Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders

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Is it just me, or doesn’t everybody love a great meatball? I brought these 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.

Olive Oil

Photo May 13, 2 43 19 PM

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Piquillo Peppers (2)

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Piquillo Peppers (1)

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Sweet Basil (2)

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Basil and Italian flat-leaf parsley

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Dried Basil

Dried Oregano

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Sweet Basil (2)

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: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, 2 rimmed baking sheets, 1 (10-cup) food processor, large mixing bowl, 1 (2-ounce) cookie dough scoop, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, chef’s knife, parchment paper

Ingredients For Tomato Sauce:
2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 (7-ounce) jar of roasted Piquillo peppers, purèed (substitute roasted red peppers)
1 cup of chicken broth, unsalted
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of 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, torn

Ingredients For Stuffed 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
1/4 cup of store-bought fresh basil pesto
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 freshly ground black pepper
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 1/4 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
2 (12-ct.) packages of mini Hawaiian buns

Directions:
Set the stove to medium, add olive, and 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, cook 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, fresh basil pesto, 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, 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 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 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. Fill each with one with a Stuffed Meatball. Bring these delicious Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders to any party and they’ll be gone in no time. You won’t be able to eat just one.

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Burgers With Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

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Next, to having pizza or wings, burgers are really another great choice to have when you’re watching the Monday night game.

I came across these amazing pretzel buns, at the grocery store. They’ll make the perfect vessels for my burgers. These are my Burgers With Roasted Sweet Potatoes.

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Ground Sirloin (2)

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Today I’m using ground beef for my burgers. You could substitute, ground pork, chicken, or turkey for this recipe, any choice you make will be delicious.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Monday Night Football Burgers On Prezel Buns With Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) cast-iron skillet, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, large mixing bowl

Ingredients:
2 pounds of ground beef (80% lean 20% fat ratio)
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
8 to 10 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of barbecue sauce (favorite brand)
2 tablespoons of grilled steak seasoning blend
2 tablespoons of dried parsley
10 tablespoons of butter, unsalted (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)
1  cup of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 large heirloom tomato, sliced thick
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups of mixed greens

Ingredients For Roasted Sweet Potatoes:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thick wedges
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.

Start by adding to a large mixing bowl, ground beef, garlic powder, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, grilled steak seasoning blend, and dried parsley.

Using a fork, mix all the ingredients together without over mixing. You just want everything to be combined evenly through the meat. Gently pat the mixture down into the bowl, using your hands to score the meat into 4 sections. This helps to ensure the burgers are relatively the same size. Take one of the sections, making a nice patty with your hands. Using your thumb push down in the center forming a dimple. This will ensure they will cook evenly.

In a preheated cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt and swirl 2 tablespoons of butter all over the bottom of the pan. The objective is to form a nice crust on the outside of both sides of the burgers.

Set all 4 patties into the cast-iron skillet. After about 6 minutes, (these burgers are pretty thick) flip them and add 2 more tablespoons of butter in the center of the pan to help form the crust on the other side of the burger patties. Remember you only flip the burgers one time. Cook the burgers on the other side for another 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the cooked burgers to a sheet pan and cover with foil to stay warm.

Start by covering a sheet pan with foil. Before using the same skillet, take a paper towel and wipe out some of the burnt bits on the bottom of the pan. On medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter swirl the butter all over the skillet. Once the butter has melted add the pretzel buns to the skillet. Allow them to absorb the butter and toast for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the toasted buns to the covered sheet pan. Repeat the process for the remaining two buns.

While the burgers are cooking, rub 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil all over the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet. In a small mixing bowl, add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.

Spread the sweet potatoes wedges onto the baking sheet pan sprinkling them with the seasoning blend, toss to evenly coat all the wedges.  Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning them halfway (15 minutes)through the cooking process until caramelized on the outside and fork-tender. Remove the pan of potatoes from the oven, transfer the potatoes to a large serving bowl. While hot, sprinkle the sweet potatoes with Kosher salt.

Set the oven to the broil position:
Evenly divide the shredded Monterey cheese between the four burgers. Place under the broiler to melt the cheese. Keep a close eye on them, 1 to 2 minutes.

I sliced up some of my favorite toppings, mixed greens, sliced heirloom tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onions. It’s time to build the burgers. Nice toasty buns, delicious perfectly cooked burgers, then the toppings. Finally the roasted sweet potatoes. These are my Monday Night Football Burgers With Roasted Sweet Potatoes.

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Caprese Burgers

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The most important tips I can give you in making the perfect burgers, I learned from the master, Bobby Flay. He didn’t personally teach me, although that would’ve been awesome. I watched a show he did on grilling burgers. If there is anyone on this planet that can make and grill the perfect burger it’s Bobby Flay. These are my Caprese Burgers.

Arugula

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Caprese Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 10
Cook Time: 9 to 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 servings 2-inches thick burgers
Equipment: indoor grill-pan, large mixing bowl, 2 large platters, chef’s knife

Ingredients:
2 pounds of lean (90% lean) ground sirloin, substitute pork, chicken, or  turkey
2 cloves of garlic, freshly grated
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons good ketchup

2 large beefsteak tomatoes, 6 slices, 1-inch thick
6 slices fresh Mozzarella, 1-inch thick slices
2 cups of baby arugula or mixed greens
6 Brioche Buns, toasted
balsamic glaze, (optional)
Canola oil

Directions:
Place all the ingredients (flavorings) into a large bowl whisk to combine. Next, add the ground meat to the bowl, mix gently with a fork incorporating all the ingredients throughout the meat. This ensures the meat does not get over-mixed or compacted, by using your hands. Gently press the meat down evenly into the bowl. Using your hands, score the meat into 6 equal portions. This will ensure the patties are the same size.

Grab one of the scored portions. Patty the meat gently,  then with your finger, press the center of the patty making an indention, a dimple. This will stop the burger from shrinking will cook evenly throughout. Crazy right? Believe me, when I tell you, this works every time.

Note: Season both sides of your patties with a sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper after you’ve brushed them with Canola oil, then place them on the hot grill.

Whether you’re using an inside or outside grill, first, make sure the surface is nice and hot. Lightly brush each side of your burger patties with Canola oil and place it on the hot grill. Do not touch them no matter how bad you want to. You should only flip the burger once.

Cook the burgers on the first side for 5 minutes before flipping. Grill the patties on the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the patties to a large plate, cover them with foil, and let them rest for 10 minutes.

While the burger patties are resting, butter the Brioche buns, place them on the grill. Toast the buns for 1 to 2 minutes.

To assemble, lay the bottom toasted bun on the plate. Add the burger patty, a fresh of Mozzarella, a thick slice of tomato, a sprinkling of Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, a drizzle of balsamic glaze (optional), a few fresh arugula leaves, and finally, the toasted top bun. These are my Caprese Burgers.

Serve hot.

Follow this method every time and you’ll have the perfect burgers. Thanks, Bobby Flay!

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