Tag Archives: basil

Baked Meatballs

Look at that caramelization. Tasty.

I don’t know how many of you are on Pinterest, but here is a quick breakdown for you before I tell how a super sketchy pin turned out some delicious balls of meat. On Pinterest, you basically make boards of topics that interest you and the “pins” are links to websites with a picture of whatever it is you like from that link.

Now, every once in a while, you come across a pin that is not actually a link to anything but is just a picture that has been uploaded or posted and the information you want is all in the caption underneath. This isn’t super sketchy if someone puts up a cute outfit or a cool nail polish job, but I get kind of weirded out when someone puts up a recipe or DIY project like this. It’s like a ghost did it, I have no connection to another blog or website that has a personality and a history. And when it comes to making food from a source I don’t know ANYTHING about, I get kind of twitchy.

So I pinned one of these frighteningly unreliable pins one evening. And proceeded to make the meatballs it gave me instructions for. I live on the edge guys, try to not get too jealous.

Well, they turned out delightfully good! It was super easy and insanely cheap. Plus, I got to use my beloved basil plant, Barry. Not going to lie, that was one of the main reasons I wanted to try these. Another bonus, you get to mix everything with your hands! Ya. So this pin from a dark alley in a city at midnight turned out to be delicious, but still, I mistrust pins that don’t lead anywhere as a general rule.

These meatballs turned out to be the perfect consistency to just snack on by themselves, and we all had a grand time pretending they were fancy appetizers. We also had fun experimenting with different dipping sauces. We didn’t even get to try them with pasta because they were gone too fast, but you can obviously be more civilized than we were and have spaghetti and homemade meatballs. Seriously, the baking method made the juices caramelize and the balls of deliciously seasoned meat crunched just an itty bitty bit when I bit into them and were wonderfully flavorful for a recipe that uses such basic spices.

The recipe also makes enough for about three people and the leftovers are easily put in some tupperware or plastic baggie and saved for later in the fridge or freezer. I doubled the recipe because there were about 5 of us eating and since 4 of the 5 were guys, I needed plenty of food. I highly recommend doubling it when you make it because of the ease of freezing them. Just like you would a bag you buy from the store. That way, two weeks from now when you are just too tired to do anything but heat something up in the microwave, you have delicious homemade food you can turn to. Look at you go, planning ahead. It’s almost like you could be a functioning adult.

Thus, my epic culinary adventure ended with a happy tummy and a great sense of satisfaction.

Now experience it for yourself! Here is your cost breakdown (as usual, all prices are approximations):

The Stuff.
  • 1 lb. hamburger meat: $3.00 per lb if you don’t get super nice stuff
  • 2 eggs: $0.40
  • 1/2 C. milk: $0.50
  • 1/2 C. grated parmesan: $0.75
  • 1 C. bread crumbs: $0.30
  • 2 cloves garlic: $0.15
  • 1 tsp. onion powder: $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano: $0.10 (oregano is more expensive than a spice like onion or garlic powder)
  • 1/4 C. basil: $1.25 (this really depends on what form you use, dried will be cheaper, but for this recipe I highly recommend using fresh.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. hamburger meat (we were kind of an extreme budget and bought a literal tube of ground beef, sad I know)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 C. milk
  • 1/2 C. grated parmesan (I didn’t do an exact measurement of this, just a solid handful worked fine for me)
  • 1 C. breadcrumbs (plain)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. onion powder (if you prefer using a fresh onion that works too, just make sure it is very finely diced because it is going in something so bite-sized)
  • 1 tsp. salt, also some pepper if you want to add a dash
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 C. basil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie pan with parchment paper or spray with some Pam.
  2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, herbs, salt, garlic, and milk.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Mix the meaty goodness with your hands until everything is evenly distributed.

    Mixin’ it in.
  5. Form the meatballs. The size is totally up to you, I like them a little smaller than a golf ball. Just be aware that if you any smaller than that you will have to decrease the cooking time a bit.
  6. Put the meatballs onto the cookie pan and make sure they are not touching. Close is ok, touching is bad.

