This week I started my new job, and my new challenge was to find recipes that I could prep in the morning for Matt to finish in the evening with ease. That’s when I stumbled upon Thai lettuce wraps. It’s a simple dish but full of sweet and spicy flavor. I mixed the meat and prepared the coleslaw, so Matt could roll the balls and bake. Dinner was done in 15 minutes! The next evening Christopher was still talking about how he enjoyed the dinner. Mission Meatball was a success!
THAI MEATBALL LETTUCE WRAPS
Serves: 5-6 lettuce wraps
For the meatballs:
1.5 pounds lean ground pork
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ginger, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1½ teaspoons fish sauce
½ teaspoon sriracha
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lime juice (1 – 2 limes)
1-2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (for coating the meatballs once they are cooked)
For the cole slaw:
1 14 oz bag cole slaw mix (the kind with regular cabbage, purple cabbage, and carrots)
10 basil leaves, rolled up and sliced
5 mint leaves, rolled up and sliced
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 scallion, finely sliced
¼ cup rice vinegar
5 teaspoons light mayonnaise
4 teaspoons sweet chili sauce
1 head of iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce (either will work for the lettuce wraps)
Extra lime for garnish
Extra cilantro for garnish (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
For the meatballs, mix all the ingredients except the sweet chili sauce in a medium bowl with your hands until evenly combined (the pork, scallions, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, sriracha, salt, and lime juice). Dampen a paper towel with some vegetable oil (canola or coconut oil works too), and wipe it onto a baking sheet to grease it. Using about 1 heaping tablespoon of meat mixture each, form meatballs and place them on the baking sheet. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes or until they are fully cooked through in the middle, flipping once half way through with a spatula. Meanwhile, make your coleslaw. In a medium bow, combine all your coleslaw ingredients (the bag of coleslaw mix, basil, mint, cilantro, and scallions)To make your dressing, whisk together the rice vinegar, mayonnaise, and sweet chili sauce in a small bowl and pour over the coleslaw, tossing to coat. Set aside until the meatballs are finished baking. When the meatballs are done, transfer them to a bowl and toss with 1-2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (they should just have a very light coating). To assemble, start with a lettuce cup, spoon in a pile of coleslaw, and top with three meatballs. Top with a little extra cilantro (optional), and an extra squeeze of lime juice (highly recommended!) Note: if you don’t want to deal with the lettuce wrap (they can get a bit messy!), just serve the meatballs on a bed of the coleslaw, squeeze a little lime juice on top, and eat with a fork!
Amy - Round 1
Funny enough, when Gigi informed us that this week’s food challenge was to be meatballs, I chuckled. I had already planned to make a couple of dishes involving meatballs. So all I had to do was get in the kitchen and get busy. My “weekend” is Sunday and Monday. So I spent those two days making meatballs! For Sunday night I decided to break out the slow cooker. I stumbled across a recipe onlecremedelacrumb.com:
Slow Cooker Stuffed Meatballs1 pound ground beef
1 Cup breadcrumbs
1 egg + 1 yolk
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3-4 Mozzarella cheese sticks (I used Mozzarella pearls instead)
Marinara or Alfredo sauce for dipping
1) Chop each cheese stick into 1/2-inch pieces (about six to eight pieces for each stick), freeze until ready to use.
2) Add ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, garlic, onion powder, Italian season, salt, and pepper to a bowl. Mix together with your hands.
3) Remove the cheese from the freezer. Scoop about 4 tablespoons of the meat mixture into a ball. Push the Mozzarella pieces into the ball and roll until the cheese is covered. Place inside a greased slow cooker and repeat.
4) Cover and cook on HIGH for 1-2 hours. Or on LOW for 3-4 hours. Until meat is no longer pink.
5) If desired, sprinkle with a bit of fresh chopped parsley and serve with marinara or Alfredo sauce for dipping.
First and foremost, these were outstanding. My only regret is that I couldn’t make these meatballs again ASAP. My suggestion is to not be shy with the seasoning and if you’re going to use store bought marinara splurge on quality. This won’t be the only time that I make these meatballs!
