Tag Archives: lime juice

Mexican Meatballs with Rice

When I was making our grocery list over a week ago, I mentioned to Sam that I was planning to make meatballs.  To his surprise, they were Mexican-flavored meatballs.


These were a great alternative to enchiladas or tacos.  Something a little different, but still having the spicy, Mexican flavors.  Rather than using breadcrumbs, I used oats (the same one’s we use of oatmeal)- and it was still just as tasty.  Feel free to play around with the heat items (jalapeño, habañero or red pepper flakes) to your preferences.  We didn’t have fresh cilantro, which definitely would have made this dish better, but I used some dried cilantro and it worked out fine.

Mexican Meatballs with Rice
Adapted from: Branny Boils Over
Serving: 5 (5 meatballs; 1 1/2 cups of rice)

1 cup of dried rice
1 lb ground turkey
2 eggs
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup oates
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 tbsp olive oil
14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
1 habañero, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 can of 12 oz black beans
juice of 1/2 lime

In a small pan, heat up water and add rice.  Heat up the rice until it is soft.

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, eggs, onion, garlic and oates.  Then add 1/4 tsp of each: chili powder, cumin, cayenne and red pepper flakes.  Then add 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper.  Mix all of the ingredients well, and shape them into individual meatballs.  I had made about 25 of them, each were the size of golf balls (or smaller).

In a cast iron skillet or large saucepan, heat up about 4 tbsp of olive oil.  Add about 10 meatballs at a time (if you have smaller pan, don’t add as many meatballs).  Let them sit on each side until they brown, for about 3 minutes.  Cook it on all sides until they feel firm.  When you take them out of the pan, place them on a plate with a paper towel (soaks in the extra olive oil).

In a separate saucepan, heat up about 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Add the tomatoes, cilantro,  habañero, jalapeño, black beans and rice.  To give it some flavor, add 1/4 tsp of each: chili powder, cumin, cayenne and red pepper flakes.  Then add 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper.  Heat it up for about 3-5 minutes, until most of the tomato juice is absorbed.  At the end, add the lime juice and stir it into the mixture.

Finally, serve the rice mixture on a place, and add some meatballs on top.  Feel free to add cheese if you’d like, although we enjoyed it without.

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Corn & Zucchini Burritos

I apologize for the lack of posts this weekend.  Sam and I went to Virginia Beach for a short weekend getaway.  Both of us needed a break from the city, and a little beach time!  I used to live in VA Beach, so it also gave us an opportunity to hang out with my friend P* (and her fiancé- J*, and her sister- S*).  We had a fantastic time hanging out with them at a fun new place I  never knew about.

Pacifica is not a big tourist destination, since it’s a little north of the majority of the hotels.  We had a great time, and I’ll keep this tapas restaurant in mind when we go back.  Mainly, what we did over our weekend is lay on the beach.  Both of our bodies needed some sun, and our minds needed some good reading on the beach.  To top off the weekend, traffic between DC and VA Beach wasn’t bad at all- so life is good!

But it’s back to the grind today.  Lucky for us, Independence Day weekend is right around the corner, so I’m sure this week will fly by.  We’re looking forward to trying a new place for dinner this weekend.  It’s been around for way over a year, the Logan Circle place of Birch & Barley, but we haven’t tried  it yet.  And of course, I’m looking forward to some 4th of July fireworks!

I’m not going to lie, we haven’t been doing much cooking lately.  Or rather, the stuff that we have made hasn’t necessarily been looking stellar enough for the blog, or it just didn’t have a taste that we’d want to someone else to replicate.  But we’ll get back into the groove once again, so hopefully I’ll have more frequent posts.

I am leaving you with this great burrito recipe I got from the June issue of Vegetarian Times.  The recipe recommended chayotes, but the grocery store didn’t have any, so a zucchini was the substitution.  In addition, I added a little * next to cilantro.  Please add that to the burritos, they’ll taste significantly better.

Why did I not add cilantro to ours?  Well, apparently someone from Peapod mixed up the cilantro with a parsley variety.  So we got two different kinds of parsley in the last grocery delivery, and I didn’t realize it until I was ready to chop up my “cilantro” to add to the burritos.  Ooops!  I ended up using very little parsley, but it didn’t have the same great taste that the cilantro would have given it.

Corn & Zucchini Burritos
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times  (June 2011)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, cubed
1-2 jalapeños, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup of black beans
1 red pepper, sliced into cubes
juice of 1 lime
2/3 cup Mexican cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3-4 tortillas
*2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Then add the onion, zucchini, jalapeños and garlic; cook them until the onion begins to brown.  Then stir in the corn, black beans and red pepper, cook for another 5 minutes.  Finally, stir in 1/3 of the Mexican cheese, salt and pepper.  Lastly, add the lime juice to the mixture.

