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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders

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Is it just me, or doesn’t everybody love a great meatball? I brought these Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders to a party recently and they disappeared just like that! Serving them on Hawaiian rolls, need I say more? Simmered low and slow, my tomato sauce is delicious. The star of the show is my mozzarella stuffed meatballs.

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fresh basil

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Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Cook Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Yields: 24 meatballs (golf size)
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, 2 rimmed baking sheets, food processor, large mixing bowl, 2-ounce cookie dough scoop, 12-inch sauté pan

Ingredients For Sauce:
2 cans of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 12-ounce jar of roasted Piquillo peppers, purèed (substitute roasted red peppers)
1 cup of unsalted chicken broth
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves

Ingredients For Meatballs:
2 1/2 pounds of ground pork (substitute ground beef, chicken, or turkey)
1/4 diced finely chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
24 1/4-inch diced (low-moisture) whole milk Mozzarella cheese
1/2 a cup of heavy cream
1/2 a cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, (1 tablespoon dried parsley)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/4 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
2 12-ct packages of mini Hawaiian buns

Directions:
Set the stove to medium, add olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes. Next, add diced onion and minced garlic, stirring frequently, cook for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent.

The next ingredient is tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste around and let it bloom in the hot oil. Add the unsalted chicken broth. Bring the broth up to a bubble and let the broth reduce by half. Pour in two cans of crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, and brown sugar, stir to combine.

Next, add purèed Piquillo peppers. These peppers give a nice sweetness and a bright red color to the sauce. Still, on medium heat let this sauce come up to a bubble, reduce the heat to low and let simmer.

Continue to simmer the sauce on low heat for 2 hours before adding in the meatballs. While the sauce is simmering, start on the stuffed meatballs.

First, add olive oil to a sautè pan on medium heat. Add finely diced onion, minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, sautè until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add heavy cream, parsley, dried oregano, Kosher salt, pepper, ricotta cheese, Worcestershire sauce, cooled onion and garlic mixture, beaten eggs, and Panko breadcrumbs. Once this is all mixed together, add the ground pork. Using a fork, mix both the ground pork and the flavorings together to combine. Do not overmix. This meatball mixture yields 24 golf ball size meatballs.

Next, dice the mozzarella cheese into 24 1/2-inch cubes. Using a 2-ounce cookie-dough scoop (2-ounce portion), scoop the meat mixture into your hand. Place the cube of mozzarella into the center of the meat mixture wrapping the meat around the cheese as seen in the above pictures.

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
On two rimmed baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, place 12 meatballs on each sheet pan. Spray the meatballs with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. The meatballs will be a golden brown. You could do this in a frying pan, but I find this way to be a lot easier, quicker, and not as messy.

At the same time, the sauce is simmering away on top of the stove, the meatballs are browning off in the oven. After the 30 minutes, take the meatballs out of the oven, transfer them into the simmering sauce.

Simmer the meatballs, in the sauce, for another hour. Turn the heat to off and add in some freshly torn basil leaves and gently stir through. Place a lid on the pot to keep everything warm until you are ready to make the mini sliders.

Slice the little sweet Hawaiian buns in half filling each with one with a Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball. Bring these delicious sliders to any party, or just have them at home. You won’t be able to eat just one.

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Sweet Italian Sausage And Potato Hash

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I have to tell you, whenever I make this my Sweet Italian Sausage And Potato Hash, Steve gets very happy. It’s so comforting and so delicious he can’t get enough. This is why today I’m making a double batch. I do everything in my cast iron skillet so there’s really no cleanup. For me, that’s always a plus.

The other thing about this dish is, it’s really so versatile. You could use hot Italian sausage, or maybe Chorizo, really whatever you like. For this recipe, I’m using a sweet Italian sausage. I also used a variety of those mini sweet bell peppers, but you could use a mix of peppers. For example, maybe a Poblano, or something a little spicier. The combination of ingredients is up to you. One thing I do for this recipe first is to make sure all my potatoes are diced and ready to go before starting this recipe.

