Nov 202014
 

OK, it’s definitely a working title, but these meatballs are perfect little Thanksgiving bundles of joy. Have you ever thought on Thanksgiving, hey, what would happen if I took this mundane dinner roll and put a little bit of everything on my plate on it? And then you did it and realized your life had been changed forever? We’ve all been there, and although the future dietitian in my does not condone the regular consumption of stuffing, mashed potato, and gravy coated turkey sandwiches, on Thanksgiving anything goes. This year for my A Cappella group’s “friendsgiving” brunch, I decided to put this concept to the test in the form of meatballs. And so the pilgrim ball was born.
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These meatballs have a little bit of all your thanksgiving favorites–ground turkey, cranberries, stuffing, onions, and sage. On top of that, they are something that Thanksgiving dinner is usually not–super easy to make. You basically mix all the ingredients, roll into balls, cook, cover in gravy, eat, repeat.
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Nutrition Highlights: This is not the healthiest recipe you’ll find on my blog, but I have to say it still does have a few things going for it. One, it’s made with ground turkey, which is a lean protein source. Two, they’re individually portioned, which leads to inherent portion control (something that is not my strength on Thanksgiving). As long as you take it easy on the gravy (which can be high in fat) and cranberry sauce (which can be high in sugar), than you are good to go.
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Thanksgiving Meatballs (a.k.a Pilgrim Balls)
makes about 16 medium sized meatballs
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What’s in them:
1 1/2 lb ground turkey meat (I used half ground turkey and half sweet turkey sausage for extra flavor)
1 1/4 cup of herb stuffing cubes
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Other add in ideas: shredded carrots or chopped mushrooms to make these a little healthier

How to make them:
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Coat a 9×13 inch baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey/turkey sausage, cranberries, eggs, onion, sage, and salt. Add half of the stuffing cubes whole, and crush the other half in your hands a bit so they are more like bread crumbs. Mix everything together with your hands until it is all incorporated.
4. Coat your hands with a little bit of olive oil and roll the mixture firmly into balls about the size of golf balls. Place the meatballs in the baking dish directly next to each other in rows (see photo). This will help them keep their shape while baking.
5. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and slightly brown on top.
6. Serve meatballs with gravy and cranberry sauce, and enjoy!
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Nov 112014
 

There is one great thing about the recent drop in temperatures…soup season is back! I typically stick to chunky vegetable soups and chilis, but I decided to see why people love creamy blended soups like butternut squash so much. I get it now.
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I think butternut squash soups can be too sweet sometimes, but not this one. It was loaded with spicy red curry paste, and savory garlic and onions, to contrast with the sweetness from the butternut squash and coconut milk. Topped with some crushed peanuts, pomegranate seeds (it works, I swear), and cilantro leaves, this was the perfect lunch all week long.
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Nutritional highlights: Butternut squash, like many winter squashes, is packed with beta carotene, which can be used in the body like Vitamin A, promoting healthy vision. It also has a lot of fiber, good for keeping things regular as well as lowering cholesterol. This soup is creamy, but still totally vegan! Light coconut milk and the natural starches in the squash give it the creamy texture we’re looking for without adding too much extra fat. The oil used in this soup is also coconut oil, which is a hot item right now. The research is still new, but coconut oil may be helpful with heart disease prevention, weight loss, and keeping our immune systems at their best (which we could all use this time of year).
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Thai Red Curry Butternut Squash Soup
makes 6 small or 4 large servings
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What’s in it:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion (yellow or vidalia), chopped
1-2 teaspoons (depending on preference) grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 5 cups)
1 14-oz can light coconut milk
1/4 cup red curry paste
1/4 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
Juice from 1 fresh lime
Toppings: Cilantro leaves, chopped peanuts, pomegranate seeds

How to make it:
1. In a large pot over medium heat, head the coconut oil.
2. When it’s melted, add the onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the ginger and curry paste, and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the squash cubes and vegetable broth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the squash is softened, about 20 minutes.
5. Let it cool slightly, and blend the soup until smooth (using an immersion blender or by transferring to a blender).
6. Return mixture to the pot and stir in coconut milk, lime juice, and salt (adding more to taste). Cook the soup on medium/low for another 10 minutes until it’s warm throughout.
7. Serve topped with peanuts, pomegranate seeds, and cilantro leaves. Enjoy!
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You can store leftovers in the fridge for about a week, or freeze extra portions for your winter hibernation that we all know is coming.
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Stay warm!
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