Szechuan Green Beans

This is a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry! I’ve been making it for years and it’s a family favorite that I know you’ll enjoy.

Szechuan Green Beans - a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry via thepajamachef.com

So, I’ve been holding out on you. I’ve been making this recipe for over five years now. I had to check my source to verify this, but it’s true. I’ve been making Szechuan Green Beans for dinner since my grad school days, crazy. I can’t tell you the number of times this has been on the menu plan for dinner at our house. I am not a recipe repeater–you know this by now!–unless said recipe is goooood. So you know this one has to be! It is a fabulous weeknight dinner… even though the list of ingredients is long, it comes together in 30 minutes or less. Score!

Szechuan Green Beans - a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry via thepajamachef.com

For this recipe, unlike some stir fries that are really complicated, what you see is what you get. Green beans–check. Ground meat–check. Green onions–check. And some sauce for flavor–check. I typically make this stir fry with ground turkey, but you can also use pork and frankly, chick or beef would be fine too. But I like a lighter, leaner ground meat with this recipe because, to me, stir fries are supposed to be light. But who knows how real that is and how much that’s just me. Haha. A lighter meat goes well with the slightly spicy, slightly sweet sauce. When I say slightly spicy, I really mean just enough spice that there’s some flavor, but this is definitely a kid friendly dish so no worries there. Ben and I have found that the recipe, as written below, serves two of us for dinner well. Sometimes there’s an extra serving left for lunch the next day, but more often then not, there isn’t. Also, this stir fry is light on the meat so feel free to increase that as needed for your family. Enjoy!

Szechuan Green Beans - a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry via thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow
two years ago: Ultimate Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Waffles with Caramelized Bananas
three years ago: Creamy Shells and Yogurt
four years ago: Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
five years ago: Watermelon Coolers
six years ago: Brown Sugar Bacon Twists

Szechuan Green Beans

  • Servings: 2-3 but can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Jenna’s Everything Blog

Ingredients:

for the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoing wine, dry sherry, or mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar [omit if using mirin since that’s already sweet]
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

for the stir fry

  • 2 -3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 pound ground turkey or pork
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • hot cooked rice, for serving

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Then, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the green beans, tossing to coat in the oil. Cook them for 7-9 minutes, stirring often, until they are dark and shriveled in places. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl, covering to keep warm.

If using lean turkey, add the last tablespoon of oil to the skillet. If using pork or a fattier cut of turkey, add directly to hot skillet. Break apart the meat, stirring continually for 2-3 minutes until cooked completely. Add in garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Re-whisk the sauce for a minute, then pour over the meat. Stir together and cook for another minute or so to thicken sauce. Remove pan from heat and add in green onions, sesame oil, and green beans. Toss together, then serve over hot cooked rice. Enjoy!

Note:

You can increase the amount of meat if desired, but for more meat, you will need more sauce. When I make this with 1/2 pound meat I double the sauce, but play around with the amounts to suit your preferences.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup reminds me of chicken noodle soup, hold the chicken and add the meatballs. This version has tiny turkey meatballs and is SO tasty!

Italian Wedding Soup | thepajamachef.com

I feel like every other recipe I’m making and sharing this winter has been soup! But it’s just so good this time of year so I can’t resist.🙂 Before making this Italian Wedding Soup, I’m not sure I had ever really had it before. I just saw the recipe in a magazine and thought it would be good! Guess what? It was! Ha. Big surprise there, right?

Italian Wedding Soup | thepajamachef.com

Since I don’t have a family version or favorite restaurant version to compare this to, I can’t really say that this is the best Italian Wedding Soup of all time or anything like that. But I can say it’s incredible! And why wouldn’t it be? It really does remind me of a twist on chicken noodle soup. You have the same basic base: chicken broth, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, pasta… and then you add in some cute ‘n tiny meatballs [with a twist of lemon for some extra tasty oomp!] and some spinach. Then BOOM! You’ve got a tasty and interesting soup, hearty enough to eat alone, with some crusty bread and a side salad or a tasty sandwich. Enjoy!🙂

one year ago: Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice
two years ago: Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
three years ago: Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites
four years ago: Sunrise Muffins
five years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Italian Wedding Soup

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Time: 45 minutes
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from September/October 2014 Taste of Home

Ingredients:

for meatballs

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey

for soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups small pasta [like acini di pepe, orzo, or ditalini]
  • 2 – 10 ounce packages fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • additional Parmesan, for serving

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs. Mix well–your hands are going to work best! Roll into small, 1 inch meatballs and place on a baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill for a few minutes.

