Just when you thought my attempts at cooking had been thwarted, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you a brand new year full of Kitchen Experiments! With the ever growing winners of Pinterest Fail, I am determined to sharpen up my kitchen prowess enough to avoid making the short list. Last year, I managed a few fun KEs, including a killer vegan smoothie, beer-infused chili, and Southern-inspired Christmas mini-feast, so in an valiant effort to continue learning by doing, here’s the first big one of 2015!
Return of the Kitchen Experiments!
Thanks to some holiday cheer, Doc invested in a smaller Crock Pot, so we can make recipes for two instead of twenty. Shopping in the pantry, we found some ingredients (rolled oats, olive oil, garlic powder) that deserved a little love, so I searched for a recipe that would accommodate these pantry squatters. The hardest thing I’ve realized about many recipe sites, is that they are geared toward groupings of four diners or more. Finding a recipe that would be easy enough to halve was the tricky part, but thankfully All Recipes came to the rescue with a fairly Karen-friendly Turkey Meatball recipe.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (Vigo Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- 1 small onion, grated (1/2 of Red Onion)
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp Garlic Powder)
Not in the mood for BBQ tonight, Y’all!
When given the option between vegetable oil and olive oil, I always select EVOO. I did have coconut oil available as well, but since I was craving Italian, EVOO was the natural choice. I don’t cook with nearly enough fresh garlic to warrant purchasing a whole bundle of fresh cloves. I honestly didn’t see the point in bypassing a perfectly good garlic powder (sacrilege, I know.)
- 1 pound ground turkey breast (Publix 93% Lean)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (Publix Greenwise Organic Old-Fashioned Oats)
- 2 cups barbecue sauce (Bertolli Tomato Basil Sauce)
The recipe called for rolled oats, but noted that instant should be avoided. Discovering not one but two half canisters of rolled oats taking up real estate in the pantry, I nudged The Quaker Instant out of the way, and put the Greenwise to work. Though we’re working on The Cleansing of the House for a healthy and happy start to 2015, I refuse to discard perfectly good food.
- Warm oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and let cool.
- Place turkey in a large bowl. Add onion mixture, egg and oats. Use your hands to gently but thoroughly blend ingredients. Dampen hands lightly and form mixture into about 20 meatballs, each 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
- Pour a small amount of sauce over bottom of slow cooker. Add meatballs, top with remaining sauce. Pour in 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on high until meatballs are cooked through, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
It looks more rustic with loosely chopped ingredients.
I paired the turkey meatballs with a box of Ronzoni Bow Tie pasta to provide a complement to the meal. There is a divide in the house with regard to the traditional white pasta versus wheat pasta, but instead of buying additional pasta, we simply cooked the last box available in the house I would love to hear what pasta brand recommendations y’all have. I am light years way from getting that KitchenAid Stand-up Artisan Mixer (Electric Blue) with a pasta mill extension, I am wildly open to trying new brands of fresh and dry pasta.
Initially, I planned out matching up the meal with a glass of Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc (2013; Casablanca Valley, Chile), but at the last minute I changed my mind and pulled Campo Viejo Rioja (2012; Logroño, Spain) from the fridge. Having my hands full with the process of making the meatballs, I loved that the Rioja came with suggested pairings right on the back label. When it advised me that it pairs well with “Pasta, poultry, …and fresh light cheese,” the decision was made for me. I remembered Andrea Robinson’s tip that one should focus on “the prep not the protein,” when pairing wines with food. I hadn’t even thought to add cheese to the finished product So, yes, this little rebel shrugged off her go to white wines with pasta for the savory kiss of red.
First Culinary Victory of 2015!
So in a snap decision, I folded up a couple of slices of Boar’s Head Vermont White Cheddar and sprinkled it on top took keep with the Clean Out the Kitchen campaign. The recipe yields six servings, so before I loaded up the CP with all the meatballs, I packed up half of the 24 meatballs and chucked them in the freezer for a later dinner date. With the revenge of the winter in Florida, it was the perfect combination for our romantic Saturday night at home double feature: Alien and Aliens. Buono appetito, Y’all!