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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Grilled Pizza

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Our family loves homemade pizza; but when the days grow more hot and humid, I just don’t feel like turning the oven to 500° for an hour or more. The solution: grilled pizza! Here’s the method I like to use.

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Make sure you have all your toppings ready. Preheat your grill on high. Roll your dough out thinly. Grease a piece of aluminum foil that’s a little larger than your dough. Transfer your dough to the foil and place on a pizza peel.

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Pizza Dough

Can you believe that this dough is 100% whole wheat? Can you? It is! Yet it handles so well – better than any pizza dough recipe I’ve ever tried. It is so easily manipulated, yet it doesn’t tear easily.

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What’s the secret? I really couldn’t say. Perhaps the method of mixing. Perhaps the perfect combination of ingredients (thanks, Cook’s Illustrated!). Perhaps the type of whole wheat flour I use (white whole wheat flour). All I know is, my search for a whole wheat pizza dough recipe ended when I found this one. Maybe someday I’ll try a different pizza dough recipe, but for now I’m content.

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Care for some ideas for pizza?

~ Why not spread it with some homemade pizza sauce and sprinkle it with homemade Italian sausage?
~ Or you could drizzle it with Smoky BBQ sauce and add chicken (perhaps some bacon) and cheddar cheese for a BBQ Chicken Pizza.

~ The other day, I made pizza on the grill. It’s a great way to beat the heat and it is so delicious. Here is an excellent article and video with the instructions.

How do you like to fix your pizza?

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Pizza Dough

Adapted from The New Best Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm water (about 110°
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups (20 ounces) white whole wheat flour (aka white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Olive oil or butter, for greasing the bowl

Directions:

1) Place the 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl. Add the yeast and stir. Let sit for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast begins to swell. Add to the room temperature water and oil and stir.

2) Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly until combined. With mixer on low speed, slowly add the liquid ingredients. Mix just until a cohesive dough forms. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

3) Change to the dough hook attachment. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.

4) Oil or butter a medium-sized bowl. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Allow to rise for 1 ½-2 hours, or until double in volume. The dough is now ready to be used in your recipe.

Makes enough dough for approximately 3 large thin-crust pizzas

Mango & Coconut Chicken

……As I glanced through Simply Summer by Angela Tunner, this recipe caught my eye. You see, I’m a sucker for anything involving coconut. Not only does it taste so wonderfully exotic, it is also very healthy. Granted, the sweetened shredded coconut used in this recipe is not the most healthy variety of coconut products, but it still tastes delicious.

……This recipe is perfect for that scorching summer day when you don’t feel like adding any extra heat to the house. You could cook the chicken the night before, or on some day that’s pleasantly cool. It is very filling, so you can serve it as your main dish. Or spread it on a piece of you favorite bread to create a very different chicken salad sandwich.

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Mango & Coconut Chicken

From Simply Summer

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups torn or shredded cooked chicken (about 3 medium chicken breasts)
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Major Grey mango chutney*
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pepper, black, to taste

Directions:

1) Place the chicken pieces in a medium bowl. Add the shredded coconut, lemon juice, mustard, chutney, and yogurt and toss until well combined. Add the parsley and toss to combine.

2) Stir in the salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.

Serves 4

*Angela’s Tip: Major Grey is no a brand of chutney, it is a style of chutney. Look for it under various brand names in your supermarket in the condiments or ethnic section


Rijsttafel – Rice Table

It has been over a week since my last post. There has been a lot on my plate lately, and I have had so little time for blogging.

But I have something delicious cooking.

Until next time, I leave you with this set of photos. I’ve been meaning to share it with you for quite some time, but never got around to it.

To read more about the traditional Indonesian feast (Rijsttafel) click here.

To enter the gallery, click here or on the photo below.

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