Sunday, April 29, 2012

Polynesian Turkey Meatballs ~ And Family Dinner

I do it too...flip through magazines for recipe ideas.  I was inspired to make this dish by a recipe I recently found in a magazine which was promoting Dole canned pineapple and Minute rice.  Just mention pineapple in a recipe and you've got my attention!  I've "doctored" the original recipe quite a bit, and I feel you'll find it really easy and delicious for a weeknight meal.

The magazine recipe called for brown rice in the meatballs.  I'm generally not a fan of brown rice, so I used instant white rice and it worked great!  In hindsight, using brown rice inside the meatballs would have probably been fine with you know you can use either!

You should always read a recipe thoroughly before starting; but I suggest you really read this one first, because a few of the ingredients are divided.

                 Take Them To The Islands In The Middle Of The Week...

                                  And You'll Have A Happy Family!

Makes approx. 16 ea. 2" meatballs - about 6 to 8 servings

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 pkg. 20 oz. ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 c. instant white or brown rice, uncooked
  • 1 ea. 20 oz. can crushed pineapple in juice, drained & divided (juice reserved)
  • 1 c. green onion, thinly sliced (tops & all), divided
  • 1/2 c. teriyaki sauce, divided
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. orange marmalade
  • 1 ea. 20 oz. can  pineapple chunks in juice, drained (juice reserved)
  • 1/4 c. seeded & chopped plum or roma tomato (for garnish)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  2. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet that has sides with the non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the turkey, salt, black pepper, ginger, nutmeg, rice, 1/2 c. (drained) crushed pineapple, 1/2 c. green onion, 1/4 c. teriyaki sauce and egg.  
  4. Using your hands, shape the turkey mixture into approximately 2" balls, being careful not to over handle. 
  5. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake approximately 25 minutes, or until done.
  6. While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce:  In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining crushed pineapple and reserved juice, the rest of the teriyaki sauce and the orange marmalade.  Heat to boiling and reduce the heat to simmer.  Add the (drained) pineapple chunks and cook uncovered approximately 3 to 4 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 c. green onion.
  7. On a serving dish, place the meatballs over hot-cooked rice and top with the sauce.  In a small microwave-proof bowl, heat the juice from the pineapple chunks in the microwave on high for about 10 seconds, or until warm, and pour over the dish.  
  8. Garnish with the remaining green onion and tomato.
  • The original recipe suggested ground turkey or chicken.  I've not made this with the ground chicken.
  • I confess I used a heavy-duty mixer for the meatballs and gently combined, but the consensus is that hand mixing creates lighter meatballs.  I was happy with the results using a mixer; but whatever your choice, just don't over process.
  • Running cool water for your hands helps while shaping the meatballs.
  • For even more flavor, you can try browning the meatballs in a little oil on the stove top before baking and adjusting the oven time as necessary.  I would have tried this if I'd thought of it before I started; but I was still pleased with the final results of just baking.  Also, you can save time and calories by not browning first on the stove top.

Your family will love a taste of the islands in the middle of the week, and you'll enjoy how easy it is to take them there!

Printable Recipe

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Black Forest Cherry Trifle

This time it was my son's birthday; and since I'd made three cakes in a row,  I thought I'd keep it easy and also "change it up" a bit.  Because my son loves cherries, I thought I'd do a twist on the black forest cherry cake I'd made for him in the past and make a dessert everyone loves...trifle!

After the birthday dinner, everyone was trying to guess what dessert would be...

                                              It's Not A Cake...
                                       It's Not A Pie...It's Trifle!

Approximately 12 servings


The Cake
(The cake layer is adapted from the Farm Journal Home-Made Ice Cream and Cake Cookbook: Brown Mountain Cake)

The Cherry Filling
  • 2 ea. 21 oz. cans red tart cherry pie filling (I like Kroger's extra cherry w/no high fructose corn syrup)
  • 3 TB brandy (or 1 1/2 tsp. brandy extract)

The Whipped Cream
  • 1 1/2 pints (3 c.) whipping cream
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar

The Garnish
  • 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate, grated (you'll use about 1 TB)

Make Sure I Get A Little of Everything!


First Things First...Chill the bowl for the whipping cream.

The Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Scrape the bowl.  
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Scrape the bowl again.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa.
  5. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture.  Scrape the bowl.
  6. Stir in the vanilla and warm water.
  7. Spray a 13"x9"x2" baking pan with the non-stick baking spray.
  8. Pour the batter into the pan and bake* for about 45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched with the finger and a toothpick comes out clean. (The cake will pull slightly away from the edges of the pan.)
  9. Cool on a cake rack.

*While the cake is baking, prepare the cherry filling and the whipped cream:

The Cherry Filling
  • Mix the brandy with the cherry pie filling.  Set aside in the refrigerator.
The Whipped Cream
  • In the chilled bowl, whip the cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form and the mixture holds its shape.  Set aside in the refrigerator.
The Assembly

This makes enough for a large trifle.  I used a medium-size trifle bowl which measured 7 1/2" x 4 1/4", and I had enough left over for one extra layer of trifle (which went home with the birthday guy!). The proportions offered on the layering are for a trifle bowl similar in size to the one I used.
  1. Cut the cake into about 2" chunks.
  2. For the first layer: Fill the bottom of the bowl with one layer of the cake chunks.  Spread about 1 c. of the cherry filling over the cake.  Spread about 2 c. of the whipped cream over the cherry filling.
  3. For the second layer: Repeat the above: cake, cherry filling and whipped cream, but use about 1 1/4 c.  of the cherry filling and about 2 1/2 c. of the whipped cream.  Sprinkle the top with about 1 TB of the grated chocolate.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy all the jaw-dropping raves as your trifle makes it's grand entrance!