Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's Cooking: Meatballs

After 4 or so years of marriage our weeknight meals started to become monotonous. We were seeing a lot of the same things week after week: pasta with tomato sauce, chicken stir fry, taco salad, etc. In an effort to spice things up I decided to try one new recipe a week. I haven't managed to do a new one every week, but it has been nice to have a few new recipes to add to the rotation each month.

I thought I'd add a new "feature" to the blog to highlight some of the hits and misses of recipes I've found online and elsewhere. I'll have my own rating system, providing feedback on Ease, Taste, Affordability, and whether the meal is Family Friendly (based on a family with two toddlers at the moment).

The first recipe I'll share on comes from It is a recipe for meatballs, specifically, for The Best Meatballs You'll Ever Have. I chose this recipe out of many because I had most of the ingredients on hand and because it got 4 1/2 stars.

Modifications/Substitutions: To "crush" the croutons I used a mini-food processor (I also added a smidgen of corn chex because I was just shy of 3/4 cup). Also, I used a regular onion because I didn't have a sweet onion. To cut down on the heat I used 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes instead of 1 teaspoon. And, finally, I don't have Cajun seasoning in my pantry, so I found this recipe to make my own.

Ease: The meatballs were pretty easy to put together. I can see myself mixing the ingredients during nap time and refrigerating it for later. The only complaint I have is that as time went on during the actual cooking some of the meatballs started to fall apart (though that could be due to my error). So I'll go with 3.5 stars for ease.

Affordability: Many of the ingredients are staples most of us have in our pantry. I decided to make meatballs this week because ground beef was on sale for $2.99/lb (which is still a little steep for my tastes, but I thought it'd be nice to have something other than chicken this week). I'll give this recipe 5 stars for affordability.

Taste: I topped these meatballs with a little barbecue sauce like the author mentioned and served them with mashed potatoes. Jonathan and I really enjoyed them, though they may have been a bit on the spicy side for the girls. They reminded us more of meatloaf rather than your traditional meatball. I wouldn't say these were the best meatballs I've ever had, but they were pretty good-4 stars.

Family Friendly: I wanted to make mini-meatballs because I figured they would appeal to my 2 1/2 year old more so than traditional meatloaf. I am happy to report that Abigail ate 1 and 1/2 meatballs. This is saying a lot because (1) Abigail was a little under the weather and (2) Abigail is not too fond of ground meat. Sarah didn't touch hers (well, she touched hers, she just didn't eat hers)-though she ate all her veggies! For now I'll give the recipe 3 stars for this category.

What's Cooking Rating: 3.75 stars (rounding to the nearest .25)

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