Pineapple Meatball Kebabs with Apple Slaw

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I am usually on the prowl for easy delicious recipes that cater to busy families, which is a trend you’ll notice if you scroll through my posts. That said, this is not an outwardly weeknight “quickie” recipe. However, there are ways to make this dish more weeknight appropriate, which is something I recommend. What I did was make the meatballs and sauce (separately) ahead of time. This way when we were ready for dinner I just fired up the grill, sauced the pre-made meatballs, and enjoyed. If you want to do this just sauce what meatballs you know you will eat, and put the rest in the fridge.  I will say that the extra time it took to initially put this dinner together was well worth it. The tangy sweet sauce is the showstopper in this dish which paired really nice with the crunchy apple slaw. I HIGHLY recommend doubling the slaw recipe because it was so refreshing and we went through the first batch pretty quickly. This dish was inspired from two different recipe blogs. The meatballs were adapted from Savory Nothings which is a gorgeous blog with stunning photos and easy to follow recipes. The slaw was adapted from Damn Delicious which is also a beautiful recipe blog (my favorite part of her posts are that she adds the nutritional facts for each recipe). Give both blogs a look if you try and like this recipe their recipes are a tad different from this one and they have tons of other tasty posts.

TIME: approximately 1 hour 15 minutes with prep.com

SERVES: approximately 6

Ingredients for Meatballs :

  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • 1 lg yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 scallions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, (I toasted mine a bit before adding)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 20 oz can of crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp garlic powder

Ingredients for Apple Slaw:

  • 1 bag of slaw mix (I would recommend getting an extra red cabbage and carrot, chopping/slicing them up, and adding them to the mix. There is never enough red cabbage or carrot in store bought slaw).
  • 2 granny smith apples, julienned
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Meatballs and Sauce:

  1. If you are pairing the meatballs with the slaw recipe prepare the slaw first as it needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour before serving. That recipe can be found below
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 F, also if you are using bamboo/wooden skewers soak them in water for 30 minutes.
  3. Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Form small balls and line them up on a greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake the meatballs in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until no longer pink in the center (I always reserve one meatball as my “tester” to check for pinkness and when cooked to check for taste). Once cooked, set the meatballs aside to cool.
  5. While the meatballs are baking and cooling combine all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it begins to lightly boil. Be sure to stir the sauce frequently as it will burn if not tended to. Once boiling turn heat down to a simmer continuing to stir until it is nice and thick. Once thick remove the saucepan from heat.
  6. Once meatballs are cooled string 3-4 meatballs on each skewer. Spoon or brush the sauce over the meatballs, coating them really well.
  7. Fire up your grill and cook the kebabs until nice scorch marks appear.
  8. Plate with your favorite sides (aka the slaw recipe below) and Enjoy!

Directions for Apple Slaw:

  1. In a large bowl combine the slaw mix and apples.
  2. In a separate bowl mix all the “wet” ingredients together until well combined.
  3. Pour the saucy mixture over the apples and slaw. Toss until the slaw is nice and coated.
  4. Cover and put in the fridge for at least one hour.
  5. When ready to serve toss the slaw and plate.
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me.

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Pineapple Baked Chicken – ★★★★✩

11008513_10205998715465070_8853942480179284495_nIt is no secret that I love savory sweet, and this recipe delivers just that. This chicken dish is baked so the meat came out really juicy and tender with the pineapples perfectly soft. I found it to be an easy, quick and delicious recipe that had us coming back for seconds. I honestly ate a heaping second plate of just the pineapple for desert, that is how tasty it was. We added extra pepper flakes for more heat and I think that took it to a whole new level of yummy. I’m falling in love with Dijon mustard after the saucy pork chops I made a few weeks ago, and I must say I think that is what holds all the flavors in this recipe together. Perry really enjoyed this dinner, but gave 4 stars because he had a suggestion that could potentially make it even better. I’ll let him describe it himself:

“There is no doubt in my mind that this recipe is 5 star quality. It is salty, it is sweet and it is spicy. I think that adding smokey to that list of adjectives would pump this recipe up. I suggest grilling the pineapple chunks before adding them to the recipe. Kelsey thinks it might be an annoying extra step for those who are trying to rush dinner on the table, but I think if the time is available it would be awesome. I know that I love grilled corn in soup so why not have grilled pineapple in this recipe. We will give it a go next time around and at that point I’ll give this one a full five-star rating. Until then it is a 4 because I know there is a little bit of room for improvement.

