Heat Wave

Grilled Turkey Meatballs with Jalapeno Queso Sauce:

I have a fond memory of cooking with my grandmother on a warm spring day. It was one of those moments, where laughter constantly filled the room, and when you can see the very essence of someone with pristine clarity. My grandmother was no doubt one of the most inspirational people in my life, and who also helped me early on appreciate the simple, and most important, things in life. I had delusional enthusiasm initially for a Cinco de Mayo feast that included “Honey Glazed Plantain Chip,” “Beef Grilled Turkey Meatballs with Jalapeno Queso SauceTaco Phyllo Cups,” “Tequila Lime Chicken and Brie Quesadillas,” “Cinnamon Churros,” and of course “Mango Margaritas.” As Victoria and I finish tilling and fencing this year’s ever expanding vegetable garden, my mind, and exhausted body, raced back to those life lessons of simplicity. The jalapeno has a wide range to it, where a single seed can make anyone weep with tears, but the flesh itself delivers a transcendent and mild distinctiveness. In this dish, the seeded jalapeno, that steeped in the sauce and then removed, created a sublime result with very little heat. This balanced the spiciness of the grilled turkey meatballs that layered the heat of the jalapeno with the sweetness of cilantro. With my feet up after this long day of gardening, smiles fill the room as we toast to life’s inspirational moments.

SECRET INGREDIENT:  Jalapeno

TIP: Make sure to remove ALL seeds from jalapeno for the sauce (they can be sneaky)

Grilled Turkey Meatballs with Jalapeno Queso Sauce

  • Ground turkey (1 lb)
  • Salt & fresh pepper
  • Carrots (1/4 cup, grated)
  • Garlic (2 cloves, chopped)
  • Onion (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • Jalapeno (2 tsp)
  • Cayenne (2 tsp)
  • Cumin (3 Tbsp)
  • Chili powder (2 tsp)
  • Paprika (2 tsp)
  • Lemon zest (1 tsp)
  • Hot sauce (1 Tbsp)
  • Cilantro (1/4 cup, chopped)
  • Egg (1)
  • Panko (1/2 cup)
  • Manchego cheese (1/4 cup)
  • Lime juice (1/2 of lime)
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients.
  2. Using your hand, roll mixture into ¼ cup balls and set on baking pan.
  3. Preheat grill with one side high heat, and the other medium low heat.
  4. Grill meatballs on medium low heat until crisp and cooked through (do not overcook).

For Mexican Rice

  • Onion (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • Garlic (chopped)
  • Olive oil
  • Oregano (1/2 tsp)
  • Cumin (1 tsp)
  • Coriander (1 tsp)
  • Tomato paste (2 Tbsp)
  • Rice (1 cup)
  • Chicken stock (1 ½ cups)
  • Salt & fresh pepper
  • Tomatoes (2 Roma, chopped)
  • Scallions (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • Parsley (2 Tbsp)
  1. In sauce pan over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes.
  2. Add oregano, cumin, coriander, and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute stirring to combine.
  3. Add rice, chicken stock and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Simmer covered for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes, scallions, and parsley.

For Jalapeno Queso Sauce

  • Butter (2 Tbsp)
  • Flour (2 Tbsp)
  • Jalapeno (split in half and all seeds removed)
  • Cumin (1 tsp)
  • Milk (1 cup)
  • Sour cream (1/4 cup)
  • Cheese (3/4 cup, grated)
  • Salt and fresh pepper
  1. In sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter, flour and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to low and slowly add milk and whisk until smooth, adding more milk if necessary for a thick sauce consistency.
  3. Stir in cumin and jalapeno and let steep for 15 minutes stirring often.
  4. Remove from heat, and whisk in sour cream, then cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Grilled Turkey Meatballs with Jalapeno Queso Sauce

-- Weather When Posted --

  • Temperature: 71°F;
  • Humidity: 73%;
  • Heat Index: 71°F;
  • Wind Chill: 71°F;
  • Pressure: 30.02 in.;

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