Hey Everybody! I know it has been a very long time since I have posted. But, man, I tell you what....it just seems like by the time I get home from work, having dinner, and spending time with the family, the last thing I feel like doing is sitting in front of the computer writing a blog post. I don't think people truly appreciate the amount of time it takes to create content and manage a food blog! But, the good news is I haven't really stopped creating content for the blog, because I haven't stopped cooking at all...the managing the blog has been the achilles heel for sure. "But, Eric, there is always nap time during the weekend where you can sit and blog!" True...there is....but I love playing video games haha. I do miss you all very much and am going to make a better effort to get posts done on a weekly basis.
So, since I didn't have a horse in the super bowl race this past weekend, actually it was quite the opposite since I dislike New England and Philadelphia. I decided that I could drown my sorrows in delicious food and my wife recommended meatballs...so here we are. Delicious mozzarella stuffed meatballs made with a 50/50 blend of ground beef and Italian Sausage that were then slow cooked in a delicious homemade marinara sauce. We ended up making meatball hoagies, but you can use them however you like. Give them a try and let me know what you think below in the comment section!
Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
Prep time: 20m | Cook time: 15min | Total time: 35min | Yield: 16 meatballs
- 1 small onion, grated (6 oz)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp Ketchup
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 8 oz ground beef
- 8 oz Italian bulk sausage
- 2 oz mozzarella cheese, cut in 16 (1/2 inch) cubes
- Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the onion, 1/2 cup parsley, 2/3 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef and Italian sausage. Using your hands, combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Shape the meat mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch-diameter, roughly 2 oz) meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165F.
- Use meatballs however you like! In my case, I put in the crockpot with some homemade marinara (Recipe below) and made meatball hoagies.
Prep time: 25m | Cook time: 30min | Total time: 55min | Yield: 5 cups
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- Generous pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 (28 oz) cans san marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 large sprig basil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- In a large pot, combine oil and garlic and heat over moderately low heat until garlic begins to very gently sizzle. Add red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until garlic just begins to turn a light golden color, about 3 minutes. Add oregano and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until paste has softened and blended with the oil, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in canned tomatoes and their juices, increase heat to medium-high, bring to a gentle simmer, then lower heat to maintain. Using an immersion blender, blend tomatoes until sauce is smooth. (Alternatively, blend tomatoes in a standard blender before adding to pot)
- Add basil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced slightly and tastes rich, about 30 minutes. Season with salt.
- Discard basil. Stir in butter, if using, until melted. Use sauce right away, or allow to cool to room temperature, transfer to sealed containers and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
Cooking your meats to the perfect temperature is crucial not only from a food safety stand point, but from flavor and tenderness stand point as well. Make sure you cook your pork, like in this recipe to 135F. The best way to accurately monitor the internal temperature of your meats is by using a Thermapen MK4. They are the most durable, accurate, fast, and reliable thermometer on the market. These are a kitchen MUST HAVE! Go buy yourself a Thermapen MK4 today!
Other Italian recipes you may like...
So here is Part Two from last weeks Guacamole Post. The flavors of this recipe is definitely on point, I feel it tasted exactly like a Chipotle Burrito Bowl (Just wish I cooked the rice a little better). I guess really the only thing is convenience, it's a lot easier to just go buy a Burrito Bowl at Chipotle. I think where this recipe would shine is if you had a party or if you have a larger family and you could have people build their own burrito bowls.
One thing that I did learn though is a really easy substitute for Chipotles in Adobo. Me being the bone head I am, forgot to grab a can for this recipe. So I did a little googling to find this substitute that worked out really nice. You simply mix 1 Tbsp Ketchup, 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika, 1/2 tsp Cayenne Powder, 1/2 tsp Cumin, and a pinch of oregano. It worked surprisingly well! Permanent substitute? No, but an easy fix with some common household ingredients for sure. On to the recipe!
Prep time: 1hr | Cook time: 30min | Total time: 1hr30min | Yield: 4 portions
For the Chicken
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the Rice
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup white basmati rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- kosher salt to taste
For the Toppings
- 1 cup black beans, warmed
- 1 cup charred corn (canned or frozen), warmed
- 1 each red and green pepper, julienned and sauteed
- 1 cup guacamole
- 1 cup pico de gallo, or salsa of your choosing
- 1 cup monterey jack cheese, finely shredded
For the Chicken
- Combine the vegetable oil, chopped chipotle peppers in adobo, garlic powder, cumin, dried oregano, and black pepper in a small bowl, stir to combine.
- Place the chicken in a large zip top plastic bag and add the marinade. Zip the bag and mix the chicken into the marinade. Place in the fridge and let it marinate for at least 1 hour.
- Heat a large saute pan or outdoor grill to medium high heat. Place the chicken on the cooking surface and cook 5 to 6 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reads 165F. Remove chicken and let rest for 10 min. Chop the chicken into small bit sized pieces and use as needed.
For the Rice
- In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the white rice and lime juice and saute for 60 seconds to toast the rice.
- Add the water and bring the rice to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice is tender and all the water is absorbed.
- Add in the cilantro and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Arrange equal parts of the white rice and chopped chicken in 4 bowls. Top with equal parts of the black beans, corn, guacamole, fajita peppers, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper as needed and serve immediately.
Cooking your meats to the perfect temperature is crucial not only from a food safety stand point, but from flavor and tenderness stand point as well. Make sure you cook your chicken, like in this recipe to 165F. The best way to accurately monitor the internal temperature of your meats is by using a Thermapen MK4. They are the most durable, accurate, fast, and reliable thermometer on the market. These are a kitchen MUST HAVE! Go buy yourself a Thermapen MK4 today!
Sharing is caring...
Super Bowl is right around the corner and chicken wing prices are through the roof. But, you just cannot have a Super Bowl party without chicken wings....you just can't! One tip, never buy frozen chicken wings. Because most likely they are on the older end in regards to fresh chicken wings, that were then thrown in a freezer before they expired. The flavor profile is completely different between fresh and frozen. I tend to buy the whole fresh chicken wing, as they are usually cheaper than pre-cut ones. The more times something is processed (in this instance, cut into individual joints) the higher the price. Or you could always just cook whole chicken wings...they just tend to be tougher to eat in my opinion. Here is a great video demonstrating how to cut a whole chicken wing -->
Of course there are a billion wing sauce recipes out there and there are a billion excellent ones, this just happens to be the way I do it and my favorite wing sauce. There is something about Sriracha... it's a slow heat, meaning it doesn't bite you right off the bat. Then I also add in some brown sugar so you get a sweet taste that blends right into this spicy, smokey sriracha flavor. Then we come to how you actually cook the chicken wings, everybody has their own preference. But, me, I prefer to have mine grilled...I like a little bit of char on my chicken wing. If you are looking to try a new wing sauce, be sure to give this a try, you will not be disappointed!
Sriracha Wing Sauce
Prep time: 5m | Cook time: 10min | Total time: 15min | Yield: 1 1/4 cups
- 2/3 cup Sriracha
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1.5 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- Combine the hot sauce, butter, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and brown sugar in a pot and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer while stirring with a whisk. As soon as the liquid begins to bubble on the sides of the pot, remove from heat. Process the sauce with an immersion blender or blender to fully emulsify the sauce. Season with salt if need be.
- Use the sauce immediately or store in a container in the refrigerator.
Always remember to cook your chicken to a proper temperature of 165F. To make sure you are cooking and holding all of your food correctly, be sure to get yourself a Thermapen MK4. These are the best thermometers on the market and I use mine pretty much every time I cook. This is one kitchen gadget that will not waste space!