Next, begin on the soup. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add carrots and onion and cook until almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add celery and cook another 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour in chicken broth and season with pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Gently drop in meatballs. Allow to cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Add pasta and allow to cook for another 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until meatballs and pasta are fully cooked. Stir in spinach, then serve, topped with more Parmesan. Enjoy!

 

Turkey Sloppy Joes

These turkey sloppy joes are full of great flavors and are super easy to throw together after a long day! Plus, this recipe freezes well so make a big batch to enjoy another time too!

Turkey Sloppy Joes | an easy, healthy meal that everyone will love! | thepajamachef.comSummertime makes me think of sloppy joes. I know they’re stereotypically a “kid food” that comes out of a can. However, I don’t really remember eating them until later in life. I always skipped over them in the lunch line in elementary school, so it wasn’t until I worked at a summer camp in college that I really ate them regularly. At camp, you eat what you get… or you eat PBJs.🙂 And you’re hungry from being outdoors ALL day long, so you really DO want to eat, no matter what’s on the menu. Those were some of the best summers of my life and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. If you work at camp, you’ll understand I’m sure.

Turkey Sloppy Joes | an easy, healthy meal that everyone will love! | thepajamachef.comAround this time, my mom started making homemade sloppy joes using this recipe from the Neely’s. While I love that recipe, it isn’t quite as good with ground turkey so I started trying other recipes online. And this is a recent one I tried that we LOVED! So of course, I had to share it.🙂 It’s BBQ sauce based, meaning it tastes like a million bucks with minimal effort [read: no measuring a zillion spices]. Just give this a quick 20 minute simmer after cooking the turkey and veggies, and you are golden! It’s not too sweet, not too tangy… absolutely perfect.

Turkey Sloppy Joes | an easy, healthy meal that everyone will love! | thepajamachef.comI’m not much of a “freezer cooking” kind of girl but I do like to make big batches of our favorite meals and freeze some of it for a future busy night. This recipe freezes great, and is a great one to double! I like to let it cool and pop half into a freezer bag for another time, but something else you could try is portioning it out into smaller tupperware containers that you could grab for a work lunch or single serving dinner. I think I’m too messy of an eater to eat sloppy joes in the middle of the work day, but I really like the idea now so I just might try it!🙂 Enjoy!

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

Turkey Sloppy Joes

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 45 minutes
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slightly adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup sweet bell peppers [I used red, yellow, and orange mini peppers]
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce [I like Sweet Baby Ray’s]
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes, if desired
  • hamburger buns, for serving
Directions:
In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat olive oil. When it’s hot, add onion and peppers and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic at the end and cook an extra 30 seconds or so, until fragrant. Remove veggies from pan and place in a bowl.
Then, add the turkey to the skillet and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Drain any grease if necessary. Then add veggies back to the pan, along with the tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, tomato paste, hot sauce, and brown sugar. Stir to combine.
Reduce heat to medium-low, then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste and season with red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper as desired. Additional brown sugar or even ketchup can be used if the sauce is too tangy/tart. Serve on hamburger buns and enjoy!
This recipe also freezes well!

#TripleSBites: Spiced Fig Turkey Mini Meatloaf

Mini turkey meatloaf… flavorful and perfectly portioned.🙂 With a spiced fig sauce on top, what’s not to love?!?

