Meatballs

Meatballs are a great mealtime treat. If you keep some meatballs in the freezer, making that meal is easy. I like to go ahead and bake the meatballs first. Then all that is needed is to remember to remove them from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator the night before you plan to use them.

I usually make meatballs with ground chuck. I have found that regular ground beef has too much fat, and ground round is too lean and lacking somewhat in flavor.

Recently, when I was reading "Southern Made Fresh" by Tasia Malakasis, 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 takes traditional foods of the South and reinvents them. It certainly breaks the stereotype of heavy Southern cuisine.

When using this cookbook, you will probably not think "Southern," especially 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 the pineapple ice cream topping, these meatballs are a memorable treat.

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 family and guests.

MUSHROOM AND CHICKEN MEATBALLS

  • 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 five ingredients in the food processor until vegetables are finely chopped. Place chicken and next two 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.

— ‘Southern Made Fresh’ by Tasia Malakasis

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 and 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.

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