Meatballs in Beef Gravy

I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl.  And gravy, well, that just puts it over the top for me!  Gravy makes everything that much better. Like bacon, or something being deep fried. You hear gravy and you just have to go with that option!  This is no exception to the rule. And sorry my friends, this just isn’t one of those healthy dishes. But I know you weren’t expecting that, what with “meatballs” and “gravy” in the name. So, let’s all sit back, ignore the calorie / fat content and just enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 small chopped onion (time saver: use frozen or pre-chopped in the produce section)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (time saver: buy the pre-sliced mushrooms in the produce section. Go with your favorite.)
5 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 pinch cayenne (I omitted because my kids are still getting used to spicy heat)
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 tsp Worcestershire sauce (this ingredient adds such a rich flavor to almost everything, even Checks mix!)
3 Tbs ketchup
2-4 tsp beef bouillon powder (I didn’t have the powder, so I used the jarred “Better than Bouillon”, you’ll want to go with the least amount as it tends to get salty)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
kosher salt (option and to taste)

For Meatballs:

1 lb ground beef (mix what you like, chicken, turkey, pork)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbs minced garlic (time saver: buy the jarred minced garlic)
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned to add more flavor)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan (or more, you can never have too much cheese)
1 1/2 tsp season salt (I use Lawry’s)
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp dried parsley flakes (such as Litehouse)

Preparation:

Mix all meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Shape mixture into 1″ balls.

Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium-high heat (be sure to use a deep skillet to hold in the gravy with the meatballs). Add meatballs in two batches and brown until just about cooked through, turning frequently for even browning.

To skillet, with about 3 tbs of fat remaining, add onion and saute until softened, scrape any brown bits that have accumulated in the skillet.  Add mushrooms and cooking, stirring until softened.  Add flour, stir 1 minute.

Slowly add beef broth, bring to a boil whisking constantly until smooth, bubbly, and thickened. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and black pepper; bring to a simmer.  Add beef bouillon powder or ‘Better than Bouillon’ and ketchup (can add more if desired).

Add meatballs and simmer, uncovered, 20-25 minutes.  Stir frequently. Season with salt to taste if needed.

At the end of cooking, stir in sour cream until combined and heated through.  Serve over mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Malbec
Merlot
Sangiovese

Serves 4 medium portions

Total time: 1 hour

Serves4

Derived from: Kittencalskitchen / Food.com

Italian Breaded Chicken

Cool Update – Last night I was out of mayo (I know, right?!) so I used sour cream instead.  I got the wrinkled nose from the Hubs, “Sour cream??” nervous laugh “Um, should be interesting”, “talk about changing the taste.”  Well you know what?  It was really good.  It so was good that my son (who is 7!) asked to have it for lunch the next day.  Gasp!  What?!?!  You want something other than PB&J??  Be still my beating heart. 

Tuesday night was one of those nights, I had taken chicken out of the freezer, but what to do with it?  I’ve been cooking a lot of chicken lately.  I was sure my family would run screaming from the house if they were presented with yet more chicken.  I knew I’d have to really make something different.  Something that they wouldn’t turn their noses up at, but wasn’t my “Go To” chicken, or even resembled it.  While perusing my saved recipes on Pinterest, I cam across this amazing chicken dish from allyskitchen.com.  Ally’s Kitchen serves the chicken with Knorr® Italian Sides™ – Alfredo Broccoli.  I did not.  I served mine with a refrigerated alfredo sauce found in the refrigerated section of the store, so I am leaving that portion off of my post.  What an incredibly moist, flavorful chicken!  Everyone loved it, no one ran screaming from the table, and no cute little noses turned up in protest.  Enjoy!

Italian Breaded Chicken

Italian Breaded Chicken

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I used thighs, I find them much more flavorful and they stay more moist than breasts)
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.  Brush chicken with mayonnaise, then coat with bread crumbs.  Line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil (be sure to spray with cooking spray, I forgot and left behind some of the topping) or parchment paper.

