Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mini Vanilla Bean Whoopie Pies

(Mini) Vanilla Bean Whoopie Pie
I wanted to make a vanilla whoopie pie that tastes just like a vanilla cupcake, and I think I did it. The cookies are about the size of a Nilla Wafer cookie, but they're soft, like a cupcake. These are super sweet due to the buttercream frosting in the middle, but that's what I was going for. If you want something less sweet, you might want to consider filling these with Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting. I think that would taste fabulous. The main reason I did buttercream in these is because they're for a friend's wedding, and the groom requested white cupcakes with buttercream. So there you go. I'm hoping these work, but I figure I'm safe because it was the groom's request, not the bride's. Plus she's such an awesome person, he'll just be happy to be marrying her that day. Right?
At any rate, this is a solid vanilla cake tasting whoopie pie. Very sweet. Very vanilla. Very tasty.
The recipe directly below is a half recipe because I was just testing it out, and I think it makes a reasonable amount if you plan to take these to a potluck or something. I will post the full size recipe at the end of this post.

Vanilla Bean Whoopie Pies (half recipe)
     --adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

Cookies
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
Frosting
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
Instructions:
Draw 1 1/4 inch circles, 2 inches apart, on the bottom of a piece of parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix the flours in a small bowl and set aside. Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add baking powder, salt, vanilla bean paste, and almond and lemon extracts. Add the egg white and beat until incorporated. Then add the yolk and beat until incorporated. Add about 1/3 of the flour and mix until incorporated. Add 1/2 the milk and mix until incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. 
Place batter in a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Squeeze the batter onto the parchment paper, filling each circle (see photo below). 
Bake at 400 degrees for about 4-5 minutes--just until puffed and set. Remove from oven and slide parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire cooling rack and allow to sit a few minutes to cool slightly. Use a spatula to move the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
While the last cookies bake, start making the frosting. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter and shortening. Add 1 cup of the sugar and carefully mix until combined. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Mix on high until creamy. Add additional powdered sugar (2 tablespoons at a time) or milk (a few drops at a time) to reach the desired consistency. Place in a piping bag, fitted with a round tip--or star tip, if that's what you prefer. 
Turn over half of the cookies so you can put the frosting in the middle. Squeeze about a tablespoon of frosting onto each turned over cookie and the top with the remaining cookies.
Makes about 28 mini whoopie pies.



You can barely see the penciled circles
on the back side of the parchment paper.


The cookie/cakes have no brown on top,
but a little bit on the bottom.





Vanilla Bean Whoopie Pies (full recipe)
     --adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

Cookies
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 11 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup milk
Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
Instructions:
Draw 1 1/4 inch circles, 2 inches apart, on the bottom of a piece of parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix the flours in a small bowl and set aside. Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add baking powder, salt, vanilla bean paste, and almond and lemon extracts. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each until incorporated. Add about 1/3 of the flour and mix until incorporated. Add 1/2 the milk and mix until incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. 
Place batter in a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Squeeze the batter onto the parchment paper, filling each circle (see photo below). 
Bake at 400 degrees for about 4-5 minutes--just until puffed and set. Remove from oven and slide parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire cooling rack and allow to sit a few minutes to cool slightly. Use a spatula to move the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
While the last cookies bake, start making the frosting. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter and shortening. Add 2 cups of the sugar and carefully mix until combined. Add the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the milk. Mix on high until creamy. Add additional powdered sugar (2-3 tablespoons at a time) or milk (1/2 teaspoon at a time) to reach the desired consistency. Place in a piping bag, fitted with a round tip--or star tip, if that's what you prefer. 
Turn over half of the cookies so you can put the frosting in the middle. Squeeze about a tablespoon of frosting onto each turned over cookie and the top with the remaining cookies.
Makes about 56 mini whoopie pies.



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Macadamia Coconut Granola

Macadamia Coconut Granola
Super Target recently had their nuts and trail mixes on sale, "buy one get one 50% off," so of course I had to stock up on macadamia nuts. I'm out of Dove Milk Chocolate Promises, though, so I had to figure out what to do with some of the nuts. The logical choice was to take my friend Christie's Cranberry Walnut Granola recipe and change it up with some macadamia nuts and coconut. Good call. Very good call. This granola may not be as healthy as the walnut/cranberry version, but it is just as tasty. The only reason I did not add the flax seed meal is that I didn't have any golden flax meal, and I didn't want to ruin the golden tones of this granola with the strange dark brown tone of the regular flax meal. Yeah, it sounds weird to me too as I type it.
This granola is pretty crunchy and flavorful. It's great with milk and it's also great with yogurt (I enjoyed some with AE Dairy Almond Creme Greek Yogurt). I think any way you like to eat granola, you'll like this one.


