Jonesin' For Taste

Jonesin' For Taste: November 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2 ways to use meatballs (gf)

One of my husband's favorite recipes is this one his mom makes that he still asks for when we go to his house. She makes her own meatballs but I just use the frozen Italian meatballs from Costco that we always have on hand. They are one of our go to staples when we have a crazy day. I used the meatballs in an Italian wedding soup I made the other night. It really helps cut back the cooking time.

The Sweet and Sour meatballs take less than twenty minutes to make which is great when we get home late. Our neighbors happened to stop by that night and tried some of the meatballs. They loved them and decided to stop buying the already prepared sweet and sour meatballs because these are so easy and so fast. This is perfect served over rice.

Sorry about no pictures. I wasn't planning on posting this one but my neighbor requested the recipe so I might as well share with everyone else. Here you go Paola! Happy cooking!

Sweet and sour meatballs (gf)


1 lb hamburger (or ground turkey)
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg


1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 can pineapple tidbits, with juice
1/3 cup vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 small green pepper, chopped

Cook meatballs. Remove from frying pan and drain fat. Mix brown sugar and cornstarch in skillet. Stir in pineapple (with juice), vinegar, and soy sauce, Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, Add meatballs. Cover, simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in green pepper. Cover and simmer until crisp-tender, 5 minutes.

You may want to double the sauce to cover that many meatballs. When using the frozen meatballs, thaw in microwave, and use about 20 for this amount of sauce. Sometimes I double it sometimes I don't, just depends on your preference.

Garnish with sesame seeds and some chopped green onion over the top. If I were to make homemade meatballs I would also add about 2 cups of finely chopped spinach to the mixture.

Here is the Italian wedding soup that I mentioned earlier in this post. It is super hardy with the meat and the spinach and was the perfect meal when our whole family was sick and it was snowing outside. Plus it's super easy and if you're really short on time use the frozen meatballs to cut the cooking time back to 20 minutes.

Meatball and Macaroni Soup

(Rachel Ray 30 minute meals 2)

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound ground beef, pork, or veal combined
1 egg beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese (or use Parmesan cheese)1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
6 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cups water
1 and 1/2 cups dried pasta: rings, broken fettuccine, or ditalini
1 pound triple washed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
In a deep pot over medium heat, add oil, chopped carrots, celery, onions, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook veggies, 5 or 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the veggies cook, combine ground meats, egg garlic, grated cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. To make this meal even faster go ahead and use frozen meatballs and skip to the next step.

Add broth and water to the pot of veggies. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat a bit and start to roll meat mixture into small balls, dropping them straight into the pot. When you are done tolling the meat, add pasta to the soup and stir. Cover and simmer soup, 10 minutes. When pasta is tender, stir in chopped spinach in batches. When spinach is wilted, the soup is done and ready to serve. Adjust your seasoning, and serve with crusty bread.

I use frozen spinach instead of fresh so I put the meat and the spinach into the soup at the same time and let it simmer for about 7 minutes and then added the pasta. My pasta only needed to cook for 7 minutes so check your kind of pasta and cook accordingly. If you don't plan on serving this right away I would make this ahead but omit the pasta. When you are about 20 minutes away from serving reheat this to boiling bring down to a simmer and then add the pasta so the pasta isn't overcooked.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

We had a Clue game night and had lots of leftover cheese and crackers. We even had extra sharp white cheddar cheese so I decided to make macaroni and cheese. I've made this recipe a few times and have really liked it so I decided to change it up a bit. The essentials stayed the same but just shook things up with the cheese. It turned out nice, not overwhelming even though the white cheddar is strong. I love adding bread crumbs to my pasta dishes because it adds just a nice touch of crispness. Go ahead and use your favorite variety of cheese. One of our favorite dishes is Alpermagronen, a Swiss macaroni, cheese, and potato, which I make with pepper jack cheese. Be brave and experiment, you never know what might end up being really great.

White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 1/4 cups hot milk
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1 lb macaroni, cooked
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook stirring constantly until light brown (about 3 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk in hot milk 1/4 cup at a time and cook whisking constantly until sauce thickens.

Add cheese one cup at a time and stir each addition until incorporated into the sauce. Reserve the last cup of cheese.

Combine the macaroni with the cheese sauce. Place half in a 9x13 greased baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese over pasta and add the other half. Distribute the bread crumbs over the top. Bake until crust is golden and interior is hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

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