Cheesy Italian Meatballs

Cheesy Italian Meatballs

Cheesy Italian Meatballs

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Cheesy Italian Meatballs are tender flavourful beef meatballs nestled and baked in a rustic tomato sauce and topped with plenty of cheese for a delicious family-style meal. These meatballs are great over pasta, but my favourite is simply serving them with toasted bread to sop up the amazing sauce.

Let’s talk meatballs! Beef meatballs are great, but adding Italian sausage makes them fantastic. Adding ground Italian sausage adds all the wonderful flavours of the sausage like fennel, oregano and basil, plus it adds pork and a little bit of fat. The combination makes a superb meatball and the same theory applies to meat sauce.

Meatball tips: 
-Use a cookie scoop to portion the meatballs so they are the same size and cook evenly.
-Use a dab of water in the palm of your hand when rolling the meatballs. The water prevents the meatballs from sticking to your hands.
-Don’t over-mix the meat.
-Brown on all sides to get the most flavour.

The sauce couldn’t be more simple. Crushed canned tomatoes married with herbs, wine and broth. But what makes it great is the gentle simmering reduction of it with the meatballs while the dish is baking. The tomatoes reduce to just the right consistency and get flavoured from the juices from the meatballs. Top it all off with a generous handful of cheese and you’ve got a great meal the whole family will love.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

Cheesy Italian Meatballs
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Cheesy Italian Meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 16 ounces lean ground beef
  • 6-8 ounces mild Italian sausage
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 20 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Meatballs

  • Add all ingredients except olive oil to a large bowl. Mix gently with a wooden spoon or clean hands until combined well. Scoop meatballs onto a clean tray using a 2 tbsp scoop. With lightly dampened hands roll meatballs smooth.
  • Heat oil in an oven-safe skillet and add meatballs in a single layer. Cook meatballs until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Remove to a clean plate and set aside.

Sauce

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Add diced onion to the same skillet as the meatballs and sauté for several minutes until starting to soften. Add minced garlic and continue to cook for an additional minute.
  • Add white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any cooked bits on the bottom of the pan. Add chicken broth and simmer liquid for about 2 minutes to reduce slightly.
  • Add tomatoes, oregano, paprika, and chili flakes. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
  • Add meatballs by tucking them into the sauce. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, stir and bake for another 20 minutes.
  • Stir once more and top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese has melted, 5-10 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped Italian parsley if desired and serve with pasta or crusty bread.

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Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels

Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels

Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels

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It’s hard not to love the convenience of pre-made puff pastry. It allows you to quickly create sweet or savoury pastries with ease. Today’s Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels are a riff on the classic roast beef and horseradish dinner. Fresh dill, horseradish and deli beef pack in the flavour. It’s all nestled in crisp puff pastry with Gruyere cheese for a crisp, cheesy bite that’s hard to resist. There’s no special occasion required to enjoy these tasty pinwheels because they come together so easily using sliced deli roast beef and pre-made puff pastry dough. Nevertheless, they do make an amazing party snack that can be prepped in advance. So you don’t have to spend unnecessary time in the kitchen away from your guests.

Let’s have a look at pre-made puff pastry.  It’s generally available in pre-rolled sheets, which is super convenient or in block.  The blocks require more rolling but the benefit is that you have full control over the thickness of the pastry. Regardless of which you use it is important to thaw the pastry in the refrigerator.  The cooler pastry will roll out more evenly and the butter will retain more of its structure and layers within the dough.  It’s also more manageable to move around and manipulate.  Be sure to choose a pastry that is made with butter for best flavour.

If you love pre-made puff pastry as much as I do, here are a few more recipes to keep you baking.

Mushroom Gruyere Tart

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish

Banana Tart Tatin

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Beef & Gruyere Pinwheels

Servings 18 slices

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup creamed horseradish, well drained
  • 2` tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • as needed freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 sheet pre-made puff pastry
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced roast beef

Instructions

  • Mix mayonnaise, horseradish, dill and pepper. Set aside.
  • Whisk one large egg and set aside.
  • Roll puff pastry sheet to a 12"x 12" square.
  • Spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over the puff pastry, leaving an inch border at the back end.
  • Evenly layer the beef slices over the mayonnaise.
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the beef slices.
  • Brush the back edge with egg wash.
  • Roll up evenly and tightly.
  • Wrap snuggly in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of an hour but up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking tray with parchment.
  • Remove the roll from the plastic wrap and trim the ends to clean up the edge.
  • Cut into approximate 1/2" slices and arrange them on your baking tray spacing an inch apart.
  • Brush the top and sides of each roll with the egg wash.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 20-22 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before moving to a serving plate. Serve warm.

Notes

-You can use 2 tsp of dried dill in place of fresh, however fresh is recommended.
-Be sure to drain the horseradish well.

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Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes for Two

Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes for Two

Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes for Two

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Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes are sweet seduction and the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day.

There is no better food than chocolate to signify love, so I am excited to share this decadent chocolate dessert for two. Trust me, it is the recipe you need to woo your sweetheart.

 

These glorious spongy cakes with molten centres are flavoured with mint and served with mint ice cream. It is a delicious combination, but if you are not a fan of chocolate and mint together (because not everyone is), you can swap out the peppermint extract for espresso powder and serve with mocha ice cream instead. My husband and I are mint chocolate fans, so they are perfect for us. They’re not just for Valentine’s Day either!! A great dessert any time you only need two.

For this recipe it is important to use weight measurements. This ensures more accuracy in the final product when the quantity is so small. Be sure not to over bake the cakes. They are meant to be molten and should still jiggle in the centre when removed from the oven. They are best served within 10 minutes after baking as the centres will firm up as they cool. And yes, they are safe to eat with the seemingly raw centre. Molten and lava cakes have an under baked centre, however, the batter is still heated enough to cook the egg to a safe temperature. So go ahead and dig in!!

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes for Two

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 40 grams unsalted butter
  • 30 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 10 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • pinch salt
  • as needed soft butter for ramekins
  • as needed mint chip ice cream for serving

Instructions

  • Weigh and measure all ingredients.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Generously butter two 5-ounce ramekins and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.
  • Over low heat melt chocolate and butter until smooth, set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, whole egg and egg yolk until light in colour and slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add flour, peppermint extract and a pinch of salt. Beat until combined.
  • Pour in melted chocolate and beat until incorporated, scraping the sides once.
  • Pour evenly into prepared ramekins and place on a baking tray.
  • Bake for 11-12 minutes. Centres will still jiggle a little when touched.
  • Run a knife along the cake's edge to loosen from the ramekin. Invert the warm cake onto a serving plate. Remove parchment paper and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with mint chip ice cream.
  • Can be served straight away or allowed to sit for up to 10 minutes. The centres will firm up as they sit, so be sure to serve when they are warm to ensure a molten centre.

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Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns

Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns

Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns

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Today’s Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns are so good served warm and fresh with flecks of garlic and Parmesan cheese. They’re a little crispy around the bottom and each bite is buttery and delicious. That is why this is a small-batch recipe. Simply put, they are best enjoyed the day they are made, warm and fresh from the oven, and you don’t always need a dozen of them for one meal.

They are easy to mix by hand with no special equipment required. Six is the perfect number for a small family enjoying a bowl of soup, stew or chili. I like to say they are meal-specific and made to tear apart and dunk into a luscious tomato sauce or hearty stew rather than sliced and piled with lunch meat.

These Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns do take a few hours, so plan accordingly. I like to initially mix a wet dough and allow it to rest to hydrate most of the flour. This will help with the first stages of kneading because the moisture has been absorbed by the flour. From here, the flour you knead into the dough can be readily absorbed.

The final dough should be tacky but not sticking to your fingers. The exact amount of flour will depend on your environment and measuring of the ingredients. Once the initial cup of flour has been kneaded into the dough, add flour by the teaspoon if needed until the dough is soft and a little tacky to the touch.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns

Total Time 3 hours
Servings 6 Buns

Ingredients

.

    Buns

    • 1/2 cup 2% milk
    • 1 tsp granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
    • 1 cup bread flour
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

    Garlic Butter

    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
    • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

    Instructions

    • Warm the milk to 90 – 110°F.  Stir in the sugar and yeast and allow to bloom for 10 minutes.
    • To the milk add ¾ cup of the bread flour, melted butter,  salt, and garlic powder.  Stir to combine into a wet dough.  Cover and allow to hydrate for 15-20 minutes.
    • Spread the remaining ¼ cup of flour onto your work surface.  Scoop the dough onto the flour and sprinkle the top with flour as you start to knead.  Knead the dough, absorbing the flour gradually as you go until all the flour has been absorbed.  Knead for a total of 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and tacky to the touch.  If you require more flour, add it to your work surface a teaspoon at a time.
    • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover and allow to proof until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes depending on your environment.
    • Meanwhile, chop two cloves of garlic.  Add the parsley leaves to the garlic and finely mince together.  Set aside in a large bowl.
    • Once the dough has risen, scoop it out onto your work surface and knead gently two or three times to remove the air.  Divide dough evenly into six portions.
    • To the garlic and parsley add ¼ cup of butter that has been melted along with the Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine.
    • Cut each dough portion into 6 equal pieces and add to the butter.  Toss gently to combine.
    • Using a non-stick muffin tin, place 6 dough pieces into each tin cup, nestling them gently as you go.  Top each with any remaining butter mixture.
    • Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until puffy, about 30-40 minutes.
       
    • Bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 20 minutes until golden.
    • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove to a serving dish or cooling rack.

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    Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

    Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

    Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

    with Chicken

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    Weeknight cooking may seem daunting at times when trying to juggle feeding your family, appointments and activities.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, some of the best dishes are quick and simply. Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken is a fantastic combination of garlic, sun-dried tomato pesto and cream.   This gloriously creamy pasta dish is a perfect family meal yet delicious enough for company. 

    I enjoy boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe but you can easily use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead if that is your preference.  Shrimp is also a fantastic combination as well. Or skip the protein all together for a great meatless meal option. Using store bought sun-dried tomato pesto helps to make this recipe quick and easy.  There are plenty of brands out there to choose from and I cannot say that one is better than the other is, so find one you like and keep it at the ready.  You’ll want this gorgeous dish on repeat!!

    Author:  Compelled to Cook

     

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    Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

    Cook Time 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 10 ounces fettuccine
    • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs 3-4 depending on size
    • as needed salt & pepper
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/3 cup white wine
    • 1/3 cup chicken broth
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
    • as needed freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    Instructions

    • Cook pasta according to package directions in well-salted water. Drain well, reserving a cup of pasta water.
    • While the pasta is cooking, season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
    • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through. About 5-6 minutes per side.
    • Remove the chicken to a clean dish and cover it with aluminum foil to keep it warm.
    • To the same skillet add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes over low heat.
    • Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up the browned bits left in the pan and allow the wine to reduce slightly.
    • Add chicken broth, stir and reduce for 1-2 minutes.
    • Stir in heavy cream and reduce for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.
    • Add sun-dried tomato pesto and stir over low heat until combined. Remove from heat.
    • Slice cooked chicken into strips.
    • Add chicken and pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and a generous splash of pasta water. Toss to combine well over low heat.
    • Serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese if desired.

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    I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com