Make-it-yours Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs. Such a classical combination. And a meal that I like so much that I have been known to eat three plates in a sitting…not the best claim to fame but I enjoyed every bite!

Now, many people have a family spaghetti and meatballs recipe, and our family recipe is: go see Uncle Mark because his meatballs are amazing! But that doesn’t work when I live so far away so I had to figure out my own “family” recipe for meatballs.

Make the ultimate meatball

Now the recipe I list here has a lot of possible adaptations according to some of the experiments I have done. So don’t be afraid to change it up to suit your tastes! I think everyone should experiment (within reason) in the kitchen because only you know exactly what you like. So tinker away and share what you come up with!

Making your own meatballs

Recipe: (~12 meatballs)

½ cup oats (or bread crumbs)

½ cup milk

Oil

1lb ground beef (or other ground meat)

1 onion (peeled, grated, see note 1)

2 garlic cloves (peeled, grated or finely chopped)

1 egg (can use just yolk or use no egg, see note 2)

1-2 tbsp BBQ sauce or Worchestshire Sauce (or some combination thereof)

Spices to taste (I add oregano and pepper)

2 cups or 1 can of tomato sauce (if making spaghetti sauce with meat balls)

Making meatballs with oats and milk

Note 1: If you cry while cutting onions BEWARE! Grating onions makes it even worse but the quality of the meatballs is SO much better when they are grated.

Note 2: This recipe can be made egg-less. In my rush to take pictures I forgot to add the egg to the pictured batch. If you do omit the egg, be careful when turning the meatballs when searing. Without the egg, the meatballs are more likely to fall apart but as you can see in my photos, mine did not so it is possible to make well-formed meatballs without eggs.

Homemade meatballs

  1. Mix oats and milk in a small bowl. Set aside to soak up.
  2. Mix meat, onion, garlic, egg, sauces, and spices in a large bowl.
  3. Add the oats/milk mixture and mix well.
  4. Form the meat mixture into balls about 2 inches or 4 cm in diameter. Think golf ball size.
  5. Pre-heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add oil to completely cover the bottom. Put in the meatballs and sear on ALL sides. Drain oil.

Forming meatballs

Searing homemade meatballs

From here there are two methods you can choose: 6a) is the sauce option for it you want to simmer the meatballs in tomato sauce; 6b) if the oven option for if you want to have plain meatballs.

Homemade meatballs in spaghetti sauce

6a. Sauce option: Add sauce to the pan with the meatballs. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Then serve on a plate of spaghetti noodles.

6b. Dry option (NOT PICTURED): Place the meatballs on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Put in pre-heated oven at 375F for approximately 15-20 minutes. Rotate the meatballs after 5-10 minutes of cooking. Serve as desired (my husband suggests over rice with some maple BBQ sauce).

Make the ultimate meatball

So give this recipe a try and let me know what options you chose and if you made any additional changes. Share your perfected meatball recipe in the comments so everyone can try (and have a taste of your amazing-ness).

 

 

Easy Raspberry Smoothie

Raspberry Smoothie

While I love the idea of healthy or “clean eating” smoothies, I find a lot of them don’t actually taste that great. Green smoothies – regardless of what they say – always seem to keep that “green” taste. Fruit smoothies can easily get too sweet. And banana based smoothies tend to get boring after a while. So, I took things into my own hands! After much experimentation I found a smoothie that I actually enjoy: a raspberry smoothie with hints of coconut and honey.

A quick look at the ingredients you will need

This recipe features simple ingredients and can be altered for your particular tastes though I like it exactly how it is! My only suggestions are to switch the berry you are using or use a different kind of milk (coconut, almond, etc.) to change the flavour without sacrificing the base recipe.

Very Berry

One thing I really like about this recipe, is you can make it in any serving size. For this post I made a ½ serving since I was still experimenting. The recipe below however, is for a FULL SERVING even though the pictures are for half. I wrote in the ingredient picture below that you need double what is shown for a full serving. Make sense? No? Moving on…

Raspberry smoothie ingredients

Recipe (1 serving)

  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2/3 Cup Raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut
  • 2 Tsp Honey
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon (more of an add to taste thing)

Ingredients in blender

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender.
  2. Add ice cubes to alter thickness.
  3. Blend until smooth and all ice broken up.
  4. Pour into a glass and sprinkle with coconut.
  5. Serve.

