Perfectly Simple and Simply Perfect Italian Meatballs

My Tiny Sous Chef has been getting more involved in meal planning lately and has asked to choose one meal per week. This week she asked for “meatballs made with meat (meat = beef) and salad.” Since she asked for it in such a straightforward way, I thought we’d go basic and straightforward without frills on the meatballs.

A few years ago Food Network Magazine did a special feature on meatballs. It had all kinds of variations and how to prepare them if you want to bake them vs fry them vs broil them, etc. the basic foundations recipe for each style included in the feature have become the basics for all of my meatball creations. This recipe is adapted from the Italian meatball basic recipe in that feature. It’s simple, easy, and fool-proof perfection. It will not fail you. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
makes about 24 1.5-in meatballs
* 1 1/2-1 3/4lbs lean ground beef
* 3/4C grated Parmesan cheese
* 3/8C Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
* 3/8C milk
* 3/8C fresh parsley, chopped
* 3t minced garlic
* 1 1/2t kosher salt
* 2 eggs

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl by hand until combined. Form the mixture into balls, about 1.5-2 inches each. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a large pot. Add your favorite store bought or homemade tomato sauce and simmer on low for about 10 minutes until the sauce is warmed through. Serve over pasta or rice or your favorite veggie noodles, in a sub roll, over a salad, or just as-is.

Brown Sugar-Glazed Turkey Meatloaf

We eat a lot of meatloaf. When something clicks, especially for kids, you pay attention. But I can’t just keep making it the same way. There are only a few staple dishes and meals I don’t mess with at all. I guess I get bored making the same Rolodex of recipes so I usually try to vary even simple basic dishes. Like meatloaf. This one is good. And super easy to make. But the magic is in the glaze topping. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 2lbs lean ground turkey
* 1 sweet onion, diced
* 2 eggs
* 1/2t ground black pepper
* 1/3C seasoned breadcrumbs
* 1 T Worcestershire sauce
* 1t garlic salt
* 1t onion powder
* 1/2C marinara sauce
for the glaze
* 1/4C brown sugar
* 1/4C ketchup
* 2t grainy dijon mustard

WHAT TO DO
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Mix together the turkey, onion, eggs, pepper, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, onion powder, and marinara sauce in a large bowl with your hands, careful not to over-mix. Transfer the mixture into the baking dish and form it into a loaf.

Add the brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard into a small bowl and mix until well-combined. Spread the glaze mixture over the meatloaf, and then put the baking dish into the oven. Bake for an hour and 20 minutes, or until the meatloaf is cooked through. Let cool for 5 minutes and then slice and serve.

30-Minute Chili

30 minutes? You ask. Yes, I swear it’s true. Some days, for any number of reasons, just call for comfort food. And chili is a good answer if that’s the case. But many chili recipes rely on the traditional low and slow process to develop thickness and richness of flavor. But I promise. This weeknight-friendly recipe doesn’t lack for texture or taste. Believe me. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 4T olive oil
* 1lb ground beef
* 1 sweet onion, chopped
* 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
* 5t (or more!) minced garlic
* 2t salt
* 1t black pepper
* 15oz can no-salt-added dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
* 15oz can no-salt-added black beans
* 14.5oz can no-salt-added petite diced tomatoes
* 8oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce
* ~8oz water
* 4oz can mild diced green chilis
* 1T cumin
* 1/2T chili powder
* 2t paprika
* 2 or 3 bay leaves
* 2t sugar
suggested fixings/garnishes
* Greek yogurt or sour cream
* chopped green onions
* shredded cheese
* chopped fresh avocado
* corn or tortilla chips for dipping or crumbling

WHAT TO DO
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the ground beef to a large pot and cook over medium-high heat until browned, breaking it up and crumbling it with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Cook through, about 5 minutes or so.

Add the onions and red pepper, and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top. Stir, and cook for about 5, until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, stir through, and cook for about 1 minute.

Then add the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water (use the tomato sauce can to measure), green chilis, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and bay leaves, and stir to combine.

Bring the pot to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, allowing the chili to reduce and thicken.

Add the sugar and stir, then taste. Add more seasonings to taste. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

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Not My Recipe: Sheet Pan Flank Steak With Garlic Roasted Potatoes by My Latina Table

Who doesn’t love a one-pan meal?! Tonight’s Not My Recipe Post is this one pan winner of flank steak, potatoes, and veggies. It’s easy, and quick, and packed with impressive seasonings and flavors that will trick you into thinking it’s complicated and slow-cooked instead.

It’s also simple enough ingredients-wise that there’s something there for everyone, including a pickier or plain-preferring eater. My kiddo claims only to like raw red peppers and pickled onions (????), but broccoli she’ll eat no matter what, so I could easily parse out the stuff she’ll actually eat without messing up the meal or presentation.

All in all, I have no complaints at all, and I didn’t need to change a thing about this recipe to make it work for my timing or my eaters! Not my recipe, but I wish it were!