Macadamia Coconut Granola
    --Adapted from bonappetit.com

Ingredients:
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 scant teaspoon kosher salt*
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsly chopped (I used lightly salted macadamias)
  • 3/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Brush a heavy rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons canola oil.
Whisk 2 tablespoons canola oil, sugar, egg whites, and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the oats and macadmias. 
Spread mixture evenly on prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Stir with a metal spatula and then bake 8 more minutes. Stir again. Sprinkle coconut over the top and drizzle with corn syrup. Bake until golden brown, about 7-8 more minutes. Stir to loosen and transfer to a clean baking sheet to cool completely. 
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Serve as it is for a snack, or with milk as a cereal.
Makes about 6 cups

* My macadamia nuts were salted, so I reduced the salt in this recipe to 1/4 teaspoon. If you're using unsalted macadamia nuts, increase kosher salt to a scant 1/2 teaspoon.




Monday, May 4, 2015

Half Popped Popcorn



So I've been pretty obsessed with making half popped popcorn lately (see Al Dente Popcorn post), and this is what I think I was going for orignally. This half popped popcorn is super duper crunchy, almost like potato chips. They're cracked open and only puffed enough to soak up a little of the oil. Mmm. I still think it's healthier than potato chips though, beccause it's got fiber and all that. Plus I read an article recently that says popcorn is packed with antioxidants. So I shall continue eating this and other popcorns each morning with my grape juice smoothie...and I'll probably snack on it until I'm sick of it too. But in the meantime, I will be happy with my new obsession. Give it a try and you might just become obsessed too.

Half Popped Popcorn

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
  • 2-3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 splash vinegar


  • canola oil
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt to taste

Instructions:
Two days before... place unpopped kernels, 2-3 tablespoons salt, and the splash of vinegar in a plastic container that has a tight-fitting lid. Cover kernels with water about 1/2 inch over the top of the kernels. Secure lid and shake to mix. Allow kernels to sit in water at room temperature for two days, shaking once or twice a day.
When you're ready to pop the corn, place a medium sized heavy bottomed pot (that has a matching lid) over medium high heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of canola oil to the pot as it heats. While the pot heats, use a slotted spoon to remove about 1/2 cup of the soaked kernels. I rinsed mine in a colandar to remove most of the saltiness, but you don't have to rinse. Dry kernels on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. They don't have to be completely dry, just mostly dry. Add kernels to the heated pot with oil (be careful, it may spit a little) and add enough oil so that it pools just a bit around the kernels, but they are not swimming in oil. Add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon butter. Cover the pot and shake until the butter is melted. It will take longer than usual for the kernels to begin popping. When they do start to pop, shake pot occasionally to make sure unpopped kernels go to the bottom. When popping subsides to once every 1 to 2 seconds, remove from heat and set lid ajar. Leave the lid ajar for a couple of minutes because a few kernels still may pop. When popping has finished, pour half popped popcorn into a bowl and salt to taste. Toss until popcorn is cool enough to eat. It tastes crunchiest when it's completely cool. 
Seal uneaten popcorn in a zip top bag or other airtight container. You can pop the rest of the popcorn, or wait until the next day.





Monday, April 27, 2015

Grilled Balsamic Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Grilled Balsamic Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes & grilled zucchini


This is the second time I've made this pork tenderloin, and I have to say, it's pretty darned tasty. It's slightly sweet from the balsamic vinegar, and the garlic and rosemary add enough other flavor to make it interesting. It's really nothing fancy or difficult, just an easy dinner. Of course, with a 4 to 24 hour marinade, you do need to plan ahead a little bit, but not much.
As with the Brined and Grilled Pork Chops I love so much, I served this with Au Gratin Potatoes--so nice together. The vegetable, as it usually is for me, was an afterthought. Grilled zucchini is good with just about any meal.
I wish I had something more exciting to say to you, but you're really just here for the recipe anyway, aren't you? So, enjoy it, and be sure to try it with the potatoes. You won't regret it--unless, of course, you are lactose intolerant.
More than enough said. I'm done.

