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Friday Recipe Exchange: Meatballs

Meatball Subs1

A few weeks back I made meatball grinders – subs to most people – and was talking to my mom about them, because after all I used her recipe. She told me that one of her favorite things to do is to buy ground beef when it’s on sale and make and freeze a whole bunch of meatballs. Then they are available to make all kinds of good stuff, like meatball soup and various meatball sandwiches.

Until that moment, I hadn’t given meatballs much thought. I mean they’re good, but beyond the occasional grinder, I didn’t really use them. Then I went tripping around my own blog and found that JeffreyW had a whole bunch of meatball ideas. And that’s how we got to tonight’s recipe exchange idea: Meatballs!

I’ll post a basic meatball recipe below and include the grinder/sub recipe. But first, let me point you to both JeffreyW’s basic meatball recipe and how he’s used them:

“Not Your Mama’s Meatballs” (recipe here)

Meatball Soup (recipe here)

Couscous with Meatballs (recipe here)

For all of JefferyW’s meatball recipes, click here.

Your turn. Do you have a favorite meatball recipe? Beyond spaghetti and meatball subs, what do you use meatballs in? And does anyone have a good vegetarian meatball recipe? Hit the comments and share your ideas.

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Photo by JeffreyW

A quick tip, cookie scoops make meatball production easier and quick.

Now for the featured recipes:

This is a DOUBLE recipe that makes 8 to 10 subs, you can easily halve the ingredients or you can freeze extra meatballs and sauce for later.

Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef*
  • ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp basil

baking sheet

Mix all ingredients together and mix well. You’re going make 1 ½ inch balls. The easiest way to do this is to use a cookie/muffin scoop (see photo above). Place on the baking sheet and bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Don’t overcook, as they will finish in the sauce.

*For spicier meatballs you can substitute 1/4 to 1/2 of the ground beef with spicy Italian sausage.

Sauce:

  • 4-15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2-6 oz cans tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 3 tsp basil, crushed
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated

In large saucepan or dutch oven, add ingredients, bring to a low boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add meatballs and stir gently. Let simmer for 10 minutes or longer.

Grinder/Sub Assembly:

  • 8 large hoagie/sub rolls
  • 2-4 oz parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz sliced mozzarella cheese

baking sheet

Slice rolls, but DO NOT slice completely in half.  Place 4 to 6 meatballs in each roll, add lots of sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan and top with slices of mozzarella. Place on baking sheet, cheese side up and bake at 375° for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bread is toasty. Keep a good eye on it, they will burn quickly. Serve with lots of napkins.

NOTE: My mom has this trick of slicing out a wedge on the top of the rolls (instead of slicing them in half lengthwise) to make the pocket (see photo at top). Then they actually sit on their natural flat bottoms while baking. This has the added advantage of creating instant breadsticks from what is cut out that you can brush with olive oil and garlic and bake.

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Thursday Friday Recipe Exchange: Chili Party

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So I hear there is some kind of football game happening during a Beyoncé concert on Sunday. Last year we tackled a bunch of Super Bowl foods that started with nachos and ended at pizza (you can find them here).

I didn’t see how we could top that, so I was at loss this year what to post pre-game. I finally settled on chili. I figured we could find plenty to argue with there, since I think just about everyone has a favorite chili recipe and will throw down to defend it. So have at it. What’s your favorite chili recipe? What are you noshing on at the big game?

Personally, I’ll be having tea and crumpets with the Dowager Countess. “Scones anyone?” (said with a very prim British accent).

Here are some of the chili recipes that we’ve tackled over the years:

First, from the oldest of my brothers: Quick and Easy Chili (recipe here)

JeffreyW’s Chorizo Chili (recipe here)

And tonight’s featured recipe from JeffreyW:

Beer Chili

I’ve used beer in recipes before but I don’t remember using any in chili before today.  A quick search turned up plenty of evidence of prior art so there won’t be any recipe patents applied for today, alas.  Aside from the bottle of stout in it there isn’t much to say about this recipe:  1 lb of ground beef, 1/2 lb of my homemade chorizo, 1 can of tomato bits with green chilies, 1 can of chili beans, a diced onion, 5 minced cloves of garlic, a fair amount of chili powder, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and the bottle of beer.

