Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice

Flavorful Asian turkey meatballs served over carrot rice is an awesome, easy 30 minute weeknight dinner. Kids love it too!

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice | thepajamachef.comThis is one of our absolute favorite dinners. I’ve made it more times than I can count, but it’s never appeared on the blog because I never get a photo before it’s gone-zo. It’s pretty simple, as most meatball dinners are, but it feels so special because of the Asian flavors and wonderful aromatic ingredients in the dish. The meatballs are zingy with just a hint of spice. If spice isn’t your thing, feel free to leave out the Sriracha or use less. Don’t be afraid of the fish sauce though–a little goes a long way to making the meatballs extra tasty! Just don’t smell it. Take my word on that one. Can you say gross?! :)

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice | thepajamachef.com

One of the best things about this dinner is that it’s SO adaptable. Normally I make the meatballs with ground turkey, but if that’s not your thing, use pork or chicken or a combination. I also love that the rice isn’t boring. I stir carrots and cilantro [or Thai basil] in for some extra flavor and texture. To make this a 30 minute meal, using white rice is key… but if you have more time, brown rice would work too. Sometimes I make the rice with another liquid besides water, like chicken broth or coconut milk, for a lil extra something. But even if you just make the rice plain, it’s still amazing!

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice | thepajamachef.comI love to serve this dinner with steamed broccoli or edamame. It’s the perfect meal to take to a family with a new baby. I’ve done that so many times and have gotten rave reviews from everyone, including the kiddos! Just don’t forget the lime wedges. A squeeze of lime over the whole meal is essential! Enjoy!

two years ago: Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
three years ago: Garlicky Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil
four years ago: Pillow Cookies

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

from Everyday Food Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 cups liquid for cooking rice – like water, chicken broth, or coconut milk
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/3 cup cilantro or Thai basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound ground turkey [pork works too!]
  • 2 green onions, green and white parts chopped and divided
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 3 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, optional
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • lime wedges, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups water [or coconut milk or chicken broth for extra flavor] and rice. Bring to a boil, stir, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and top with carrot and cilantro. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes, then stir to mix all ingredients and fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then add turkey, white parts of the green onions, cilantro, fish sauce, Sriracha, sugar, garlic, and ginger if using. Gently stir to combine, then shape into 24 small meatballs.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Work in batches to brown meatballs on all sides, then transfer to a large baking dish to cook for 10 more minutes in the oven, or until cooked through. Serve meatballs over rice with green onions and lime wedges.

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#10DaysofTailgate: Cincinnati Turkey Chili

This delicious, smoky chili is so easy and full of flavor! Serve it alone, or Cincinnati-style over spaghetti for a fun twist!

Cincinnati Turkey Chili | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

This week I’m sharing tailgate-style recipes as part of #10DaysofTailgate, the special blogging event I am participating in through the rest of the month. This event has been graciously organized by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. While you’re thinking about it, be sure to pop over here to read all about the event and enter the giveaway. You won’t regret it! :)

#10DaysofTailgate Sponsors

I went to college in Ohio [yeahh Wittenberg!] and I remember the first time I was in the dining hall on chili night. Looking all around I saw people ladling chili on… what’s that… spaghetti! How bizarre, I thought, until I remembered that Cincinnatians [is that a thing? It is now!] eat their chili over spaghetti noodles. I thought it was really strange and didn’t try it for a few years until I was in a situation where it would have been super rude to not, plus I would have ended up starrrving. And we all know that’s not a good thing, righto? Truth be told, I before making this recipe I had only eaten Cincinnati chili a handful of times. But now that I have this easy recipe in my repertoire, I think it’ll end up on our dinner table more often in the future!

Cincinnati Turkey Chili | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

This recipe is from an Ellie Krieger cookbook which means two things: 1) it’s healthy, and 2) it’s super flavorful. The seasonings in this recipe are SPOT ON, folks. I didn’t change a thing! Just the right amount of heat and warm spices to make a smoky, alluring chili. Yup, I just called chili alluring. You gotta make it now! Be sure to top it with whatever you please… cheese, onion, sour cream/greek yogurt… the more the merrier! That’s part of the fun of Cincinnati chili! :)

three years ago: Honey Fig Scones
four years ago: Radiatore Lasagna

Cincinnati Turkey Chili

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Print

from Ellie Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce – look for salt-free
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes in tomato juice – look for salt-free
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 ounces spaghetti, cooked
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 teaspoons minced red onion

Directions:

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often until soft–about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in turkey, breaking up with a wooden spoon, and cook through. Add peppers and cook for a couple minutes until they are just beginning to soften. Add spices–chili powder, cocoa powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, pepper, and cloves. Stir in and cook for about a minute until they start to smell delicious. Finally, add in tomato sauce and tomatoes, water, molasses, and the bay leaf.

Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook down for about 2 hours. Chili should still be soupy.

Remove the bay leaf, then stir in the kidney beans. Serve over spaghetti and top with cheese and onion.

Here’s what the rest of the team brought to the table…

Starters
Sticky Mango Mustard Glazed Duck Meatballs
 by girlichef
Pretzel Sticks with Two Sauces by Eliot’s Eats
Cherry Chipotle BBQ Pork Nachos by The Spiffy Cookie
Duck Poppers by CafeTerra
Duck Bacon Pumpkin Soup by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Dips
Corn and Cheddar Dip
 by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Steakhouse Deviled Egg Dip by From Gate to Plate

Mains
Ultimate Bacon Burger
 by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Cincinnati Turkey Chili by The Pajama Chef
Smoky Date Pulled Pork by Curious Cuisiniere
Grilled Avocado with Melted Cheese & Karma Hot Sauce by Making Miracles

Sides
Just Ducky Baked Beans
 by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Sweets
Linebacker-Sized Chocolate Chip Cookies
 by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Rocky Ledge Bars by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Pear Poppy Snails {Birnen Mohn Schnecken} by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen

 

Mystery Dish: Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa + Cookbook Giveaway

These Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa are tied together with a creamy mint-almond pesto. An easy, healthy dinner that comes together quickly!

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa | thepajamachef #mysterydish

I had a really tough time with this month’s Mystery Dish. I’m not sure why–pretty much ALL the ingredients on the list are things I love. I was just uninspired I guess. But I don’t think my recipe reflects that… this meal was pretty darn delicious. Andi from Weary Chef was our host and she asked us to use three ingredients from this list: pistachios, wine, mint, gluten-free flour, red pepper flakes, fish, agave nectar, applesauce, blueberries, parmesan cheese, milk, and corn.

A couple weekends ago, we were going to grill turkey burgers [Ben makes a to die for turkey burger with Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper] but we were rained out and I had some ground turkey thawed in the fridge. We could have grilled indoors, but instead I decided to make some Mystery Dish magic with these Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa. And you guys… they are so good! I love a good turkey meatball anyway, but add some fresh mint to your typical garlic and onion mixture and they’re definitely amped up a notch. To fulfill the ingredient requirement, I used gluten free flour to help hold the meatballs together and red pepper flakes instead of normal black pepper. In hindsight, I wish I would have used more flour because the meatballs didn’t hold together super well. Though that was three ingredients, I decided to make the flavors even more apparent by making a mint pesto to serve over the meatballs and to toss with the quinoa I decided to serve on the side. If quinoa isn’t your thing, try rice, pasta, or some other grain/starch. Though my pesto wasn’t a true pesto it was still pretty addictive and a great sauce that was nutty, minty, and creamy all at once.

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa | thepajamachef #mysterydish

The mint in this dish balances perfectly with the crushed red pepper. I was somewhat generous with the red pepper flakes, but it was definitely an approachable level of spiciness so if you aren’t a spicy person you’ll be okay here. I was supposed to tell you that that description was Ben’s idea, and I was threatened with a lawsuit if I didn’t. :) Ha ha, a lawsuit from my husband. Moving on… I loved how minty this dish is… enough flavor to make things interesting but not so much you think you’re eating toothpaste. I love having a great repertoire of healthy, easy dinners and I know this dish will go into my usual rotation. Hope you give it a try!

And, as a special treat since we’ve been Mystery Dishin’ it up for a YEAR now [whoa], we have a special giveaway for our lovely readers… copies of cookbooks from MasterChef Season 3 Winner Christine Ha and Season 4 Winner Luca Manfe! I wish I could win! Go HERE to enter.

Enjoy!

one year ago: Roasted Peach Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel 
two years ago: Brown Rice, Feta, and Tomato Salad
three years ago: Healthy “Fried” Rice –> I make this ALL the time with different veggies, meat, and/or tofu. A must try!
four years ago: Cornmeal Pizza Dough in the Breadmaker

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

for meatballs

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour [or other flour, gluten free or otherwise + more if you need it]
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste

for quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water [or stock if preferred]
  • 1 cup prepared pesto [above]

for pesto

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint
  • 1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons half and half
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan
  • crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs–garlic, green onion, mint, flour, egg, turkey, and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste. Mix well with your hands, then shape into 16 meatballs. Place half the meatballs in the preheated skillet and cook on each side for about 2 minutes per side until browned all over. Remove meatballs from skillet and place in a large oven safe dish, misted with cooking spray if not nonstick. Repeat with remaining meatballs then bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.

While meatballs are cooking, prepare quinoa according to package directions. Bring rinsed quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed.

Prepare pesto by combining mint, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons half and half, and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until combined, adding more oil and/or half and half if desired. Stir in parmesan and red pepper flakes to taste. Pesto yields about 1 cup.

