Thursday, February 28, 2008

I've Been Tagged, plus a Hero Sandwich

Hero Sandwiches are on tap for dinner tonight...we needed something easy after my birthday celebration yesterday which was packed with cooking, singing, and opening gifts. I love cooking for special occasions but I always try to make something uncomplicated after a day of trying out new recipes and new flavors.

I loosely followed two different recipes from epicurious and they both turned out terrific. The first one for the actual meatballs was nice and easy. Mix everything together, roll the meatballs, and then bake in the oven. I usually pan fry this was an easy alternative.

The second recipe was for the marinara sauce. I substituted my own canned tomatoes for the store bought variety and added extra veggies. I also used my immersion blender to make it a little less chunky. I still left a good bit of texture...but I didn't want big hunks of pepper and mushroom in the finished sauce.

Shayne over at Fruitcake or Nuts recently tagged me. So, I've tried to think of a few interesting things to share with you. Here we go...

1.) I'm currently pregnant with our second child. We are not finding out whether it is a little girl or boy this time...the suspense is killing me!! This little one is due to arrive at the end of May and I'm so looking forward to a spring baby. We had our first child, Gabe, two years ago December and we had a major snowstorm the day we came home. He looked so tiny and lost in the huge bunting and layers of clothing we had him in.

2.) I was raised on a farm in Michigan. My childhood was spent running through the forest, building my own playhouse out of old logs and branches, climbing trees, and raising all manner of animals. Just to name a few, we raised a crow, raccoons, deer, ducks, goats, sheep, pigs, horses, cows, turkeys, and a million pheasants.

3.) I owe much of my interest in all things domestic to 4-H. I loved 4-H growing up and I was a part of everything. I entered myself in woodworking, cooking, sewing, crocheting, basket weaving, wildflowers, photography, gardening, and more.

4.) I married my high school sweetheart. Joseph and I were actually on the same baseball team when we were in grade school. We started dating when we were 16 and we somehow always knew we were right for each other. He has always been my best friend and I really can't imagine being married to anyone else.

5.) I love to travel and did quite a bit before getting married. I've been all over China, Japan, Taiwan, Scotland, France, Spain, Italy, and Bermuda. Once the new baby is old enough we are going to start up again-I've had the itch for awhile now.

6.) I'm a certified Elementary School Teacher. I spent 4+ years teaching elementary school before I had Gabe and decided to stay home with him.

7.) I've taken up guitar this year. I've become proficient at strumming and changing chords...but I'm not exactly a natural. I love playing and practicing - at home...but I do look forward to the day when I become comfortable enough to play at get togethers.

Meatballs for Hero Sandwiches
adapted from Bon Appetit February 95 - found on epicurious
1 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

1/2 c Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 t dried parsley

2 t dried oregano

1 T minced garlic

1 egg

1/4 c crushed chex cereal or cornflakes

salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Using wet hands, form into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until cooked through.

adapted from Bon Appetit December 92-found on epicurious
1 T olive oil

1/2 diced onion

1/2 c diced green pepper

1/4 c red pepper

1/2 c chopped mushrooms

1 T minced garlic

1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes

1 quart crushed tomato

1 T tomato paste

1 t - 1 T sugar (depends on your tomato sauce)

1 1/2 t dried basil

3/4 t dried oregano

salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and peppers. Saute until slightly tender 5-6 minutes. Add in garlic and mushrooms, cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.

At this point I used the immersion blender and whirled it around a bit, I still left it a little chunky. Also, add in the meatballs and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

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