Grilled Balsamic Marinated Pork Loin
     --adapted from Food.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt (orignial recipe did not call for salt, but 1 1/2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pork tenderloin, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds

Instructions:
Mix all the first six ingredients in a gallon size zip top bag and then add the meat. Place on a plate or in a glass baking dish and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.

When ready to grill, preheat grill to 450 degrees. Grill tenderloin at 400-450 degrees, turning every 5-6 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. While meat grills, you can bring the remaining marinade to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until liquid is reduced by about half and then skim off the excess oil. This sauce is optional, but it's nice to have some dipping sauce on the side if you want extra flavor.

Allow meat to rest for 10-15 minutes after you remove it from the grill. Then slice into 1/2 to 3/4-inch medallions and place on a serving plate.

Makes 6-7 servings



Friday, April 24, 2015

Al Dente Popcorn (Crunchy Partially Popped Popcorn)

Popcorn from the same bag:
To the left, dry, popped in canola oil & a little butter;
to the right, soaked for two days and popped in canola oil & a little butter.


I'm not even sure what to call this popcorn--it's not exactly "half-popped" because the kernel has been turned completely inside out. It is much smaller and denser than regular popcorn, though, so maybe "al dente popcorn" would be a better name. At any rate, this isn't even exactly what I was going for, but it's fabulous nonetheless. It's super crunchy and flavorful--probably containing too much salt for me, but sometimes that happens when I experiment. I'll try not to overdo it. What I was really going for was more of a popcorn kernel that merely puffed out slightly, creating an almost styrofoam like texture--but in a good way. If you're not a maker of homemade popcorn, you may never have experienced the type of popcorn I'm talking about. And they seem to happen by accident. I get one every once in a while in a regular batch of popcorn. They almost look like "old maids," but they're just slighlty larger and definitely airier. My friend Karla (of Swedish Cream Cookie fame) introduced me to Crimson Jewell popcorn, and the first jar she bought me popped up almost all like that, I had these small, crunchy popcorn kernels. They were delightful. When I bought a container on my own, they popped up normal--light and fluffy, like all other popcorn. Still one of my favorite popcorns, just not as delightful as the first jar. When I wrote to the company to see if I could purchase more kernels that did not exactly pop, I got a very short reply of "We don't sell a product like that." Oh well.
So, I went looking online, googled "how to make partially popped popcorn" and I came upon a website by Chris Moyer that explained how to do something like I was looking for. Maybe I'll still get there. He says to soak the popcorn kernels in salt water for four days, and mine have only been soaking for two. I'll try to pop more tomorrow to see what happens. (Guess I should save some of what I popped today for comparison.) I read on another website to add vinegar to the water to soften the hull more, so I've done that too.
I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about moisture content of popcorn and heat and steam...I'm just going to tell you that I think I'm addicted to this stuff. It's the perfect popcorn, in my opinion. Super crunchy--just the way I like it. If you're a fan of super crunchy popcorn, and you're willing to wait a few days for your popcorn to soak, give this a try. You'll love it. Seriously.

Al Dente Popcorn (Crunchy Partially Popped Popcorn)

Ingredients (amounts are approximate):

  • 2 cups popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3-4 tablespoons salt
  • 3-4 cups water


  • canola oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • additional salt to taste

Instructions:
2-4 days out, place popcorn kernels, vinegar, salt, and water in a plastic bowl with an airtight lid. Cover and shake. Shake a couple of times a day to redistribute the salt.

When you're ready to pop, preheat a medium heavy-bottom pot (with a matching lid) over medium high heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove about 1/2 cup of the soaked kernels from the bowl. Drain on a clean kitchen towel or a few paper towels. Dab to dry most of the way. If some moisture remains, that will be okay. 

Add enough oil to the preheating pot to cover the bottom just barely. Add the mostly dried popcorn kernels to the oil in the pot and then add more oil to come up 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the kernels. I suppose you could cover them completely with oil, but, well, you know that adds more fat, and now I'm going to tell you to add some butter to the pan. Add the half tablespoon butter, put the lid on the pot, and shake until you hear it sizzle and bubble. You can allow the popcorn to just start popping and only shake the pot occasionally. When popping as subsided to only one pop every 2 seconds or so, remove the lid and pour the partially popped popcorn into a serving bowl. Add more salt, if desired.