Serves: 4     Calories: 350 per serving     Time: MARINATE 3 hrs  COOK: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 2 (20 oz.) cans of pineapple chunks, if you can get the ones in pineapple juice not syrup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • Crushed pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. To marinade, combine chicken, pineapple juice (drain from the canned stuff and keep pineapple chunks aside), garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest and paprika. Place in a large bowl or ziplock bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  2. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Spray 9×13 cooking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and put into the baking dish and set aside. Discard of the marinade.
  5. In a large pan melt the butter. Once butter is melted add the Dijon, honey, and pineapple chunks stirring for a few minutes until bubbly. Remove from heat
  6. Pour the saucy pineapple chunks over the chicken and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. If you are into spicy, sprinkle pepper flakes on top before serving.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from http://www.diethood.com 

Sweet Fire Chicken Tenders (Fake-out-take-out) – ★★★★✩

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Sweet fire chicken, I adore it but I hate to spend 12.00 on a meal at Panda that will not produce left overs. Problem solved, friends, as I’ve scoured the darkest ends of the internet and got some ideas that birthed this wonderful copy cat recipe. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating sweet fire chicken at Panda Express : firstly I’m sorry and secondly prepare yourselves to be turned on to the “tangy yet sweet and spicy all at once” temptress that is this dish. Another thing that makes this recipe so awesome is that it is extremely quick and easy to prepare. Sometimes even I don’t enjoy cooking for hours. I did find room for improvement and think this may go better with a panko crusted baked chicken. I’ll be honest, I suck at pan frying chicken. From now on I’ll stick to the oven (and don’t worry I’ll post the revisions if I think the oven baked chicken turns out better). Besides the chicken (and my terrible efforts at pan frying) everything else was worthy of 5 stars. Perry gave a 4 star rating and here is why:

” The sauce, peppers and pineapple were out of this world. They were an exact reproduction of our Panda Express favorite. My issue was with the chicken. For whatever reason, Kelsey thinks it takes a long time for chicken to cook stove top leaving it with a rough texture. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t worth 5 stars. She said next time she would work different with the chicken and I’m looking forward to it because everything else was delicious. This one has a lot of flavor and texture with the crunchy peppers, soft sweet pineapple and spicy chili sauce. I could just eat the topping and sauce over rice it’s that good!”

Serves: 5     Calories: 523 per serving    Time: 30-45 mins 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup canola oil, if you have high cholesterol like Perry they make cholesterol free canola oil which is what I used.
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders, washed and trimmed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, I added some salt and a lot of pepper to the flour as if this dish needed any more flavor
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp canola or olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 cans of pineapple chunks in natural juice, drained
  • 2/3 cup of sweet chili sauce
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced for garnish

Directions:

  1. Wash and trim chicken. Once the chicken is clean bread it by rolling each tender first in the flour then dip in eggs and roll in flour once more. Working one tender at a time set those already breaded aside.
  2. Once all the tenders have been breaded heat the 1/4 cup of canola oil over medium high heat. Once hot add 4 tenders at a time. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until evenly browned and cooked through. Continue to do this until all the chicken is cooked. Set chicken aside.
  3. In a separate pan heat an additional 1 tsp of oil (olive or canola) over medium heat and add the bell peppers and pineapples. Cook until peppers are tender, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chili sauce and stir until sauce is thick and bubbly, an additional 3 minutes or so.
  5. Serve the pepper and pineapple sauce over the chicken tenders and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me. 

