Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Many years ago, while living in Arizona,

a friend brought dinner to us one night after we had our first cherub.

That dinner left such a lasting impression on us

that I still make it and it's one of our family favorites.

Not only do I make the "main entree" like Lisa made,

but I make the VERY dinner she brought to us 16 years ago!

  • Zippy meatballs,
  • cooked carrots,
  • and mashed potatoes.

It just goes together!

Yesterday, when my girl cherub got new wires, hooks, and smaller rubber bands for her braces,

and it made her teeth really sore!

Tonight for dinner, we are faced with a dilemma!

While we feel sorry for her,

we still want to eat.

And we don't want "soft food" either!

I thought of meatballs!

While we do really adore the zippy meatballs,

I was wanting something to serve with rice.

Sweet and Sour meatballs!

Perfect choice!

When you google that recipe, normally you find the appetizer option, using frozen meatballs.

That wasn't what I was wanting.

Not tonight,

and usually never.

I wanted homemade meatballs with a little Asian flair.

I think this is just perfect!

The basic meatball is like the zippy  meatball recipe, found here:


The difference is the sauce.

Honestly, the next time I make these,

and there will be a next time!

I'll make 1 1/2 the sauce . . .at least!

We all wanted a tad more for our rice and it would have been great for the left-over lunch too!

(The sauce quantity listed is for the original amount -- if you want more, you'll have to do the math!)

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 1/2 to 2  pounds ground beef*
3/4 cup oatmeal (if gluten free, use gluten free oats)
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 onion, more or less depending on taste, chopped fine

Sweet and Sour Sauce

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup bbq sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the beef and remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Scoop out into meatballs.

I use a cookie scoop because I'm persnickety about all the meatballs being the same size.  Also, it allows the meatballs to cook evenly without some being burnt and some under-cooked!

Place the meatballs into a 9X13 pan.

Whisk the sauce ingredients together and pour over the uncooked meatballs.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until done.

Serve over rice.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Hampshire Chicken Sandwich

Photo taken by my boy cherub

When we rolled into the sleepy New Hampshire town

and there were only two restaurants to choose from . . .

and one was closed,

we know our options might be slightly limited!

In the parking lot, the Mr. said, "we might be eating gluten tonight!"

We were wrong!

Not only did they have gluten free options,

but they even had a gluten free menu!

Because we had devoured a ton of cheese and apples earlier that day,

the Mr. and I decided on something to share for dinner.

For a point of information:

I am not really one that "likes" to eat out.

Oh, I like to . . .

but it's for strange reasons.

As in, I don't want to order something I can easily make at home.

Like a salad.

Honestly, unless it's an "over the top" salad, I'm not going to order one as my meal.

When I go out, I'm looking for things to try that I can then go home and replicate.

That's what happened this night!

This was NOT on their gluten free menu,

but the only thing that made it "gluten" was the bun.

Being smart, we just asked for no bun.


I can't remember what they called this sandwich,

which we ordered bunless,

but I'm calling it "New Hampshire Chicken Sandwich"

because then, when we have it,

we'll be reminded of our trip.

On another note:  this is GREAT without the bun -- even if you eat gluten!

New Hampshire Chicken Sandwich

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded out and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 jar good quality cranberry chutney
1 package boursin cheese spread*
4 buns (I used gluten free onion rolls)

I prefer to always pound the boneless chicken breasts -- it makes it easier to eat.

Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill until no long pink.

Toast the buns . . . because it's just better!

Spread one-fourth of the boursin cheese on the bottom of each bun.

Top with a grilled chicken breast.

Spread a generous amount of cranberry chutney on top of the chicken.

Finish with the top bun.


*boursin is a spreadable cheese, found at most local grocery/super stores.  You might need to look in the "specialty" section near the deli.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Berry and Peach Crisp

The Mr. and I celebrated 20 years of marriage last week.

With my mom agreeing to keep watch over the cherubs, we took off to the beautiful New England states for a few days!

It's kind of a sad reality when, at our age, we view going to New England in the Fall as "fun!"

At least we didn't make the trip on a charter bus!

Although, there is nothing wrong with that . . .

and there were p.l.e.n.t.y. of buses that we saw.

But I would like to think that we are young enough to still want to travel by ourselves!

What I did discover is that we were called "leaf peepers!"

That's what the weather people in the New England states would say when giving the weather report for the following day.

OK -- and the fact that we watch the news . . .

maybe another small sign that age is creeping up on us!

We stayed in B & B's most nights,

except for one,

and that's called a "memory"

that will be held over the Mr.'s head for a really, really, really, long time!

The breakfasts that we had most mornings was so delicious!

I'm not sure if it was because we weren't cooking . . .

or we were being served . . .

or we were meeting other wonderfully young "leaf peepers" .  . .

whatever the reason, I requested several recipes!

Many times, on trips, that's my mementos . . .


I have so many from our trip that I can't wait to share with the cherubs

and this is one of them!

It was called blueberry and peach crisp . . . or maybe it was blackberry;  I don't remember.

But I didn't have either of those, so I used frozen mixed berries and it was yummy!

That's why I called it "berry and peach crisp!"

Berry and Peach Crisp 
(Adapted from The Maine Stay Inn B & B)

2 cups frozen (or fresh) blueberries (I didn't have blueberries, I had mixed . . .so I used that)
4 cups frozen (or fresh) peaches, sliced
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup gluten-free flour (or regular flour)

For the crumble topping:

1/2 cup gluten free flour
1/2 cup gluten free oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I replaced with brown sugar . . .because I wanted to!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons cold butter, diced

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine berries, sliced peaches, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and flour. Gently toss until fruit is well coated. Let the fruit mixture sit while you prepare the crumble topping.

For the crumble topping; in a large bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir together with a whisk.

Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, mix in the butter until the mixture comes together and you have big crumbles.

Spray a pie plate, a square 8x8 pan, or ramekins with Pam.  Place the fruit mixture in the baking dish. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit.

Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

We really do love gingerbread.

When I think of gingerbread cookies, I think of the little people . . .

and honestly, I kind of have a hard time eating one of those cookies.

I'm not really sure why!

But when I think of gingerbread, I'm reminded of a fabulous gingerbread loaf that we used to eat.

It was wonderful!

Last night I found this recipe in a cookbook by Silvana Nardone and on a whim, I mixed it up.

I didn't really know what to expect.

But what we pulled from the oven was wonderful!

They look like a perfect cookie you might find at a bakery.



Deep brown.

I made a variation to the recipe and I'm kind of happy with it!

I was out of ginger, so I just substituted cinnamon.

Because we love cinnamon

and because I had everything mixed together when I realized I had no ginger.

There was no turning back, huh!

So instead of gingerbread cookies,

I guess these are cinnamonbread cookies!

My boy cherub liked them tons!

I like that they're not super sweet!

The cocoa in the recipe gives the cookies the deep color and the molasses gives the deep flavor!

While I made these gluten free, I really think all-purpose flour is an easy substitute!  If you make it with "regular flour," leave a comment to let others know how it worked out for you!

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

1 1/2 cup gluten free flour
2 TBSP cocoa powder
2 tsp ginger (or cinnamon if you don't have any ginger!)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
3 TBSP molasses
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the flour and the next 7 ingredients together.  Whisk together to blend well.

In a smaller bowl, beat the egg, oil, and molasses together.

Pour into the flour mixture and, by hand, mix together until you have the flour mixture thoroughly incorporated.

Using a cookie scoop, drop by 1 1/2 TBSP onto a cookie sheet.  (If you have the Pampered Chef cookie scoops, it is the "medium" scoop).

Bake for 8 minutes.

Allow to cool on the pan for 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.