Sunday, April 26, 2009

the good, the okay, the ugly...

i'm sweating. it's totally gross in our apartment. but i'm cooking. it's just one of those weekends - between the packing, moving, unpacking, i haven't had time to play in the kitchen. and while i'm exhausted, i'm cooking.

today i finally put together the 'stuffed shells' meatballs. my mom always used to make stuffed shells - ground beef, spinach, cottage cheese, spices in large shell pasta, baked in tomato sauce. i had a package of 85/15 ground beef that was chilling in the freezer for a little too long, so i decided to experiment.

the results? yummy, but not pretty.

i had no interest in standing over the stove frying the meatballs up, so i attempted alton brown's technique of baking meatballs. but, i didn't have any foil cups leftover, and i guess i did not grease well enough. so we had sticky meatballs.

the picture shows the darkest meatball which was one of six i did saute - the recipe made 30 meatballs, 24 fit into my mini muffin pan. it was the preferred meatball to me, because i love the dark, crusty edge. the front meatball is one that made it out of the muffin pan in one piece, and the one in the back fell apart.

because of the cheeses and spinach in them, they're very delicate, and pretty delicious. one plus to the meatballs (versus mom's stuffed shells) is that the cottage cheese melts a lot more and incorporates well. maybe not your typical really meaty meatball, but flavorful, and i think they're pretty versatile. i could see them crumbled into a salad, on top of a tortilla pizza, served with spaghetti sauce on top of pasta or veggies, etc.

the recipe is below!

"stuffed shells" meatballs
1-1.5 lb 85/15 ground beef
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
about 3/4 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic
2 eggs
1 cup crushed Kay's Naturals Parmesan Protein Chips (or breadcrumbs)
1 cup 1% cottage cheese, drained
1/2 cup or 2 oz shredded mozzarella
1/2ish cup shredded parmesan
2-3 tsp dried oregano
1-2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
hearty pinch of red pepper flakes

saute onions till soft, add garlic and spinach till warmed through. let the mixture cool. mix all ingredients together well, and form into 1.5 oz meatballs. either saute/fry in olive oil on stove until browned and pop into the oven to finish cooking, or cook in greased mini muffin cups in the oven for 20 minutes at 400.

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