Spiced Fig Mini Turkey Meatloaf | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBites

Who eats meatloaf for a romantic dinner?!? Obviously, we do! #nontraditional Haha. Romantic or not, these mini turkey meatloaf [meatloaves?] are absolutely delicious! Sometimes in the past when I’ve made turkey meatloaf or turkey tacos I’ve been let down with the amount of flavor the meal has since it has a different flavor than beef. So when I was making these mini treats I used SO much flavor… ginger, garlic, herbs, chile peppers, balsamic vinegar… Ben walked by and commented how good the raw meat smelled. Crazy!🙂

Spiced Fig Mini Turkey Meatloaf | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBites

Two of our #TripleSBites [go HERE for more info on this fantastic event and don’t forget to enter the giveawayyy! Do it now!] sponsors contributed to these delicious meat muffins [Ben’s name, not mine]. All the herbs and seasoning–ginger and garlic, herbs and chile peppers–came from Gourmet Garden. Before #10DaysofTailgate in the fall, I had never used Gourmet Garden’s squeezable herbs and seasonings, but now I do all the time. They are just so convenient, especially when you only need a little of something. For more info, check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or Pinterest. And the other major flavor player in my meatloaf was in the topping. Spiced Fig Not Ketchup is my new sauce of choice! It’s sweet and mild and I’ve been dipping everything in it lately, from sweet potato fries to meatloaf, and I’m playing around with making it into a salad dressing. Mmm! Find out more about Not Ketchup on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, or Pinterest pages. I love these blogging events because I get to try out so many awesome products. Thanks to you both for being such great sponsors. P.S. readers… you can WIN these products in the giveaway too!

Spiced Fig Mini Turkey Meatloaf | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBites

I don’t really like meatloaf in those long slices… but give it to me in muffin form and I could eat it all day long! Enjoy!

one year ago: Sweet Potato Pork Quesadillas
two years ago: Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies
three years ago: Caramel S’mores Cups
four years ago: Bacon-Wrapped Feta & Almond Stuffed Dates

Spiced Fig Turkey Mini Meatloaf

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 45 minutes
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adapted from my mom’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Herbs from Gourmet Garden [or ~1 teaspoon dried basil/oregano/rosemary etc.]
  • 1 tablespoon Chunky Garlic from Gourmet Garden [or 3-4 cloves garlic, minced]
  • 1/2 tablespoon Ginger from Gourmet Garden [or an equivalent amount of grated fresh ginger]
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Chili from Gourmet Garden [or a pinch of cayenne pepper or red chili flakes]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Spiced Fig Not Ketchup, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, milk, and vinegar. Let rest for 5 minutes, then add turkey, egg, garlic, ginger, chili, and pepper. Use your hands [or a spoon] to mix everything together, then divide between the muffin tins. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and brush each meatloaf cup with Spiced Fig Not Ketchup [using about 1-2 teaspoons per meatloaf]. Return to the oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until cooked through and crisp along the edges. Top with remaining Spiced Fig Not Ketchup.


Check out other yummy #TripleSBites recipes today!

#TripleSBites | thepajamachef.com

Disclosure: I received herbs and spices from Gourmet Garden and a bottle of Not Ketchup as part of my participation in #TripleSBites. I was not compensated in any way–for my time, to create a recipe, or to publish positive comments. I was not required to use these products as part of my recipe. My opinions are my own. 

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties

Enjoy homemade turkey sausage patties seasoned as you like. My version includes a little sweet [brown sugar], a little spicy [cayenne pepper], and a little herb [oregano]. Mmm!

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties | thepajamachef.com

When creating my 30 before 30 list last spring [and BOY am I running out of time…yikes!], I put homemade sausage on my list because I thought it was, ya know, hard or something. Umm, no. Not really. Well, maybe there’s something that makes real sausage legit… but this? It tasted pretty good to me. Pretty much like sausage. These sausage patties are sweet and savory with a lil bit of spice. You should definitely try this for your next fancy breakfast or brunch. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them!

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Quick & Healthy Pineapple Fried Rice
two years ago: Healthy Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars
three years ago: Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheese
four years ago: Pork Chops with Red Wine Sauce

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 1 hour + overnight
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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper – optional
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • sea salt to taste

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients. Season with pepper and salt to your taste. Divide in half, then in half again, and in half again to form 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten into small patties and place on a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour if not overnight. When ready to serve, cook on the stovetop until no longer pink inside.

Note:

Seasoning amounts are VERY flexible. Adjust as desired–especially the cayenne pepper. Sausage patties can be frozen for another day if desired.