Countdown to St. Patty’s Day–corned beef meatballs with Thousand Island dipping sauce

I am a sucker for meatballs. Meatballs are dude food personified–usually protein-rich, meaty, full of flavor and served in or next to a sauce that enhances that flavor. So with St. Patrick’s Day now four days away, I wanted to share another recipe with you that should get you in the mood for the green holiday. I give to you — Corned beef meatballs with Thousand Island dipping sauce. I had to experiment a bit, but the end result came out just right, and I think you will enjoy these with or after a pint or two or three or…..well, you get the idea.

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

4 small red potoates, peeled and quartered
1 slice rye bread (day old bread if possible, but not necessary)
1 pound fully cooked corned beef, trimmed of visible fat and cubed (note: I got mine from the deli counter, asking them to slice it about 1/2 inch thick–but you can use leftover corned beef as well)
1-2 oz. gruyere or swiss cheese, cubed
1 egg
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

For sauce–in medium size bowl, combine all sauce ingredients, and stir to blend well. Set aside.

For meatballs–Place potatoes in a small saucepan and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10-12 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain water and mash with a fork. Break rye bread into small pieces, and then, using a food processor, process into fine bread crumbs. Put bread crumbs in a large bowl. Then add corned beef and cheese to processor and process until mixture is finely ground. Add to the bowl with the bread crumbs. Break egg into bowl and add salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt since the meat is already salted from the pickling process). Fold in mashed potatoes and then with your hands, roll into 1-inch meatballs, setting these on a plate as you go. You should wind up with about 20-24 meatballs or so.

Then, spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high for about 45 seconds. Add meatballs, 10-12 at a time, and cook for about 5-6 minutes, shaking the pan about once a minute, until meatballs are browned on each side. Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining meatballs, and serve warm with the Thousand Island dressing on the side for dipping.


Meatball Stuffed Eggplant

Here is a good one I ran on Grub for Guys a couple years back. This is another great recipe to try on a lazy weekend in the winter. Enjoy!

This is a good recipe for a lazy Sunday when you have an hour to whip something up, and it’s relatively easy and good for you. Eggplant can be bitter and tricky to work with, so choose ones that are firm but not too firm, and make sure to roast them as directed in the recipe before preparing the dish.

2-3 medium eggplants
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8-10 turkey meatballs (I like Purdue, but thawed frozen ones should work fine), finely chopped
½ green pepper, seeded and chopped
1-2 cloves garlic
¼ cup chopped black olives
1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
½ cup prepared spaghetti sauce
½ cup + 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce eggplant several times with a fork and roast on a baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Cut ends off eggplant and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp into a bowl and save enough to make 1 to 1½ cups. Place eggplant shells on a baking sheet and set aside. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet and add eggplant pulp, sautéing for about 4-5 minutes or until it’s reduced a bit and darkened in color. Add chopped meatballs, green pepper, garlic, black olives, spaghetti sauce, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper, and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in ½ cup Parmesan and bread crumbs. Carefully spoon eggplant mixture into eggplant shells, dividing evenly, and sprinkle each with the remaining 2 Tbsp. Parmesan. Bake in 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes and serve. Makes 2 large or 4 smaller servings.

Serve with crusty bread and some good red wine.


Chipotle Mac & Cheese and Tex-Mex Meatballs

This is another great dish (or two dishes) to try during cold weather months, and is especially great for football-watching-food. I posted this on Grub for Guys a couple years ago. Enjoy and let me know what you think….

Two Spicy Dishes That Explode With Flavor:Chipotle Mac & Cheese and Tex-Mex Meatballs w/Spicy Tomatillo Sauce

Guys, if you like spicy food the way I do, I’ve created two dishes that you’re going to love. Skill level is easy to moderate on the mac & cheese, and a bit more complex for the meatballs, but worth it. I’ve tried to give you a classic mac & cheese with a twist, and a summery, fiery meatball dish that is different and made for the bold taste buds of the common dude. Enjoy!

Chipotle Mac & Cheese

8 oz. macaroni
4 small to medium chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup flour
½ stick butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook macaroni, drain and set aside. Melt butter in large skillet, then add flour and stir for about 20-30 seconds. Add milk and whisk to break up chunks of flour mixture. When mixture is warm and starts to thicken, add cheese. Stir until cheese melts, and then add chipotle peppers. Put cooked macaroni in a large bowl, and pour cheese mixture over it. Stir to combine and then pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake for about 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Serves four, or like previous recipes I’ve posted here, two very hungry guys.

Tex-Mex Meatballs w/Spicy Tomatillo Sauce

For Meatballs
1 lb. ground beef
2 medium ears cooked corn on the cob
2 jalapeno peppers
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 slice white bread, cut into cubes and soaked in ½ cup milk

For Sauce
3-4 tomatillos, papery skin removed and rinsed
1 jalapeno pepper
¼ of a large red onion
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ medium avocado
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
juice of one lime

For the sauce, spray the tomatillos, two jalapenos (one for sauce, one for meatballs) and red onion with cooking spray and grill over medium heat until the skins on tomatillos and pepper turn brown and begin to blister and onion lightly browns. Cut off tough core of tomatillos and remove the stem and seeds of jalapenos. Throw the vegetables in a blender, saving one jalapeno for the meatballs, and add remaining sauce ingredients. Blend for a few seconds until smooth.

For the meatballs, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the corn off the cob, and chop the remaining grilled jalapeno. Combine in a large mixing bowl along with beef, cilantro, chili powder, salt and pepper. Then take the soaked bread and add to the bowl, discarding the milk. Mix thoroughly with your hands and shape into 1 ½ inch meatballs. Brown meatballs in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes. Then move meatballs to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about ten more minutes, or until cooked through.

Pour some sauce on a plate and top with a few meatballs. You should have about 20 meatballs in all, which will serve between two and four people. Serve with a frosty Mexican beer, and trust me, you’ll need it to wash down both of these dishes!


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