When quinoa is ready, pour about 3/4 cup pesto in the quinoa and stir to combine. Serve meatballs with quinoa and reserved mint pesto, along with sides like green beans or crusty bread.

Be sure to check out what my Mystery Dish pals whipped up this month:

Mystery Dish | thepajamachef.com

  1. Tuna Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa by The Weary Chef
  2. Blueberry Scones by Yummy Healthy Easy
  3. Parmesan Crusted Tilapia by Culinary Couture
  4. Minty Berry Fruit Roll Ups by I Want Crazy
  5. Baked Blueberry Donuts by Chez CateyLou
  6. Hearty Minestrone Soup by Joyful Healthy Eats
  7. Blueberry Lemon Pannacotta with Pistachio Tuilles by Flavor the Moments
  8. Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa by The Pajama Chef
  9. Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake by I Dig Pinterest
  10. Pistachio Drop Scones with Blueberry Compote by The Well Floured Kitchen
  11. Grilled Corn & Blueberry Flatbread with Whipped Goat Cheese, Pistachios, and Basil Vinaigrette by Baking a Moment
  12. Pistachio Crusted Tilapia and Peach Salad by Blahnik Baker

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

BBQ Baked Spaghetti

This baked spaghetti is jazzed up with BBQ sauce, ground beef or turkey, and vegetables. It’s as cheesy and delicious as it sounds!

BBQ Baked Spaghetti | thepajamachef.com

Ben and I are HUGE baked pasta people. If we ate baked pasta as much as we wanted to, we would probably be huge. Haha! :) Anyways… this BBQ Baked Spaghetti is awesome and I wish I had some to enjoy right now!

BBQ Baked Spaghetti | thepajamachef.com

I got the recipe from one of the first food blogs I ever started reading–Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures. Everything I make from her blog is just delicious, family friendly, and wonderful. This baked pasta dish is no exception. It’s cheesy pasta goodness that no one can resist, even though BBQ and spaghetti may not be the first food combination that you would think of when brainstorming for dinner. It’s a unique dinner that you’ll want to make again and again.

BBQ Baked Spaghetti | thepajamachef.com

Like I do with a lot of baked pasta dishes, I made this dinner a day or so before I wanted to eat it. If you cover it and stick it in the fridge, it’s an easy homemade convenience dinner for later in the week! This pasta dish kind of reminded me of the ubiquitous BBQ burgers I see all over Nashville–except a more carblicious rendering of that.

BBQ Baked Spaghetti | thepajamachef.com

If you like baked spaghetti and you like BBQ, you’ll love this dinner! Enjoy!

one year ago: Honey Lemon Thyme Iced Tea
two years ago: Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes
three years ago: Spiced Waffles

BBQ Baked Spaghetti

  • Servings: 10
  • Time: 60mins
  • Print

from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
BBQ Baked Spaghetti | thepajamachef.com
Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups bbq sauce [I like Sweet Baby Ray's]
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and then cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Meanwhile, brown ground beef or turkey in a large skillet set over medium heat. While meat is browning, add green pepper and onion. Cook until tender, then drain grease if necessary. Return pan to heat and add garlic powder, bbq sauce, and tomato sauce. Cook over medium heat until hot.

Combine spaghetti with sauce mixture. Stir in half the cheese, then spread into prepared pan. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes until hot and cheese is bubbly.

 

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

For our early Thanksgiving dinner, Ben really wanted turkey. Problem was… we didn’t plan ahead enough to defrost a turkey AND my meat thermometer is busted so I would have had to buy another one of those to cook the big bird. Fortunately, I saw a recipe earlier this month for turkey breast. Who knew you could just buy part of a turkey? Certainly not I! But I am so glad to know now that I can… because this was absolutely delicious, fabulously easy, and all in all… amazing.

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast | thepajamachef.com

This turkey breast was so flavorful and so tender. It was just as easy as making a roast chicken in the oven, and while there was no dark meat for Ben to enjoy, we’ve been eating turkey leftovers all week. Can’t be disappointed with that! There were even a few bones so I could make some turkey stock in the crockpot. Yum yum! I hope you’ve been enjoying my Thanksgiving recipes this week… I can’t wait to share one last dessert recipe tomorrow! :)

Thanksgiving Meal | thepajamachef.com

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast [from Good Cheap Eats]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 3-5 pound turkey breast half
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • sprigs of thyme and rosemary, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the turkey breast in a roaster or baking dish.

In a bowl, stir together butter, thyme, tarragon, and sage. Cut slits in the turkey breast skin, then brush butter mixture evenly over the turkey. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the herbs around the turkey breast.

Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 45-90 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°.  Let the turkey rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Time: 2 hours.

YIeld: 10 servings.