    Since I doubled the recipe, there is a lot more meat action going on here.
  7. Put those suckers into the oven for 30 mins. Make sure to check on them as they get close to being done.

    Bakin up all nice and yummy. Almost done!
  8. Take them out and let them cool for about 5 minutes.

Hope you enjoy the recipe and it works out just as well for you as it did for me!

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Adaptation of Roasted Lemon Garlic Herb Shrimp

So this is one of my Pinterest recipes, originally on Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice This sounds super fancy and shenanigans like that, but I assure you the name sounds like that just so other people will be impressed with you when you told them what you made for dinner last night. Your mom may also become slightly less disappointed in you. No promises on that one though. The basic idea here is very simple. Put some stuff in a pan for some time.

The finished procuct.

So why is this cheap?

The shrimp is somewhat more expensive than other meat/protein sources, but the rest of the ingredients are very inexpensive or are just a small portion of what you have on hand. Plus waiting to make this until you can grab some shrimp when it is on sale is a fan-freaking-tastic idea.
A super basic breakdown:

  • Lemon: They cost about 70 cents. You can also just use lemon juice if you are so inclined.
  • Garlic: A whole bulb is about 50 cents, and you can save some of it for later cooking.
  • Herbs: Freeze-dried or dried are about $2-$3  per bottle, but these keep for a long time and you don’t use a lot in a given recipe. Or, having your own plant means it is free.
  • Noodles/Rice: Seriously, if you pay a lot for noodles or rice you are doing it wrong.
  • Olive oil: Not the cheapest of oils, but you will actually only use about $1.50 worth in this recipe.
  • Butter: 2 tablespoons are like 25 cents or something like that. Margarine also works fine in this recipe.

Feel better about being fancy? Good. Let’s move on to some modifications you can make to this.

This recipe originally called for thyme as the herb, but I happen to have a lovely basil plant. His name is Barry. So, I went with some fresh basil. You could easily substitute any herb you would like (oregano, parsley, marjoram, or sage are some that could work) or even mix them up. If all you have is dried just use about half of what the recipe calls for since the flavor is stronger. Just know what kind of flavor you want before going willy-nilly.

You also have a great option for what you will serve with the shrimp. I made this with a mix of quinoa* and rice. The Trust Sidekick is not a fan of quinoa. I would actually recommend doing just rice, or maybe some orzo pasta or angel hair. Once again, use what you’ve got! Spaghetti noodles or rotini work just as fine as anything else. The oil and herbs it’s roasted in are delicious, and no sense in wasting them so make sure you use this as a sauce for whatever you serve with the shrimp. We didn’t use enough and The Trusty Sidekick and I both agreed that using more would have added a lot of flavor.

Anyway, here is the recipe I used:

Yield: about 3 servings

Total cooking time: 40 minutes

Tools you need:

  • 9×12 baking pan
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Cheese grater (optional)
  • Collander/strainer (if using frozen shrimp)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon (or 2 1/2 T. lemon juice)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (doesn’t need to be exact)
  • 1 T. fresh/freeze-dried herbs (about) or 1/2 T. dried
  • 2 T. butter/margarine
  • 1 lb. shrimp (no tails, deveined)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • rice/pasta

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Zest lemon with cheese grater and set aside. Cut lemon into thin slices and mince garlic.

    I also did some lemon wedges to squeeze onto the omnoms.
  2. Pour olive oil into 9×12 pan until it coats the entire bottom. Add in lemon zest and herbs. Bake for 10-12 minutes until it is browned. Make sure you check every few minutes so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Cook rice/pasta according to package directions.
  4. If shrimp is frozen, place in collander and run under warm water for a few minutes until it is unfrozen.
  5. Take pan out of oven and add the butter, shrimp, garlic, and lemon slices (or lemon juice). Toss everything to coat it evenly.

    In the oven.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until shrimp are pink. Check on it every few minutes.
  7. Serve shrimp over rice/pasta and liberally pour on the sauce.
  8. Have a happy tummy.

Hope you all enjoy. Comments are always welcome!

*Quinoa is a somewhat rice-like grain that has a bit more protein and amino acids in it. It is more expensive than rice, but my dear mother gave me some so I used it.