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Mmm...meatballs!

This quote was recently brought to my attention; it’s from some training that our General Relief Society President recently gave.  It is motivating and assuring at the same time.  I am grateful for wise and loving leaders, as well as the Spirit, to guide us.  I know they teach truth.

Below it  is a very adaptable recipe for meatballs/meatloaf.      

-Rhonda

 

“I have a sense and a feeling as we have watched some of these disasters in the world, that this is a time for us to learn and prepare from these experiences.   The preparation happens in our own homes. There are not enough tents in the world to furnish every person with a tent unless the members of the church have a tent in their own homes...a simple thing like that. And then the storehouse is pressed down, heaped over and running over in our own homes. Some of you have student apartments, how prepared are you? If an earthquake or an economic disaster happened, would you have enough water to drink for 24 hours? Would you be able to get by until help could come to you? Those are the kind of the things we need to be thinking about in our day and time, the Lord expects us to do our little part and then He can bring on the miracles and then we don't need to fear.  I bear you my testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and that these principles will strengthen us individually, and as a family, and as a people, and as a church.  As we listen to prophets of God we will be okay.  We don’t need to worry about being alive in this scary time.  The world has had scary times before and the Lord has always taken care of His people who have been faithful.

 –  Julie B. Beck  

see herefor her whole video clip, then click on Training Video: Self-Reliance


Meatballs and meatloaf are essentially the same food; only the size differs.  Burgers or patties can be the same recipe, too.  In the simplest version, you simply salt and season meat, then form and cook it.  To end up with tender, juicy results, you either use higher-fat meat, or use something to help hold the moisture in.  Many recipes call for crushed crackers or dry breadcrumbs, but the most tender results come from making a panade, which is a bread-and-milk paste.  You can also use, in the same amount as the panade,  mashed or grated potato, cooked rice, leftover cooked oatmeal (unsweetened!) or other hot cereal for this. This would make the meatballs be gluten-free.  Dry crumbs soak up more moisture, leaving you with a drier result.  Egg is usually used as a binder, to hold the meat together. And try to not squeeze the meat very much when you’re mixing it; compressed meat is tough.  Other than that, use whatever flavor additions you prefer –


Onion, garlic, ground pepper, Worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, raw pork sausage, Parmesan or other cheese, parsley, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, Liquid Smoke, bacon pieces, diced chili peppers, shredded zucchini or carrot, chopped mushrooms, bits of sundried tomatoes, chopped spinach.  

 
 For quick, simple meals later on, make a BIG batch of meatloaf, and shape it into

* a couple meatloaves

*rolled meatloaf- pat into a rectangle on some waxed paper, spread on some filling (cheese and spinach, or whatever sounds good), roll it up with the help of the waxed paper.  (Don’t leave the paper inside it!)

*some meatballs

*mini meat loaves (portions to bake in muffin tins or custard cups)
*patties

 Freeze on cookie sheets so they won’t stick together, either before or after cooking them, then pop into freezer bags, squeeze the air out, label and freeze.

For several flavor variations, click on   Tender and Moist Meatloaf and Meatballs .

Tender and Moist Meatballs or Meatloaf


2 slices good-quality white bread, cut in ¼” cubes (1 ½ c.)
3 Tbsp. buttermilk, thinned yogurt or sour cream- milk works but is less creamy
1 egg
1 ½ lbs. lean burger (may use pork sausage as part of this)
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼- ½ c. Parmesan cheese
¼ c. minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine the bread, buttermilk, and egg, or use 1/2 c. other wet starch (i.e. cooked rice, oatmeal, mashed potato), with the egg, omitting buttermilk.  Mash together until it forms a paste. Add everything else and mix gently.  Form into meatballs, 1- 2” in diameter.  If you’re cooking them right away, they’ll hold together better if you first refrigerate them for an hour. To cook, pan-fry over medium heat in 1-2 Tbsp. oil, shaking the pan often to turn the meatballs.  1 ½” meatballs should be done in about 10 minutes.  Add to sauce, or cool and freeze.

Another way to cook them is:

Put meatballs on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet back-to-front halfway through.  Partially cool, then freeze.


Meatloaf:

Mix, form into a loaf, and bake for 1 hour @ 350 F. Before the last 15 minutes, brush with
Meatloaf glaze:

1/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. cider vinegar
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This is the panade mixed with the seasonings; eggs are mixed in before adding the meat.  There are so many eggs because this is for a ten-pound batch of meatballs/loaf.

