Tag Archives: Mozzarella

French Onion Soup Meatballs

8 Oct

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To carry on with delicious comfort fall foods, I have a main dish recipe that will blow the socks off your feet. Yes! Your socks will land in the other room and you won’t even care because you will be in the midst of devouring the most tender and savory meatballs.

Ok, so that may be a BIT of an exaggeration …a little bit…

But I can’t tell you enough how good these are so you must just trust me and make them yourself! Pleaseeee! And tell me how they turn out for you because I just know it’ll be a hit. A walk-off triple. Three and out for a rockstar defense. (Sorry, my husband’s coaching terms are rubbing off.)

Before we dive into meatball heaven here, I must disclose that I have a soft spot for meatballs. I don’t know what it is, but I think they’re one of my favorite comfort foods. I have favorite go-to recipes for tangy turkey meatballs with cranberry sauce  (one I’ve been meaning to share with you guys), another for BBQ meatballs that are great when you are sick and just want yummy, simple food and the ones I’ve shared with you here already – Spicy Turkey Meatballs, Barefoot Contessa style. Now I think I’ve stumbled into a fourth to keep in my arsenal of meatball go-to’s.

Now if you’re at all on the fence about meatballs (which, I’m sorry but I don’t QUITE relate), perhaps convincing you that these are like sinking your teeth into a delicious meat version of french onion soup, with the same drippy cheese and delicious cooked down onions. Except this…

…that cheese and onion that makes french onion soup SO good?!?

It’s INSIDE the meatballs!

Mind. Blown.

Right?!

So stay with me here, if you like anything I said above then all I can say is, you will love these babies. This recipe is adapted from the amazing recipe posted over at Cupcakes and Kale Chips. I cannot say how thankful I am for Brianne’s creation. My version is adjusted for ingredients we had in our kitchen and I note a few spots below that you could also experiment and make these your own.

Ingredients:

Onions / Filling (makes enough to stuff 15 or so meatballs, plus a bit extra):

  • 1 Tablespoon garlic infused olive oil (adds a little extra flavor, but normal olive oil works too)
  • 2 white onions, halved and sliced
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup beef stock or broth (whichever you have on hand)
  • ¼ cup red wine (I used Shiraz as I’m obsessed and it’s always in our kitchen)
Meatballs (makes 15 or so meatballs):
  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef (you could use ground turkey if looking for a healthier option)
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1 Tsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped plus extra to sprinkle on top, at the end
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella (divide 3-4 oz into half-inch cubes for your meatballs – about 15 small mozz cubes – and slice up the remainder to place on top of the meatballs)
  • ½ Tbsp garlic infused olive oil (again, to add some extra flavor but normal olive oil will work too)
Meatball Sauce: 
  • 1 ¾ cup beef stock or broth (again, whichever you have on hand)
  • ¼ cup red wine (Shiraz for me again!)
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • S&P (to taste)

How to Make:

First thing that you’re going to get cooking is the onions. Halve and slice up the onions.
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After heating up the olive oil in a saucepan, add in the sliced onions, S&P and let it cook down and become fragrant for 15-20 minutes. Make sure to give this a stir with a spatula regularly to keep everything cooking.
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While your onions are cooking, start in on the meatballs. Mix ALL of the ingredients listed for the meatballs, except the mozzarella, together in a medium-sized bowl. Mix everything together using your hands or a spatula. Then, divide the meat mixture into 15 separate balls.
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Back to the onions, once they’re carmelized and looking GOOD, add in your thyme, letting it cook in with the onions for a few minutes.
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Then add in the wine and beef stock / broth. This is when it hits you…these onions are going to be out of this world. And why have you never thought to cook onions this way? What is it about red wine and beef stock / broth that makes onions smell and taste so darn good?! I do not know the answer to that, but I admit that I snuck quite a few onions from the pan while everything reduced down.
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Sigh, good stuff. Let the onions cook down until there’s not much liquid left in the pan. Then remove from heat and let it cool a bit.
While those onions are making your mouth water, it’s time to prep your mozzarella. Divide about 3-4 oz of the mozzarella block into 15 small cubes. Put these on to a plate or in a bowl. Next to your mozzarella pieces, place your meatballs. Once your onions are cooked down and cooled, add them to your assembly line. Add an empty plate to the end, where you can place your finished meatballs.
Now for the fun part! We are stuffing these meatballs, guys. And it’s an imperfect process and that is a-ok.
No stressing, ok?!
To stuff each meatball, take one of the meatballs and flatten it in the palm of your hand.
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 Grab a small handful of onions and place those in the middle of the patty.
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 Place one of the small mozzarella cubes on top and then gently pat the meat mixture around the stuffing to make it back into a ball shape.
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This doesn’t turn out perfect looking meatballs, onions might be visible and mozzarella might be visible and it’s ok! Guess what?! It makes everything melty and wonderful and it will taste the same darn way no matter what they look like. So have fun, and stuff all of your 15 meatballs!
Now for this next step, I used my cast iron skillet as it’s stove top and oven friendly. If you have one, I’d recommend you use it for this next step as it’s super simple. If you don’t have a pan that is both stove top and oven friendly, not to worry. You can start with a skillet and then transfer to a oven dish after. As you decide on your skillet / oven dish of choice, preheat the oven to 350.
Heat up a the olive oil in the skillet and place all 15 of the meatballs in, one by one. Brown them on all sides, flipping them to ensure they’re browned all over. And again, don’t worry if they break a part a little bit.
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Once the browning process is complete (and you’ve wiped that drool off your chin, because yes, these look and smell SO good at this point), mix up your sauce, whisking everything together. If you’re using the same pan from stove top to oven, then pour the sauce on top and carefully place in the oven. If you’re switching dishes, move your meatballs from the skillet to an oven dish and then pour the sauce on top before putting in the oven. Bake these delectable dudes for 15-20 minutes.
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While those are baking, slice up the remainder of your mozzarella cheese and chop up some extra parsley for the top of the meatballs.
After the 15-20 minutes go by, pull ’em out and place the mozzarella on top. Pop ’em back in and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Bake until the cheese starts bubbling and starts to turn golden.
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Pull the meatballs out, garnish with the remaining fresh parsley and serve it up to hungry people. These will disappear faster than you can even fathom. They are drippy, cheesy, flavorful meatballs. They will rock your world and warm your insides. They would be perfect alongside some fresh veggies and some bread or grain that will soak up the juices on your plate. Nothing should be wasted here, friends!
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I hope you guys give this a go. It’s a new favorite in our home and will be for decades (we’ve made it twice in the last two months)!!
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Tomato Pesto Pie

7 Sep

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Now although it may seem like we only eat sweet things in this apartment, there are MANY savory dishes that we’ve been making recently that I had noted for future posts to share with you. However, this particular post features something made yesterday that was just SO darn good, that I had to share it with you all today.

This particular recipe was one I pinned on Pinterest, close to 2 years ago. I thought that it looked gorgeous (which is what caught my eye), but it was also a creative spin on your typical ‘pie’ as well as different type of side dish.

Side dishes are always a spot that I want to experiment with. Of course, we have some fallback staples that are our favorites (my husband LOVES TBM Salad, and we make it at minimum, twice a month), but I am usually looking to try something new and different, even if we’re using the same flavors. As you’ll see, the TBM Salad ingredients are all still present in this dish, just prepared in pie format and with a twist.

We were tasked with bringing a side for a dinner with some friends last night, and knowing we had plethora of tomatoes around the apartment and a pie crust (left from the recently made Sour Cream Apple Pie) – my mind went to this Pinterest pin, from so long ago.

Now, if I made this again I would love to use a few different ingredients – perhaps make some fresh, homemade pesto first, fresh basil and use some light mayo with olive oil (or even greek yogurt).

But that’s for a different time.

And I can tell you, the full-fat and easy version was DELICIOUS. Four of us (and later a fifth who stopped by) devoured the entire pie last night. So whether you choose to lighten this up or not, I think this is a pretty foolproof recipe.

The recipe I used is a tweaked version of what Your Homebased Mom posted for her version, called Tomato Basil Tart.

Ingredients:

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded Mozzarella
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup of yellow cherry tomatoes (this adds both a pop of color and great flavor to mix in with the larger tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup of pesto (store-bought OR homemade if you’re fancy and have the time!)
  • 1/2 cup of mayo (I used the full-fat version but you can lighten it up with a lighter mayo version or even mayo with olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese (with extra saved for sprinkling on top)
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1 Tbsp of dried basil (or chopped fresh basil, if you have some on hand!)

How to Make:

Similar to the apple pie I posted about yesterday, you start this guy off by baking the refrigerated pie using the instructions on its box – make sure to use the 1 pie crust, filled pie version.

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While it’s baking, shred your mozzarella cheese (and sneak some…because you can). You want this to be all ready when the pie crust comes out!

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Now, instead of letting the pie crust cool before we use it, you’re going to pile the mozzarella inside. I used all 1 1/2 cups and then spread it out so the bottom was all covered. The pie crust’s temperature will start to get the cheese all melty and wonderful.

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While that’s melting and looking tasty, slice and chop up your tomatoes. We were excited to use a mix of medium tomatoes and some yellow cherry tomatoes (Luke and I really have a thing for cherry tomatoes), not only to use up all the tomatoes we had, but it adds two great colors to the dish AND slightly different flavors. I sliced up about 2.5 medium red tomatoes and then chopped about a cup of yellow cherry tomatoes, halving them.

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Now, before the tomatoes go in, spoon out your pesto on top of the mozzarella. Spread it evenly across, and then it’s time to layer on the ‘maters! Layer as evenly as you can, so no matter what slice anyone gets, there’s a great mix of red and yellow tomatoes.

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It sure does look great, doesn’t it?!

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But we’re not done!

Now, mix up your mayo, parmesan cheese (which I bought already shredded) and the white pepper. The white pepper gives just a hint of zip, which mixes so well with the rest of the flavors of the pie.

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Once the creamy mixture is ready, spread this as evenly as you can on top of the tomato layer.

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Then, pop the pie into a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes! When there’s about 10 minutes to go, I pulled the pie out and sprinkled the whole thing with a little extra parmesan cheese. Just because.

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Once it’s all done, pull it out and let it cool, sprinkling the top with dried basil.

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Looks SO good!

Slice this up warm for family and friends, cutting it just like a normal pie. The slices may not all look perfect on a plate, but let me tell you the tomato juices, the creamy tang of the mayo and white pepper, the savory pesto and the flaky pie crust make this a side dish that you’ll want to DEFINITELY make a fallback favorite.

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Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella “TBM” Salad

12 Aug

Now, I’m not fully sure “TBM” is a real name for a salad. To be honest, it reminds me of “TPM” from Hoover Elementary. (Time…Place…Manner. Duh. Completely unrelated. Sorry.)

TBM = Tomato…Basil…Mozzarella. The main ingredients in a reasonably simple salad that I never thought about making before I stumbled upon the recipe here. Just another fantastic food blog that I’ve added to my reading library. You should too – Savory Sweet Life. Look it up. (Or click the link.)

This is a GREAT summer salad but it could also be enjoyed in our other three seasons. Fresh basil is the key.

Trust me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I like a mix of red and yellow – more colorful.)
  • 8 ounces fresh “mini” mozzarella pearls (These work better and are much prettier next to the cherry tomatoes.)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 18 basil leaves, chopped (Go fresh!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

How to Make:

This is a hard recipe. Roll up your sleeves. Put on a sweatband. Whatever revs you up.

Ok, ok you caught me. This is probably the easiest recipe on the planet. And you know I don’t exaggerate. Ever.

(Only sometimes.)

Chop the tomatoes….

 

Toss ’em in a bowl…

Drain the mozzarella pearls…maybe eat a few, just to test them out. Then throw ’em in the bowl too…

Roll your basil leaves into a long cylinder…

slice it up…


…throw it in your bowl.

Pour in the olive oil…

Sprinkle in the S&P…

 

Mix it all up.

Drum roll………………………..(it’s a long roll)……

You’re done!

Painless.

This truly is the simplest salad ever but it looks gorgeous and it goes with just about any main dish you can imagine. It’s even a great snack if you’re looking for a little something that falls more in the healthy category and it’s not quite meal time.

Had it with some steak and grilled corn recently. Highly recommend.

I hope you give this one a go – and please let me know if/when you do! I always love your comments and likes if there’s a recipe/post you really enjoy!

Steakhouse Pizza

23 May

I couldn’t fall asleep tonight, so a blog post it is.

Pizza. Steak. Pizza. Steak. Used to be a tough decision to pick one, right? No longer my friends, these two are combined into a fantastic, delicious, utterly divine concoction. This is another Pioneer Woman recipe, so you wouldn’t expect anything less. Right?!

Try to not drool while watching this pizza come to fruition. There may be a tad bit of drool on my keyboard before I’m done writing. Don’t judge me.

Here we go.