Makes about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of partially popped popcorn





Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pico de Gallo




Pico de Gallo is a staple condiment in the world of Mexican cuisine. It adds freshness and a little acid to whatever you serve it with, but usually it has no heat. For my first attempt ever making this (don't know what took me so long) I added just half of a de-veined and de-seeded serrano pepper--and I can't sense any heat in it at all. So if you want heat, add more pepper, or include some of the seeds.
I wish I had something exciting to say about this recipe, but I don't. It's a solid pico de gallo recipe that I'll be using again. Maybe I need to go eat some more with some chips... I had some with my White Chicken Chili tonight, but haven't really eaten it to just get the pico taste.
So there you go. Sorry. This is not an example of my best writing, but the recipe is good. Try it anyway.

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 white or red onion, finely diced
  • 3 medium to large size Roma tomatoes, washed, dried, and diced
  • 1 small handfull cilantro leaves, washed, dried, and chopped
  • 1/2 serrano pepper, de-veined, de-seeded, and very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions:
Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour before serving. 

Serve with White Chicken Chili, Tortilla Chips, Tacos, Taquitos & Flautas, Burritos, or any other Mexican food you think it would go with nicely.

Makes about  1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups 

White Chicken Chili with rice and Pico de Gallo

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Scoopable Baked Cheesecake



Scoopable Baked Cheesecake. One of my best brainstorms.



I think one of the origins of this brainstorm is actually the Cooking Channel's Unique Sweets show. They featured this place that served ice cream, I think, (maybe it was just frozen yogurt) but they also served home made Greek yogurt topped with various toppings. The one that I was thinking of around the time I thought of this recipe was a key lime yogurt: a scoop of Greek yogurt with a lime curd topping and graham cracker crumbs. So I guess that got me thinking about other things you could scoop and put toppings on that you normally don't think of. Then I thought about the four bars of cream cheese in my fridge, and I thought a cheesecake would be a good way to use a couple. THEN I thought about what a pain in the rear it is to work up a water bath for a cheesecake baked in a spring form pan, and then I thought of this: crustless cheesecake baked in a casserole dish that you refrigerate and scoop out with a cookie scoop into a lace cookie bowl or a dish with whatever bottoms and toppings you might like. So this is it. And it WORKS. Wonderfully. It's a fabuous, simple cheesecake filling that my guests and I got to customize with various bases and toppings: graham cracker lace cookie bowls (recipe below), graham cracker crumbs oven-toasted with a little butter (5 crumbled graham cracker sheets tossed in about 2 tablespoons of butter and toasted in a 375 degree oven for 5 minutes), homemade lime curd, chocolate ganache, fresh strawberries (my favorite), and a mixed berry compote (not sure if that's the right name, but you get the idea).

You can serve tiny portions or larger ones. If you turn it into a cheesecake sundae bar like I did, guests can make 2 or 3 little servings in order to try various combinations. I'm even thinking about serving it with chopped candy bars or crumbled chocolate chip cookies next time. Heck, I've even thought about making a cheesecake and cookie sandwich out if it.

Just so you know, scooping baked cheesecake is not quite as "clean" as scooping ice cream. I ended up with relatively large quantities stuck to the back side of the scoop, so after I was done scooping, I had to use my finger to scrape it off the back. Then of course, I had to clean my finger by licking the cheesecake off. Yeah. Pretty messy.

Scoopable Baked Cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients:
  •   2 8oz. cream cheeses @ room temperature
  •   2 eggs @ room temperature
  •   2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  •  ½ cup sugar
  •  ¼ cup heavy cream
  •  ¼ cup sour cream
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Prepare a water bath in a roasting pan or other high-rimmed baking vessel that can hold your cheesecake dish and allow for at least 3 inches water all around. Place water bath pan into preheating oven and fill with hot water about halfway up. (You could fill it and then place it in the oven, but you have to be very, very careful when transferring it to the oven.)

