Meatballs for a Crowd

I am a sucker for meatballs. They’re my go to at parties, they taste great in pasta, and they are one of the best pizza toppings. Meatballs are also a great alternative to a Bolognese sauce. Imagine sitting down to a group dinner and having hefty meatballs sitting on your plate instead of your standard meat sauce.

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As a kid I remember watching my grandmother make pasta sauce and meatballs from scratch. Her meatballs were not your standard size either. They were huge and full of flavor. Since I’ve been cooking, I’ve always modeled my meatballs after the ones my grandmother makes. They’re huge and they are sure to fill and empty stomach.

I use ground beef and ground pork in this recipe. Ground beef provides a nice texture and the ground pork adds moisture and a unique flavor. Ground turkey can be substituted for the ground pork for those who do not eat pork. The breadcrumbs, eggs, and milk work as a binder but also adds great flavor to the meat.

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The key to these meatballs is the way that they are cooked. The meatballs are placed on a cooling rack set in a cookie sheet. Cooking the meatballs this way allows for them to cook evenly. Is also allows excess oils to drain out of the meat.

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I like my cookie sheets with foil and parchment paper for easy clean up. The oils from the meatballs can be a mess to clean up if you don’t line your pans.

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Make these meatballs as a base for spaghetti and meatballs, meatball subs, or pizza toppings. Extra meatballs can be frozen and used at a later date. This recipe can be halved to make a smaller portion.

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Classic Jumbo Meatballs

Total Time: 45 Minutes | 28 Jumbo Meatballs or 14 Servings

Recommended Specialty Cookware: Parchment Paper, Cooling Racks, cookie sheets

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1.5 lbs ground pork
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic – minced
  • 5 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup grated parmesan and romano cheese blend
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F
  2. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs and milk until they have a consistency of wet sand. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine pork, beef, garlic, parsley, cheese, salt, pepper, and eggs.
  4. Add in the breadcrumb mixture and use hands to combine all ingredients. Break up any large clumps of breadcrumbs.
  5. Using your hands, create 28 – 30* equal meatballs. Make sure all meatballs are the same size to ensure they cook evenly.
  6. Place two cooling rack on top of two separate cookie sheets.
  7. Place half of the meatballs on each cookie sheet leaving at least 1/2 inch between each meatball.
  8. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, turning meatballs half way through. Cut a meatball in half to check for doneness.
  9. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

* This recipe makes approximately 45 smaller meatballs. Adjust cooking time according to size. The smaller the meatball, the shorter the cooking time. 

Sweet Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

I love salads, but I’m not much of a bottled dressing fan. I’ve always heard people rave about their love of ranch, or caesar… but my go to salad dressing is a vinaigrette.

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My sweet cilantro lime vinaigrette is a sweet dressing with just enough citrus to add a distinct flavor. Try this vinaigrette with a salad made of romaine lettuce, sweet corn, avocados, tomatoes and fried corn tortilla strips.


Sweet Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Total Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 Tablespoons Light Agave Nectar (can substitute with honey)
  • 1/4 tsp salt and additional as needed
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together.
  2. Add additional salt to taste if needed.
  3. Serve!


 

Simple and Easy Fried Rice

 

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I love fried rice… but my inner child comes out whenever I eat it and I tend to pick around the peas and carrots. Below you will find my recipe for a simple and easy fried rice. It incorporates brown rice, eggs, green onions, and soy sauce. This rice is a great side dish that goes with baked chicken, fried shrimp, or any asian take-out inspired dishes. It can also be served as a main dish if you add in a cup of chopped grilled chicken.

Cooking is something I love to do. From fried foods, to quick and easy, I love everything about cooking. It’s a hobby that I’ve had since I was a kid. Unfortunately, I can cook or bake almost anything, except for rice. For some reason my rice always come out crunchy or overcooked and gummy. I’ve found success with Success Boil-In-Bag rice. This stuff is fool-proof and makes rice cooking a breeze. I used two bags of the success rice for this recipe (4 cups cooked rice) but any brand of rice should work. I suggest using jasmine rice, long grain white rice, sushi rice, or brown rice.

Fried rice is cooked best in a wok but can also be prepared in a large non-stick skillet. I purchased my wok from IKEA quite a few years ago. Ikea has an affordable and quality wok available for purchase in store or on online.

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Simple and Easy Fried Rice

Total Time: 15 Minutes | 4 – 6 Servings

Recommended Specialty Cookware: Wok

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups pre-cooked and refrigerated or room temperature rice (warm rice does not work well with this recipe)
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 3 Green onions roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat a wok or large nonstick pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot add in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil.
  2. Once the oil is hot, crack the eggs directly into the pan and lightly scramble until they are fully cooked.
  3. Add the cooked rice to the pan and gently stir until the egg and rice and combined.
  4. Add the soy sauce and mix until combined. Once the soy sauce is combined increase the heat to high, spread the rice as shallow as possible across the pan and let it “fry” for 3 – 4 minutes. Combine or stir the rice as needed to keep it from overcooking in one area.
  5. Add the green onions, stir gently, and remove from heat.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.