Party Meatballs!

I had these meatballs at my friend Emily’s engagement party and I found myself so in love with them, I hovered over the serving dish and kept eating more when no one was looking.  I knew that I had to keep this recipe and use it to wow my own party guests someday.  The opportunity came at my annual holiday shindig last night, where (once again) these meatballs got the party started!

Party Meatballs

(Inspiration found here and also from Emily!)

Ingredients

2 eggs, beaten
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds ground beef

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SAUCE:
2 cups ketchup
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped onion

Preparation:

1.  In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients.
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2.  Mix in ground beef to bowl and knead all ingredients together until well mixed.  Get your hands messy on this one!

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3.   Shape into 1-in. balls. Place in greased baking dishes.

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–At this point, I put them in the refrigerator over night.  I had the luxury of preparing them the day before.  If you don’t have the time, you can continue on directly.  However, the fridge step allows for the meatballs to solidify and stay together a bit more than just cooking them directly.–

4.  Combine the sauce ingredients; pour over meatballs. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 1 hour or until meat is no longer pink.  Serve and enjoy!

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Results:

A big hit!  The sauce caramelizes while baking, which allows for a great sweet taste.  There are more than enough servings to go around and also provide leftovers.  Yum!

Grandma Sylvia’s Brisket

As we come upon the holiday season, what better way to celebrate than with comfort food?  My grandmother passed down the BEST brisket recipe and so here I pass it along to you.

Grandma Sylvia’s Brisket

(Inspiration from my grandmother!)

Ingredients:

2 to 2 ½ lb. flat cut beef brisket
1 c. catsup
1 envelope of Lipton Onion Soup
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup water

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Preparations:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Mix  catsup, soup, brown sugar and water in a bowl.

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3.  Place brisket in a baking pan.

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4.  Pour mixture over.

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5.  Cover tightly and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours*. [See note below on cook time]

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6.  Uncover and bake ½ hour more.

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7.  The brisket will shrink (totally normal!).  Baste with pan juices and slice to serve.

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Results:

*As a general rule, consider cooking 3/4 of an hour per pound.  In this case, I had a 2.5 lb brisket, so I did 2 hours.   If you use a smaller piece of meat, you can cook it for less time (and vice versa).  However, definitely be sure to do the 30 minutes uncovered, regardless of the rest of your cook time.

This is another Sunday one, because it’s easy but it takes a few hours to cook.  It’s definitely a quality comfort food and leftovers are even better the next day.  Serve with mashed potatoes and a veggie (in this case, I used asparagus).   It will warm you up and make you smile 🙂

Beef and Bean Chili

Chili is a staple when it turns into autumn.  It keeps you warm and full and is totally a comfort food.  It is also ideal for feeding a crowd, as I did this weekend when BF’s brother was in town and brought a full appetite.

Beef and Bean Chili

(Inspired by America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution Vol. 2)

1 lb ground beef
2 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano/Italian seasoning
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can white kidney beans
28oz canned crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

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1.  Microwave broken up ground beef, onions, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper for 10 minutes on 50% power.  Try to make sure that most of the beef is no longer pink.

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2.  Stir all cans of beans together in a medium bowl.

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3.  Transfer meat mixture to slow cooker, breaking up any large pieces of beef.  Stir in beans, tomatoes, and brown sugar.

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4.  Cover and cook on low for 6 1/2-7 hours.

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5.  Enjoy with some delicious cornbread and your favorite chili toppings!

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BONUS RECIPE!

Gluten-Free Cornbread!

(Stolen off the Glutino Yankee Cornbread Mix box)

1 box Glutino GF Yankee Cornbread mix
1 egg
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
6 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
Nonstick cooking spray

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1.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

2.  Combine bread mix and sugar in medium bowl.

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3.  Pour in wet ingredients and mix to create a batter-like consistency.  Pour batter into a baking dish that has been sprayed with the non-stick cooking spray. (You can also use leftover butter instead of cooking spray if you’d like).

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4.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top and sides get crispy.

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Results:

This was a great recipe to come home to.  The apartment smelled amazing!  And it was a crowd pleaser, especially with two hungry gents.

The microwave trick that ATC suggested was a wonder.  Often, people brown the beef in a pan before throwing it in the crock pot.  I thought this worked much better and saved me a pan to wash.

You can use however many cans of beans you want.  I chose four because I had them in my cabinet.  The original recipe calls for three.  Your choice.

Definitely going into the regular meal rotation for cold winter days. 🙂

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

So, this one is a bit of a doozy. It’s not something I’d make every day or even on a work night. This one is for a good and chilly Sunday where you want something savory and you have a bit of time to dedicate to it.  You’ll also be using a lot of your burners on your stove, so be sure it is ready to go.

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto
(Inspiration drawn from here and here)

Ingredients
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine [a Chardonnay works really nicely here]
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
A pinch of kosher salt
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup asparagus tips
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

ingredients

Instructions:
1.  In a medium saucepan with a lid, combine chicken broth and white wine and heat just to simmering. Keep warm.

2.  In a large pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes.

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3.  Add the rice and stir. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the grains are translucent around the edges. Be careful not to allow the grains or the onions to brown.

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4.  In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the mushrooms and asparagus tips until cooked.  Remove from skillet and place in a bowl and cover with tinfoil.

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**Take a look at how full the stovetop will be.  If you have too many things going at once, you’re doing it right!

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5.  Get ready for an upper-body workout!   Reduce the heat of the pot to low, and add enough of the wine and chicken stock just to cover the top of the rice. Stir the rice mixture, until the liquid is completely absorbed into rice. Once absorbed, add another amount of liquid just to cover the rice and continue stirring or moving as before.

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Give yourself a good 35-45 minutes of stirring and pouring.  WARNING: If you dump all of it in at once, it will take twice as long and the rice will be too crunchy.  It is worth the wait/bicep improvement, I promise!

6.  At this point, there should be just enough liquid left to make it one more stir.  Add the asparagus and mushrooms back into the pot with the last bit of liquid and stir all together.

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7.  Mix in the Parmesan until melted.

8.  Add a little extra Parmesan for a garnish and enjoy!

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Results:

Like I said above, this is a good one for a chilly day where you have some time to dedicate to it.  The stirring takes forever, but without it, the rice won’t cook through correctly.

It’s a delicious pasta-like dish that is filling and will warm you up!  The mushrooms and asparagus complement each other really nicely in this dish.  If you have other veggies you prefer, anything goes well in risotto.