Saturday, March 28, 2020

Smothered Meatballs and Gravy

Did someone say comfort food?  I think this dish is the ultimate in comfort food. Beefy and delicious, these meatballs are smothered in a rich thick savory gravy and served over rice, egg noodles or mashed potatoes.  Wow! What a great dinner! 

One of my Mom’s favorite dishes to serve her family was meatballs.  She would just make up the recipe as she went along so it was sometimes hard to follow.  But after years of making them, I realized she made them exactly the way she imagined the flavor to be in her mind. I find that I now do the same thing after all these years.  I make them the way I think they should taste, and while it’s hard to even write my own recipe, I made an effort this time so that I could share them with you.

Smothered Meatballs and Gravy

2 pounds ground chuck
3/4 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 small jar of beef gravy
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, garlic, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt, black pepper, and onions. Add 3 tablespoons of beef gravy to the mix. Reserve the remaining jar of gravy for later. If the mixture is too dry, add more gravy. If it is too wet, add more breadcrumbs.

Mix together with hands until everything is combined. Then shape into meatballs. You can  make larger meatballs to serve for dinner as you see in the photos, or smaller meatballs to serve as appetizers.
Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high.  Add the meatballs and brown on all sides until, about 7 to 10 minutes. Searing the meatballs locks in the flavor. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven.

Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan or skillet. Make sure you scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the skillet.  Whisk flour for about a minute or so or until lightly browned.

Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add in the Worcestershire sauce and stir. Add the heavy cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Add the remaining gravy from the jar and whisk to blend.  Remove the meatballs from the oven, and add to gravy. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  
Serve over buttered egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes!

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Shrimp Cocktail

If you’ve never had Shrimp Cocktail, you have no idea what you’re missing.  But it’s so expensive to order in a restaurant and so easy to make at home.  And trust me, once you’ve made your own Shrimp Cocktail, you won’t ever order it again.  Oh, you say…I can get some at the grocery store.  Don’t even.  No comparison.  Let’s just say, I always have to buy an extra pound of shrimp when I make it for friends and family because I can eat a pound all by myself!  This is the best Shrimp Cocktail you will ever eat.

Shrimp Cocktail

2 pounds de-veined, shell-on extra-large or jumbo shrimp
2 1/2 tablespoons salt
10 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
8 (2-inch) strips lemon peel plus 1/4 cup juice, from 2 lemons (reserve the lemon halves that have been juiced)
8 cups ice

Combine the shrimp, 4 cups cold water, salt, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves and celery seeds in a large pot. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring every so often, until the shrimp are just beginning to turn pink, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon peels, lemon halves of the lemons that were already juiced. Cover the pot and let the mixture sit until the shrimp are completely pink and firm, 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir the ice into the pot and let the shrimp cool completely, about 5 minutes. The ice stops the cooking of the shrimp so they don’t get rubbery and tough.

Drain the water and peel the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Refrigerate the shrimp up to 24 hours until ready to serve. If you can’t wait, keep them in the fridge until completely chilled.

Cocktail Sauce

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Whisk all the ingredients together until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve with the shrimp.  Lay out shrimp on platter and serve sauce on the side.  Or you can hang the shrimp over a glass or parfait dish of cocktail sauce for a prettier presentation.  Enjoy!

NOTE:  If using frozen shrimp, be sure and thaw them completely before using. 

NOTE:  If you can’t find Old Bay Seasoning, you can make your own:


Homemade Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon ground dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons celery salt
1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice


Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container and store in a cool place. Use with seafood or chicken.

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Monday, March 02, 2020

My Simple Patty Melt

When you order a classic Patty Melt,  you usually get a burger on rye bread smothered with onions and cheese.  But what if you don't like Rye bread and what if you're not in the mood for all those onions?   To me a Patty melt is simply a cheeseburger fried up like a grilled cheese sandwich.  And so I bring you my very own classic Patty Melt....for those who like the simple things in life.

My Simple Patty Melt

4 tablespoons of butter, softened
¼  pound ground chuck
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 dash Worcestershire Sauce
2 slices Provolone Cheese
2 slices of good cheddar
2 slices of your favorite bread

In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, salt & pepper, and Worcestershire. Form into a patty. Fry the patty on both sides until done. Remove from skillet and wipe out skillet and return to burner.

Set you heat to medium and melt two tablespoons of butter. Butter one side of your bread and lay it buttered side down in the skillet or on a griddle. Next add your 2 slices of cheese, the hamburger patty, and the other two slices of cheese.  Butter the side of the second slice of bread and lay it on top with the butter side facing up.

Grill the sandwich over medium heat until golden brown and the cheese has melted.  Slice in half and serve immediately!

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Monster Cookies

It's an Oatmeal cookie, chocolate chip cookie and peanut butter cookie all wrapped into one delicious chewy scrumptious treat!  This is my favorite cookie!  Especially warm, just out of the oven, with a cold glass of milk! Make them as large as you want....I make mine smaller because I like them thick and chewy. I use a tablespoon to scoop my cookie dough.  Notice these have no flour in the ingredients so you don't want to over bake them.  Take them out a little early and they will continue to bake while in the pan cooling.

Monster Cookies

1¼ cups chunky peanut butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated white sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups quick cooking, 1-minute oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup M&M's

½ cup caramel bits

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Using a hand mixer mix  together the peanut butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and butter until creamy.  Mix in eggs, vanilla extract, and oats. Next, stir in baking soda, salt, oatmeal, chocolate chips, M&M's, and caramel bits until blended.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork dipped in cold water. Skip this step if you like a thicker, chewier cookie.  Press a few extra M&M's into the top of the cookies if you’d like.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not over bake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.  Cookies will continue to bake while cooling in  the pan so be careful not to over bake in the oven. Place cookies on a  cooling rack to finish cooling.  Enjoy!

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