Let’s face it, lots of things can get old hat (the same hiking trail maybe not so much, as there’s always a new critter, bird, rainbow, or temperature change). But sometimes food can get “boring”… especially if you’re trying to cut back on calories. You remove the dressing, or you leave the sour cream and cheese off the tacos. It’s smart, but not too exciting. Or you mix things up too much. You add too many spices or too much butter, and you mess up your whole mojo. You up your calories before you even know it’s happening. I personally lean towards smart and don’t let my guard down in the kitchen. It’s less disruptive! 🙂
So to avoid boring—but keep it smart—I am on a Meatball Mission: boldly going where many more experienced cooks have gone, but with a gluten free “jeuge”. There are meatball restaurants opening everywhere… I’m not original in the idea. And for those who have not experienced this sensation, the concept is simple: meatballs done in a variety of tasty ways. The chefs take a favorite comfort food and spin it every way possible, so there is something for everyone. I don’t profess to be a chef—I’m more of a short order cook. I’ve been known to prepare a big meal for a lot of people in a short time with what I already have stocked in the house (with a few key players removed like croissants, bagels, and brioche buns). And having celiac disease, I have to get creative. I light some candles, pour a glass of red wine, and start cranking out something deeeelicious!
Meatballs (MB’s) are a “super power” food for me, and hopefully for you too. In this post I’ll share a few varieties of my MB recipes with you, with an emphasis on what’s healthy, gluten-free, low carb, tasty, and easy. These are Jet’s MB’s… and we’re not talking megabytes!
Marry Me Meatballs
The reason they’re called “Marry Me” meatballs is because the second your man or lady takes one bite of these, they’ll want to marry you!
The first time you make the MB there’s a cube of mozzerella in the center—perfectly melted. Then the next couple of times, it’s repetitive, amazing deeeliciousness. Then when she least expects it, you put an engagement ring in the center! She’s expecting melted cheese, and instead… Voila! Surprise! Marry me-! 💍 There are probably a lot cooler proposals than this, but it’s fun to imagine it as an option!
• 1/4 cup of corn meal (I was out of Gillian’s Bread Crumbs and this was a yummy alternative!)
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 egg
• 1 1/4 lbs ground turkey (or ground chuck)
• 1 sweet onion chopped
• 1 small zucchini chopped
• Olive Oil
• 1 8 oz. package of mozzarella, cubed
• 1 jar Rao’s Marinara (because I am a “short order” cook, a busy girl, on the run, wishing to be outside, but want my own food)
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey with the onion, zucchini and parsley using hands.
2. Crack the egg into the bowl and mix it into the ground turkey mixture.
3. Add the Parmesan cheese and cornmeal to the mixture and knead until well combined.
4. Form the mixture into meatballs adding a cube of cheese to the center of each one.
5. Add olive oil to sauté pan (and a tablespoon of butter if you would like to get a nice crispy outside).
6. Place meatballs in pan, turning each until all sides are golden brown, then lower heat and cover them to cook. Make sure cooked all the way through, about 20 min.
7. Add jar of Rao’s and simmer for 10 more minutes.
8. Sprinkle a tiny bit of shredded Parm to taste!
The first time I had Aussie anything was similar to these meatballs, but in a burger. You can do the same with a gluten-free bun for a little hero or hoagie to make a sandwich. The non-GF’s would probably love brioche! I eat them plain—and love them that way. These MB’s are GREAT because they’re small… and mighty🍍💪🏻!
• 1.25 lbs ground chuck
• 1 20 oz can of pineapple rings
• 4 tbsp. San-J gluten free teriyaki sauce
• 1 cup GF bread crumbs
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• Orange slices
• Corn starch
• Chili powder
• Bacon (optional)
• Provolone cheese (optional)
• Frozen peas (optional)
• Brioche buns (optional for the non GF’s)
1. In a large bowl mix together: ground chuck, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup mayo, 1 tsp of parsley, 4 tablespoons of the San-J teriyaki sauce and a sprinkle of chili powder.
2. Crack the egg into the bowl and mix it into the ground chuck mixture.
3. Form the mixture into meatballs
4. Add just enough olive oil to cover bottom of sauté pan and cook MB’s on medium heat.
5. In a separate grill pan, grill pineapple rings with a little bit of teriyaki sauce until bubbly and grill marks appear. Add orange slices to this if you would like.
6. In a separate sauce pan, mix the pineapple juice from the can with two teaspoons of corn starch on medium heat—until thickened.
7. Pour sauce over finished meatballs to taste. Add frozen peas to the top, or bacon and provolone as another option.
These Cowboy MB’s are a bit of Mexico, a little of Texas, and a lot of Florida. We’ve had a lot of Mexican food at home, and especially when we travel—mostly because it’s easy to find GF choices—and plus we love it!
Serve with Margaritas, or—if it’s for a party—add a big bowl of guacamole for starters. Any of your favorite salsas is a good low cal choice for a topper, and you don’t have to use sour cream if you want to keep it light. There are additional toppings you can add, too, like Colby Jack cheese or shredded cabbage or lettuce.
• Blue corn tortillas
• 2 Red peppers
• 1 Sweet onion
• Olive oil
• 1.25 lbs ground pork
• Minced garlic
• 2 eggs
• 16 oz. jar salsa
• GF bread crumbs (my fave is Gillian’s, though I have three kinds I’m experimenting with)
• Amy’s refried black beans, or any that are GF
1. In a large bowl mix together: ground pork, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, and 1 can of refried black beans.
2. Crack the eggs into the bowl and mix it into the ground pork mixture.
3. Form the mixture into meatballs (there’s all sorts of sizes, but I keep mine pretty small so they cook through faster and so they fit inside the taco shells)
4. Add just enough olive oil to cover bottom of sauté pan and cook MB’s on medium heat until browned and cooked through. Add salsa of your choice to pan.
5. In a separate pan on medium heat, saute red peppers and sweet onions until soft.
6. Turn oven to 375 degrees to warm up the tortillas.
7. Place MB’s in warm shells and top the way YOU like it! Sliced avocado, sour cream…your own personal creation 💚!