Some days, all you need is some comfort food. And man, do these meatballs ever count. Cheese stuffed anything is a good route to go, especially in winter. These were originally a slow cooker recipe, but I used the alternative baked method as I just didn’t have the time to throw these all in and leave them yesterday. Still turned out pretty good.

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
Makes appx 10 to 18 meatballs, depending on the size you make them

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 c panko
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 t sea salt
  • .5 t black pepper
  • 1 small ball fresh mozzarella, cubed

Cube your mozzarella, and freeze for a half hour minimum on a small plate.  Preheat your oven to 400.  While the mozzarella chills, combine all other ingredients in a bowl with your hands until you have a single mass of meat. Remove the mozzarella from the freezer, and taking chunks of meat, place the cheese in the middle of the meat chunk and roll the meat around it (see pic 2 for an example of what putting the cheese in looks like, and what the final meatball looks like. 

Bake for 20 minutes. There will likely be cheese oozing out of the meatballs at the end of the bake time; this is normal, and a sign you did it right. 😛 

And then, dip in some marinara, and enjoy!

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This recipe is a bit involved for all the stuff that needs to be done to make it, but honestly, the resulting porridge is pretty fantastic. I’ve heard a lot about congee and how awesome it is, but didn’t really feel the urge to go out of my way to make it until I found this recipe.

And honestly? This might go into my regular breakfasts rotation. Garlic plus beef plus soy plus rice = very very good combination, in my book. And this makes enough that this should keep me in breakfasts for most of the week. 

Congee with Beef, Garlic Chips, and Shiitake
Lasts 4 breakfasts

Ingredients

Garlic Chips

  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and sliced
  • .5 c olive oil
  • pinch sea salt

Beef

  • .5 lb ground beef
  • 2 t soy sauce
  • 3 t vegetable oil
  • dash sugar
  • pinch sea salt

Congee

  • 1 c rice
  • 5 c water
  • shiitake mushrooms, sliced (amount variable; original recipe suggests 6, I did an entire package)
  • 2 t soy sauce
  • pinch pepper and salt

To make your garlic chips, take your garlic slices, put them in a small pan with the olive oil, and cook over medium high heat until they are golden brown. Drain the chips with a mesh strainer, and reserve the garlic oil that results. Sprinkle the chips with salt. 

Combine the beef, soy, sugar,vegetable oil, and salt in a small bowl while the chips fry, and chill in the fridge. 

For the congee, combine your rice in water in a medium sized pot, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot, and cook for 30 minutes, checking at least twice (I ended up checking every ten minutes or so) to stir and ensure that rice isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot. Picture 6 is what the rice will look like after the 15 minute mark. After the half hour, add the shiitakes in, and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

After 20 minutes, take your ground beef and add in in teaspoon sized chunks, stirring it into the congee. Cover the pot again and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until the beef has cooked through. Add in the soy, salt, and pepper to taste.

When ready to serve, scoop into bowls, sprinkle with garlic chips, and pour a small amount of the garlic oil over the congee. Serve hot, and enjoy!

So, these right here? These are pretty damn amazing. The base recipe is a bit simple and plain, so I did end up adding some variations to this one. Balti seasoning, which is quickly becoming my favorite seasoning, was added into the meat, the meat itself was a blend of three separate ground meats, and I put a bit of dukkah on top. This recipe comes from Food through the Pages, an offshoot of the Inn at the Crossroads that sadly appears to be mostly abandoned (it hasn’t updated since April of this year). The food it’s inspired by is the meatrolls in Dragonriders of Pern, so there’s that fun little element, too.

Pernese Meatrolls
makes 16 rolls

  • 1 box pastry sheet, thawed (two sheets)
  • minimum 1 lb pork sausage (I used a combination of 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb pork sausage, and a bit over .5 lb of ground lamb)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • optional: balti seasoning for the meat, dukkah to top

Preheat your oven to 400. If using a mix of meats, combine your meat into one ball of meat, and mix in any seasoning you may be using (I used a good few shakes of the balti seasoning, and the aforementioned combination of meats). 

Unfold your thawed pastry sheet, and cut it in half vertically, followed by four to five cuts horizontally on each half, so that you have four to five strips. Take a chunk of the meat, and wrap the pastry sheet around it, so that you have a nice roll.  Use the beaten egg to seal it, and then brush more beaten egg over the top, and lay them on a lined baking sheet. If using a topping, like seeds or dukkah, sprinkle it over the beaten egg.

Bake for about fifteen to twenty minutes, until the tops are golden brown (see final picture) and they’ve puffed up a fair bit. They will be a bit greasy, so let them cool ten minutes before taking them off the baking sheet.  Some of the bottom may stick to the sheet on some of them; don’t worry about it, more than not will come off clean. 

And then, nom. And get ready to make your next batch, cause they won’t be nearly enough.

This is the first meatloaf I’ve ever made, and I can honestly say it’s a pretty damn good meatloaf to start out with. Would probably substitute panko for oats in the future, but otherwise? Get a good gouda, good bacon, and ground meat, all from your local farmers market if you can, and enjoy the awesomeness of this meatloaf.

Bacon and Gouda Stuffed Meatloaf with Tomato Marmalade
Lasts an incredibly long time (about two weeks’ worth of lunches, minimum)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • .75 lb ground pork
  • 2 t grated onion
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • .25 c oats
  • .5 t garlic salt
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked
  • 1 c grated Gouda (I used smoked gouda, you could also use cheddar)

Tomato Marmalade

  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (fire roasted if you can find them for a reasonable price)
  • 1.5 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T dark brown sugar
  • .25 t crushed red pepper

Cook your bacon to its desired doneness, and while it cooks, grate your Gouda. As soon as the bacon is done, remove it to a paper towel. Combine all ingredients for the loaf except for the bacon and gouda in a large bowl, using your hands if necessary to mash it together.

Ideally, for the loaf, you have a bread pan, but if you don’t, use a cake pan, and shape the loaf in the bottom of the pan with half the meat. Lay down half the gouda, then the bacon, then the other half of the gouda on top, and form the top part of the loaf with the other half of the meat, sealing in the bacon and cheese. Preheat your oven to 350 (325 on my oven), and put the loaf in.

Immediately after the loaf is in the oven, put your tomatoes, balsamic, dark brown sugar, and crushed red pepper in a pot and stir to combine, bringing it to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes, until reduced by about half.

Once the marmalade is done, remove the loaf from heat and pour the marmalade on top of it. After that, it should cook for about ten minutes more. I actually set mine for an additional half hour, so that it was closer to an hour in the oven instead of the overall 40 minutes the recipe recommends. My loaf is likely more well done as a result (I haven’t cut far enough in to confirm).

And then, enjoy the noms!