*Recipe adapted from http://www.damndelicious.com 

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken and Pineapple – ★★★★★

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This recipe was a hit at the dinner table. It probably helped that today was one of the most beautiful days of the summer making it a great night to fire up the grill. The chicken was left to marinate overnight so it was extremely flavorful today. My favorite part was the pineapple slices which added the perfect balance of sweet to a salty marinade.  The recipe itself is extremely easy to follow so it makes for a great weeknight dinner that goes with just about any side dish. Please do not forget to allow for marinating time like I almost did. Perry gave five stars and here is why:

I don’t have any criticism to provide because this dinner was everything I expected it to be. Kelsey used thin chicken breasts so the marinade seemed really concentrated in the meat, and the pineapple was charred in exactly the right way. This was a nice way to enjoy the summer weather before it’s gone.”

Serves: 6       Calories 452       Carbs: 33.3        Time: Marinate:2-3 hours or overnight    prep/cook time: 4o minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 6 pineapple rings

Directions

  1. Combine soy sauce, pineapple juice, oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, ginger, dry mustard and pepper in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Pound chicken breasts to even thickness of about 1/2 inch.
  4. Pour sauce over chicken breasts in a shallow glass dish or ziplock bag.
  5. Cover or seal and marinate at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight, turning occasionally.
  6. Grill over medium heat approximately 6 minutes per side, basting with any reserved marinade. Grill until done.
  7. When you turn chicken, if desired, dip pineapple rings in marinade- grill the pineapple slices turning once.
  8. Top chicken with pineapple slices
  9. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Original recipe can be found at http://www.food.com 

Pineapple Teriyaki Slow Cooked Beef – ★★★★★

ImageWe are quickly approaching the first day of winter, and if you have not already broken out your slow cooker I recommend you do it now. Literally stop reading this and dust off your crockpot this instant! The chill has arrived and there is no better way to add  extra warmth to your home like the smell of a home-cooked meal. This recipe is so easy that I think even Perry could pull it off 😉 The flavor is perfect, but I have read reviews where people say that theirs came out too salty. Keep this in mind when you buy your teriyaki sauce. If they have low sodium or sweeter options for sauce I would go that route. I’ll let you in on a little trick I did to lessen the salty taste during the directions part of the recipe. Perry gave full stars and here is why:

“This dinner was just what I needed after a crappy day at work. I  could smell it cooking outside when I walked from my car to the apartment so I knew instantly  it would be a five star recipe. The flavor was explosive, and I say that because the pineapple slices were so juicy I almost couldn’t stop eating. I can not find fault with this recipe.”

Serves: 7+      Calories: 308.3      Time: 5-6 hours (high) / 7-8 hours (low)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs stew beef
  • 24 oz (two jars) teriyaki sauce (reduced sodium is best)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 20 oz can pineapple chunks, drained with juice reserved
  • optional: toasted sesame seeds to top, rice/veggies to serve

Directions:

  1. Place beef in bottom of slow cooker (you can use frozen or unfrozen… We used unfrozen)
  2. Pour sauce and garlic overtop
  3. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. My slow cooker cooks extremely hot so it only took us like 4 hours on low. If your cooker also cooks hot just keep an eye on it.
  4. When you have 30 minutes of cooking left throw in the pineapple chunks.
  5. TIP 1: if you think your sauce is too salty add a little bit of brown sugar (tsp by tsp until you get desired taste.)
  6. TIP 2: Our sauce was thin and salty so what I did was I added 1 tsp brown sugar AND a mixture of 1 tsp corn starch to 2 tsp reserved pineapple juice. This thickened up the sauce and made it sweeter at the same time. Worked like a charm!
  7. Serve over rice or veggies of your choice
  8. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from http://www.eatathomecooks.com

Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice – ★★★★★

ImageSomething Perry has been craving lately is fried rice. We don’t get take out often and hardly ever visit Chinese Restaurants to eat (my almost 3-year-old won’t allow it) so I had to whip something up at home. I’ve never been any good at cooking rice so I had to search for an easy recipe with good ratings. It did not take me long to find this five star recipe, and believe me it is worth all five stars 🙂  I did not use “ham” but instead I used bacon. If you follow my lead I would cut the added salt down by half because the bacon adds a lot of its own salt. Other than that the recipe is super easy, fast and delicious. Perry gave all five stars and here is why:

I’ve had a hankering for fried rice so when Kelsey asked me what I wanted to eat this week that was all I had in mind. The recipe she found was a really good change from the more “traditional” fried rice. Ham and pineapple always go together but I would have never thought to throw them in fried rice. I loved this dinner and it was even better the following day. I give five stars for flavor.”

Serves: 5-6      Calories: 330    Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced including tops
  • 1 cup ham, diced (we used bacon)
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (If you use bacon cut this in half)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

Directions:

  1. Bring the rice and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. (Mine took about 18 minutes. just peek on it and go with your gut but don’t let it burn)
  2. Spread cooked rice out on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until cooled, about 20 minutes. (Do not skip this step! It is crucial)
  3. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Cook and stir the green onions, ham, and peas in the hot oil until onions have softened, about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir the pineapple chunks into the skillet; cook until pineapple begins to darken, about 2 minute.
  6. Push ingredients to the side of the wok, and pour beaten egg in the center. Cook until egg begins to solidify, about 30 seconds. Stir together all contents of the skillet.
  7. Mix the cooled rice, sugar, salt, white pepper, and garlic powder into the skillet; stir constantly to keep from sticking. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle the rice with the soy sauce, and stir to combine.
  9. Dish and Enjoy!

*Original recipe belongs to http://www.food.com

**Photo is an original belonging to me

 

Island Sliders With a Kick – ★★★★★

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These babies were just the thing to polish off the beautiful summer day today. The pineapples and chicken burger patties were juicy, flavorful, and grilled to perfection. The only thing I might add is a tsp of teriyaki sauce. All together these hit the spot and Perry deemed them worth 5 stars. Here is why:

Kelsey says that she thinks I have no faith in her when it comes to the grill, but if you’ve seen her try to cook a steak you would understand why. When she grills without a recipe that gives her an exact cooking time it is guaranteed that she will burn and overcook it. I’m thankful this recipe gave her an exact cooking time because the burgers came out excellent. I really liked the taste of the chicken patty which I was originally unsure to try. When I think of a burger I think of a medium-rare slab of beef so I was prepared to be a little disappointed. I feel like I say that a lot because Kels likes to try some strange recipes, but she really does surprise me when it all comes together. This recipe  is one of those that came together perfectly. I give full stars!”

Makes 9 sliders at 151 calories per slider

Ingredients:

  • 1-8oz can of pineapple slices, draines
  • 2-3 skewers
  • 3 slices pepper jack cheese, sliced to drape over 9 mini patties 
  • 9 slider buns
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided into 1/4 tsp
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, divided into 1/4 tsp 
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, soy sauce, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp chili powder,  salt, cumin, and garlic in a large bowl. Mix and divide into 9 large even balls. Keep in mind that the mixture might be a little sticky so don’t expect the balls to be perfectly formed. Just make sure you use close to the same amount of mixture per “ball.” Form patties, making them slightly thinner in the middle.
  2. Mix together the remaining 1/4 tsp paprika and 1/4 tsp of chili powder and sprinkle over the patties.
  3. Refrigerate the patties for 30 minutes. Do not skip this step because  it will be difficult to transfer the patties to the grill. 
  4. Preheat your grill to medium-high and grease the rack with cooking spray. 
  5. Cook patties for 2-4 minutes per side or until cooked through. If you are using cheese (which I highly recommend) add it to the patties when you have a minute left on your timer.
  6. String pineapple chunks onto skewers and grill for 1-2 minutes or until you begin to see grill marks. 
  7. Toast your bun if you wish and put together your sliders. 
  8. Enjoy!

*Photo is original belonging to me

**This recipe was modified but you can find the original at http://homeiswheretheholmansare.blogspot.com/