Tuscan Meatballs au Gratin

tuscan meatballs with cheese
tuscan meatballs with cheese

These have to be our favourite meatballs. They have everything we love. Good quality beef, cheese and mediterranean flavours.

This dish is actually lighter than you might think. The trick is to remove any fat after cooking the meatballs by draining them in a colander. The lemon zest lifts the whole thing up, and the fresh herbs add freshness. A great dish for all year round. Serve over pasta, with french bread or in a sandwich, or make small ones and serve as an appetizer. Also make a double batch and put one in the freezer for an other day (without the cheese).


tuscan meatballs with cheese

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 14-oz cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • a tiny grating of lemon zest, about 1/4 teaspoon
  • a pinch of sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cream, I use half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano

Meatballs:

  • 1-1/4 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Topping:

  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon  fresh oregano

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large skillet melt the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook about 3 minutes . Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds until it starts to soften, Add the tomato paste. Stir in the sugar. Add the wine. Add the lemon zest.
  2. Add the canned tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Add the herbs. Reduce heat to a simmer and let it cook while you prep the meatballs.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the onion until it is finely diced. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined. Roll the mixture into meatballs about the size of golf balls.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220° C / 425° F.
  5. Heat a large non stick frying pan and add the meatballs to the pan with no extra oil. The meatballs will start to release some fat as they cook. Cook for 15 minutes – it’s okay if they aren’t cooked all the way through since they are also going into the oven. Remove from heat and drain off all the fat in a colander.
  6. Place the meatballs in an oven proof dish.
  7. Pour the sauce over the meatballs, add the cream. Stir.
  8. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  9. Place in the oven to bake until the cheese on top is bubbling , about 20 minutes.
  10. Garnish with the fresh oregano.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

tuscan meatballs with cheese
greek meatballs in tomato sauce

Greek Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, Keftedes me Saltsa Domata

greek meatballs

After having our first beach day of the season today I felt it more than appropriate to share this super delicious and easy dish with you that just screams SUMMER .

It’s the kind of dish you make in a breeze and it tastes heavenly, it reminds me of long hot summers in Greece.
You can serve it with pita bread and a Greek salad or oven fries, it’s all good and the point is to keep it simple.

greek meatballs in tomato sauce
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⏰ Prep time: 10 min
♨ Cooking time : 15
🍴 Serves : 4-6
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Ingredients:

• 1 lb. ground beef, pork, or lamb
• 1/4 – 1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
• 1 tbsp. dried oregano
• 1⁄4 tsp. ground all spice * SEE NOTE
• 1 small red onion, grated
• 1 clove garlic grated
• 2 large egg yolks
• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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• 1 tablespoon olive oil (Greek preferably)
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 1⁄2 tbsp. tomato paste
• a pinch of sugar
• 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes
• 2 tsp oregano
• 1/4 tsp all spice
• 1 cup dry white wine
• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 tbsp. chopped dill, for garnish

greek meatballs in tomato sauce

Instructions:

In a medium bowl combine the meat with the breadcrumbs, oregano, all spice, grated onion, garlic, salt, pepper and egg yolks.
Divide mixture into small balls or roll into ovals.
Heat a non stick skillet over high heat and working in batches, cook meatballs until browned on all sides for about 6-8 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate and wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.
Heat olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and a pinch of sugar. Tip in the can of tomatoes and the white wine. Add the oregano and all spice. Season with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs back to the skillet and cook for another 10 minutes. Garnish with Dill.

καλή όρεξη.

• NOTE: If you don’t have All Spice you can make a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves in equal parts.

Enjoy!
Myra XO

greek meatballs in tomato sauce

Moroccan Meatball with Quinoa

Moroccan Meatballs with Quinoa

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Serves 4

We went to Marrakech once , and the food, the market, the people, the smell…….was so enchanting like nothing else I had ever seen before. I fell in love instantly with the sweet and savoury cuisine.

I have been making these meatballs ever since. I make a lot of other Moroccan dishes too but this one is by far the quickest and easiest.

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Ingredients;

1 lb. lean ground lamb or beef

1 onion peeled and chopped fine

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled and grated

1 tsp. himalayan salt or regular

ground black pepper

1 egg yolk

1/4 C. (home made ) dried breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp.  Ras el Hanout , see Ras el Hanout. for spice mix recipe

1/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. ground dried ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

2 tbsp. fresh chopped coriander plus 1 tbsp. for serving

3 tbsp. chopped pistachios (dry toasted briefly in a pan). Reserve one tablespoon to sprinkle over before serving.

4 dried apricots chopped

For the sauce;

1 tbsp. tomato puree

1  14 oz. can chopped tomatoes, or 5 to 6 fresh ones chopped

1 tsp. beef stock powder

1 tbsp. honey

3  tbsp. orange juice plus 5 tbsp water to make 1/2 cup in total

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Method;

In a large frying pan add 1 tbsp. of  the oil and cook the onion and garlic gently for about 5 minutes on medium low heat until slightly beginning to turn golden. Add all the spices and remove from the heat to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add the minced meat the onion and spice mix, the breadcrumbs, egg yolk, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp. pistachios, chopped coriander and apricots. Mix with your hands and form into golf ball sized meatballs.