Ingredients:

  • 1 homemade or store bought pizza crust (We used a great store-bought dough, but you can make this from scratch if you’d prefer to be more legit. If you do want a good store-bought  type, look over in the cheese/bagel section, which I know sounds weird. That’s where we found our gem and it was GREAT.)
  • 1 whole skirt steak or flank steak (Big enough to have chunks scattered consistently around your pizza. You don’t want three sad little pieces. Get a new big one.)
  • Salt And pepper, to taste
  • 2 whole red onions, sliced thin (Trust me. This sounds like a lot. It won’t be.)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (Plain marinara if you can)
  • 12 ounces, weight fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin (Fresh mozzarella if you can!)
  • Shredded parmesan cheese (Yes, this one you want to shred yourself. It’s so much better that way.)
  • 1/2 cup good steak sauce (If you’re a 57 sauce person, A1 person or whatever other steak sauce person, use that. This is where you get to personalize it a bit.)

After seeing that list of ingredients, I hope you’re already trying to keep in the drool. I know I am.

How to Make:

Before you do anything – grab your beverage of choice.The blackberry margarita was the perfect cooking beverage, but you may prefer something different.

Next grab that pizza dough…grab the pan it’s going on (have the debate with yourself of circle or rectangle?) and roll out your dough. I prefer the hand-roll/press method. It helps to throw a little flour on the dough and on your hands as you spread it out on the pan. (Please note I do have my tasty margarita close by.)

Just don’t take your floured hands and wipe them on your dark jeans. Who does that?!

Once you have your dough successfully pressed into the entire pizza pan, you may move to the next task. Onions!

Slice and slice some more. Try to keep them in rings. It’ll look prettier on your pizza than diced pieces would.

While you’re already slicing, slice up your fresh mozzarella. Don’t worry if it falls apart a little bit…it’s all getting melted anyway.

Back to the onions. Once sliced, you’re going to caramelize. Saute them up in your 3 Tbsp of butter and 2 Tbsp of your balsamic vinegar. Cook ’em up over medium-low heat until they look “dark and caramelized” (according to P Dub). This will take just about 10 minutes. Once they’re finished, bring ’em off the heat and set them aside.

If you’re exceptional at multi-tasking, you can grill your steak while the onions are caramelizing themselves. OR, if you have a sous chef like my wondrous SIL Laura, you can have her do this while you watch your onions and stir them, drink your margarita, realize you have flour on your dark jeans and then attempt to wipe them off, drink more margarita, stir the onions. Either method works however. I think you know my preferred method.

We unfortunately didn’t have a working grill, so we used the stove top. It was a great plan B. We cooked the steak until it was medium rare. Set it aside for a few minutes before you slice it up.

Last step before the assembling begins – make your sauce. So, because this is not your ordinary pizza, it doesn’t get an ordinary sauce. Mix your marinara with the Worcestershire and the remaining 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar.  Then….spread all that goodness on your awaiting pizza dough.

I was a very poor manager of my cooking surfaces, and resorted to using a chair for this sauce spreading. It happens. The chair worked very well. You must be flexible, right?

You may have a great spreading mechanism, but I’ve learned from a few people that by using the bottom of a large spoon or the bottom of a soup ladle works very well.

Once your dough has been properly sauced, it’s time to layer on your onions. Spread these out into a nice, thick layer. The caramelized onions will have a less stringent ‘onion-y’ taste so don’t stress about the vast quantity of onions. It’ll be delicious. Have faith.

Now you’re going to layer on your slices of mozzarella. Spread those out nicely so that when they melt, it all melts nicely together into one layer of cheesy wondrousness. (That’s not a word, I realize.)

Admire your work. Sip your beverage. Now, lets bake it!

Pizza needs to bake for 12-15 minutes. Look for the mozzarella to be nice and melty and the crust should start to look golden brown.

Now it’s time for steak! (You may have snuck a few pieces prior to this step. No one will know. It’s ok.) Make sure you cut your steak up into edible pieces so when you’re biting into a pizza slice you don’t choke. That would put a damper on the meal.

My brother Doug was very excited about this pizza. Or the steak. Perhaps both.

One more step before you dig in, shred your fresh parmesan all over the top to give the pizza  a nice dusting.

What a beauty this is! Shall we eat?

Before you slice this up, you can pour on your BBQ sauce of choice. We were all so dang hungry, we completely forgot about adding in the sauce. Silly. I partially blame the margarita.

Either way, this pizza is divine. It’s tangy…its got great chunks of delicious meat…melty, perfect cheese and if you’re not forgetful like me, you’ll have the sweet taste of the BBQ sauce intermixed too.

Make some steakhouse pizza tonight!!

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