FOODIE FRIDAY

So, every Wednesday night in the Wheeler house, is kid’s choice night. Each kid picks a Wednesday in the month and then they are in charge of making dinner. So far the samplings have been fabulous: Naan pizza, green chile enchiladas, lamb lasagna and last night was meatball sandwiches. My son has quite a palate and he likes to experiment a bit, so it’s pretty fabulous to have him in the kitchen with me. I must say, this was a “throw it all in the bowl and see how it turns out” recipe….but, baby, it worked!! Yum-o! There really isn’t much need for explanation on this one. They are meatballs. Have meatballs ever been a bad idea? You get to play with your food while making it, all the protein you need in a perfectly shaped ball, plus a gazillion spice combinations to keep them interesting. Since, the boy is 11-years old, we went somewhat traditional this go around.

If you were feeling a little adventurous though, change up the meat combination as well. For example, ground lamb and ground pork, chicken sausage and ground turkey, ground bison and ground veal would all be delicious. Then think about the typical spice combos that go along with your chosen meat. So, if you chose lamb, maybe you would make something like this: http://www.chow.com/recipes/13432-lamb-meatballs-with-lemon-cumin-yogurt
or the ground turkey could head in this direction: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/turkey-spinach-meatballs
and lastly the ground bison could look like this:
http://www.amazingpaleo.com/2012/11/28/bison-meatballs/

Now for meatballs Bailey Wheeler style!

  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lb. bulk pork sausage (to neutralize the benefits of the grass fed beef, huh?!
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ½ – 1 tsp herbs de provence
  • ¾ tsp. garlic
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup gluten free flour (or almond meal or bread crumbs or quinoa flour or quinoa flakes or oat flour or…you get the picture)

Tomato sauce goodness:

  • 2 TBS. tomato paste
  • 1 26-oz box of chopped tomatoes (I buy the tetra packed tomatoes to avoid the BPA. Here is a picture of the kind I have used – GMO free, BPA free, great tasting!!

**optional add-ins….If it were me making this dish, I would have added a pkg of frozen organic spinach (thawed and all the water squeezed out) to get some greens in the mix. Also, I would add a touch of either red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the seasonings to spice it up a bit. You could also mix in a cheese as well (I say parmesan cheese in this one)!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and get out your best mixing tool….your hands!! Mash ingredients together being sure to thoroughly distribute the onions and carrots thru the mix. Form the mixture into 1.5” balls. Heat up an oven-safe saute pan with about 2 tsp. coconut oil and place the meatballs into the pan to brown on all sides. Don’t overcrowd the pan, so you may need to do this in batches, transferring the meatballs to a baking sheet or plate while you finish the others. Once all the meatballs are browned and placed on a baking sheet, add the tomato paste to the pan and cook for just a quick 30 seconds, letting the flavor bloom. Then add the box of tomatoes to the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to release all the browned bits that will add deliciousness to the sauce. (I did not salt the sauce as I was waiting to see if it needed it once everything cooked together.) Place the meatballs back in the pan and place in the oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the inside is cooked through.

For the sandwich, my oldest helped convince me for the hawaiian bread rolls plus a little mozzarella cheese on top. So, that’s where we ended up. Meatball sliders on bread roll topped with mozzarella cheese and slathered in sauce – enough to make you nervous about your shirt! Go make ‘em and hope you enjoy!