Saturday, February 16, 2013

M is for Meatballs. S is for Sliders. D is for Delicious.

Meatball Sliders

Servings 2 servings (4 sliders total)

4 multi-grain or whole wheat slider buns or rolls (fresh or frozen)
16 frozen turkey or beef meatballs
1 green pepper
1/2 yellow onion
Barbecue sauce
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 to 35 minutes.
Total Time: 40 to 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (or what temperature is specified on frozen meatball bag).
Bake meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes, or until internal temperature is 165 degree for 15 seconds.
Chop green pepper in half and again into quarters to make medium sized strips. Slice onion to make strips. Toss green pepper and onion into a medium sauce pan. Towards the end of the baking time for the meatballs, begin to saute the green pepper and onion strips.
Remove meatballs from the oven. Set aside and keep warm.
Place frozen rolls onto a baking sheet. Put into the oven still at 375 degrees until golden brown, about 7 to 9 minutes.
Put the meatballs in with the green pepper and onion strips when green pepper and onion strips are mostly soft. Cover in desired amount of Barbecue sauce. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid.
Remove rolls from the oven when finished. Wait about 5 minutes for rolls to cool without covering.
Slice rolls in half. Remove some of the inside of the roll from the top (this will better help keep the meatballs from rolling out of the slider).
Remove meatballs, green pepper and onion slices from heat. Scoop 4 meatballs with some of the green pepper and onion strips onto each roll. Before placing the top of the roll on top of the meatballs, sprinkle a desired amount of the shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top of the meatballs. Then place the top of the roll on top of the cheese and meatballs. Serve warm.

Calories 550 Fat 18g Sat. Fat 4g Carb. 55g Fiber 7g Protein 36g Sodium 833mg Potassium 400mg

Back Story
From June to December, I had the honor being an Editorial Intern at Prevention Magazine. Through this life changing experience, I was able to learn different skills inside of the kitchen, about recipe creation and about nutrition analysis. One of the benefits of the positions was traveling to the test kitchen and trying the different recipes. This Meatball Sliders recipe was one of my favorites.

Of course I didn't follow the directions and took my own direction with it (I really will never learn...).

The reason I made this now was because I had a couple for frozen meatballs. I think one of the biggest reasons I make particular dishes is because I know I have a coupon for it. And why not save money where I can? There's something enthralling about clipping coupons. It's like a high that will save me money. 

I also had a coupon for frozen multi-grain rolls, so basically it was a double win. And because I was only making this recipe for two, I am able to save the rolls for other meals.

Tips and Tricks
These Meatball Sliders are very simple to make and assemble. While the prep and cooking time may seem a bit steep for a week night if you need to make dinner in a hurry, the meatballs can be made in advance and warmed up later. I wouldn't recommend making the rolls in advance if they're frozen because it could make the rolls stale.

My Mistake
I did make one mistake when making this recipe. I thought it would be a good idea to put the shredded cheese on top of the meatballs while they had to finish up baking in the oven. No.

With 5 minutes left to bake, I took the meatballs out of the oven. I tried to sprinkle the cheese on top of the meatballs, but because meatballs are obviously round, the cheese didn't stay on top of the meatballs and melted to the tray. I was determined and tried to sprinkle the cheese on all of the meatballs. At least I was dedicated enough to cover the entire tray. But the meatballs still had about 5 minutes left to cook.

So, because I didn't want to risk food poisoning, I put the meatballs back into the oven, cheese already melted to the baking sheet and all. And you know what happens to cheese after 5 minutes of baking? It burns. To the baking sheet. The meatballs were perfect but scraping burnt cheese off of a baking sheet is a pain in the ass.

This is why I topped the sliders with the cheese at the end. The cheese melted onto the meatballs at this point because they were still hot.  So in the end, don't make this mistake.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Not Ron Swanson's Turkey Leg

Unless you watch Parks and Recreation, I don't think you would understand that reference. So, let me catch you up on Pawnee's biggest and manliest meat eater in local government.

Above is a picture of Ron Swanson holding a turkey leg wrapped in bacon. It's called a Swanson. What I made? I guess you could call it a Tori. 

For some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to break out the slow 11pm on a Monday night. I couldn't sleep, I had turkey legs in the fridge, and thus a creation was born. I left the slow cooker on low for the entire night and when I woke up the aroma was amazing. Even though it was 9 am, I wanted dinner right then and there. The turkey literally fell right off of the bone (which is why you don't see the bone in the picture down below). I knew it would be the perfect warm dish on a snowy day (as evidenced by the picture down below). There are also baby carrots and cauliflower in this dish, which just so happened to be the vegetables in my fridge at the time. I recommend trying this over mashed potatoes.

Slow Cooker Rosemary-Basil Turkey Legs with baby carrots and cauliflower. 

