Honey-Chipolte Meatballs


Sweet and spicy with a tangy punch, these honey-chipolte meatballs are a flavor blaster to any dish.  They will ramp up pasta or sandwich.  Within ten minutes, you’ll have a delicious dish that shine.  Turkey is a great substitute to ground beef with less calories and saturated fats; turkey is even juicier than chicken, so the meatballs won’t dry out.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used turkey sausage instead of ground turkey.  Remove the turkey from the casing and it acts just like paged ground turkey.
  2. I added purple peppers to the mix along with onion for an extra crunch.
  3. Instead of cider vinegar, I used red wine vinegar.  You just need the acidity to balance the sweetness of the honey and spiciness of the chilies.
  4. Be sure to brown the meatballs in a pan before placing them in the oven to prevent them from drying out.
  5. Placing them in the oven allows the turkey to cook through without burning the outside.
  6. Be sure not to burn the sauce by constantly stirring the mix of meatballs in the sauce.  Tip the pan to allow the sauce to gather in one spot.  Then, spoon it evenly onto all
    the meatballs.
  7. I used about 2 sausages and made 8 meatballs, about 4 meatballs per sausage.


These sweet and spicy meatballs will make your mouth sizzle.  They pair well with pasta or as a hoagie with peppers and onion.  It’s a new way to enjoy turkey with flavor that will blow your taste buds away.  Try it the next time you want to spice up your bland pasta.

Leave a comment with how you enjoy ground turkey.  Follow other recipes and dishes on my Pinterest.  Be sure to check back next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.


Stuffed Peppers


I love my mom’s stuffed peppers, so this recipe is all “cootoes” to her.  It’s an easy dinner recipe that allows for multitasking on those busy nights or keeping frozen for that day you just need a taste of home.  The recipe hits the nail on the head in all the food groups–carbs, proteins, veggies and fat.  Making the peppers during your famer’s market’s peak allows for the full flavors of the vegetables to stand out.  Enjoy a delicious, comfort meal that your family and friends will love.

You’ll need:

4 Green peppers
1 Package of Jennie O Lean Ground Turkey
Onion (I usually use ½ an onion)
2-16 oz Cans of Tomato Soup
4oz (or less) Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese
Minute Brown Rice (I usually use 1 cup)

The Process:

Step 1: Clean out the peppers.
stuffedpeppersStep 2: Cook the ground turkey and onions stovetop.
Step 3: Combine the turkey mixture in a bowl with the uncooked rice.  Add ½ can of soup and cheese.
Step 4: Stuff the peppers with the mixture.
Step 5: Place the peppers in a microwave bowl with the remaining soup (the peppers should sit in at least half a bath of soup) and sprinkle cheese on top.
Step 6: Microwave on 50% power for 25-30 minutes.  The outside of the pepper should be soft.

The Tips:

  1. Be sure to clean out all of the seeds from the peppers, but only cut the tops off.
  2. Keep the rice uncooked because it will cook in the juices while being microwaved.
  3. Be sure to use tomato soup.  I tried the recipe with tomato sauce once and it was too powerful and overwhelming with a thick consistency.
  4. Be sure to have a big enough cookware that keeps the sauce from spilling over while in the microwave.
  5. Cover the peppers before adding to the microwave with cling wrap, or you’ll have one messy microwave afterwards.

This recipe is my comfort of home in a pepper.  It is simple and easy to make with a flavorful, nutritious meal.  “Cootoes” to my mother for making such a tasty meal microwaveable.

Leave a comment with meals inspired from your mom.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.



Today, calzones are a easily identified in cuisines. It is a folded pizza or turnover shaped like a half-moon, or in my case any shape. Typically calzones are stuffed with tomato, mozzarella, sauces and other pizza toppings. This calzones is a step in a more sophisticated design. The calzone maintains the integrity of original calzones mixing mozzarella and ricotta while keeping nutrition in consideration with leaner meats and spinach power.

Ricotta–literally meaning recooked–uses whey, the liquid that remains after straining curds when making cheese. Ricotta curds are creamy white in appearance and slightly sweet in taste. In this form, ricotta is somewhat similar in texture to some cottage cheese variants, though considerably lighter. Like mascarpone in northern-Italian cuisine, ricotta is a favorite component of many Italian desserts, such as cheesecakes and cannoli. There are also a variety of different cookies that include ricotta as an ingredient. Ricotta can be beaten smooth and mixed with condiments–such as sugar, cinnamon, orange flower water, strawberries and occasionally chocolate shavings–and served as a dessert. This basic combination features prominently as the filling of the crunchy tubular shell of the Sicilian cannoli. Combined with eggs and cooked grains and baked firm, ricotta is a main ingredient in Neapolitan pastiera, one of Italy’s many “Easter pies”. Additionally, ricotta is commonly used in pasta, calzones, pizza, manicotti, lasagna and ravioli. It makes an appropriate substitute for mayonnaise in traditional egg or tuna salad and as a sauce thickener. It is often used as a substitute for paneer in the Indian dessert known as
Ras Malai.


Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used Jenni-O turkey sausage. My grocery store rarely has chicken sausage. You can use either hot or sweet sausage.
  2. If you use sweet sausage, I suggest adding red pepper flakes to give the dish some spice.
  3. Removing the casing will allow for the meat to crumble, and you will be free of that slimy, gross casing.
  4. Use the full four cups of spinach because it will reduce down tremendously in size.
  5. Using a mix of mozzarella and ricotta cheese blends the calzones well. The mozzarella bonds the ingredients and the ricotta creates a savory element.
  6. I used a mix of oregano, dried onion, dried garlic and parsley in place of the Italian seasoning. This process allowed me to modify the seasoning to my desire.
  7. My friend, Charlie Mai, told us about Trader Joe’s whole wheat crust. Apparently, after searching relentlessly, they are the only ones that have whole-wheat crust. It is premade and only needs to be rolled out which is a great time saver. Their crust have a great flavor and consistency, I highly suggest paying a little more to accomplish such flavors.calzone2
  8. I used two packages of pizza dough, filling three with a cheese only mixture. You can probably use just one package and be sure to roll the dough out thin enough to make five servings.
  9. Slicing the top of the calzones will allow heat to penetrate the ingredients inside and cook the dough all the way through. Additionally, it is the traditional look
    of calzones.
  10. I suggest using Pam in place of oil to cook the sausage, if and only if, you are using turkey sausage. Chicken sausage will need that extra grease to cook and create flavor. Turkey sausage is naturally greasy, so oil will slow the cooking process down.
  11. I suggest using marinara sauce for dipping. I created my own sauce with seasoning (parsley, dried onion, red pepper flakes, black pepper, oregano and garlic) and
    tomato sauce.

Like most of the entrees I have experimented with, the calzone is easily made for any pallet. Combine meat, cheese and a vegetable of choice to create a simple and delicious meal for family and friends. Mix and match with sweet or savory ingredients for a lunch, dinner or dessert. The easy and simplicity of this meal combined with the flavor make it one for
the books.

Leave a comment with your favorite pizza recipes. Follow my Pinterest for more recipes. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.


We’re throwing a little healthy Louisiana your way this week with a Jambalaya from Jillian Michaels.  Jambalaya originated in the Caribbean Islands.  The Spanish culture mixed with the native foods created what is known as Jambalaya closely related to the saffron colored paella cousin found in Spanish cuisine.  Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts, with meats and vegetables, and is completed by adding stock and rice.  The most common is Creole jambalaya (also called “red jambalaya”).  First, meat is added to the trinity of celery, peppers, and onions; the meat is usually chicken and sausage such as Andouille or smoked sausage.  Next, vegetables and tomatoes are added to cook, followed by seafood.  Rice and stock are added in equal proportions at the very end.  The mixture is brought to a boil and left to simmer for 20 to 60 minutes (with infrequent stirring) to develop flavor.  Some versions call for the jambalaya to be baked after cooking all the ingredients.


The recipe today is inspired by Jillian Michael’s recipe in her book, Making the Cut.  It calls for 1½ cup peppers (mixed colors), 7 oz turkey kielbasa, 1 chicken breast, onions, pepper, red chili flakes, ½ tsp ground thyme, 32 oz chicken stock, 17 oz canned diced tomatoes with juice, shrimp, 1½ cup long grain rice, hot sauce, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 cup water.

In a Dutch oven add olive oil, chicken, peppers, onion, and turkey kielbasa to cook for about 5 minutes.  Next, add your rice, stirring constantly for about 1 minute before adding seasonings and liquids.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cover and let it sit for 15 minutes, stirring infrequently.  Spoon into a dish with a dash of hot sauce and enjoy!

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Dice the peppers and onion finely so that they cook through with the time limit.
  2. Use a variety of colored peppers to add brightness to the dish.  Each pepper has a different taste, so mix it up.
  3. Dice the chicken breasts to allow even cooking.  Slice the turkey kielbasa into coin sized bites.
  4. You can use long grain rice, brown rice, or minute rice just make sure to use the amount listed or reduce the liquid amount.
  5. I left the shrimp out and cooked them separately so that the dish could be stored longer in the refrigerator or freezer.
  6. Adding the hot sauce individually allows for each person to individualize the meal and spice profiles.
  7. Let the ingredients sit for the full 15 minutes.  The process allows for the rice to absorb the liquid, flavors to develop, and the liquid to reduce down.
  8. You can add celery to the dish for an added crunch without adding tons of calories.

The dish is flavorful, healthy, and a great way to enjoy jambalaya on a cold, winter day.  Who knew that Louisiana cooking could be made healthier?!  Try out the recipe and make your personalized touches.  Bring some southern cooking into your home in this healthy dish.

Leave a comment with your flavor ideas.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes to try.  Check back again next Wednesday for more recipes from The Cooking Bug.