Meatballs for Beginners

I think meatballs are one of those things that you just kind of whip up without thought.  It’s one of those things that you just throw in whatever you have.  I remember the first time I attempted meatballs and I turned to a cookbook, called my mom, and I didn’t know what I was doing.  The only thing I remembered about making meatballs with my mom when I was young was squishing the meat in between my fingers before forming it into balls.  I liked the texture:)

If you haven’t made meatballs before, just know that the ingredients are VERY flexible.  I didn’t measure when I made these, so they’re estimates, but pretty close.   This is a base recipe for some meatballs that turned out delicious, but feel free to substitute my ingredients for something else to get a different flavor.

Sweet Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef

1 egg

1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 Tbsp. dried onion flakes

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put everything in a bowl and mix it together.  The best way to mix it is to squish it combined with your hands.  Form into balls and  place on greased cookie sheet.  Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.  Serve over spaghetti and red sauce.  I used THIS pizza sauce and it was sweet and yummy.

Sloppy Joe Casserole

I don’t make this very often because Brett isn’t a fan.  I, on the other hand, have been craving this for months so I finally gave in.  It’s not fancy by any means, but it’s easy comfort food that’s a step up from the traditional Sloppy Joe’s.  If you like Sloppy Joe’s and pasta then you’ll LOVE this!  Have a great Independence Day!

Sloppy Joe Casserole

1 (8 oz.) pkg. noodles

1/2 lb. ground beef, or turkey

1 can of Sloppy Joe mix (you can use the packaged kind and follow the directions on that)

1 -16oz carton low fat cottage cheese

1-2 cups cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the noodles and drain.  While the noodles are cooking, prepare the meat and add the Sloppy Joe mix.  Add cottage cheese to the meat and Sloppy Joe mix.  In a casserole pan add half the noodles, then half the meat mix on top. Repeat, and top with the cheese.  Bake uncovered for about 30-40 minutes or until bubbling and cheese is melted.  Mmmmm.

Happy Cooking!

Tator-Tot Casserole

We have a rule in our house that my boys are very familiar with “Eat your food, or go to bed”.  We don’t force them to eat everything on their plate, but they are required to take at least one or two bites of everything I make or they are sent to bed.  If we can get them to eat at least one bite then they usually decide they like it and eat more.  If they really don’t like it then we’ll let them eat some other leftover in the fridge, but we don’t cater very many of our dinners to the boys’ tastes.  I figure the more foods I introduce to them now the easier they will be able to feed later.  Anyway, with that said we were realizing that I hadn’t made anything for a few weeks that the boys really loved so my hubby suggested making Tator-Tot Casserole, so they would be a little more happy about dinner.  I don’t make this very often, but it’s a kid pleaser.  If you haven’t made it before, it kind of tastes like french fries and cheese burgers combined into a creamy (and slightly crunchy) casserole.  The best part is I only dirty three dishes in the whole process of making this.  So, get out a frying pan, heat-safe spoon or spatula, and a 9×13 pan and enjoy!

IMG_0497

Tator-Tot Casserole

 1.5 lbs. hamburger

onion flakes

2 cans cream of. . . *

1 can milk (it’s not really canned milk, I just use one of the empty cans of cream of. . . and fill it with milk)

1 can of corn, drained

Frozen Tator Tots

2 handfuls of cheddar cheese

 *I used cream of chicken and cream of asparagus, but I know a lot of people that prefer cream of mushroom.

Turn oven to 350 degrees.  

In a skillet brown the meet and then add onion flakes and stir.  Pour into a 9×13 inch pan.  Pour on top of that the two cans of cream of. . . , (fill one of those empty cans with milk)add the milk,  and corn.  Stir it together in the pan so it’s all combined.  Pour the frozen Tater Tots over the creamy meat mixture.  I kind of poke them in a little bit, so that some sink into the creaminess, but the majority are covering the top. Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven, top with cheese, and bake for 10 more minutes. Done!

Kabobs

A while ago I got super sick with the flu and Brett picked up the kitchen duties. He came up with this awesome collection of flavors that made for this delectable goodness that cheered up my sickie self.

Kabobs
Beef, cubed
1 Red bell pepper, sliced into short pieces (1-1.5″)
1 Green bell pepper, sliced into short pieces (1-1.5″)
Pineapple

(Marinate beef over night or for several hours:)
Italian Dressing (2 oz)
Raspberry Vinaigrette (2 oz)
Worcestershire Sauce (2 tbsp)
Ketchup (3/8 cup)*
Mustard (1/8 cup)*
Onion Flakes (1 tbsp)
Basil Powder (1 tsp)
Garlic Powder (1 tsp)
Curry Powder (2-4 tbsp)
Thai Peanut Sauce (2-3 tbsp)**
Water (just to make it more liquidy, maybe 1 cup)

*He filled one 1/2 cup with ketchup, put it in the bag, then filled the same 1/2 cup again with half ketchup/half mustard.
**Just adds a nice very slight tang, don’t overdo it

When ready to grill place peppers, pineapple, and beef on skewers and have fun!  In our case:  Brett put the peppers and meat in the tray and let them all cook together and then added the pineapple a little later so that they were juicier.  He also saved some pineapple slices to grill individually. . . yumm!