Cook the onion in a bit of oil, add the garlic and the meat and brown everything well.  Remove the fat and then add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for at least an hour.  Serve with your favorite garnishes.

Mrs J and I agree on the cheddar cheese, she takes a pass on the peppers and prefers the nacho chips crumbled and stirred in.  I like to scoop the chili with the chips like it is a big bowl of dip.  This batch of nacho chips are just a bit too thin for that, they break too easily.  Nice flavor, though.  I just wish I hadn’t purchased the jumbo case lot of them.  LOL

One last note from TaMara: For the foreseeable future, recipe exchange will be on Fridays. See you next week.

Recipe Exchange Updates, Rosemary and Author Wiley Cash

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Kirk Spencer had a terrific suggestion in an email this morning. We were talking about bamboo skewers (and how you MUST soak them before grilling to avoid flaming kabobs) and he said he’d used rosemary stems as skewers. I thought this sounded just wonderful. Maybe a lemon marinated chicken skewered on rosemary. It wouldn’t need much other seasoning, that’s for sure, and of course you’d really need to like rosemary. Lamb would probably hold up well with that type of seasoning.  Yum. Can’t wait to try on something.

Now for some news on the Thursday Recipe Exchange. This week it will be postponed to Friday because the wonderful Wiley Cash will be live blogging over at Balloon-Juice about his book A Land More Kind Than Home tonight. And since I post the recipe exchange specifically to be cross-posted over there, a changed seemed prudent.

Friday night is where it’s going to stay for the time being, because of some special events planned at B-J on Thursdays. I’m good with that, hope you are, too.

Back to Mr. Cash, first of all, has there ever been a better novelist’s name? I read his book when it first came out and gave it as gifts over the summer. It’s worth a read, sets a beautiful North Carolina mountain scene as the backdrop to a dark mystery. It’s a quick and compelling story, told from the perspective of several characters in the first person.

I think that covers everything. Hopefully Kirk and I will have a big cooking announcement in the coming weeks.

Until tomorrow….

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Chipotles in Adobo Sauce

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JeffreyW uses his chipotles in adobo sauce for breakfast.

It seems that JeffreyW and I both have a fondness for chipotles. I hadn’t realized it until I decided to feature his recipe for homemade chipotles in adobo sauce. There were four pages of recipes that included them in some way or another. They can all be found here.

I was thrilled when JeffreyW put together a batch of chipotles in adobo sauce, using jalapenos from his summer garden. I learned a lot from his post. I’m going to direct you to the entire thing instead of just reposting his recipe because he does a terrific explanation of the whole process. So before you try any of tonight’s other recipes, you might want to start with JeffreyW’s recipe (found here).

Once you’ve got your chipotles and sauce all prepped (or bought), you can try them in any of the following:

My absolute favorite is Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon (recipe here). A great way to kick up a comfort food.

The spicy sauce is great in combination with fruits. When strawberries were in season I spiced up someone else’s recipe for Chicken in Strawberry Sauce with some chipotles in adobo sauce for a real treat (recipe here).

And from the photo at top, JeffreyW uses it to spice up his breakfast (recipe here).

So are you a fan of chipotles in adobo sauce? Have a favorite way to use them? If you haven’t tried them, are they something you might try now that we’ve wowed you with their many uses?

Finally, tonight’s featured recipe:

I had canned a big batch of apple butter a while back and one night I was wondering what to do with it besides spread it on bread. I had been thinking that it would be good with chicken or pork and eventually decided that barbecue chicken thighs would be where I would start. Then I decided to heat it up.  A spicy, smoky mix of apple butter, chipotles in adobo sauce and a touch of spices made the perfect sauce:

BBQ Thighs Final

Chipotle-Apple Butter Barbecue Chicken

I decided that bone-in, skin on thighs would work best.

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic

————

  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (to start, add more as desired)
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Season thighs with 1 tsp crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Let sit for 5-10 minutes while oven or grill preheats to 375 degrees. Bake or grill chicken for 15 minutes. Meanwhile in a blender or food processor, blend together remaining ingredients until smooth. Brush on chicken thighs thickly at the 15 minute mark and add more every 5 minutes until chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temperature (usually 10-15 minutes for a total cooking time of 25 to 30 minutes). Serve with lots of napkins.

Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

I’m focusing on vegetables for Thursday’s recipe exchange. The lemon juice really brings out the flavors in this one.

Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp curry
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon, quartered

saucepan

Add cauliflower, 1 inch of water and ¼ cup lemon juice in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is just tender. Drain. In saucepan, melt 1 tbsp butter, sauté onion until golden, then add flour, stirring until smooth. Add milk, seasonings and cheese, stir until well mixed and smooth. Add cauliflower, stir well. Reduce heat and let simmer on low, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Ginger Glazed Carrots

Originally posted December 2009.

I thought I’d post a few vegetable recipes this week.  I often prefer my vegetables raw or lightly stir-fried, so I don’t do many fancy veggie recipes.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a bunch of those recipes in my arsenal! I use them a lot when having friends or family over for dinner.  We’ll start with this one:

Ginger Glazed Carrots

  • 1 lb baby carrots, washed
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp to 1 tbsp butter
  • salt as desired

saucepan and steamer basket

Place steamer in saucepan, add enough water to come to the bottom of the steamer.  Add carrots, bring to a boil and steam until tender (about 5 minutes).  Remove carrots and steamer, drain water from the saucepan, add carrots and remaining ingredients to saucepan and stir on low heat until carrots are coated with honey and butter.  Serve immediately.

No Thursday Recipe Exchange

Yeah, I know, you’re all sooooo disappointed. I have reason, I just can’t share that reason with you yet. But safe to say, in the coming month(s) there will be some exciting What’s 4 Dinner Solutions’ news. That’s right there is something cookin’. I’ll share as soon as I’m able.

No food, but how about some pretty scenery? Click on any photo to start the slide show.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Garlic Chicken

Photo by JeffreyW

Photo by JeffreyW

This has to be quick tonight. It’s been a crazy, busy week and I almost forgot put this up today. Tis the season – work and fun. It was a toss-up tonight between the garlic chicken recipes and a great slow-cooker recipe one of the guys at the office told me about this week. I decided on saving that for next week, after I have a chance to test it out.

For tonight I chose Jeffrey’s Lemon Garlic Chicken, which is the picture at the top and the recipe is here. (Recipe links are working again.)

I’m going for my favorite, fun recipe, Garlic, Garlic Chicken (recipe below) that always surprises me how good it is. I’ve featured it before, but it was several years ago, so I thought it was time to revisit it.  It’s quick and easy to prepare.

How are your holiday plans coming? Anyone have a special recipe they are doing this year? I’m not sure where Christmas Eve is going to be, my house or a friend’s, either way, we’ll be cooking, we just don’t know what yet. What’s on your holiday menu?

Now for our featured presentation:

This recipe is surprising in its flavors. The garlic is sweet and nutty, making a great dipping sauce for bread. The chicken is infused with flavor, but not overpowered by garlic. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad with a variety of greens and a light, tangy dressing to compliment the sweetness of the main course.

Garlic, Garlic Chicken

  • 5 lb roasting chicken
  • 1 cup of wine
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth,
  • salt & pepper
  • 40 cloves of garlic (unpeeled).

Roast in a cooking bag for about an hour. The garlic can be squeezed out of the skins at the table onto fresh bread. Or, you can take the broth from the cooking reduce it and then add the peeled garlic into that. It makes a very nutty, garlicy kind of gravy.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Stuffed Peppers

Photo by JeffreyW

I decided that we’d do stuffed peppers tonight and when I went trolling around the blog, found we’ve done a few variations on them over the years. Tonight’s featured recipe is from my cousin Scott. He mentions in the original post that we’re a family who loves to cook and I couldn’t agree more. On his side of my family, I think everyone has the gift in the kitchen. I have memories of my grandparents’ farm and the great food we’d have there. My Grandma Lois made the best fried eggs in the world that I have never been able to duplicate. They were crisp on the bottom (a treatment my family always called “shoe leather” –though that does not do that crust justice), perfectly medium on top and covered in so much pepper you’d sneezed just looking at them. Try as I might, I’ve never been able to come close to those eggs. I asked my mom a few years ago what I was missing and she replied, “lard”. And I’m sure it was previously used lard at that. Grandma Lois kept a can on the stove. It’s probably why her fried chicken was so amazing, too.

