Monday, July 19, 2010

Mom's Meatballs and Spaghetti

The first thing you need to do is play your music.
Listen to Dean Martin CD's while your cooking.
The next thing you need to do is pour yourself
 a nice glass of Chianti or other red wine
...if you're so inclined.
Notice the wine charm that I made. It helps
 everyone, especially me, keep track of my glass.
Made them for everyone.
Ready to make these classic meatballs?
This is my recipe. My daughter named
them "Mom's Meatballs".
Combine the ingredients in a large bowl and mix 
with a fork and then your hands to combine well.
 A meatball scoop makes it easy measure out even 
sized meatballs. Gently roll between the palms of
 you hands to smooth. Put them to a cookie sheet 
as you go. It keeps your counters clean and then 
you can put the pan in the refrigerator. 
 Refrigerate them for 30 minutes, if you have time. 
This helps them firm up and the flavors to blend. 
You can make them earlier in the day, then finish
cooking later. You'll have about 33 meatballs.
In a large skillet brown the meatballs in
 1-2T olive oil on medium heat. Turn to 
brown evenly. This takes about 6-10 minutes.
   Then add 1 large jar of your favorite
spaghetti sauce, (Ragu Chunky Garden Style) or
 better yet, My Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce
(recipe follows). Cover and simmer on low for
about 15 minutes while you cook  the spaghetti.
Serve over spaghetti and top with additional
 Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.
 Garlic bread, or warm rolls, salad...then,
listen to Dino, pour more wine, 
light the candles and MANGIA!

Mom's Meatballs with Spaghetti
1 lb ground beef
1/2 C bread crumbs
1/2 C Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 C milk
1 egg
1 T Italian herb seasoning
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/8 t nutmeg
2 T minced fresh parsley, or 1 T dried
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Combine all ingredients well. Use a meatball scoop to form the meatballs and then gently roll between your palms to smooth. You'll have about 33 meatballs. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Brown in 2 T olive oil for about 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add large jar of spaghetti sauce, or homemade preferred. Cover and simmer 15 minutes on low while you cook the spaghetti. Serve over  1lb cooked spaghetti. topped with fresh chopped basil and parmesan cheese.

Easy Marinara Sauce
2  (28-ounces) cans crushed tomatoes
1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t nutmeg
2 t dried oregano
6-8 fresh basil leaves, basil rolled and thinly sliced (can use 2 t dried)
1/2 C wine, red or white (optional) or water

Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pot over med high heat. Saute the onion until slightly translucent. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add remaining inigredients. Stir well and simmer covered on low. At this point you can add the meatballs and all their drippings to the pot, or just pour the sauce over the meatballs. Scrape up any browned bits.Simmer for at least 15 minutes. 
This sauce freezes well. It's also the sauce I use when I make pizza.
You can also remove the meatballs to a plate,
 then add a little olive oil to the pan and continue
 with the recipes; saute the onions and garlic.
 Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Stir well
 and bring to a simmer. Return the meatballs 
to the pan, cover and simmer 15 minutes.

link to MAY DAYS to see my Italian Night Tablescape.

tip: You can also bake the meatballs in a greased casserole in 375º oven
until browned, about 25 minutes, then cover with the sauce and bake another 10-15 minutes.

Links: Facebook

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Baked Acorn Squash w Brown Sugar Butter

Baked acorn squash with brown sugar butter is a favorite side. I bake it in the oven along with whatever else I'm roasting for dinner; roast chicken or roast pork. I can also bake it in my toaster oven when we're having grilled steak, chicken or pan-grilled pork chops like tonight. If I'm in a hurry I can always pop it into the microwave for about 5 minutes. Put it on a plate cut side down first until tender, then turn and add brown sugar and butter and cook another minute to melt. It's also good savory with just butter, salt and pepper.

Baked Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash serves 2
cut each squash in half lengthwise
scoop out the seeds with a spoon
place squash cut side up in baking pan
put a pat of butter into each half-about 1/2-1 T
add about 1 T brown sugar to each half
Bake at 400 for about 45 minutes, until tender
(check by piercing with the tip of a knife)
or at 350 for about 1 hour if your baking
along with a roast at that temperature.

I'm linking to FoodieFriday, Facebook,
Savvy Southern Style,
Between Naps On The Porch

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Best Banana Bread

I've tried dozens of banana bread recipes 
over the years and this one is our favorite.
 It's moist with just a touch of cinnamon. 
Great with a cup of coffee. Serve warm with
 a little butter, or toasted the next day. 
It freezes well.  I always have a loaf to take
 on road trips for coffee breaks. 
You'll need very ripe bananas. Once your bananas
 are too brown to eat, make bread. Or pop them in
the freezer to use later. Occasionally you can get
overripe  bananas free from your produce guy. 
They just throw them out. Then you always
 have bananas in the freezer ready to go.
About 3 bananas will give you 1 to 1-1/2  C mashed.
I use a hand mixer to mash them. Then add the
 sour cream and baking soda. Stir to combine. 
In another bowl, use the same hand mixer to
 cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Mix in the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.
Add the bananas and sour cream mixture.
Mix until well combined. 
Tip: I always use the butter wrapper to grease
 the pans. One 9x5x3 loaf pan or 3 small pans.
Add the flour, cinnamon, and pinch salt. 
Stir in the nuts. Pour into a greased loaf pan and
bake @350º for 1 hour (to 1 hour and  10 minutes)
or until a cake tester inserted into the center
comes out without wet batter.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out. 

Best Banana Bread
1 stick butter, room temperature (see tip)
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
3 bananas, very ripe, mashed for 1 to 1-1/2 C 
1/2 C sour cream
1 t baking soda
1-1/2 C flour
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 C chopped pecans

 In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a mixer.
   Add the sour cream and baking soda. Set aside.
 In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with
    the mixer until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a
time. Add vanilla. Mix in the banana-sour cream
 mixture. Add the flour, cinnamon, salt, and
 pecans; mix until combined. Pour into a
buttered loaf pan. Bake at 350º for 1 hour. 
    Cool in the pan for 10 minutes
 then invert and turn onto a small platter.

Tip: To soften the butter put it in the glass bowl
        in the microwave for 1  minute on 3% power.


try my Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins