Red wine chocolate truffles

red-wine-truffles_2

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by Valentine’s Day.

Great, so now that we agree V-Day is the worst (and Mean Girls is still the best), I think we could all benefit from a little self-love. Nothing says “I love me” more than indulging on wine and chocolate, so let’s do that!

I mean, what’s better than curling up on the couch after a busy day with a glass of Cab and anything chocolate? Not much. Except, perhaps, these red wine chocolate truffles rolled in berry dust.

red-wine-truffles_2

I got the idea to roll the truffles in a vibrant powder after writing my post 3 Interesting Ways to Use Your Coffee Grinder. Rather than using beetroot chips as Ania from Lazy Cat Kitchen does, I used freeze-dried strawberries and raspberries for a sweet and tangy element to balance out the bitterness of the wine and chocolate. But, if you’ve got an earthy palette, check out one of the links above to on how to make beetroot powder. They both provide that bold, rosy maroon color we’re going for.

This was my first attempt at truffles, and well—let’s just say I have lots of advice. First, keep your truffles fairly small—these babies are richSecond, get yourself a small to medium sized cookie scoop to ensure uniformly shaped balls. And lastly, the chocolate melts very quickly when it touches warm hands, so it helps to put the truffle mixture in the freezer 15 minutes prior to scooping the balls. Using a cookie scoop—rather than, say, a huge ice cream scoop—will also help because it cuts down the amount of time the chocolate is in your hands.

Most of all, have fun! Allow yourself to be a beginner and remember if you love yourself, you will love your food.

💕

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used a red blend)
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • freeze-dried strawberries/raspberries

Instructions

Heat the chocolate with a double boiler or put it in a glass bowl on top of a pot of simmering water.

In a separate pot, heat the cream, butter, and vanilla until it just starts to boil, then turn off the heat and add hot cream mixture to the chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined, then add wine and continue to mix until consistency is smooth and silky.

Pour chocolate mixture into an 8×8 inch square dish and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, until firm.

About 15 minutes before you make the truffles, put the chocolate in the freezer to firm up a bit more. Scoop the mixture until it fills the cookie scoop, release, then form into balls (the quicker the better) and roll in the powder. You can fix the shape a little at this point, if needed.

3 Interesting Ways to Use Your Coffee Grinder

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Hello, friends!

I’m adding a new section to my blog—HACKS—where I will be sharing fun tips and tricks you can use in your kitchen, and I would love your help. If there’s anything specific you want to explore or learn more about, let me know—we can learn together! Feel free to comment below with any ideas or opinions.

To kick it off, I’m sharing three unique ways to use your coffee grinder. You probably all know you can make dried herbs and spices with your grinder—and if you don’t, there’s #4—but did you know you can make powdered sugar or turn beets into an elegant dust for decorating desserts?? Keep reading to find out more.

POWDERED SUGAR

powder-sugar-waffle

I really wish I would’ve known this when I ran out of powdered sugar while frosting cookies last month, BUT apparently you can make powdered sugar in your coffee grinder! All you need is regular granulated sugar—just grind it up in your grinder until it turns into a powder. Make sure the grinder is clean beforehand, to avoid any coffee grounds in the sugar. Use a sifter to eliminate any big chunks.

HOMEMADE BODY SCRUB

I’ve been getting into homemade therapeutic goodies, lately. They can provide all the luxury of a spa without the expense—what’s not to like? This simple body scrub is supposed to be great for exfoliating the skin, reducing the appearance of cellulite, and hydrating. Plus, it smells amazing!

You’ll need:  1 cup coffee grounds, 1 cup raw sugar (or sea salt), 1/2 cup coconut oil

Grind fresh beans to get 1 cup of grounds (or use recycled grounds from your morning coffee). Briefly heat the coconut oil in the microwave until it becomes liquid. Combine coffee grounds, sugar (or salt), and oil in a large bowl and mix well.

Apply to damp body in a circular motion and rinse off. Store in airtight jars.

BEETROOT POWDER

I ran across this truffle recipe on Lazy Cat Kitchen while I was searching for a V-Day recipe and discovered you can grind up beetroot in your coffee grinder to make powder used for rolling truffles—genius! Beetroot powder can also be used in soups, sauces, or any dish you want to add a pop of color to. First, you’ll need to make beet crisps.

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees and line a tray with parchment paper. Use a mandolin to slice the beets really thin and arrange them on the tray so they don’t overlap. Bake for two hours. They should be dry and crisp when they’re done.

Grind the crisps into powder with a coffee grinder and sift before rolling the truffles.