Cream the cream cheese until smooth.  Add sugar and beat until smooth.  Beat in eggs, sour cream, and vanilla bean paste.  Stir in the heavy cream until incorporated. Pour into a medium sized baking/casserole dish, keeping in mind that the cheesecake will almost double in height as it bakes. Place cheesecake dish into the middle of the water bath in the preheated oven. Add more hot water until the water level is 1/2 to 2/3 up the side of the cheesecake dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until the center is set. Carefully remove just the cheesecake dish first and set it on a cooling rack. The remove and dump the water from the water bath vessel. Allow cheesecake to cool to room temperature before transferring it to the refrigerator to cool at least overnight. For the first few hours of refrigeration, place a paper towel on top of the cheesecake dish, and then place a wooden spoon across the top to keep the paper towel in place. (Cooling with the paper towel prevents condensation as the cheesecake cools.) After cheesecake is chilled, you can cover tighly with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

To serve, use a spring-action cookie/ice cream scoop to scoop out portions of cheesecake. You can serve it as is, with toppings, with various crusts (graham cracker, Oreo, or other cookie bits). I served this batch first with graham cracker lace cookies and then with graham cracker crumbs oven-toasted with a little butter. The possibilities are endless.

Makes 16-24 servings, depending on serving size

Graham Cracker Lace Cookies (Note that this part of the recipe is NOT gluten free.)
     --adapted from RealSimple.com
     --These are almost candy-like in their crunchiness. The cheesecake looks cute in them, but I did not enjoy them as much as I enjoyed the graham cracker crumbs oven-toasted with butter.
     
Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Get a non-stick muffin pan out as well and set aside.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugars, corn syrup and salt. Mix until smooth. Remove from heat and add graham cracker crumbs. Using a measuring teaspoon, scoop teaspoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Only do about 6 cookies at a time because they spread so much. Bake cookies for about 6 minutes at 375 degrees. When cookies are slightly darker brown around the edges, remove pan from oven. 
Slide the parchment onto a cooling rack and carefully & quickly use a spatula to remove cookies. Gently push them into the cups of the non-stick muffin pan. If they cool off and solidify too quickly, place them back on the pan and into the oven briefly (30 seconds or so), until they are again pliable. This part is tricky and may take some practice. I've also heard of people turning the muffin pan upside down and placing lace cookies on top of the upside down cups, which will produce a wider-rimmed little cup, but it will work fine.

Makes about 20 cookie cups









Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Meatballs for Days (Freezer Meatballs)

Meatballs in Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce
Cooked meatballs ready for the freezer

This recipe idea was inspired by The Pioneer Woman. I tried to locate the recipe I saw on her Food Network show, but it was going to take too long. Basically, I used the recipe I have for meatballs and multiplied it. Then I froze meal-sized bags of the cooked meatballs for later use, just like Ree did. I thought I could get five meals out of this, but after my husband tasted tonight's rendition, I'm going to say it's for four meals. 
Tonight I took about 14-15 of the cooked meatballs and simmered them in Robert's Reserve Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce that I got from my dear friend Jen. I'm serving them with Home Made French Fries tonight, as my husband thought that would be a good pairing. Had I not asked him, I'd probably have made Rice Pilaf. Next time, I think I'll try them in BBQ sauce. And, of course, I'm sure some of them will make their way into spaghetti or a meatball sandwich.
These meatballs are very flavorful on their own and I think they'll go well with just about any sauce I choose to put them into. As I try different sauces, I will try to add pics and comments. 
That's all. I'm not feeling very chatty today. Enjoy.

Meatballs for Days (Freezer Meatballs)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (I use gluten free breadcrumbs from gf French rolls)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 small onions, finely diced
  • 9 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup grated jack cheese
  • 5 pounds ground ground (90/10)

Instructions: 
In a very large bowl, place the breadcrumbs and pour the milk over them. Allow to sit while you prepare the onions & garlic.
Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent. Add garlic, stir, and cook one minute more. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
To the breadcrumbs and milk, add the eggs, parsley, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and jack cheese. Stir to incorporate all ingredients. Mix in the onions and garlic a little at a time (so you don't cook the eggs). Add the ground beef. With your hands (I use plastic gloves for this), gently incorporate the beef into the other ingredients until the mixture is uniform. Cover and refrigerate 30-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a medium size cookie scoop (approx 2 tablespoons), scoop mixture out and onto a wax paper lined sheet pan. After all meat has been scooped, roll each into a nice ball shape and place on a sheet pan that has been covered with foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray (I used 2 half sheet pans for this). 
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes (the ones you see above are actually over baked).
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Move cooked meatballs to another baking sheet lined with wax paper. Place in the freezer until frozen solid, and then place meatballs in zip top freezer bags and store in freezer until ready to use.

Makes about 5 dozen meatballs


I scoop all of the meatballs and THEN I roll them into balls.
Ready for the oven
These cooked too long and look weird on the pan.
Once they're in a sauce, though, this look won't matter.

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