Mini Beef and Turkey Meatballs

Appetizer, Beef Recipes

I love these mini meatballs. They are great to serve as appetizers or to enjoy with pasta. Best of all, they are easy to prepare.


  • 1/2 pound of ground sirloin
  • 1/2 pound of ground turkey
  • 2 slices of bread (whatever kind you have to make toast: white, whole wheat, etc)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • Salt
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (blanched)
Here’s how I prepare the meatballs:

In a big bowl, mix ground sirloin, ground turkey, egg, ginger, garlic, black pepper, chili powder, and salt. Dampen the bread with drinking water and mix them well with the other ingredients. With two hands, massage the mixture together until everything gets incorporated. Preheat oven to 350. Using your hands, shape the meatballs and place on a baking tray. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Serve with the asparagus and pour a little tomato pasta sauce on top of them.

For tomato sauce recipe, please see:

 Sweet Tomatoes!

Special Braised Short Ribs Dinner – Going Gourmet at Home

Beef Recipes, Recipe from Other Blogs

I watch Food Network religiously. There, I admit it. Jeff says the TV seems to default to the channel whenever he turns it on. The truth is I get a lot of my cooking inspirations, and learn tons of recipes, from some of the shows. Jeff and I love eating out but we also relish delicious home-cooked meals. Since we cook a lot, I try to add more to our recipes repertoire. So watching cooking shows helps the effort.

Growing up with Indonesian cooking has definitely developed my palate preference. It also has given me the ability to create an extensive menu of the cuisine. However, blessed and cursed with curiosity I tend to want, seek, and learn more. I’ve developed a definite fondness for trying on varieties of tastes and recipes along the way. Thanks to the plethora of recipe sources online and on TV, I’ve also been able to go gourmet without breaking the bank!

My most recent successful gourmet trial came from chef Anne Burrell’s recipe: Braised Short Ribs served with celery root and potato puree and salad (next blog posts). (I followed the short ribs recipe with one tweak: I did not have thyme at the time, so I went without.) Though the recipe calls for a three-hour cooking time I plan to do repeats in the future. Once cooked, the meat becomes so tender and soft that it struggles to stick to the bone. The aroma and taste of celery sticks and carrots mixed with tomato paste and red wine blends perfectly with the beef. A very rich taste—just how I like my food to be.  I recommend the recipe for a special dinner with loved ones. Another great addition to my winter menu collection.

Side dishes:

Celery Root and Potato Puree

Radicchio, Arugula, and Heart of Palm Salad

For complete recipes view the source of my inspiration:

The Secret to Short Ribs : Secret of a Restaurant Chef : Food Network

Standing Oven Round Roast Beef with Sweet Potatoes

Beef Recipes

Standing Oven Round Roast Beef by JNHoliday Dinner Menu (Part 3)

Jeff wanted to do a roast beef dinner with sweet potatoes for the holiday dinner. So he created his own recipe and it turned out to be a huge success. Our guests could not get enough of it. The peppery flavor of the steak went well with all of the side dishes: sweet potatoes, roasted butternut squash with Gouda cheese and pine nuts, and the artichoke, heart of palm, and avocado salad. The roast beef definitely earned its position to be one of our favorite dinner party menus.

A few days later I asked Jeff to tell me the ingredients for the roast beef and the steps to prepare it. I typed the recipe quickly and added it to this blog as another entry to our good cooking “database”.

So here is Jeff’s recipe:


  • 8 lbs of round bottom round roast beef (cut in half)
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper, chili powder, dried oregano, and salt-free steak seasoning
  • A cup of your favorite bold red wine (we used a cabernet)
  • Dried sage
  • Water


  • Create a brine solution (to keep the steak juicy after roasting) in a large zip lock bag by mixing one or two cups of water with salt
  • Brine and soak the meat completely in the zip lock bag
  • Leave in the fridge for three days
  • Take it out of the brining bag and pat dry the day before the dinner party
  • Brush with canola oil
  • Prepare the steak’s dry rub mix in a bowl: freshly ground black pepper, chili powder, oregano, and a little salt-free steak seasoning (we used Trader Joe’s Steak and Chop Grill and Broil)
  • Massage the dry rub well into the meat
  • Place the marinated meat in a new zip lock bag and keep in the fridge overnight

About three hours before the dinner party:

  • Preheat the oven to 225F
  • Place the meat on an oven rack with a tray below it
  •  Put one cup of water on the tray and then cover it all with an aluminum foil
  • Cook until the steak’s temperature reaches 130F (it took us about 2 hours)
  • Take the meat out and crank up the oven temp to 500F and cook the meet for another 10 minutes
  • Take the steak out and cover with aluminum foil until serving

Prepare the steak sauce by collecting the juices from the cooking steak in the tray into a small pot. Mix with half cup of water, a cup of wine, and a pinch of dried sage. Let it simmer and reduce by half. Strain to make sure that there isn’t any dried sage in the sauce and serve.