 

Italian almond Christmas cookies

italian-almond-christmas-cookies

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Hope you’re all enjoying the holidays with family, friends, and fur balls. And if you’re not, whip yourself up a batch of these—I swear you’ll perk up in no time!

Never have I ever made a cookie so addicting that I (with help from a few others) ate four batches in a week! Tis’ the season, am I right? The texture is unlike any cookie I’ve had before. It’s light and airy, yet dense—like a cross between a muffin and a cookie (and maybe shortbread. Or a donut??). The actual cookie itself isn’t super sweet, so it’s a good balance with the sugary sprinkles, and the nutty almond flavor of the icing.

Big thank you to Peggie Constantino for sharing this recipe with me—I’ll be making these every year from here on out!

I don’t know what it is, but Italians always win when it comes to simple, yet delicious food. They can turn three ingredients into a homemade marinara sauce that’ll outshine any sauce you’d find at most Italian restaurants (at least in LA, anyway).

The secret? Keep it simple, stupid. 

I brought a batch of these to work and they disappeared in what seemed like seconds, which was probably for the best since I’d already eaten two on the way to work and a handful more after we’d finished frosting. Definitely pencil some trips to the gym into your New Years Resolutions if you make these!

Now, let’s talk decorating.

To keep it traditional for the holidays we went with a red, white, and green theme, but by the fourth batch, I ventured off the beaten path a bit. If you make 100+ cookies in a week, you’re going to want to mix things up, too—trust me.

confettin-xmas-cookie-2_ig

So I did this—it’s a.. birthday cookie? I simply mixed a couple drops of food coloring into the dough for a green marbled affect. Then I gave them a bath in frosting and a heavy dose of multi-colored sprinkles and voila! 

You can also add some food coloring to the icing if you’re bored with the white. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be very generous with the frosting and sprinkles—the crunchy, sweet layer of sugar is what really drives these babies home. I found that a thicker frosting worked better—it clung to the cookie nicely and acted like a glue for the sprinkles.

Have fun and enjoy!

Ingredients

*Recipe makes 30-40 cookies

For the cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (+ extra if dough is sticky)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the almond icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-4 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl stir flour, baking powder and salt together with a whisk and set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla together with a hand mixer until well combined.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until a dough forms. You may have to finish mixing it by hand if it gets too sticky for the beaters.  Add a little more flour to the dough if it’s still sticky after everything is mixed in.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until bottom of cookie is golden brown. The tops will be pale and cracked.

Let cookies cool on a cooling rack while you make the frosting.

For the icing, sift 2 cups of flour into a mixing bowl. Add the almond extract and milk 1 tbsp at a time, until it’s the consistency you want. I like a thicker icing, so I used about 3 tbsp. Add a couple drops of food coloring to the icing if you want it colored.

When cookies are cool, keep them on the cooling rack and put a cookie sheet underneath to catch the frosting. Icing them on the cooling rack allows the frosting to drip off the cookie for a cleaner look. Frost with a thick layer of icing and decorate with lots of sprinkles!

*To store, place  decorated cookies in layers separated by wax paper in an airtight container for up to three days. OR freeze undecorated cookies for up to three months. Thaw cookies before decorating.

Spicy chili

spicy-chili

It’s officially comfort food season! Let the countdown to Thanksgiving begin, and the counting of calories end. It’s time to slip on that oversized sweater and pretend that bread doesn’t make you fat. I’m kicking off the season with a hearty bowl of spicy chili that’s sure to warm your soul.

This was actually my first time making chili. I don’t know how that happened being from Wisconsin, as chili is the glue that holds the Midwest together during the winter, but let’s just not talk about it.

This version is perfect for first timers. I got the recipe from my boyfriend’s mother, but tweaked it slightly by adding some cayenne pepper to spice things up. The ingredients are very basic and not a lot of prep work is involved. It’s a great set it and forget it dish. And the best part is it gets better as it sits, so you can feast on it all week!

The only thing I would be wary of is the brand of tomato products you choose. The only option for me at the time was Hunts, which I find to be a little more sugary than other brands. The chili ended up being a little too sweet for my liking, as the recipe calls for additional sugar—so maybe omit it if you’re working with a sugary tomato product.

Let’s talk fixin’s.

My mentality when it comes to toppings is more is morecheese, sour cream, diced onion, jalapeños, avocado, cilantro, or even some crushed up tortilla chips. However, the chili is delicious on its own, so feel free to keep it classic if that’s more your thing!

Enjoy.

Ingredients

All cans are 14.5-15 ounces,  unless otherwise specified. 

