Veal Meatballs and Spaghetti

I know I have been slightly M.I.A. lately. I got a little bogged down with midterms, and then I was gone a short family vacation. I am back though, and planning a lot of delicious things to make! Anywho, onto my twist on everyone’s favorite comfort food meal, spaghetti and meatballs. Veal is one of my favorite things to eat. It is lean, flavorful, and delicious. Combined with spicy Italian sausage it makes for a great meatball! I made this meal for my sister and Jacob the night before we left for vacation. It is quick, hearty, and delicious.

Veal Meatballs: Makes about 15, 2 oz meatballs, or about 4 servings.

8 oz spicy Italian ground sausage (I used links and took the casing off)
1 lb ground veal
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 TBSP salt
1 tsp pepper

Preheat your oven to 400°. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, and roll into 2 inch meatballs. The Italian sausage adds fat and moisture to the lean ground veal, essential when making a meatball. Who likes a dried out meatball? Not me! You can make your meatballs whatever size you like, just try to make them even in size. If you make them larger, you should bake them longer in the oven. Place on a baking sheet, lined with parchment, or foil sprayed with pam. (If you don’t have pam, it is ok. The meatballs barely stick to the foil.) Bake at 400°, for 15 minutes, and then add to your favorite tomato sauce to finish cooking for about 10 more minutes!  Serve over your favorite kind of pasta with a big heap of parmesan cheese on top, and some crunchy garlic bread. Below is my favorite way to make a quick and easy, but delicious pasta sauce. It is much more fresh and flavorful than a jar of sauce, but not as painstaking as making tomato sauce completely from scratch.

Quick Tomato Sauce:
1 29 oz can tomato puree
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 head of garlic
1 shallot
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP salt
1 tsp blacked pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut the top part off the whole head of garlic. Don’t worry about peeling it, just make sure the tops of most of the cloves are cut off. Wrap it in foil, and toss it in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, or until you can smell the delicious roasted garlic. While the garlic is roasting, dice up your shallot. Next heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When hot, saute the shallots until translucent, but not brown. Add the tomato puree, and roasted tomatoes, stir, cover, and bring up to a simmer. Once the garlic cools off some you should be able to squeeze all the cloves out of the skins. Mince them up, and add it to the tomato sauce. Let simmer while your meatballs bake. You can also add some red pepper flakes for heat. I only let the sauce simmer while my meatballs baked, about 15-20 minutes. We were starving, so I was trying to make dinner as fast as possible. You can simmer the sauce longer before adding the meatballs if you want, it will only get more delicious. This made enough sauce for all the meatballs, though I did have to cook the meatballs in 2 batches because my sauce pot was too small. It works well for me, because I don’t like a lot of sauce on my pasta. If you like really saucy spaghetti, I would double the recipe.

Jacob’s Favorite Cookies

Jacob’s favorite cookies are oatmeal raisin, and he also loves coconut. I have been telling him I am going to make Oatmeal Coconut Raisin cookies forever! So I finally did, and they were delicious. I used an oatmeal pecan cookie recipe claiming to be equally crunchy and chewy as my starting point. I wanted a balanced cookie, and that is definitely how it turned out. I changed some things around to fit the ingredients I wanted to use, and they turned out really delicious.

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Infused Olive Oil

It is easy and much cheaper to make your own infused olive oils! It is a fun way to add flavor in a new way to your dishes. You can infuse oils with your favorite herbs and spices, or even different peppers. They should last on your counter for about a month, some may last even longer.

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Best Buttermilk Pancakes

I have been on a breakfast kick lately. I can’t help it, it is full of delicious things both savory and sweet. My initial plan was to make lemon poppy seed pancakes. Then I decided on just blueberry pancakes, because we got some at the grocery store earlier. However, when I tasted the blueberries, I did not want to put them in my pancakes anymore. They were neither tart, nor sweet, only mushy and blah. So I ended up with just plain buttermilk pancakes, but they were absolutely delicious and a perfect complement to any breakfast.

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Homemade Biscuits and Gravy

Who doesn’t love biscuits and gravy on a relaxing Saturday morning? These recipes are both simple, and delicious. It made for a hearty and fairly quick breakfast when paired with scrambled eggs and hash browns. Yum.

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Jerk Chicken Pasta

Jerk chicken pasta is one of the first things J ever made for me! It quickly became a favorite of ours after a few alfredo sauce trial and errors. I think we landed on a tasty cheese sauce that is not too heavy. I added a few veggies for some pop to the original dish as well. It is one of our many great collaborations.

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Oreo Ice Cream Cake with Ganache

My best friend made a last minute birthday trip to Houston this week. As a native Texas living in Virginia, she misses Blue Bell Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream more than almost anything. I took it upon myself to make her an ice cream cake from scratch! After a lot of research, I decided I was mostly going to wing it. I think most people buy their ice cream cakes, because the internet did not prove terribly useful. I had to devise a plan on how to stack the layers without over melting the ice cream. Letting Blue Bell, or other commercial  ice creams, melt in order to spread it on the cake layers, and then refreezing the whole cake leaves the ice cream icy and deflated: not the ideal texture. One way to solve this is to make your own ice cream. While this sounded fun, I don’t have an ice cream maker. Plus, you can’t copy Blue Bell Cookies ‘n Cream. My plan was to use a springform pan to stack the layers. I chose a specific sour cream and vegetable oil based chocolate cake recipe, because the author claimed it would hold up better to freezing, as opposed to a butter based cake that would harden more and dry out faster. The cake batter was very thin, but it baked into a delicious, soft, and moist cake, perfect for freezing between layers of delicious ice cream.
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Mango BBQ Pulled Pork Sammies

Recipe adapted from: Aarti Sequeira

I chose Mango BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches as my first post because it is a recipe that has become a favorite of all my friends and family, plus it helped me win my student Iron Chef competition! I made it for the first time as a thank you to some of my favorite friends for helping me move into my new apartment. It was delicious, easy, and sat on the stove while we unpacked. Since then I have made this recipe many times, and with a few tweaks and modifications, it has become a household favorite. You can top these sandwiches with your favorite slaw. I have changed the slaw recipe a lot since the first time I have made these sandwiches, but it has turned to into a delicious addition to the pork. If sandwiches aren’t your thing, this recipe also makes a great taco.

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Hello Foodie World!

My other half inspired to write my own food blog after reading a slew of seriously uninspiring food blogs. I figured that he and I could probably do a little better, and it would be a fun way to categorize, photograph, and reflect on all the food I cook. This blog is just a small taste of the tribulations of a culinary school student trying to survive the industry.

Happy Eating,
Chef Trox

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