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...
Time will pass and seasons will come and go, so to will football season inevitably end for every fan base...some sooner than others. Unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans, the season has ended at the hands of a New England Patriots butt whoopin'. As hard as it is to admit, the better team clearly won....with that said...LETS GO PENS!!
Whenever I watch big games, like the Steelers/Patriots AFC Championship game, I always make a point to make something absolutely delicious. So that whatever the outcome of the game, at least I still win because I had something delicious...well that's my silver lining logic. So, in true fashion, I made this delicious Bacon Cheeseburger soup! What really makes this soup fantastic is layering the bacon flavor through the entire cooking process. This flavor layering can be achieved in lots of recipes, especially when using a fat (i.e. butter, oil, bacon fat, etc). In this example, I rendered fat from both the ground beef and bacon. I then saved that rendered fat and used it through the entire recipe. I used the golden delicious fat to saute the mirepoix, as well as, the base for the roux. Layering or building flavor, especially in soup, is definitely a great way to elevate any dish. With that said, lets check out this delicious recipe!
Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
Prep time: 45m | Cook time: 30min | Total time: 1hr 15min | Yield: 8 servings (2 1/4 quart)
- 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 4 slices bacon, 1" chop
- 3/4 cup onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup carrots, shredded
- 3/4 cup celery, diced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1-3/4 pounds peeled potatoes, cubed (about 4 cups)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 package (16-ounce) Velvetta cheese, cubed
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp worchestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook and crumble beef until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In the dutch oven, add chopped bacon and cook until crispy and bacon fat is rendered. Place mesh sieve over a bowl and drain bacon, separating the bacon bits from fat. Set both the fat and cooked bacon aside. In same dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon bacon fat over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley until tender, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes, beef and chicken stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of bacon fat until shimmering. Add flour; cook and stir until bubbly, 3-5 minutes. Add roux to the soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheese, milk, salt, pepper, and worchestershire sauce; cook until cheese melts. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream.
- To service, top soup with shredded cheddar cheese, cooked bacon bits, and sliced scallions.
Of course when throwing a Super Bowl Party (or should I say Soup-er Bowl Party...ba doom ching!) you may want to keep food out to snack on during the game. It is crucial that hot foods at above 135F and cold foods don't exceed 41F. Always check these temperatures every 2 hours to maintain proper food safety protocol. The best way to monitor food temperatures? Thermapen of course! I use mine pretty much every time I cook. It's incredibly accurate, easy to ready, fast, and most importantly durable.
Other delicious soup recipes...
Galliker's makes the best French Onion Chip Dip known to man kind...there is absolutely nothing like it. And outside of Pennsylvania, it probably isn't even known of. It has been a staple at our family get-togethers ever since I can remember. There are some members of my family that can finish a whole tub of it with about 3 chips (*Cough my sister & Aunt Janet *cough*).
When my wife finally experienced the greatness that is Gallicker's French Onion Dip, she too has become addicted. Whenever we go to Pennsylvania to visit we are greeted with about 4 tubs of the goodness that we pack up in a cooler to bring home. But, the past few years it has become increasingly difficult to procure the dip. You used to be able to find it at all the Sheetz locations, then just one Sheetz location, now there is really only one other gas station that sells it....uh oh!
Here is my attempt at making my own Galliker's French Onion Chip Dip...it tastes NOTHING like it but it is still pretty dang good and would be a great treat for any upcoming Superbowl Parties!
French Onion Dip
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 32 min
Total time: 1 hr 45 min
Yield: 3.5 cups
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted butter
- 2 Vidalia onions, sliced into 1/4" rings
- 2 Large shallots, sliced into 1/8" rings
- 3 Cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups Sour cream
- 1 cup Mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Celery salt
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- As needed Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- For serving Potato chips
- In a large saute pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and caramelized. Add the shallots and saute for 8 to 10 more minutes, until the onions and shallots are dark brown. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then chop the onion mixture into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a bowl, mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Fold in the onion mixture. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Serve with potato chips.