  • 3  cans dark red kidney beans (do not drain)
  • 3 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • salt and pepper

Toppings ideas (optional)

  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream (or greek yogurt)
  • jalapeño
  • red onion
  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Instructions

Finely dice the onions and sauté them over medium heat in a large pot with the ground beef, until onions are translucent and beef is cooked through. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Let simmer for 30 minutes and adjust any additional seasonings or sugar as needed. Prepare toppings as chili simmers.

*Make the day ahead for best flavor! 

 

Pumpkin ginger cookies

pumpkin-ginger-cookies2

It’s safe to say when most people think of ginger cookies, they think of ginger snaps—those crunchy-ass medallions that come in a cardboard box you’ve had in your pantry since birth. Well friends, I am here to change that conviction.

One of my roommates in college used to make the most outrageous molasses ginger cookies, ever. They were soft and chewy with a deep, rich flavor that somehow still felt light enough it was no problem smashing 5 or 6 per sitting. These are not those cookies. They are, however, pretty damn close AND I added pumpkin—#fall.

The pumpkin puree gives the cookie a seasonal makeover without tasting artificial, like so many other pumpkin treats this time of year.

I’m looking at you, Starbucks. 

The sugar coating gives the outside a delicate crunch, and makes them look some kind of fancy, despite how easy the recipe is. When baking for company, the goal is to make the food look like it took hours, while exerting as little effort as possible. A 1.5″ cookie scoop will be your friend when it comes to keeping the cookies uniform (and giving off that perfectionist baker vibe). I also find it makes an ideal sized cookie—a little larger than bite-size, but small enough that you can eat two (or six) without feeling gluttonous. Well if you eat six, no promises.

These babies are basically sugar and butter, rolled in more sugar, and then sprinkled with sugar—so if you’re looking for a way to slim down over the holidays, you should probably look elsewhere. For everyone else, enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar + extra for rolling
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whip softened butter and 1 cup sugar together with a whisk (or an electric mixer) until light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin puree and molasses and mix until well-combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt together. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until combined. Do not over mix. 

Sprinkle a hefty layer of sugar on a large plate. With a 1.5″ cookie scoop, scoop dough onto sugar and roll into a balls, completely covering the dough with sugar. Place cookies on a greased baking sheet about two inches apart. Don’t press cookies to flatten. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cracks form on top of the cookies.

Cookies will be very soft, so let them cool for a few minutes on the sheet before placing on cooling rack.

*Recipe makes approximately 30-40 cookies. 

 

 

 

 

Polenta trout cake with tangy green pepper sauce

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There are two sides when it comes to leftovers. You either cower away from the casserole your mom made three days ago as if green gas is billowing out of it, or you stand in front of the fridge stuffing fork fulls of cold spaghetti in your pie hole. If you land on the latter end of the spectrum, this post is for you.

My brother (and I) happen to be on Team Leftover. He more like runs the team—nothing goes to waste in our house. One time he used leftover garlic bread to make a crust for some sort of German sauerkraut pie that also incorporated leftover pasta. Not to mention he makes bread pudding out of any stale carb under the sun. It’s pretty impressive, actually.

And, y’all know how much I love breakfast, so when Stephen (my bro) came up with a dish to use up our leftover trout and polenta that included eggs, I was down. I know it’s highly unlikely you will have both leftover polenta and trout on hand, so I will let you in on how we made ours in the Instruction section below.

This leftover revamp is out of bounds (and all other Guy Fieri jargon). The cakes are rich from the creamy polenta, with a subtle smokiness from the fish, that pair really well with the tanginess from the mustard in the green pepper sauce. Of course this dish can be made sans egg, but I wouldn’t recommend it because yolk porn. The cakes are pretty hearty and filling, so bring an appetite for this one!

Enjoy.

Ingredients

For the polenta (if you don’t have leftovers)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4-6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper

For the trout (if you don’t have leftovers)

  • wild trout filet, skin on
  • chipotle powder
  • paprika
  • granulated garlic
  • creole seasoning

For the cakes

  • polenta, leftover or made fresh and cooled
  • trout, cooked
  • chipotle powder
  • paprika
  • white pepper
  • butter (for frying)
  • olive oil (for frying)
  • salt and pepper
  • egg (optional)

For the sauce

  • 1/2 large green pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 whole milk
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chicken stock (depending on desired consistency)
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • granulated garlic
  • fresh herbs (basil, mint, thyme or anything you have on hand)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Skip to third paragraph if you already have leftover polenta and trout.

