I'm Just Here To Cook…and Eat!


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Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Today was Danielle’s baby shower – yes I’m going to be an Aunt!! Instead of having a candy bar, I had an array of desserts including chocolate covered pretzels. I’ve never made these before, but it reminded me of when we were kids and my mom would make the molded chocolate every year for Christmas. And I will say, these were super easy to make and were a huge hit! And also looked beautiful. Here’s what I did. 

Buy any type of melting chocolate you want. I bought white chocolate to keep to my girlie theme. Melt the chocolate slowly in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time and stir after every 30 seconds. (Don’t forget my burned chocolate debacle last fall!). Dip the pretzel stick about halfway to two thirds up in the melted chocolate, lay on a wax paper covered tray and sprinkle with your favorite sprinkles. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes until hardened. Have some fun with it by coloring some of the chocolate and drizzle white over the colored ones. Gorgeous and so yummy!




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The Best Meatballs I’ve Ever Made

There are days I miss being a kid. For all different reasons. But one of the biggest is because I miss the traditions my family had when we were younger and my grandparents had us all over for dinner. One of my favorites was New Years Day. We would always have a lunch/dinner (linner?) at their house with my aunts and uncle and cousins where my grandparents always made the same meal – a ham, green salad, and spaghetti and meatballs. Walking into that house with the smell of the sauce simmering on the stove, my grandpa in his chair watching tv, and then my cousins and I running downstairs to play in the basement until we were called for dinner are memories that will never escape me. We’d play house where Samantha who was one of the youngest was the grandma, my cousin Michael and I were the twin kids (and he always wanted his name to be Beavis…), Danielle was the older teenage sister and my cousin Michelle was the mom. And when we got bored of that, we played the Dark Game. What’s that you ask? Oh it’s when someone is “it” while the others hide on the stairs and the person who is it creates obstacles on the floor that the others don’t see. Then the person who is it gets up on top of the pool table (sorry Gramps) and tells them to come down and turn off the lights. The others sneak around the room in the dark and when they make a noise, the one who is it has to guess who made the noise and where it came from. A true family original! Haha. This was my childhood, and I loved every second. And when I smell meatballs cooking on my stove now, it bring back those memories so vividly, and I want to relive it. 

But jumping back into the future, I am reminded of the challenge my friend Jen gave me to make the softest, melt in your mouth, but tasty and firm meatballs. I always start with the base recipe which was my grandma’s. But Jen, challenge accepted, and I think I may have succedded. 🙂 

Ingredients  

1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
spices to taste: I use:
1/2-1 tbs garlic powder
1/2 tbs onion powder
1/2 tsp chili pepper
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated cheese

Directions 

Place breadcrumbs in a bowl with half the milk. Let sit about 10 minutes for breadcrumbs to soak up the milk. Add the egg, spices, and remainder of the milk. Mix and let sit another 5 minutes. Add the cheese and mix. Then add the meat. Whatever you do, do not overwork!! This will make the meatballs tough. Combine until just blended. 

I bake my meatballs, but feel free to fry them! Make the balls and place on a baking sheet. 



Bake about 5-7 minutes on each side, just to brown them. Do not cook through. They will finish cooking in the sauce. 

Prepare your sauce however you like and place the meatballs in the sauce. Let simmer for at least 2 hours to finish cooking and marry the flavors of the meat and sauce. 



Serve over your favorite type of pasta. Last night I used Giada’s recipe (Pasta Recipe) and made fresh spaghetti with my Kitchen Aid attachment. Enjoy! The best meatballs I’ve ever made!