Serving: 3 (1 drumstick and 1 cup of baby carrots and cauliflower)
Calories: 346, Fat: 10g, Sat. Fat: 3.5g, Carb: 168.5g, Protein: 42g, Fiber: 7g, Sodium: 220mg, Potassium: 1169mg

3 to 4 Turkey Legs
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 10 oz bag of baby carrots
3/4 cup dry white wine or cooking white wine
1 1/2 Tbsp Rosemary
1 1/2 Tbsp Basil
1/2 Tbsp Garlic powder
pepper to taste
salt to taste

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 - 10 hr on low, 4 to 6 hr on high
Total Time: depends on cook time

1. Cut head of cauliflower into chunks. Place cauliflower and baby carrots into the slow cooker.
2. Remove the excess skin from turkey legs. Bury turkey legs into the cauliflower and baby carrots in the slow cooker.
3. Pour white wine over the ingredients already in the slow cooker.
4. Season ingredients in the slow cooker with rosemary, basil, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Do not stir ingredients.
5. Put lid on slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours. Do not lift lid at any point.
6. After cooking time is finished, use a meat thermometer to test temperature of turkey. The turkey should be at least 165 degrees for 15 seconds. The baby carrots and cauliflower should be tender.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

God Carrot I Have Failed...

It's been a long time since I've updated this blog. It's been an even longer time since I've failed at creating a recipe. But I guess I have to share my failures as well as my successes.

Right now I am taking a class called Writing about Food. Basically, I love it. I've wanted to update my blog for so long, but this class truly inspired me to finally put aside the time and follow a recipe. Someone in the class mentioned carrots. 'Carrot', the word itself, triggered my imagination.

I love carrots. I can sit down and eat a whole bag of baby carrots (even though it's healthly gluttonly, it's still better than a bag of potato chips!) So I thought, I'm going to focus on carrots. And instead of a savory dinner or lunch dish, I'm going to bake with them.

I was wrong. Oh boy, I was so wrong. I was one of those weird kids that actually looked forward to carrot cake, but this time, I was so wrong. I didn't have time to make and frost a cake so I thought "let's try muffins!" And from that I thought, "I'm going to make this muffin recipe into a bread recipe." What? Why? I was so much younger last night. I've learned from my mistakes since then.

Let me take you through my mistakes, so you don't make the same

My first mistake: Thinking I was better than the recipe.
On Wednesday, quick after class, I Googled 'Carrot Muffin recipes.' I found 2 I liked. One from the Food Network ( and one from Martha Stewart (

I looked at both of these recipes, liking aspects from both, and tried to combine them into my own madness. I liked the whole wheat flour from the Food Network recipes and I like the use of yogurt in the Martha Stewart recipe. So I took my favorite aspects from each, combined them, and ultimately failed. What I should have done? Followed one recipe. I'm not a real chef. I have amateur cooking and baking skills. I should have stuck to the recipe.

My second mistake: I substituted ingredients I know I shouldn't have.
In the Martha Stewart recipe, it calls for plain yogurt. Not plain Greek yogurt. Just plain yogurt. So what did I do? I got cocky and thought 'This recipe is from 2004. I'm sure if Martha knew about Greek yogurt then, she would have used it...I'm as good as Martha.' Wrong. So wrong. And you know what? I hate plain yogurt. If I were to use yogurt in this recipe again, it would be vanilla non-Greek yogurt.

My third mistake: In a word, applesauce.
If you read either one of these recipes, you would see that neither of them calls for applesauce. Nope. Leave it to amateur chef Tori to think of the best way to add moisture. Typically, recipes will call for mixing of dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another and then combine them. Well, when I put the wet ingredients into the dry ones, still too dry. What did I think the best solution would be? I scattered all over the kitchen for vegetable oil when I remembered "No make this healthy buddy, use applesauce." Of course! So there it went. A 1/2 cup of applesauce into this mush I was trying to make into bread.

So, ultimately what was wrong with it? Everything.
And I'm not being over dramatic or over exaggerating by any means. The outside was too crisp and burnt, the inside was too moist and not fully baked (but if I left it in any longer, it would have been a black rock before the inside actually became fully solid). The taste was terrible. And I blame it all on the plain Greek yogurt. I really hate plain Greek yogurt for both the taste and the texture. The tart, thick cream like substance that it is should just be used to caulk bathroom tile. It was so bad I didn't even let Steve, the toting loyal try-anything-once-put my taste buds through anything-boyfriend, try it. Especially because I just got done berating him on how squeezing an entire lemon over salmon doesn't give salmon flavor, it just makes it bitter.

So I'd like to challenge you. If you can take these 2 recipes (because don't think I'm going to stop trying or researching on making carrot muffins or carrot bread or carrot something) and combine them to make something delicious, let me know! I will give you a prize of being my best friend and sending you a signed autograph of some lined paper I have laying around.

Also, I hereby promise to post more often and to make time to actually cook and bake more. Maybe then I wouldn't have to post about failing...