Barbecue Glazed Meatballs

I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot take a good photo of meatballs.  However, that should not deter you from making this dish.  Since I was on a mission to make kid-friendly meals while The G Man was visiting, I thought, “What kid doesn’t like meatballs?”

The answer is, I haven’t met one yet.  Out of all the dishes I prepared during the week G was with us, this was by far his favorite – he ate the leftovers for lunch the next day with as much enthusiasm as he did when it was dinner. It should also be noted that it was immensely enjoyed by his mom, his grandpa, his uncle and his grandma, too.

This recipe makes a lot, but I wanted a lot, since I knew we’d be eating it for 2 meals and it does reheat very well.  I had a bad moment when I began putting the meatballs together; I thought I’d thawed a package of plain ground pork and it turned out to be hot Italian sausage.  I worried it might be a little too spicy for a little guy, but it obviously didn’t bother him at all – of course, the fact that it was mixed with 2 pounds of ground beef probably helped with that.

The sauce is simply my Maple Barbecue Sauce without the red pepper flakes (the hot Italian sausage may not have been an issue, but I didn’t want to push it); if you don’t care for or don’t want to use hot Italian sausage – especially if you’re making it for children – sweet Italian sausage would work extremely well.

All in all, this is a simple and delicious dish; it was so good that I’m going to make it as cocktail meatballs for our annual Christmas party this Saturday.

Barbecue Glazed Meatballs

Barbecue Glazed Meatballs

serves 10

2 pounds ground beef
1 pound Italian sausage
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons lard or other cooking fat
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato sauce
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, gently but thoroughly mix together the beef, sausage, pepper and tamari. Form the mixture into 2 -ounce meatballs and place, in a single layer, on a rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes; remove from oven and set aside.

While the meatballs are baking, combine the remaining ingredients in a large skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon. Add the meat balls to the sauce and reduce the heat to low. Stir and continue to cook for another 15 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and coats the meatballs.

Nutrition (per serving): 508 calories, 35.7g total fat, 105mg cholesterol, 1079.6mg sodium, 616mg potassium, 21.6g carbohydrates, 1.2g fiber, 17.2g sugar, 24.1g protein.

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Posted in participation of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

Make Ahead Monday: Ketchup

It’s the beginning of another work week, so that mean it’s time for…

So come, y’all – link up your recipes that can be made ahead using the Mr. Linky widget thingie down at the bottom.  (Not that I’m begging or anything, but…please.  PLEASE.)

We’ve had our grandson, The G Man, since last Thursday while his mom took a much-needed break in Las Vegas, so this week I’m posting all real food “kid friendly” recipes.  And what is more kid friendly than that childhood staple, ketchup?

We’re not big ketchup lovers, so when we went to an all real-food diet, we pretty much stopped eating it.  I discovered, though, that 2-year-old boys are far more likely to eat the protein on their plate if they have something to dip it in.  I keep a jar of Maple Barbecue Sauce in the fridge at all times (it’s really the only condiment The Young One will eat), but worried that it might be a tad on the spicy side for a toddler palate.  Besides, what kind of kitchen doesn’t contain ketchup?  And what kind of grandma doesn’t serve it?

So I made some.

And it is marvelous.

This recipe makes a ton, but will keep in the fridge for up to a month.  It really is superior to any commercial ketchup, although because I ran it through my aging Cuisinart food processor, it is not as smooth as a commercial ketchup (a good quality blender would solve that problem – have I mentioned I lust for a Vitamix?)  It was a big hit, too – The G Man gave it an enthusiastic two thumbs up…and in…and around…and over…and under…

It also is apparently quite the fashion statement.

Ketchup

Ketchup

32 (2 tablespoon) servings or 1 quart

2 tablespoons lard or butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
6 ounce tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
pinch cayenne pepper

Melt lard or butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the tomato sauce, coconut sugar, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, salt, mustard, cloves, allspice, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the consistency of ketchup.

Using an immersion blender, food processor or blender, puree the mixture, in batches if necessary, until smooth.

Adjust seasonings if needed. Can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Nutrition (per serving): 34 calories, <1g total fat, <1mg cholesterol, 68.5mg sodium, 175.2mg potassium, 5.9g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 4.2g sugar, <1g protein.