If you need to make polenta, bring milk and stock to a boil. Gradually whisk polenta in and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-25 mins, stirring every couple of minutes until consistency is thick and creamy. Remove from heat and stir in cheese little by little, until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you need to make the trout, season fish with chipotle powder, paprika, garlic, and creole seasoning. Drizzle with a little olive oil and grill, skin-side down, on a fairly hot grill until translucent, or just cooked though. DO NOT FLIP. It’s okay if the skin gets a little burnt because it’s acting as a barrier from the direct heat, protecting the meat from charring, while keeping the fish moist.

Once you have polenta and trout, start by making the green pepper sauce. Sauté peppers and onions in olive oil. After a few minutes add butter, milk, mustard, and granulated garlic. Add fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. When veggies are soft and cooked through, move to blender (or bowl if using immersion blender) and liquify until consistency is similar to whole milk—add more milk if too thick. Return to pan and keep over very low heat until ready to serve.

Take leftover polenta and break it apart so it’s more pliable. Break up trout into good size chunks and add to polenta. Season mixture with white pepper, chipotle, paprika, and salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat until butter turns toasty brown. Form polenta/trout mixture into patties the size of a thick burger. Fry patties until brown and crusty on each side. While patties are frying, cook eggs as desired in a separate pan.

Plate patties with (or without) an egg and the green pepper sauce. Serve with a side of mixed greens lightly dressed with olive oil and vinegar.

Southwestern shrimp salad

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When I was growing up, my mom would make this bean salad called Texas caviar. It had all the usual suspects of Tex-Mex cuisine—corn, bell pepper, onion, tomato, etc. We would eat it with Fritos Scoops by the vat (or so it felt). It was an awesome summertime eat because it didn’t require a heat source to make. Midwest summers don’t mix well with the oven. Or the stove. Or even a toaster. Ninety-degree days with 90% humidity and no air conditioner? No thanks, I’ll eat my Eggo frozen.

Here, I have made a slightly sexier version of my mom’s Texas caviar. I should probably call if California caviar because if living in LA has taught me anything, it’s that adding avocado to something makes it “Californian.”  But, I won’t do that to you guys.  

This salad is hearty, fresh, and light. You can eat it by itself, over greens, or my personal fav—with tortilla chips. The lime and cilantro lend a brightness that really wakes up the shrimp and cuts through the richness of the avocado. The black beans give it some substance, so it’s easy to fill up on. I like to keep my knife cuts rough and rustic and the best part about making this dish is that the measurements don’t need to be precise. Add as many or as little of the ingredients as you like. You can also eliminate anything you don’t jive with or add an all-star ingredient I may have left out.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2-1 can corn, drained (or fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2-1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • juice of 2 limes
  • cilantro, chopped (to taste)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Peel your shrimp (if they haven’t been) and chop into bite size pieces. Prepare all vegetables by dicing into similar sized chunks.

In a small bowl combine lime juice, onion, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Let sit for about 5 minutes to allow the juices to mellow out the flavor of the onion.

In a large mixing bowl combine corn, beans, avocado, tomato, jalapeño, shrimp, and cilantro. Add onion mixture and stir to coat. Add more oil or lime juice if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For best flavor, refrigerate for at least 30 mins. Serve with tortilla chips, over greens, or just by itself!

Blueberry pancakes

Blueberry pancakes

There are only a few food items I’m not particularly fond of and one of them is pancakes. They just aren’t that great (they taste like dust)—end of discussion. However, anything soaked in butter and drenched in syrup, I can get down with. So I caved and made some for my boyfriend the other day.

We took a day trip to Malibu and stopped for breakfast on the way. Matt ordered a short stack of blueberry pancakes with scrambled eggs and bacon. Hearts formed in his eyes when the waitress brought his plate, but unfortunately shattered to pieces after finding a black hair in the cakes. It was game over for him. The next morning, I decided to surprise him with a batch of homemade flapjacks to make up for it.

I walked to the store while he was still asleep to pick up all the ingredients because I’m the best girlfriend, ever. And keep in mind, this was extra nice since I don’t even like pancakes. It was my first time making them from scratch, so I was a little nervous, but they turned out A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I recall Matt saying they might be the best pancakes he’s ever had, so—there you go. Even I (renown pancake hater) thought they were awesome.

I prefer my pancakes semi-small and not too thick, so I added a little extra milk than the original recipe called for, and used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to keep the cakes small and uniform. Oh, I also cooked them in lots of butter. Before each batch of pancakes, I rubbed the hot griddle with the end of a stick of butter. It gets cooked into the batter while the pancakes are formed, so it adds a rich, buttery flavor before they’ve even finished cooking.

