Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce

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In the short time I’ve been blogging, already I have learned, and I may be quoting Guy Fieri here, people go nuts for “cheesy meaty goodness!” Well I’ve got the meatballs to live up to that phrase!

Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce

Ingredients

For meatballs: makes about 7 meatballs

1 piece bread, crust removed

1/4 cup milk

2 Cloves garlic

3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 lbs ground turkey

Fresh mozzarella, 1 oz cubed (approx 7)

For sauce: Recipe follows

I am a fanatic for cooking TV, and I’ve watched a lot of meatballs being made. From personal experience, I know making a good meatball can be a bit challenging. Trial and error is to be expected. They have to be well seasoned and moist! The type of meat used is important too. A beef and veil combination seems to be most authentic, but there are no limitations to what can be used to crank out a delicious meatball.

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I decided to stuff my meatballs with Mozzarella after realizing I ran out of Parmesan, and it turned out to be a good thing.

First I take the bread, put it in a bowl and soak it in milk, squeeze out the milk into the sink, break up the moist bread into crumbs. First time seeing this technique, I found it a bit strange, but this is traditional Italian. Then I mix all the remaining ingredients, except for turkey and cheese, in the same bowl until well blended. Once mixed, I add ground turkey and blend, being careful not to overwork the meat mixture.

At this point I want to make sure the seasoning is right, so I take a mini meatball and fry it in a skillet. This is a tester to determine if any adjustments need to be made. Once satisfied with the meat, its time to add the cheese. I take golf ball sized portions of the meat, flatten, add cube of cheese in center, and bring together to form a ball.  It’s important the ball is properly sealed so that no cheese seeps out during the cooking process.

In to the oven they on a greased baking pan in a 375° oven for 25-28 minutes, or until cooked through. After the meatballs are done baking I add them to my tomato basil sauce (recipe follows)  and cook in sauce for a minute or so. Then I serve , plated and smothered in sauce. Yum!

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I think my favorite part of this dish, besides the gooey cheese, is the basic tomato basil sauce. It is so simple and so simply tomato, which is what makes it so delicious.

Tomato Basil Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, grated or minced

One 29 oz can tomato puree

Splash beef stock (optional)

4-5 basil leaves, chopped finely

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil on low-med heat, add garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn. I used grated garlic to heighten the garlic flavor, but it’s not necessary. Then add tomato puree and beef broth, sprinkle salt and pepper being careful not to add too much because seasonings should be adjusted at the end, heat to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add in basil. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper during the last few minutes.

© Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.WordPress.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blue Cheese Portobello Burger with Worsheshire Mayo on a Multi-grain Ciabatta Bun

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One thing I enjoy eating perhaps more than anything else is a good ol’ American burger. In my opinion, they are diffecult to beat! Also, one thing’s for sure, I am a total carnivore! I love just about anything made with beef. However, it’s not necessarily best for the waist line, and I intended to eat light for dinner.

I wasn’t in the mood for a turkey burger so I decided to try something I never have before: a vegetarian burger. The meat-less burger I planned to construct: Blue cheese portobello burger with a worsheshire mayo on a multi-grain ciabatta bun.

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Ingredients:

This is for one burger, adjust according to the amount of burgers you make

For marinade: (mix to taste)
Olive oil
Seasoning salt
Worsheshire sauce

1 portobello mushroom

For worsheshire mayo: (eyeball it)
Mayonnaise (light or regular)
Worsheshire sauce
Salt to taste
Black pepper (generous amount)

Slice of red onion
Oil
Salt and pepper
1-2 slices of red tomato
Green leaf lettuce
Ciabatta
Butter or margarine for spreading

For blue cheese sauce:
1 part butter, about 1 tablespoon
2 parts blue cheese crumbles, about 2 tablespoons

First, I dressed the portobello with a mixture of olive oil, worsheshire sauce, and seasoning salt that I whisked together and brushed on both sides of the mushroom. I let this sit for a quick marinade while I prepared my other toppings. For even more flavor, I prepared a worsheshire pepper mayo, simple, mix mayo; worsheshire sauce to taste, being careful not to add too much (should achieve a light brown color); a generous amount of black pepper; and a little salt. Then set aside until ready to use

Next, I tore a piece of green leaf lettuce, cut slices of red tomato (that i seasoned lightly). Then i sliced a red onion down the center, brushed it with oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then grilled it over medium heat until soft and browned,  (leaving the slice intact) about 2-3 min each side.

One of my cardinal rules to building an all-star burger is grilling the buns, this gives much more richness and flavor. To do so, spread a light layer of softened butter on the insides of each bun and grill on low heat until golden brown. You can use a butter substitute to cut fat and calories if you wish. I used margarine because I planned on using the good stuff, real butter, in my blue cheese sauce; yes I just can’t resist some indulgence. Grilling buns should be done fairly slow to achieve evenness and avoid burning the edges.

A flavorful mushroom is key here in order for it to stand up to the other ingredients without getting drowned out. Add a little oil to the grill pan, lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on the mushroom, and grill on both sides for about 3 minutes on each side. When done, the portobello should soften and flatten slightly, ending with a nice deep color.

Portobellos and blue cheese pair nicely, but blue cheese has a very strong flavor. Therefore I like to make a blue cheese sauce to mellow the taste.

To do so, as the mushroom is grilling, melt one part butter to two parts blue cheese crumbles in a small sauce pan on low heat being careful not to burn. I allow the butter to melt first, then whisk in the cheese until melted.

Now, it’s time to build that burger! Here are the steps: spread the prepared mayo on each of the buns, layer lettuce, then the portobello, next blue cheese sauce, tomatoes, grilled onions, and top with bun. And there you have it, a vegetatian style burger that is rich and satisfying much like it’s beefy counterpart. Honestly, I could not put this burger down! So many flavors come together in harmony and no one ingredient overpowers another, and that is key. The portobello tastes rich and meaty, the blue cheese has a salty tang, the mayo is peppery with a kick from the worsheshire; all enhanced by fresh produce, grilled onions, and the soft ciabatta bun.

Enjoy!

© Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.WordPress.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.