This is my cookcabulary



Showers and Meatballs

Hello friends! Sam started school this week (hes getting his MBA), and I can tell it’s going to be a long 18 months. Ugh. It will totally be worth it in the end, but I can’t help but feel for the guy.  I will just have to up my cooking and baking and dedicate more time to blogging! Ha.

So, as you know, last weekend I made doughnuts for Katy’s shower. Two of the other bridesmaids offered to help, as well as Katy’s mom. So we had a lot of food! But I felt like we needed something savory to go with all the sweet treats and sides we were having.  After brainstorming with my co-workers, we came up with meatballs – perfect! So all day Friday I researched meatball and BBQ sauce recipes.  I learned making meatballs was pretty simple, but making sauce was a little more difficult.  The more I looked for a recipe, the more I realized that BBQ sauce can be sweet, tangy, southern and all sorts of other variations! So, instead of trying to figure out the difference between all of them, I just got a recipe from that Food Network show, Cooking With The Neely’s. Which by the way is a really awkward show to watch.  It’s a married couple and all they do is make out.  The host refers to herself as the spice fairy in some episodes. Just cook people.  Anyway, heres a quick recipe for the meatballs.

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 cup dried oats
  • Half of an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Some ground black pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (if you use your hands, make sure the meat is room temperature – or your fingers will certainly freeze right off! Brr!) After everything is mixed together, I used my brand new ice cream scoop to form the beautful balls of meat.  Sam told me the portions were too big – I totally disagreed.

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 After you have them laid out on a baking sheet, toss them in the freezer for a few minutes. I then gathered some flour to dredge them with and got a pan screaming hot with some EVOO.  When that’s already, get the suckers out of the freezer and coat them (dredge) in the flour and place them in the pan.  The intent is not to cook them through here, although you certainly can – but I opted to cook them for a few hours in a crock pot with my BBQ sauce.  So, I just browned them – a few minutes each side.

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Once they were browned I took them straight from the pan and put them in my crock pot.

Then came the bbq sauce.  Ok, so this is the recipe I started with:

  •  2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (i just started with half a lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

So I put all that in a little sauce pot and brought it to a boil – tasted it, and hated it.  It was sooo tangy! I couldn’t tell if I just didn’t like it or if I did something wrong – so I had Sam taste it.  He actually said it wasnt that bad, but I really really didn’t like the taste, it was almost too ketchup-y too. So, the first thought was that I needed to add more sweet … so I dumped about 1-2 tablespoons of honey in it.  I also added another tablespoon or two of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce that I had in the fridge.  I totally thought that would do the trick – but it didn’t.  I tasted it again and it was still tangy.  So then what did I do? What I always do at this point – called my mom! I immediately called her and told my situation, but I kept telling her it was too ketchup-y.  She then told me to add more apple cider vinegar, but only half of what the recipe called for – and when I did that and tested it again, I realized it was the vinegar I didn’t like.  Ha, mom was like – well then we shouldn’t have added MORE vinegar. Oops, my bad. Got my flavors confused.  I read what else the recipe called for to her and she told me to add more sweet.  So when we got off the phone, I added more brown sugar, more onion powder, and a quick squeeze of prepared mustard, and the other half of the lemon.  I gave it a few minutes and when I tasted it – it seemed to be getting better.  At this point I thought I should stop tormenting myself and give the sauce time to thicken and blend the flavors together …. so I dumped it in the crock pot – praying the two hours it had to simmer would be enough time to marry all the ingredients.  I then remembered I was combining this with MEATballs – and when I envisioned the flavor of the sauce on the meatballs, I felt a little bit better.  The sweet sauce and savory meat were starting to sound good. So, I left the crock pot on the counter and told it to works it magic.

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Marinade away my friends!!

And guess what – 2 hours later, I actually LIKED the sauce! And so did my guests, one guest even asked for the recipe! Yay. That’s always so flattering! By making this sauce, I learned that you really need to know what flavor of BBQ sauce you are going for – smokey, sweet, or tangy.  Then I would recommend just doing what I did. Find something basic and then add more of the flavors you enjoy to create the perfect blend for your palette! And have fun with it!

Before everyone came, I snapped a few shots of the doughnuts and meatballs all spread out and ready to be devoured.

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And dont worry – the shower was a success as well!

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Next weekend we’ve got Katy’s bachelorette party and Stephanie baby shower – so I doubt I will be making anything this weekend.

And on that note – whatever I make for Katy’s party may be X-rated.  I am warning you now … ha. What’s a bachelorette party without racy cookies – boring! So, I am just preparing you now. (Really, I am just preparing my mom since she reads this. :p ) I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do – but it’s sure to be fun and memorable!

Lex out.

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