Raspberry Smoothie

That’s it: 5 ingredients and 5 steps. Nice and simple.

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Any alterations you would suggest? Comment below and I will post my favorites!

Apple Pancake Rings

Apple Pancake Rings

A staple fruit in our home is apples since one of the only fruits my husband willingly eats is good ol’ red delicious apples. So I have been experimenting with apples in order to get him to eat more of the fruits he needs. Through my tests, I found pairing apples with pancake batter was a tasty combination. By dipping apple rings into homemade crêpe batter and frying them I was able to make this quick and easy breakfast food featuring apples.

Any apple variety can be used in this recipe but some fare better than others. Since the apple is being fried, you want to pick something with a harder flesh like granny smith and red delicious. While the pictures show red delicious apple pancake rings, I have made a great rendition of the recipe with farmer’s market crispin apples. The ability to use all kinds of apples allows for lots of experimentation.

Dry ingredients in a bowl

Mixed ingredients

Use the recipe I have provided as a guide. Change the measurements of the basic batter to suit your tastes. The easiest and most flavourful change you can make is adding more or less of the vanilla and cinnamon. Or switch to other flavours altogether like all spice or a bit of lemon. Personally, I add either a lot of vanilla OR a lot of cinnamon. My husband and I like the strong flavours and want that flavour to carry through to the finished product.

Slicing and coring the applesDipping apple rings into the batter

I am very glad this experiment worked out. In our home, breakfast seems to be a rotation of bacon and eggs, hashes, pancakes, and cereal, so a fruit filled addition helps lighten our morning meal. This recipe does not stop there though, there are many alterations that can be made which extend the utility of the apple pancake rings. See below the recipe for my suggested alterations.

Frying the apple rings

Recipe: Apple Pancake Rings

4-6 apples (any variety)
1 ½ cups of flour
1 tbsp of sugar
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter, melted
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 egg (large)
½ cup oil for frying

  1. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon). Stir in the milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Beat with a whisk until smooth.
  2. Slice the apples into approximately ¼ inch thick slices and cut out the center core of each slice. You could also core the apple first but seeing as I do not own a corer it is easier to cut it out after the slices are made. Depending on the variety of apple you choose, you may need to pat dry the apple slices with a paper towel. If the apple is too wet from its juices the batter will not stick.
  3. Heat a frying pan with the oil on medium-high heat. Dip the apple slices into the batter being sure to coat both sides. Let any excess batter come off the apple as if there is too much the batter will fall off after cooking. Once battered, added several rings to the pan so they lay flat. Turn often to ensure the batter browns equally.
  4. Once the apple slices are golden brown and slightly crispy (or whatever texture you prefer), move them to a plate lined with paper towel so the excess oil can drip off. Serve warm and enjoy!

Apple Pancake Rings

Alterations and Notes:

You can toss the still warm apple pancake rings in a cinnamon sugar mixture for a sweeter treat. Just mix 3 tablespoons of sugar for every one teaspoon of cinnamon. I always have some of this cinnamon sugar mix in the cupboard since it is great for adding to fresh or cooked fruits when they need an extra kick!

Add these pancake rings to vanilla ice cream for an apple pie alternative. With or without the cinnamon sugar.

The rings could also be dipped in dessert toppings such as chocolate or caramel sauces. You will need to make sure the crust is extra crispy at this point though.

Be sure to keep the heat at a high frying temperature. If there is insufficient heat the batter may not cover the sides of the apples, even in my photos you can see gaps because I had too low a temperature. Just be sure not to overheat your oil!

Washing apples

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Have you experimented with this recipe? Have an alteration to suggest?
Comment below with your alteration and I will try as many suggestions as possible and add my favorites to this list!