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Fully mixed.  A small icecream scoop (this is a #10) makes quick work of meatballs.   Another way to make evenly-sized ones is to pat the meat in a square or rectangle, then cut them into evenly-sized small squares.  Roll each one.  One pound of meatball mixture will give you about 30 1-inch balls.

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Put the meatballs on a lightly greased or sprayed cookie sheet.  For the roundest meatballs, roll them between your hands.  You can bake them now, and freeze them already cooked, or freeze them raw.  Put the whole tray in the freezer.  When they're solid, remove and put the meatballs in a freezer-safe bag or container.  Squeeze out the extra air, label, and put back in the freezer. 

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The individually-frozen meatballs packaged and ready to go in the freezer. They're best if used within a few months, but they'll be safe to eat for much longer.  (I've used 2-year-old meatballs before.)

 
 
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These make great little gifts.  I gave these out during the holidays, when most people are short on time and have had enough 'goodie plates'.  If you want to give them something extra, also include a bottle of syrup (homemade or storebought) or a couple different mixes in a basket.

 Back on 10/27/2010  I wrote a post on making vegetable powders.  Here's one kind you can make- pumpkin powder! The recipe below uses it to make some fragrant, fresh pancakes.   You can also adapt any recipe that calls for pumpkin puree.  I've made pumpkin pie with the powder, and it turns out great.  1/3 cup pumpkin powder plus enough water to give you one cup is all it takes to make a cup of pumpkin puree.  Most recipes won't require rehydrating the pumpkin first, either.  Just mix everything together, and the powder will rehydrate while it cooks. 

This mix is just a really large batch of "Foolproof Pancakes" (also from the 10/27/2010 post), made so you only need to add eggs and water.

Pumpkin Pancake Mix


½ cup coconut oil (shortening works too, but I don't use it)
1 ¼ c. brown sugar or raw cane sugar
¼ c. cinnamon
1 ½ c. pumpkin powder
3 c. powdered milk
1/4 c. baking soda
¼ c. salt
13 c. flour ( ½  wheat, ½ white)

Mix together the coconut oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Stir in everything else.  Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.  Makes about 20 cups.

To use it,  combine  1 1/3 c. mix, 1 egg, 1 cup water.  You'll get about 15 batches this size from the whole mix.

I made up a smaller bag with 2 2/3 c. mix, which is 12 ounces if you like to weigh things.  The instructions to use the whole bag is to add  2 eggs and 2 cups of water.

My bigger bag has 4 cups mix, about 17 ounces, and mixes with 3 eggs and 3 cups water.  For a ready-made label, click here.


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The amount of pumpkin is based on using roughly 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree for a 1-cup-of-flour batch of pancakes.  So if you don't have pumpkin powder, omit that ingredient, use just under 1 1/4 cups of mix, 1 egg, 1/2 cup fresh pumpkin puree, and reduce water. 


 
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To make pumpkin powder, first wash (but don't peel) the outside of a pumpkin.  Scoop out the seeds.

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The seeds are great themselves.  I find them easiest to separate from the stringy fibers by putting them in a bowl of water.  Pinch the seeds off into the water.  Dry them for a couple weeks and save them for planting in next year's garden, or roast them with a little oil and salt.

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Trim off the stem and the blossom end.  Slice the pumpkin lengthwise into pieces about 2" wide.  If you steam them now, the pumpkin will dehydrate in about half the time, and have a mellower, sweeter flavor.  Let cool enough to handle, then cut them about 1/4- 3/8" thick crosswise. 

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Lay the thin pieces in a single layer on a dehydrator try, or on a windowscreen laid down in a hot car, or on a cookie sheet with the oven on lowest setting... whatever you have.  When crispy-dry, put the pieces in a blender and puree until powdered.

This 5-lb pumpkin dehydrated down to just under 7 ounces, which measured 1 1/2 cups.  Not a bad space saver!  It takes just 3 Tbsp of this powder to equal 1 cup of puree, after adding water.

Use it in anything that calls for pumpkin; you don't even need to rehydrate it first: just add the right amount of water and powder.  Try Pumpkin Shake!  Or how about a gluten-free, dairy-free Pumpkin Cheesecake? Pumpkin Pie?

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A rainbow of dehydrated vegetables: from left to right:  tomato powder, pumpkin powder, yellow squash powder, and dried & crumbled greens.