Meatballs From Scratch

Meatballs From Scratch

This past month I have been quite spoiled. During the cold winter months construction is much slower; Reuben has been having so many days off from work. It’s like endless weekends spent together.

Instas January 2013

My days have been filled with leisurely walks through the woods, mugs of tea (several times a day), lovely reading, Pinterest (of course), organizing, photographing, and generally preparing for baby. It feels like the breath before the plunge; the calm before the storm.

In preparation for the new member of our family, I have been making up nutritious meals and slipping them into the freezer. So far I have stored up chicken broth, homemade bread, sausage and potato soup, and a couple bags of these meatballs.

Making meatballs is so much more fun with Reuben as my compatriot. He is constantly putting a smile on my face with his words as we exchange and steal kisses. And he does the hardest part: browning the meatballs.

Of course not all of the them make it to the freezer. We like to feast on them with mashed potatoes, gravy and peas, or with a red sauce over noodles.

Meatballs From Scratch | adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier | makes 6-8 servings | PRINTABLE PAGE

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices crusty bread (or about 1.5 – 2 cups of panko or quick oats)
  • 3/4 lb ground beef (we use ground venison)
  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 3/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • coconut or olive oil, for frying

Directions:

1) If using bread slices, bake at 200°F (95°C) on a baking sheet in a single layer for about 30 minutes, or until dry. Pulse in a food processor or blender until crumbled.

2) Put the breadcrumbs and the remaining ingredients (besides the oil) in a large bowl and mix with your hands until everything is very well combined. Add more breadcrumbs or milk to create the right consistency. Form the meat into balls (I like mine a bit smaller than golf ball-sized) and line up on a cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

3) Preheat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs until browned on most sides, working in batches. Meatballs will not be cooked all the way through. Transfer to a baking pan and bake in preheated oven until cooked through, about 15-25 minutes.

4) Use the meatballs immediately or cool completely and store in the freezer. Simply reheat in the oven or thaw and cook in a red sauce or white gravy.

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Salad Inspiration

Salad Inspiration

I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve really been into salads. In fact, I’ve had one nearly every day for past week. All of the nutritious ingredients that I pile into my bowl make me happy, knowing that I’m doing my body (and my baby’s) good.

Often times I fall into a rut with my salads: Stuff greens into bowl. Add cheese, nuts and dressing. Repeat with exact same ingredients every day. But I’ve been attempting to be more creative and try new combinations. Here are a couple that I’ve been enjoying:

Mixed greens with clementines, avocado, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, fresh ground pepper and coarse sea salt.



Salad Inspiration

Another lovely combo: mixed greens with cheese, pepitas, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Simple but satisfying.

I also tried an apple/gruyere combination. Very good.

gle-smashed-potatoes-1

Also, these Smashed Potatoes with Parmesan Gremolata are AMAZING. Get the recipe over on the Good Life Eats blog here, and make them tonight!

What are your favorite salads? I need some inspiration!

Hope ya’ll have a happy Monday!

Erica

Crunchy Maple Granola + Baby Update

Maple Granola

Hello there! Hope you all had an awesome holiday season. I wish I could say ours was rockin’, but it seems like we’ve been battling one sickness after another.

I was going to make Nutella Stuffed Cookies for ya’ll, but after the indulgence pigging out from the holidays, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Maple Granola

So I went a little healthier route and made granola instead.

{1/52} Granola

For Christmas I received the lovely Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, from which I got this granola. I think I’m going to really enjoy cooking my way through that book.

This granola is bonkers good. The flavors are simply wonderful and it bakes up nice and crunchy. Plus, it super-customizable — always a good thing in my book. You can change up the type of nuts or fruit for a totally different result.

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And now for a bit of a baby/pregnancy update. I’m at 34.5 weeks (the above photo was taken at 33 weeks), or 5.5 weeks from my due date! It kinda scares and excites me to think that we’ll be responsible for the life of a tiny, helpless baby in a little over a month.

For now I’m doing my best to eat right to keep this life inside of me healthy. Onward to this new adventure!

You can read more about my pregnancy on my personal blog.

Maple Granola

Recipe Notes:

  • I think the use of egg white to help bind the granola is brilliant. It didn’t make the granola as “clumpy” as the recipe suggested it would, but it was still quite crunchy.
  • The fruit made the granola get a tad softer. Next time I might leave it out altogether. After all I’m not a huge fan of fruit in my granola.
  • Coarse sea salt makes this granola really lovely. Every once in a while you get a bite with a little salt crystal. Delightful!
  • The original recipe called for olive oil, but I used butter since olive oil can break down with baking. You could also use coconut oil if you prefer.

Crunchy Maple Granola | adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook | makes about 7 cups | PRINTABLE PAGE

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup pecans or nuts of choice
  • 1/4 flax seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit of choice (I used figs and apricots), optional

Directions:

1) Preheat your oven to 300° F (150° C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl, mix together the oats, coconut, nuts, flax seeds, cinnamon and salt. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Mix in the maple syrup.

3) Pour the butter/maple syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and toss to coat well. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Add to the dry ingredients and toss.

4) Spread the granola out onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, until the granola is nicely toasted, golden, and feels dry, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

5) Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. When completely cool, break up the granola and stir in the fruit. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. You can also store in the refrigerator of freezer for longer periods of time.