On Top of Old Smokey Meatballs

All covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed.  But it’s ok because I made tons!  These meatballs were so easy to make and quick.  Such wonderful flavor!  And one of things that attracts me to a recipe is the ability to really make it your own.  Change it up some. Use spicy Italian sausage for a kick. Or, add your favorite hot sauce to regular Italian sausage. Instead of Italian seasoning, how about the Mexican Blend I always use with some fresh cilantro?  Add ginger and teriyaki sauce, served over steamed rice, for an Asian flavor.  Oh, how about subbing the bread crumbs with finely ground potato chips, shredded cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce.  Tailgate anyone?  So, let everyone sneeze as much as they want, you’ve got meatballs covered!

Ingredients (Meatballs Only):

16 oz pkg premium pork Italian sausage
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix ingredients until blended (the best way is to don some gloves and dive right in).

Shape meat mixture into 2″ meatballs and place on a baking sheet.  Either spray with nonstick spray, or as I did, line with parchment paper.

Bake meatballs 15 minutes or until done (when they reach 160°).  Serve with your favorite pasta sauce (such as my  Busy Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatball – but ignore those meatballs, just this once, and go back another time to try those!)

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Grenache
Malbec
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese

Serves 6 (with pasta & sauce)
Prep time: 15 minute; Cook time: 15 minutes

On Top of Old Smoky Meatballs

On Top of Old Smoky Meatballs

*Derived from Jimmy Dean

Grilled Tri Tip Steak

There is something about grilled steak that just screams summer.  That summer reminder seems so important right now as the kids head back to school and summer hours at my office come to an all too quick close. Grilled steak, done right screams, “You can’t take summer from me!  I will Not go gentle into that good night!”  But, as the mornings dawn a tad chillier and the evenings beg for a sweater, I realize Mother Nature could not be held back and I celebrate one of the last grilled steaks of the season.

Ingredients:

3 lb beef tri tip steak
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp black pepper

Preparation:

Combine ingredients, except tri-tip steaks. Mix well and pour into a resealable bag.  Add tri-tip, close and refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat grill. Remove tri-tip steaks from marinade and discard marinade. Place steaks on hot grill. Grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally to get an even sear. Remove steaks when the reach your desired doneness. Rest steaks for 5 minutes and serve.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Bourdeaux
Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Grenache

Serves: 6
Active time: 20 minutes; Inactive time: 2 hours

Grilled Tri Tip

*Derived from AboutFood.com

Chicken minus the Vesuvio

This was supposed to to be a traditional chicken Vesuvio, except I was missing, well, the Vesuvio. Or, the red-skinned potatoes and artichoke hearts. ” so I attempted to make do without.  And boy, did I make do.  This got a thumbs-up from my R Jr., foodie.  And it was literally a thumbs-up because he had a mouthful of food.  Does it really get better than that?  I think not. I’m going to go ahead and add in the ingredients that I didn’t have, since it’s from Giada De Laurentiis, I think I’m safe 🙂  Everything with a * I did not have / did not do.

Ingredients:

3 Tbs olive oil
4 skin on & bone in chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1½ lb small red-skinned potatoes, halved (I did not have this)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
¾ cup dry white wine (ok, everyone MUST keep this on hand)
¾ cup chicken broth
1½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
8 0z frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (I did not have this)
2 Tbs unsalted butter

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Heat olive oil in a large oven proof pot on high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Working in 2 batches, cook chicken in pot until golden brown on all aides, about 10 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a bowl.  Carefully add the garlic and onions to the pot and cook until softened.  *Add the potatoes and cook until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot.  Add the broth, oregano, and thyme.  Return the chicken to the pot.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Once a boil is reached, cover the pot and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 20 – 25 minutes.  Remove pot and transfer chicken to platter.  *Arrange potatoes around chicken.

*Add artichoke hearts to sauce in pot. cover and simmer over high heat until artichokes are tender, stirring often, about 4 minutes.  Turn heat to low.  Stir in butter.  Add artichokes to chicken and potatoes, pour sauce over dish and serve.

Wine Pairing Suggestion:

Beaujolais
Chardonnay
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese
Syrah

Serves 6

Total time: About an hour

Chicken minus Vesuvio

Chicken minus Vesuvio

Derived from: Giada De Laurentiis

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

I don’t think I have discovered a way to make shrimp that my kids WON’T eat.  Not that I’m really trying.  But sometimes I think, “There is no way they are going to go for this.”  And they do.  We even went to our favorite Chinese place earlier in the week at the request of D, for the honey walnut prawns.  I was telling the owner that I tried making them at home, and while they were very good, they weren’t OIC Bowl good.  After she walked away, Berto leaned across the table and whispered to me, “Yours were REALLY good Mommy.”  Heart melting.  Right there.  Right then.  Well, these got the same reaction from the kids, and the Hubs, too!

Ingredients:

Vegetable Oil
Kosher salt
1 1/2 lbs linguine
6 Tbs unsalted butter
5 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs minced garlic (time saver tip:  Buy jarred minced garlic, such as Spice World)
2 lbs large, peeled and deveined shrimp (I always buy them that way)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 small lemons)
1/2 lemon thinly sliced in half-rounds (left mine whole rounds, but half is better)
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional, I omitted)

Preparation:

Drizzle some vegetable oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, do not skip this step.  It helps keep your linguine from clumping together.  Add 1 tbs salt and the linguine.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, or according to package directions.

While water is boiling and pasta is cooking, in another large, heave-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Keep a close eye, the garlic will burn very quickly.  Add the shrimp, 1 tbs salt, and the pepper.  Sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat, add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slice, and red pepper flakes (if using).  Toss to combine.

Drain the linguine and add it back to the pot in batches.  In-between batches, add some of the shrimp and sauce.  Toss well, and devour!

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Chardonnay
Friulano
Picpoul Blanc
Vinho Verde

Serves 6

Total time: 40 minutes

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

*Courtesy Ina Garten