Meatballs for Goodness

After all these years, my nana's meatball recipe is still nurturing and comforting. I am delighted to share once again a simple recipe filled with goodness. Thank you nana for teaching me the essentials of a recipe, even those ingredients not listed here. 

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Nana’s Meatballs, as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Makes 12 Jumbo, 24 large or 40 mini meatballs

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3 pounds ground beef, 80 / 20 blend; can use combo of beef, pork, and veal

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 sweet onion, chopped fine

2 eggs, cracked and beaten

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 cups day old Italian bread, pulsed into crumbs

1/2 cup chicken broth, to soften bread crumbs (variable amount may have to add more broth just to soften crumbs) 

Fresh ground black pepper

* Note all ingredients should be very cold before blending. 

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In a mixer or by hand mix all ingredients until well blended. Dip hands in ice water before shaping into round balls.

Spray an oven-roasting pan with grease spray.

Use an ice cream and scoop up meatballs; roll by hand until they are shaped round. Do not over handle as to not over warm up meat. Repeat until all meat is used up. Do not over crowd meatballs to make it easier to move them while baking. 

Refrigerate meatballs for at least 30 minutes to chill. Prepare Tomato Sauce below.

Pre heat a large heavy gauge sauté pan to high heat, or if making a large quantity of meatballs brown in a hot oven at 425 degrees F. 

Roast meatballs for five minutes in oven or on stovetop just until they begin to brown. If roasting gently shake pan to move meatballs to turn over, or use a spatula for meatballs if browning in sauté pan. Continue cooking for a few additional minutes (or less if mini) or until meatballs are brown on the outside. Meatballs will not be fully cooked and will continue to cook in tomato sauce. 

Remove meatballs with a spatula and add to gently simmering sauce and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes. 

For the Tomato Sauce:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil 

1/2 cup minced sweet onion

6 cloves garlic, minced 

2 (28 ounce) cans crushed San Marzano Tomatoes

2 (6.5 ounce) cans tomato sauce

1 Tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Fresh ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons each fresh chopped parsley and basil

In a large saucepot sauté add olive oil, onion, and garlic over medium heat until light brown. Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with dried basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, pepper, and half of the parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked browned meatballs and top with fresh chopped parsley and basil before serving. 

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Warm Apple Cobbler

Call it a crisp, a crumble or Betty, doesn't matter when you taste this quick version of apple pie!

Granny: This Australian native was discovered in 1868 as a chance seedling by "Granny" Anne Smith of Ryde, New South Wales. One parent might have been a French Crab Apple. Grannys are known for their distinctive green flesh, which sometimes bears a red blush, and their very tart flavor. An all-purpose apple, Grannys work equally well as a snack or in pies and sauce. U.S. Grannys are harvested beginning in August, and are available year-round.

Gala: This variety originated in New Zealand, a cross between Kidd's Orange Red and Golden Delicious. The Royal Gala strain was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, who deemed it her favorite during a visit to New Zealand. It was brought to the United States in the early 1970s, and is now one of the country's most popular apples. This crispy, juicy, very sweet apple is ideal for snacking. Galas can vary in color, from cream to red- and yellow-striped. U.S.-grown Galas are harvested beginning in mid-July, and are typically available year-round.

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George’s Warm Apple Cobbler Recipe

Makes 4 –6 servings

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For Topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup flour

3/4 quick oats

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/2 cup melted butter 

Mix all sugars, flour, oats and nuts. Pour in butter and mix until topping looks like wet sand. Do not over mix; topping should have a lumpy consistency.

For the Filling:

4 cups Apples- 1/2 granny and 1/2 gala or other sweet apple, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces. 

1/3 cup water or *simple syrup

1/4 cup raisins, plump in simple syrup

Pre heat a 375 degree oven.

Grease small individual ramekins or one nine inch ovenproof casserole. Add chopped apples, raisins and simple syrup. Top with a generous amount of crumb topping.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until crumb topping is crisp and light brown. 

Serve warm topped with powder sugar, whip cream or powder sugar.

*To make simple syrup:

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

1 orange, cut into quarters

Place all ingredients into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. Remove and cool.

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Bologna Inspired

The cold weather is about to enter into the low digits; so light a roaring fire in the fireplace and keep the big soup pot at the ready. You could make my Baked Potato Soup as a quick way to warm up. Or, how about cooking-up a brothy and hearty tortellini soup. (The tortellini originates from the north-cental part of Italy). Serve with my Fennel & Green Bean Salad and Homemade Biscuits for a complete meal. 

BTW--To answer a much often asked viewer question about my TV show; yes, 100% of my recipes are cooked on air and are eaten by my TV crew. Hey, it’s part of their job!

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Tortellini Basil Soup

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1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 cup sweet onion, chopped

8 cloves caramelized garlic

1 cup canned San Marzano Tomatoes, chopped

4 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 quarter cup fresh spinach leaves, shredded

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

8 ounces cheese tortellini

1 cup small white beans, cooked or canned

Pinch nutmeg

Grated parmesan cheese to taste

Fresh ground black pepper

Pre heat a medium soup pot to medium temperature.

Add olive oil, onion, garlic, tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and add tortellini, spinach, basil, and white beans. Simmer until tortellinis are al dente and season with nutmeg, pepper. Add parmesan cheese to taste. Serve with a basil leaf on top. 

NOTE: This recipe requires a good quality tortellini if you are cooking the pasta in the broth. A lesser quality tortellini will make the soup starchy. If you are not sure of the quality, cook the tortellini separately and add pasta to the soup right before serving. 

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Ribs and Sauce

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Ribs & Sauce — a perfect relationship

Everyone has a favorite way to serve ribs. Some like it dry with just a rub, others will dip dry ribs and wet them down with a vinegary sauce; or slather them up with a sugary sticky sauce right before coming off the grill. I'm often asked how I like my ribs the best. Really, I like them both ways, it just depends on what mood I'm in. It's definitely going to be a sticky rib weekend!

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Ribs cannot be prepared in a hurry, so toss a burger on a separate hot grill while you wait. How-to prepare the Ribs.

For Making Ribs with Sticky Sauce:

15 minutes prior to removing the slow cooked ribs, brush ribs lightly with a little sauce to moisten and add flavor. Remove, cut and serve ribs as is or serve extra sauce on side for pouring over ribs. 

GH Rib Sauce Recipe

 Makes 3 cups

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1/2 cup onion, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon thyme

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons fresh grated orange zest

1 cup ketchup 

1 cup tomato sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce

Place the onion, green onions, garlic, cumin, thyme, vinegar, orange juice, and sugar in a small pot.  Boil until the vinegar is reduced by half.  Add orange zest, soy sauce, ketchup, tomato sauce, hot sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

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