Bake chicken 20 minutes, or until cooked through.  Turn chicken over after about 10 minutes.

Wine Serving Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves: 4

Total time: 30 minutes

Italian Breaded Chicken

Italian Breaded Chicken

*From Allyskitchen.com

Corner- Cutting Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti

Chicken parmesan is one of those enveloping comfort foods. And let me tell you, today I needed some comfort food! It was just one of those days, heck, it’s already been one of those years. It started two days before Christmas and again on Christmas morning with a major plumbing leak in the family room. Next, with the very start of demolition asbestos was detected. That prompted us 1) not being able to use our kitchen (or even enter it) for 48 hours, and then a move-out to a hotel for about 4 days. All of the nights at the hotel, my usual 5:00 a.m. girl slept way past that. When we finally get back into our house all of that changes and girlfriend brought herself into our room at 5:15 this fine Sunday morning. Sometimes there is just not enough coffee in the world. Sometimes one just needs a major food hug. And sometimes one that has been a mite grumpy needs to share that food hug with those that she was grumpy with. In walks my corner-cutting chicken parmesan with spaghetti. The Italians have really got this food hug thing down!

Ingredients:

4 oz uncooked spaghetti
2 (14.5 oz) cans unsalted diced tomatoes
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil, divided
6 cloves garlic diced (time saver tip: use jarred minced garlic, such as Spice World)
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
3 Tbs finely chopped basil (time saver tip: one of my fave products  – Gourmet Garden Basil Paste, it’s amazing!)
4 skinless chicken breast tenders
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1 tsp butter
4 oz shredded mozzarella

Preparation:

Cook pasta according to package directions,omitting salt and fat; drain.

While pasta cooks, empty cans of tomatoes in food processor; process until almost smooth.  Heat saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add 1½ tsp oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute, or until fragrant, stirring occasionally.  Add tomatoes and 3/8 tsp salt; cook 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.  Stir in basil (or basil paste).  Toss 1 cup sauce with pasta, keep warm.

While sauce cooks, combine flour, garlic powder, and remaining 1/8 tsp salt in a large ziploc bag.  Add tenders one at a time and shake bag to coat.  Shake off any excess flour mixture.  Place lightly beaten egg in shallow dish.  Place Italian bread crumbs in another shallow dish.  Dip tenders in egg mixture and then dredge in bread crumbs.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add remaining 1 Tbs oil and butter to pan; swirl until butter melts.  Add chicken to pay; cook approximately 4 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through.  Place chicken on a backing sheet, top with mozzarella.  Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts.  Serve over pasta with sauce spooned over chicken.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Merlot
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4

Total time: 45 minutes

Chicken Parmesan

*Original Serves-4 recipe

Mini Meat Loaves

A few awesome things about these mini meat loaves: 1) they are mini, so everyone gets their own personal meat loaf, which is key if you are 5 and 6 years old; 2) you can even kind of make them to order, as far as the toppings go since they are pretty small, and; 3) the cook so much faster than your grandmother’s meat loaf.  The pasta sauce, basil, and cheese really made these tasty.  Add a nice green vegetable (such as the roasted asparagus with parmesan cheese that I did) and you’ve got the start of a quick and filling meal.

Ingredients:

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup prepared marinara sauce
½ cup Italian style bread crumbs
2 Tbs Gourmet Garden basil paste (one of the best inventions ever)
1 lb lean ground beef (can use turkey, chicken, etc)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ tsp salt

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450°.  In a large bowl, combine egg, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, bread crumbs, basil paste, and salt.  Add beef and 1/2 cup of cheese; using hands, mix well.  Divide mixture into four equal parts.  Shape into a small loaf.  Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Spoon remaining marinara sauce over the top of each and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160°

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Merlot
Petit Sirah
Syrah / Shiraz
Zinfandel

Serves: 4 large helpings (or 6 smaller servings)

Total time: 25 minutes

Mini Meat Loaves

Mini Meat Loaves

*Original Serves-4 Recipe