Meatballs
Susan M. Selasky/Detroit Free Press/MCT

Meatballs, whether served over spaghetti or as an appetizer at some of the upcoming holiday parties, are sure to get compliments when you add a special creative touch.

I usually make meatballs with ground chuck. I have found that regular ground beef, although it has a great flavor, contains too much fat, while ground round is too lean, lacking somewhat in flavor.

Recently, I was reading "Southern Made Fresh" by Tasia Malakasis and I found an interesting recipe for meatballs. Her version is made with ground chicken. This informative cookbook features "vibrant dishes rooted in homegrown flavor." This author "reinvents Southern comfort foods." These recipes certainly break the stereotype of heavy Southern cuisine.

When using this cookbook, you will probably not think "Southern" if you grew up in the deep South, but you will certainly find exciting flavors that focus on the many different cuisines that can be found in the South.

One of my favorite recipes for meatballs to be served on the cocktail buffet is my Hawaiian Sundae Meatballs. Flavored with just a hint of ginger and served with a tasty Hawaiian sauce made with pineapple ice cream topping, these meatballs are a memorable treat for the palate. You will notice that a commercially prepared barbecue sauce is used in this recipe, but you can certainly substitute your homemade sauce, if preferred.

Whether your meatballs are made with beef or chicken, they will certainly find favor with guests and family when they are served.

MUSHROOM AND CHICKEN MEATBALLS

(from "Southern Made Fresh")

  • 8 large fresh mushrooms
  • 3 large green onions, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Pulse first 5 ingredients in food processor until vegetables are finely chopped. Place chicken and next 2 ingredients in a bowl. Stir in mushroom mixture just until blended. Shape into 24 balls. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add meatballs and cook, turning to brown on all sides, 4 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

HAWAIIAN SUNDAE MEATBALLS

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • ½ cup dry bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon honey, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lite soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (18 ounce) jar honey mustard barbecue sauce (or barbecue sauce of choice)
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar pineapple ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine beef, bread crumbs, salt, ginger, 2 teaspoons honey, soy sauce and egg. Mix well and form into small balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place in baking pan that is about 1-inch deep. In medium bowl, combine barbecue sauce, pineapple topping and remaining 1 tablespoon honey. Mix well and set aside. Bake meatballs for 10 minutes, then pour sauce over them. Stir gently to coat all of the meatballs. Bake an additional 10 minutes, stirring once after 5 minutes. Makes about 50 small meatballs. Serve hot in a chafing dish.

Contact Prudence Hilburn at prudencehilburn@aol.com.