Anyway that story has nothing to do with tonight’s recipes. Stuffed peppers. We have several takes on them:

JeffreyW does a traditional Stuffed Peppers with homemade tomato soup (recipe here).

I have a pretty easy stuffed Red Pepper recipe – though you can use green peppers, no problem (recipe here).

And our featured recipe, below, from my Men Who Cook series, is a vegetarian treat.

How about you, any favorite memories of foods from childhood you can’t recreate? Do you have a different take on stuffed peppers that you like to use? Hit the comments and share.

Now for tonight’s featured recipe:

This comes from my cousin Scott Adams. Scottie follows in the footsteps of many in my family – the love of cooking (click here for the full story). These peppers are practically gourmet!

Scottie’s Stuffed Pepper’s

  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound short whole wheat pasta
  • 4 large red bell peppers, tops cut off and reserved, seeded
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
  • 4 jarred roasted red peppers
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 small portobello mushroom caps, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, stems discarded and leaves chopped
  • One 28-ounce can fire-roasted crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups arugula or baby spinach (a few generous handfuls)
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup grated pecorino-romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of Dill

Preheat the oven to 425°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Trim the bottoms of the bell peppers, without cutting a hole, so that they stand. Season inside with salt and black pepper. Turn the peppers bottom side up in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, set the tops alongside and drizzle with EVOO. Roast for 20 minutes.

Using a food processor, puree the roasted red peppers. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the red onion, garlic, mushrooms, crushed red pepper and rosemary and cook until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in the pureed peppers and the fire-roasted tomatoes; season with salt and black pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pasta and toss. Add the arugula and basil and cook until wilted.

Preheat the broiler. Turn the peppers upright; fill with pasta. Top with the cheese and broil until melted, 2 minutes. Cover with the tops and serve with any extra pasta.

Cross-posted at Balloon-Juice sometime this evening.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Tomato Soups

Soooo…anything happening this week I should know about? :-)

It’s been a flurry of activity here. Saw Pitch Perfect and really liked it. I roasted my first turkey of the season, it turned out pretty good, I may post about that later this weekend. A friend had knee surgery so I went and did a bit of gardening for her. It was a beautiful, warm day to be in the garden and she has a fabulous yard.  But all good things must come to an end, and the weather is about to turn and be quite chilly. This put me in the mood for tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, so I dug around and found two of my favorite tomato soup recipes that I haven’t made in a while, mostly because I’m been making batches of spinach tomato soup. I thought it was time to add some variety. Both of tonight’s recipes are almost as quick as opening up a can of soup, but much more satisfying.

First up is the  Hearty Tomato Soup and Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese (recipe  here). I use roasted tomatoes when I can for a more complex flavor. The featured recipe of Tomato Bell Pepper Soup was originally part of a menu that included Orange Glazed Salmon, but it’s just as good with a nice sandwich for a quick dinner.

How about you, when the weather turns cold, what do you start to crave? Do you make your own tomato soup and how do you jazz it up? What are your favorite, go-to soups on a cold fall day?

The photo above is JeffreyW making the simplest lunch look delicious.

And finally, tonight’s featured recipe:

Tomato & Red Bell Pepper Soup:

  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, halved (or equivalent canned diced tomatoes)
  • 1 red onion, peeled quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved & seeded
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

grilling basket &  saucepan

Toss tomatoes, onions & bell pepper with oil, season with salt & pepper. Place vegetables in grilling basket, cut side down and grill for 6 to 8 minutes. Add vegetables, garlic, chicken broth, vinegar, sugar to blender and puree. Pour into saucepan, bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cream & basil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with bacon when served.

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