Itsa meatball!

I made meatballs for the first time ever. Well, not never, but I made them by myself for the first time. I can’t eat red meat so if I want meatballs, they have to be turkey and it usually means I eat them at home after buying them.

When I was little I remember making meatballs. My mum would put all the ingredients into a bowl and dad would let us help roll and cook them. I think as a kid I probably thought she was “letting us help” but it was probably more that she doesn’t like to handle meat with her hands because of the “ick” factor.

We would get some cooking and then make a big one with all the remaining mix and giggle relentlessly before continue to roll them.

Even after buying some frozen turkey meatballs at Trader Joe’s (theirs are the best!). I decided to make some and they were AMAZING, if I do say so myself. This is a prime example of a simple meal, made with really great ingredients, and letting them speak for themselves.

Ingredients

¾ pound ground turkey
2 links sweet Italian sausage
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup milk
2 tbs parsley
2 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs Parmesan cheese
½ cup red wine
salt & pepper

Directions

Remove sausage from casing.
Mix bread crumbs and milk. Let sit a minute.
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Combine ground turkey, sausage, egg, parsley, garlic, Parmesan, wine, salt and pepper. Add breadcrumb mix and combine well.
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Form into balls depending on your size preference. I went with larger ones.
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Heavily oil a baking sheet.
Bake 30 minutes at 375 degrees, turning every 10-15 minutes to evenly brown.
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I was so happy with these! I thought sausage would provide enough fat for moist meatballs instead of proscuitto or bacon, but those would be good too. I was super diligent about turning them to ensure that they cooked evenly. I could have fried them but baking them was way easier.

I’ll continue to purchase them but they weren’t a big deal to make myself. The wine was a HUGE flavor enhancement. A few glug glug glugs of a pinot noir that was already open definitely added some depth of flavor.

They smelled simply amazing! Have you met my sous-chef Windsor? He was standing by, under my feet in our tiny kitchen as usual. I think he was super excited to see what delicious item was coming out of the oven! Even with that cute face he still doesn’t get anything I make.
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Part of my inspiration to make some came from another blog I love We Are Not Martha. Theirs were featuring prosciutto and were pan fried. I literally read the recipe and thought, ooo red wine would be good with these as I channeled my wine-loving college roommates as inspiration. Parsley isn’t my favorite so I just used dried parsley. Rosemary would be good.

I served these with a basic red sauce and spaghetti. I thought my meatballs were good enough and deserved to shine! I’m so proud!
meatball_plate_290_200I didn’t make a ton of meatballs but now that I know this recipe is a winner I’m sure I’ll make more and freeze them. I will probably also make some cute little ones to freeze for appetizers or soup. They aren’t that much effort and I keep thinking about all the exciting additions! Spinach very finely chopped would be good, sun dried tomatoes, maybe a little nugget of mozzarella? Mmmm the possibilities are endless. I also love sweet & sour meatballs which would definitely highlight these guys.

Rachael Ray’s Balsamic Pan Gravy is delish

Rosemary Pork Chops with Balsamic Pan Gravy

I thumbed through Rachael Ray’s Express Lane cookbook features meals with 10 ingredients or fewer. Her recipes always take me longer than 30-minutes but I like that she often substitutes ingredients and features everyday ingredients. I had trouble tracking down the recipe online but I saw it on another blog too.

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I adapted it and didn’t make the sides Rachael Ray made with this dish. I’m a strong believer that if I’m making something new or different then I’m better suited to focus on one new or one more challenging item and one easy or tried & true. Sauces aren’t my forte but I was intrigued with this and Mr. J likes anything with a sauce!

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Ingredients

5 tbs olive oil
2 slices of thick cut bacon (RR reccomends 12 thin slices soppressata)
2 center cut pork loin chops 1 inch thick
salt and pepper
2 sprigs fresh rosemary sprigs stripped and finely chopped
1 tbs garlic, diced
1 cup vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs butter (RR uses unsalted)

Directions

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat to cook bacon until crispy, about 4 min and then remove from pan. While the bacon is getting crispy, season the pork chops with generous salt, pepper, and rosemary on each side. When the bacon is done disgard drippings, put bacon to the side and heat olive oil.

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Cook pork chops 5 minutes per side. Once the pork chops are done, transfer to a platter and cover with foil or keep in warming oven.
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Heat garlic and balsamic vinegar, cook 30 seconds and add stock. Bring to a bubble and cook 5 more minutes or until there is only 1/2 cup of liquid left in the skillet. Turn heat off and add butter, stir until butter is melted and add bacon back into the sauce.
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I loved this and thought the baslamic flavor was great and would definitely make it again. I thought it would be great with wilted greens and white beans.

I made steamed broccoli and some Trader Joe’s cornbread stuffing. The stuffing was only ehh but was handy to have around.
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