Amy - Round 2
With Sunday’s meatballs being deemed an appetizer I decided to make Monday’s meatballs to be the center of a meal. I pulled out my copy of the New York Times cookbook. This is the revised edition edited by the legendary Craig Claiborne. At this point I should mention that I’m somewhat of a New York Times junkie. Slightly obsessed with their food/cooking section. They’ve helped make a generation of foodies. But I digress. I found a dish entitled Fricadeller. According to the cookbook, Fricadeller are Danish pork balls that appear on many Scandinavian buffets. Well…IKEA has those Swedish meatballs people go apeshit over, so why not? I made an Easy Onion Kuchen ( from the same cookbook) and Baked Mashed Potatoes from Bruculinu, America by the late-great character actor Vincent Schiavelli ( better know as Mr. Vargas in Fast Times at Ridgemont High or the right cranky ghost who’d do anything for a drag in Ghost). So there’s a continental European theme to this meal. But our focus is the meatballs. If I could describe how I felt about the finished product in a single word it would be….underwhelmed. I was completely underwhelmed by these meatballs. Maybe it was the very things that attracted me to this dish were the very things that worked against it. The simple ingredients, the almost retro food feel to it. Or perhaps Sunday’s meatballs were too damn good and anything else becomes somewhat lackluster. I almost don’t want to bother with sharing the recipe. However, someone may read this and like the sound of it. Or experiment with it. If you do, please share what moderations you’ve made. As for me, it’s a page in the New York Times cookbook that I won’t revisit anytime soon.
2 pounds lean, ground pork
1/2 Cup flour
1 small onion, grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 Cup club soda, or plain water
2 Tablespoons butter
1) In a mixing bowl combine the ground pork with the flour, egg, onion, salt and pepper. Work with a fork until the ingredients are well blended.
2) Stir in the club soda, a little at a time, and shape the meat mixture into small balls or patties.
3) Melt butter in a skillet. Brown the balls on all sides in the butter, turning gently with a fork or spatula. Continue to cook over low heat, uncovered, until the pork is cooked through.
By the way, the baked mashed potatoes were the winner of this meal.
Low Carb Swedish Meatballs
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 large eggs
4 ounces onion, minced and sauteed until soft
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 tablespoon Sukrin Gold (or your favorite sweetener) – I couldn’t think of any reason to add sweetener to meat. So I skipped this
1 teaspoon pure ground chipotle pepper seasoning
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 ounces cream cheese
1½ cups unsalted beef broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Brandy (I used red wine)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
garnish with chopped parsley
Meatballs: In a large frying pan, heat two teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the minced onions and saute until soft.
Put all of the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer until completely combined and light and fluffy.
Using a tablespoon measure, scoop the meatball mixture, roll into a ball and place onto a foil lined sheet pan. I like to keep my hands oiled so the meatballs don’t stick to my hands. Two tablespoons of oil in a small bowl is plenty. By measuring carefully, you should get about 60 meatballs.
In the same pan in which the onions were sauteed, heat about 2 teaspoons of oil over medium high heat. Add half of the meatballs turning each one three times, at about 2 minutes per side.
Remove the meatballs to the sheet pan; lift up half of the foil and place them on the clean sheet pan. Add the rest of the oil to the saute pan and cook the remaining half of the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to the sheet pan. Turn off the heat under the saute pan.
Cream Sauce: Heat the cream cheese in the microwave for 1 minute. Pour the 2 tablespoons of brandy and ¼ cup of the beef broth into the pan, turning the heat to medium high. Scrape up all of the brown bits on the bottom and sides of the pan. Add the cream cheese and break it up and try to melt it as best as you can. Add the cream and stir. Put the sauce from the pan into a blender and add the rest of the beef broth. Blend until smooth and add it back to the pan. Add the Worcestershire sauce and Dijon Mustard. Simmer the sauce until it reduces and thickens to your liking, 5 – 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Use a looser sauce for appetizers (like in a crock pot) and a thicker sauce for dinner.I’m a working gal.. So I prepared the meatballs and added a little more liquid to the cream sauce and threw all of it in the crock-pot to slow cook all day. It wasn’t as pretty but the flavors were fantastic.
I made a low carb version because I knew I was going to serve them with egg noodles. I thought it was yummy. The husband is waiting to pass judgement. He wants me to make them again but with sour cream instead of the cream cheese..
Stay tuned for next weeks Saturday Bites..
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99, Ames and gigi
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