This is what sets apart delicious pancakes from meh ones, in my opinion. Any pancakes are going to be bomb after a syrup bath and butter soak, but the great ones taste good before all the frills and fuss.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh blueberries (or frozen)
  • stick of butter (for frying)

Instructions

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat the egg, milk, and oil with a whisk until well-combined. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until batter forms a smooth consistency. Add more milk if you want a thinner batter.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Heat griddle to medium and rub with the end of a stick of butter. Pour batter onto the griddle using a 1/4 cup measuring cup and immediately sprinkle with blueberries. Cook until golden brown and air bubbles have formed on the face-up side of the pancake. Flip and finish cooking on the other side. Remove from pan and store in oven to keep warm.

Remember to re-rub the griddle with butter before each batch!

Tip: Scoot the cakes around the pan while they’re cooking to soak up all the butter.

Cream cheese strawberry banana bread

Strawberry banana bread

I don’t consider myself much of a baker, but as soon as someone finds out I like to cook, they assume I can whip up a batch of chocolate soufflés like I’m the spawn of Julia Child. Because of this preconceived notion, I’ve been working on my baking skills, and I must say, I’m getting pretty damn good.

The other day, I ran across a bushel of neglected bananas at my boyfriend’s and went into a banana bread-making frenzy. I tested a variety of recipes, and this was hands down the best. It tastes as if a pound cake, a loaf of banana bread, and a strawberry shortcake had a ménage à trois and gave birth to the most sinfully sweet dessert/bread you’ve ever laid eyes on. 

The cream cheese is definitely a game changer. It gives the bread a dense, moist texture while adding a creamy richness to it. The tart strawberries balance out the richness and give the bread a bright pop of color. Sexy and sweet. 

I let the bread rest overnight before cutting into it, which really helped keep it moist and soft. I cut out half a cup of flour from the original recipe (originally 3 cups) because the dough seemed a little too dry. I was surprised it turned out so well because I always try to manipulate dessert recipes thinking I know what I’m doing and it usually ends up being a fiasco. But, hey—look at me now! Ms. Betty Crocker. 

Shout out to my boyfriend for the beautiful photography, and for patiently waiting until after the photoshoot to try the bread—can’t say the same for myself!

Enjoy. 

Ingredients

  • 2 large bananas, mashed 
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped 
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans with non-stick baking spray. 

Mash bananas with a fork and set aside. Roughly chop strawberries and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and cream cheese together in a large bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and mix. Add mashed bananas and mix again. 

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture while mixing on medium speed until completely incorporated. 

Gently fold strawberries into batter with a spatula. 

Divide batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 45-60 mins or until toothpick comes out clean from the center. 

Lest rest 30 mins to overnight before slicing. 

Homemade meatballs

Meatballs

By now you should know I’m a pretty big fan of Italian(s)—food, people, culture—so it should come as no surprise that the guy I’m dating is Italian. When we first met I asked what his last meal on Earth would be, and he immediately responded with his dad’s meatballs. So (obviously) I got my hands on the recipe and here we are. You can thank Steven Constantino if you fall in love with these meatballs—and trust me, you will.

This was my second time making them, and I don’t know how they compare to Matt’s father’s, but I thought they were damn delicious. Matt kindly informed me they were a bit onion heavy, and to make sure to chop the onions into oblivion. The recipe calls for one small onion or half a large one, and I think I chose too big of a large one. The first time I made them, I remember him deliberately instructing me to chop all the ingredients into smithereens, so just make sure you finely, finely, finely dice everything to avoid one ingredient from masking the others.

For this batch of meatballs, I made the homemade marinara sauce recipe I stole from Carissa’s family (you see now why I keep Italians close—they always have the best family recipes). But the first time I made the meatballs, I used a jarred sauce called Rao’s that Matt swears by. It’s a little more expensive than the popular brands like Prego or Ragu, but it tastes homemade, so it’s definitely worth it.

We’ve used the meatballs to make subs, put them over pasta, and just eaten them by themselves in the sauce, with a little parmesan on top. I think Matt’s dad even uses them in his lasagna, which I’d love the recipe for—hint, hint! 

Enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground chuck
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup romano cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 2–4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small  or half a large yellow onion, minced (very finely)
  • 1/2 cup fresh, flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • sauce (3–4 24-oz jars or homemade marinara)
  • fresh basil, to garnish

Instructions

Make sauce if using homemade.

Finely mince the garlic, onion, and parsley. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients (except sauce) and mix well with hands.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Shape mixture into medium-sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 3o minutes.

Warm the sauce and drop in balls to continue cooking until ready to serve. Garnish with fresh basil.

*Recipe makes 20-30 meatballs. Store leftovers in a Ziplock bag in the freezer.
**Ask your butcher to grind chuck for you if you can’t find it already ground.