Sunday, February 05, 2017

Meatballs For Pork Lovers

Meatballs can be such versatile little bites. You can serve them with a dipping sauce for appetizers, put them into a soup or use them to adorn a salad. A favorite way to serve them is with a sauce on pasta or rice. You can serve them on their own, perhaps with a sauce or dip on the side. And of course you can use them in a sandwich, too.

Recently our favorite neighbors thawed out too much ground pork from their home grown pig. What a problem to have, right? Anyway we were suddenly blessed with a good sized quantity of ground pork, so I immediately thought 'meatballs'! These are baked and are very simple and delicious. The recipe calls for cooking the onions and then mixing the cooked onions with the meat and other ingredients. I managed to overlook those instructions and added raw onions, but they cooked in the oven and I liked that they still kept their character and weren't wimpy caramelized onions, even though I do love onions that way. They also have chopped fresh rosemary, but you could also use another herb, dried or fresh. Imagine them with green onions, ginger and cilantro for an Asian take on meatballs. You can also use any mixture of meat. I mixed some ground turkey with the ground pork, but ground chicken or beef would also be good. Just keep the proportions the same.

By the way, I was just looking at the blog history and last October 22 I finished ten years of blogging...and I'm already 52 posts past that. Lately about 500 people a day are looking at my posts. I know that lots of people who read this blog don't leave comments, so it was really nice last week when we called to wish Sweetie's East Coast sister a hearty Happy Birthday that I found out she had made the Bean Ham and Cabbage Soup and liked it. It's very gratifying to know that someone makes these recipes and that they like them. If you missed that post you may want to check it out. The soup is one of my all time favorites and great for cold weather.

Are you ready for meatballs? Once these were baked, I cooked up a simple 'cream' sauce with non-dairy margarine, mushrooms, minced garlic, flour, thyme, salt and pepper and some soy creamer. I boiled some noodles al dente, stirred them into the sauce and put the meatballs on top. Steamed fresh spinach on the side filled out the plate. These meatballs would go well with a nice tomato sauce and pasta, too, or on top of rice with some steamed sugar snap peas and a little soy sauce and get the idea. If you are worried about fat, you can put the balls on top of a rack which has been placed in the baking sheet instead of baking directly on the sheet as I did.

Easy Oven-Baked Meatballs
from Stupid Easy

2 pounds ground lean pork (or other ground meat)
(I used a combination of pork and turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped finely
3 tablesppons fresh rosemary, chopped (or 3 teaspoons dried rosemary)
1 tablespoons dried sage
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fat of choice (I used olive oil)

Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F (204 C). Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper (or silpat mat as I did).

In a large skillet, over medium heat, saute the onion in a spoonful of your fat of choice until softened, about 5 minutes. Let cool. (this is the part that I skipped over!)

In a large bowl, combine the ground meat(s), onions and all the spices.

Form into 2-inch balls and arrange on the prepared sheet pan. (If you have a sturdy disher or scoop it helps to keep the size even. Otherwise use a heaping  tablespoon measure.)

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until cooked through.  Serve at once or store in fridge or freezer for quick protein in your favorite recipe.

Ideas: Chop and use in and egg and veggie scramble or omelet or frittata.
Chop and toss over a salad and toss with your favorite dressing.
Use in your favorite soup.
Mix with a tomato sauce flavored with Italian spices and put over steamed spaghetti or spaghetti squash.

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