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Braised Chuck Steak in Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue SteakThis could also alternately be titled “Smothered Steak, Texas Style.”

Sometimes I wonder how my mother managed to feed a husband and four kids – we weren’t exactly rolling in dough when I was growing up.  We ate a lot of chicken, ground beef, canned tuna, Spam, hot dogs and beans.  (Canned green beans were also big – so much so that I wouldn’t buy them for years after I left home.)  Every once in awhile, though, Mom would buy inexpensive cuts of pork and beef – the kind that do well with slow, moist cooking methods – if they were on sale, and this was one of her favorite ways to cook chuck or round steak.

I cooked it whenever I could when Oldest Son and Darling Daughter were growing up, as I was also cash-strapped for quite some time, but largely forgot about it the last few years as my income grew and I discovered things like, oh, Filet Mignon and sashimi grade tuna.  Then, in the last year or so, our local grocery store began to have a great many wicked buy-one-get-one-free sales on things like whole roasting chickens, pork loin and various cuts of beef, including chuck and round steaks, and I found myself with a freezer full of meat that my mother would have had a…um…cow over.

At any rate, I made this one night recently on a whim, and to say it was a rip-roaring success here at the Sushi Bar (especially with The Eternally Picky Young One) would be an understatement; even Beloved loves it.  Although this is only barbecue sauce in the loosest sense, it is still a simple, relatively inexpensive main dish and really, really good with mashed potatoes, steamed rice or handmade buttered egg noodles, which I’ll post a recipe for later this week.

Braised Chuck Steak in Barbecue Sauce

serves 4 – 6

1 1/2 pounds chuck (or round) steak, cut into serving-sized portions

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 can cream of tomato soup

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard

1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season steaks lightly with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Brown in oil, about 3 – 4 minutes, on each side.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine soup, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper.  Mix well and pour over steaks; lower heat and cover skillet.

Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until steak is tender, stirring occasionally (add a little hot water from time to time if sauce becomes too thick).  Uncover and continue cooking until sauce thickens, if needed.

Candied Chicken

When I was in middle school, the band (yes, I was a band geek…a theatre geek and a choir geek, too) sold cookbooks for a fund-raiser. They were inexpensive little things, of course, with cute music “themes.” My parents bought one, naturally, and it went on a shelf somewhere to collect dust, with the rest of my mother’s modest cookbook collection. (Mom could cook when she wanted to – she just rarely wanted to.)

When I grew up, married and moved away from home Mom gladly handed over the majority of her cookbooks, one of which was the fund-raiser book. I don’t think I made many of the recipes, but there was one in there that struck my fancy and has remained in my repertoire since: Candied Chicken.

Not nearly as sweet as the name suggests, it’s a quick, easy and inexpensive sweet-and-sour recipe that lends itself to all sorts of interpretation. Kids love it, as do grown men, and it can be made with inexpensive chicken parts with the skin and bones, or boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. While I make it mostly with boneless, skinless breasts for convenience, it tastes best with bone-in, skin-on chicken parts. I’ll start with the original recipe, then the version for boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

This is very good with homemade mashed potatoes and a nice vegetable.

Candied Chicken
serves 6
1 package of “Pick of the Chick” chicken parts
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup pancake syrup (the really cheap stuff is just fine)
1/2 cup ketchup (again, the really cheap stuff is fine)
1/2 cup plain white vinegar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the syrup, ketchup and vinegar with a whisk; set aside.

Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a wide, shallow dish like a pie plate. Heat the oil over high heat in a large, heavy skillet until almost smoking. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then fry in the oil until brown all over, about 3 -5 minutes on each side. Drain briefly on a paper towel, then place, skin side up, in a large shallow baking dish, such as a Pyrex glass 15x10x2 cake pan.

Pour the syrup mixture over the chicken and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when the chicken thighs are pierced with a fork.

Boneless, Skinless Breast Version
serves 6

Heat oven to 350 degrees; mix the pancake syrup, ketchup and vinegar as instructed before.

Place 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a large shallow baking dish, such as a Pyrex glass 15x10x2 cake pan. Pour the syrup mixture over the chicken and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, or until chicken is done.