, "You expected Cauliflower Soup to be really good?!" I did, in fact, expect that.

What will help me get over tonight's less-than-stellar effort is sharing the recipe for the my big fat (but not fattening) success of last night: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs. I found the recipe in the February issue of Woman's Day magazine. I would link to the recipe, but it's not posted yet (a bunch of other recipes are on the magazine's website though). I'm going to post the recipe and hope Woman's Day does not mind (and will mention that I really enjoy the magazine and find many helpful tips and thoughtful pieces in it).

The recipe's creator, Terry Grieco Kenny, came up with the idea in an attempt to capture the buffalo flavor for a Super Bowl snack that does not have as much fat as the skin on regular buffalo chicken wings. Here the recipe with my notes/commentary in italics:

Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil (I used my silpat). In a bowl, mix 1 lb. ground chicken, 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, 1/3 cup sliced scallions, 1 tsp each smoked paprika and minced garlic (I did actually splurge for a $6.99 jar of smoked paprika because I hear RR touting it all the time), and 1/2 tsp salt. Roll into 32 balls (I only ended up with 24 balls); place on pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes (I baked 14 because I am paranoid) until browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and drizzle meatballs with hot pepper sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce); toss to coat. (I then placed the meatballs in mini crock pot to keep warm until dinner time). Serve on toothpicks (we used forks) to dip into reduced-fat blue cheese dressing (I used Marie's brand). Be sure to include healthy raw vegetable dippers (I did as instructed and served carrots and celery with the meatballs).

My verdict is that the meatballs were easy as anything to put together and quite delicious. I think I've mentioned on this blog before that a quote like "These are good chicken balls, honey" is on par with "You should open a restaurant that serves these chicken balls." Anytime a meal cracks "fine," I am feeling pretty pleased with the results. The only hard part is the ickiness of mixing and rolling raw ground chicken with your (oft-washed) hands.

The third recipe on the docket for this week is Easy Chicken and Dumplings from January's Southern Living. Follow the link if you're interested, but I doubt I'll bore you with another food post this week.

What are you cooking up these days? I always love to hear what people are eating.


Sue and Randy said...

Speaking of poultry balls, I'll have to send you a recipe for turkey meatballs (that I happen to be making tomorrow)--they cook in a slow cooker, but when I make them, I make enough to freeze for another meal--which makes me so happy! Like you, I don't often get over the top compliments...but the first time I made this, my husband told me, "I just knew when I walked in the door that dinner was going to be really good." Email to follow...

Actchy said...

I made a barbecue brisket for Acey's Birthday dinner that was so good I could cry. And from the slow-cooker, to boot. Let me know if you want the recipe; it was fast enough for me to put the whole thing together during part of Acey's am nap.

So, I roasted cauliflower a few weeks ago. The husband's response was, "When have you ever known me to order or otherwise look forward to eating cauliflower?" But wait, there's more. He ate it. And loved it. Because Mama doesn't cook bad food. (That's not 100% true. But roasting anything is easy and ridiculously delicious.)

ckm said...

Chicken and Dumplings is one of my all time favorites...please tell me if the recipe is worthwhile.

LAP said...

Loved your comments in italics. I will try the buffalo chicken balls as I'm a big fan of buffalo chicken served in less healthy styles.

Nothing new and exciting over here this week: turkey chili, meatloaf (though I do like to make it in muffin pans to get the edges crispy and it makes it easy for the kids to just pick them up and dip heavily in ketchup of course), and uninspired pasta with meat sauce (though, when made with LaRosas sauce I enjoy it, plus, I will mention that I used the leftover Laura's Lean from meatloaf night, ntb...part of my 2010 efforts at better meal planning.)

By the way, really enjoy your analysis of hubby's comments.

Melissa Walters said...

meatloaf in the muffin tin is an excellent idea. everyone always used to fight over the ends, so I'll have to try that.

I like making chicken or turkey cutlets, where you pound them out thinly, bread them with bread crumbs, garlic salt, and parm cheese, skillet fry them in olive oil. Good dinner with sides, but leftovers make excellent sandwhiches as well.

I also use a lot of time savors like steamers frozen veggies. Love that they cook in microwave in a few minutes, then I drain the water and add my own flavoring. Hormel makes a good pot roast with no perservatives. And I've decided to never make mashed potatoes again because Bob Evans are so good with no peeling or mashing.

I also like making my own pizzas. My husband especially likes when I put shredded pork bbq on top and mont. Inn BBq sauce. I really do get "woman, you should open up a restaurant" at least 4 times a week. (I think my husbands easy to please tho)

E... said...

I made this chicken tamale casserole tonight that I thought was awesome, and thought would at least get an "that was pretty good" from J. (also a rave in his language) b/c he loves anything vaguely Mexican. I thought it was really ingenious that you used a corn muffin mix to make sort of a crust for it, with creamed corn mixed in. Perhaps it was the fact that O. couldn't STOP saying "this is really yucky. Why don't I ever get to pick what we have?" and N. needed to be fed the three bites she ended up eating that there really weren't any positive feelings about the meal when it was all said and done.
Am so glad to hear you enjoying the Pioneer Woman cookbook!!!

CaraBee said...

I have to agree with hubby on the cauliflower soup when I say BLECH. And I like cauliflower. I once attempted making this chilled cucumber soup that was the worst tasting thing I have ever had the misfortune to put into my mouth. Since then, I'm not quite so daring on soups.

This week we had chicken parm (mon) and mushroom cube steak (tues). I went out for dinner last night. Tonight we're having tuna kabobs and tomorrow I think I'll make buffalo chicken meatballs! Because if I can get an unsolicited compliment on my cooking, I would be over the moon.

I do make an effort to cook most nights. I may seriously fall down in the cleaning dept but no one is going hungry around here. :)

Anonymous said...

Okay so I just tried to leave a comment and it didn't save. I must do some work around the house so I will make this short and sweet. I can't wait to try your recipes. I have been trying new recipes in 2010 and would love to share a few of them...

Asparagus pasta with toasted pecans...myrecipes.com, Southern Living, April 2004.

Penne with Sausage, Eggplant and Feta... myrecipes.com, Cooking Light April 2005.

Angela's Stovetop Chicken... myrecipes.com, Southern Living, January 2009.

Quick Chicken and Corn Chowder... myrecipes.com, Cooking Light, December 2001.

I have also enjoyed checking out my two new cookbooks. Southern Living 2009 complete collection of recipes and Barefoot Contessa at Home. I will keep you posted on any new onew. Thanks for sharing. BDavin

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