Wipe your frying pan and add the remaining oil. Set heat on medium high. Fry all the meatballs until nicely browned all over and remove to a plate. Work in batches if necessary.

Once you have cooked all the meatballs. Start making the sauce in the same frying pan with the remaining oil in it and add the tomato paste and fry for 30 seconds then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, add the meatball back to the pan and simmer with the lid half on the pan, for about twenty minutes.

Meanwhile make the Quinoa.

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For the Quinoa;

1 cup (dry) quinoa

2 c. chicken or beef stock

2 tbsp. chopped pistachios (dry toasted briefly in a pan)

1 c. chickpeas drained

6 dates, stone removed and chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely grated

1 tsp. garlic powder

ground pepper

2 tbsp. chopped coriander

Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under running water. This is to remove the saponins that taste very bitter.

Did you know that saponins are for protection against insects?

Put quinoa to a medium saucepan. Add the stock, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and add the dates, carrot, garlic powder, chickpeas and pepper. Just before serving add the coriander and the pistachios.

Note: some quinoa only takes ten minutes to cook, so check the package instructions!!!

To serve place the quinoa on one side of a large platter, the meatballs and sauce on the other side. Sprinkle with more pistachios and chopped coriander.

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Not quite what you’re looking for? How about these  Meat Balls ?

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Turkey Meatballs

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Turkey or Chicken meatballs can become a little dry sometimes, but if you add some olive oil to the ground meat they become really nice and juicy.

This is my go to dinner when I feel I have over indulged a little too much. It is very low in calories, fat, and carbs. I serve these over Zucchini noodles but you can serve them over rice or pasta for a more substancial meal. They are also good as an appetizer or in a baguette for a quick dinner.

Ingredients:

For the meatballs;

1 lbs. ground organic Turkey

1 egg

2 tbsp. chopped onion

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1 tbsp. chopped Parsley

1 tsp dried Oregano

1/4 tsp Sage

1 garlic clove, peeled and grated

1/4 C. dried breadcrumbs

1/2  tsp. salt (the Parmesan is quite salty)

For the tomato sauce:

1 small onion, peeled and chopped fine

1 garlic clove, peeled and grated

1 12 oz. can peeled plum tomatoes

a pinch of sugar or a little bit of agave syrup, about 1/2 a teaspoon

salt and pepper to taste.

Some Basil leafs (optional)

Chopped Parsley for serving

Method:

Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs using only one tablespoon of the olive oil. With slightly damp hands shape into balls, about the size of a golf ball.

Heat a frying pan, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. When it’s hot add the meatballs one by one. Cook them over medium heat for about 10 minutes moving them around so they brown all over, be careful not to break them and use two spoons to turn them over if necessary.

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Now add the chopped onion to the pan, stir around a few times before adding the garlic. Frying and stirring gently as you go. Now you can add the canned tomatoes. Breaking up the tomatoes with your cooking spoon while you mix it around gently. Add the sugar and season to taste. Cook for about 10 more minutes.

Sprinkle with more parsley before serving.

My Grandmothers Meat Balls

There is something very comforting about meat balls. I always have a batch in the freezer for When I don’t know what to make for dinner. This recipe is how my grandmother used to make them. They have to simmer for quit a while, but then you end up with really juicy meat balls. The great thing about meat balls is that they are so versatile. You can put them in sandwiches, serve them over pasta with tomato sauce, have them as a snack. Or even slices them and top them with melted cheese, put them in a bun and pretend it’s a hamburger.  This is a pretty classic recipe, but I also like making variations like Italian meatballs with parmesan cheese, or Indonesian with cumin, coriander and sate sauce. The possibilities are endless. I hope you enjoy these.

I recommend you use half pork half beef for the meat balls to get a juicier result. Only beef could end up a bit dry. If you do want to use only beef I suggest you add an additional tablespoon of olive oil to the ground beef.

Serves 4.IMG_6215

Ingredients;

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground pork

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, peeled and diced very small

1 clove of garlic, peeled and grated or chopped very fine

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. coriander

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. black pepper, or a few twists of the mill

1/4 tsp. marjoram

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. cardamom

1/8 tsp. allspice

a pinch of cayenne

1 egg, beaten

1/4 C. dried breadcrumbs*

1/2 tbsp flour

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp honey

a few splashed of Worcestershire sauce

1 C. beef stock (from a cube if you like)

Method;

Start of by gently cooking the onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over low heat until just beginning to brown. Remove from heat and let cool. In a bowl mix all the remaining ingredients and shape into about 8 meat balls.

Heat a frying pan with the remaining oil and brown the meat balls all over, now lower the heat and sprinkle the meat balls with the flour, add the tomato paste, 1 tbsp honey, the Worcestershire sauce and a cup of beef stock. Stir everything and set the heat to very low. Partially cover with a lid and let simmer for an hour.

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