Divide the vegetable mixture between the 3-4 tortillas.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the mixture, before rolling the tortilla.

* Cilantro can (should be) sprinkled onto the top of this mixture to bring out the excellent flavors.

Colorful Slaw

Whenever I think of coleslaw, the images of lots of mayonnaise pop into my head.  I recently bought Jamie Oliver’s book, Jamie’s America, and was flipping through the recipes.  This slaw caught my eye- especially since it did not use any mayonnaise.

With the weather warming up, we’ve been eating our dinner upstairs on the rooftop.  This salad was perfect for a fast and easy dinner.  We accompanied this dish with some cheese (from Cowgirl Creamery)  and fresh bread, making it a perfect low-key dinner.

Jamie recommends this salad as a side with some chicken or pork chop.  He notes that you can change up the salad with different flavors.  Leave the onion, cilantro and white cabbage as a base, but feel free to add asparagus or fennel to further enhance the taste of this salad.


Colorful Slaw
Adapted from: Jamie’s America Cookbook

1/2 head of cabbage
1/2 head of red cabbage
20 radishes; trimmed & thinly sliced
4 carrots, peeled
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
2 jalapeños, chopped finely
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 3 limes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

The quickest way to make this is to use a food processor.  The mandolin attachment shreds the cabbages and carrots into tiny pieces.  If you do not have one, a grater will do the job as well.

In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage (white not red) with the radishes, carrots,  cilantro, jalapeños and onions.  Mix everything well.  In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Once the ingredients are integrated, pour over the slaw.  Once again, toss together.

Finally, fold in the red cabbage right before serving.  If you add it at the beginning, the red cabbage can stain all the other ingredients.

Veggie Flatbread with Cilantro Hummus

As many of you have probably noticed through  most of these posts, we don’t eat much meat here at Fifth Floor Kitchen.  Our thoughts are that if we do want to eat meat, we prefer “happy cows/chickens/etc”.  The fact that we didn’t have any meat in our fridge came in handy this weekend.  Our fridge broke!  Well, the freezer was working, but the fridge was warm.  (Yes, the beer did not get as cold.)  It’ll be completely fixed today, at 5pm, when the Refrigerator Man comes by and changes a thermostat.  I guess these are the pleasures of home ownership?  Most of the food survived, except some of the dairy products such as: milk, sour cream and some half-and-half.  But we’re back to a happy kitchen. 

This accompanied the Cucumber Gazpacho for dinner one night.  Also very simple to make, and very springy.  The original recipe called for pita bread, but while searching for it at Whole Foods I was concentrating on the “whole wheat”.  So instead I grabbed a flatbread.  (to me, these two are fairly similar- pita bread is thinner, while the flatbread is a bit thicker and softer)  I would say this was similar to a personal pizza, it’s got veggies and cheese (but could have so much  more on it).  The only exception is the “sauce” is cilantro-hummus-flavored.  So as long as you like cilantro, this is defintely worth a try.  The veggies on this don’t need to be the same, feel free to add what you like on your flatbread. 

Veggie Flatbread with Cilantro Hummus
Inspired by: Vegetarian Times

1/2 cup cilantro leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
2 flatbreads (or pita’s)
2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained & sliced into strips
1 cup spinach leaves
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

To make hummus, add the cilantro and garlic into the food processor.  Turn on for about 1 minute until everything is chopped.  Then add the chickpeas, lime juice, oil and water.  Puree for 3 minutes until the mixture is creamy. 

Place the 2 flatbreads on baking sheet.  Spread each with the cilantro hummus.  Then top with peppers, mushrooms and spinach leaves.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes, the flatbread should be crisp and the cheese should be melting.

Cucumber Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a cold, tomato-based soup which originated in Spain.  I spent the summer of 2004 studying abroad in Spain, while living with a Spanish family.  For my first meal with the family, my señora made gazpacho.  Having only had warm tomato soup growing up, I did not like it.  The idea of a cold soup just wasn’t appealing to me.  But she kept making it throughout the summer, and I kept on eating it a little at a time.  After the summer of falling in love with Sevilla, when I arrived back in the US, I realized I began craving gazpacho.

It’s a great summer staple for me: fast, easy, simple.  You can make it ahead and the flavors blend nicely.  It’s perfect when tomatoes are in season, full of flavors.

So when I was flipping through the April’s Cooking Light and saw a cucumber gazpacho, I was excited to try a new version of the cold soup.  The original recipe had shrimp, which is also a great addition, so keep that in mind.

Cucumber Gazpacho
Adapted from: Cooking Light

1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/3 cup cilantro, lightly chopped
2 large cucumbers, lightly chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup yogurt
1/4 cup onion, chopped
dash of red pepper flakes
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Add all of the ingredients, except the cherry tomatoes, into a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth.  Ladle into bowls, and use cherry tomatoes as a garnish.