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A good tip to make all this go smoothly. is to be slicing and dicing all the veggies, getting those all prepped and ready while the potatoes are browning in the pan.

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To the veggies, I add in the sliced sausage and stir all the ingredients around. Now, this is the time where the sausage will finish cooking. Again still on medium-high, this takes around another 8-10 minutes, max. Last I add the cooked potatoes and just stir them to warm them through. Finally, I have some chopped fresh basil and flat leaf Italian parsley. Off the heat, I toss in the fresh herbs and stir through. This dish is so delicious and comforting, you’ll want seconds.

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Yields:  4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Equipment: 12-inch cast iron skillet, 8-inch sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid

Ingredients:
2 packages of sweet Italian sausage cooked and sliced
1 28-ounce package of small multi-colored baby Yukon potatoes, 1-inch dice
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound package of mini sweet bell peppers sliced
2 medium-size sweet onions diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 cup of unsalted chicken broth (1/2 a cup for the steaming, 1/2 a cup for the deglazing of the pan).
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil leaves

Directions:
First, dice all your potatoes. It’s really important to pat, using a paper towel, the dice potatoes dry to remove any excess water/starch on them.

In a large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter on medium-high heat. Add the dried oregano first giving the herb a chance to bloom (become fragrant) then add half of the diced potatoes, stir to coat with the butter. Season with half the Kosher salt and pepper. Remember you want the potatoes to brown not steam, don’t overcrowd the pan. Leave to cook for 10 minutes. Do not touch! Turn the heat down to medium, turn the potatoes over. Place a lid on the skillet and cook for another 10 minutes.

Transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl and repeat the process for the remaining half. This whole process will take around 40 minutes to complete.

A good tip is to be slicing and dicing all the veggies, getting those all prepped and ready while the potatoes are browning in the pan.

While the potatoes are browning, on medium heat, poach the sausage links in a sautépan in a half a cup of unsalted chicken broth, poach for 5 to 7 minutes. Par-cooking the sausage links ensures a good head start. Transfer the links to a plate lined with paper towel.

After sausage links are finished poaching, and all the potatoes are cooked, transfer the sausage links to the medium-high, preheated skillet. You won’t have to add any fat to the pan. Place the links into the skillet and brown on both sides, around 10 to 12  minutes, then transfer them to a plate.

At this point add to the skillet the onions. Season with Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Let the onions sauté until translucent, then add the bell peppers and minced garlic stirring occasionally. This will take around 5 to 7 minutes. While this is happening, slice on the bias the sausage links.

Once the veggies have softened, add the remaining chicken broth, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the broth to reduce by half. This will take a few more minutes to happen. Add back in the sliced sausage. Stir everything around and let simmer for another 10 minutes until sausage is fully cooked through.

Next, add the cooked potatoes stirring the potatoes until they’re warmed through. Finally, turn the heat off, and add the fresh herbs, toss through. This Sweet Italian Sausage And Potato Hash have so much flavor, that it gives you “warm fuzzies” inside.

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12/13/2014 Grand Opening of Jillycakes Orlando-Cupcakes

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When you think of cupcakes, what could be a better visual than this entrance? Step into a whimsical world of sweet treats. The atmosphere at Jillycakes will take you back to your childhood. The memories of all things sweet and colorful. Jillian’s cakes are nothing less awesome works of art, masterpieces.

Jillycakes is a gourmet cupcake and specialty cake bakery serving the greater Orlando area of Central Florida. Food Network’s Cupcake Wars Winner!

I met Jillian a couple of years ago while I was catering a party for a friend. She walked in with this cake, that was simply just amazing. The theme for the birthday party was turning 50. Let me just show you what I’m talking about.

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Anyway, her first store opened on 12/13/2014, how cute is that for an opening date, in Winter Park. The shopping center’s backdrop is a lake. It’s beautiful landscaping and water fountains enhance every square foot of this mini mall. Let me give you a peek into Jillycakes. For more information visit their website at www.jillycakesorlando.com.

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