Make the sweet potato dish:

  • Peel and cube  3-4 sweet potatoes
  • Boil with chicken stock, add a little salt, and cook until it is fork tender
  • Drain the potatoes and let it cool down before serving

Serve  7-9 people

Happy Holidays!

Food Talk: Shepherd’s Pie

Baking, Beef Recipes

The conversation about Shepherd’s Pie seemed to have appeared out of nowhere when we were at the Rose Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It was one of those gorgeous days in September when the air was crisp and the sun was bright and warm—a sign of fall’s arrival. My friend Leena, her toddler, and I just had to take advantage of the beautiful weather and strolled around. The food talk went on for a while mainly because of the pretty distractions. We kept marveling at the beautiful flowers and sceneries, the very cool English Walled Garden, and the serene Japanese Garden. Before I knew it the image of the delicious dish haunted me for the rest of the day, into the next, until I decided to make one.

Maybe the food talk was inspired by the change in seasons, the chilly weather, or the butternut squash soup we had earlier that day at the garden’s café. No matter how the conversation came about, it was a great motivation to cook something I have never done before. One more thing to add to my recipe collection!

My version comes with a little curry and cayenne spice kick. This spice-infused meat and vegetable hot pie makes a great dinner choice during colder months.

Here’s how I prepare mine:

  • Boil three (peeled and quartered) smaller Yukon or Russet potatoes until fork tender
  • In a deep skillet add a tablespoon of canola oil and cook chopped garlic (three cloves) and onion (one) until they turn yellow
  • Brown half pound of ground beef or ground turkey in the skillet with the garlic and onion
  • Add a pinch of salt and pepper, one teaspoon of ginger powder, one teaspoon of curry powder, and one tablespoon of cayenne powder
  • Add a small bag of (thawed) frozen carrots and peas mix and chopped scallion to the meat
  • Turn the heat off
  • Mash the potatoes
  • Add one egg and two tablespoons of canola/vegetable oil to the mashed potatoes and mix well
  • Top the meat and vegetables with the mashed potatoes and place the pie into a 400F preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Broil to brown the potato if necessary.
Serve 4

Sweet Tomatoes!

Beef Recipes, Pasta, Vegetable Recipes

Photo by FoeNyx

This summer, I have been so lucky to be receiving plenty of organic tomatoes and basil supply from my good friend’s vegetable garden. (Thanks again, Leena!) I have turned the basil into delicious pesto sauce and the tomatoes into salad mixed with cucumbers. Last week, I got my biggest supply yet!  Tons of tomatoes and basil! So I figured out more ways to enjoy these great summer produce.

For breakfast this weekend, aside from the usual toast with strawberry preserve, I sliced the tomatoes into smaller chunks and sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top of them. My mom used to prepare tomatoes that way when I was little. She’d add crushed ice cubes to it too. Delicious summer treat! Then I cut up some Parmesan cheese into bite size and voila…great breakfast in no time!

I also made a hearty pasta sauce using those fresh tomatoes and basil. When I told another friend about it, she asked for the recipe. So, I thought I’d share with all of you.

My Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce with Ground Beef

  • Heat up a medium pot
  • Add 1 table-spoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Cut 6-8 fresh tomatoes into big chunks and add into the pot (tomatoes will dissolve into red tomato juice)
  • Let it bubble for a half hour till most of the juice evaporate and the tomatoes turn into a thin sauce
  • In the food processor:

-A handful of fresh basil leaves

-3-4 cloves of garlic

-½ – Large onion

  • Add the blended goodness above to the simmering tomato sauce
  • Add salt, pepper, and …of course…chili powder!
  • Add a small can of tomato paste IF you want a thicker sauce
For the ground beef:
  • Heat up a medium pan
  • Add ½ a spoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Brown the ground beef (I guess you can also try ground turkey. I have never done it but I think it will also be delicious) and throw away the fat
  • Add 2-3 chopped clove of garlic
  • Add a dash of ginger powder (optional—I add ginger powder to lessen the meaty beef aroma)

Add cooked ground beef to the tomato sauce pot and stir. Serve with spaghetti or other favorite pastas. Enjoy!