As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pick-Up-That-Cookbook Cooking {Super Sub Balls}



Summer is my most challenging time for cooking everyday meals. I'm not sure why. I should be inspired by the fresh bounty of fruits and vegetables that are available during this season. Maybe it's the weather. (Summer is not my favorite.) Or maybe it's because I'm in summer vacation mode and that carries over into the kitchen. But whatever the reason, I have to try a little harder to be enthused about cooking in the summer. 

I have a bit of a plan to get me over the hump this summer. 

I don't know about you, but I have a whole array of cookbooks in my kitchen, filled with new ideas , recipes, and cooking inspiration. Some are old friends that contain some of my tried-and-true recipes. Some are just sitting there looking pretty. So I thought, why not be more purposeful and take advantage of all of that inspiration? And that is what I am going to do! 

Here's my plan:

Each week of this summer, I am going to choose a cookbook that is already in my kitchen and I am going to try a recipe that I have never made before. 

This week's recipe came from a cookbook that my daughter Kristin gave me several years ago: Classic Rachael Ray: 30-Minute Meals. As I perused it looking for a recipe, I wondered why I had not used this cookbook more. It is full of uncomplicated recipes made with fresh ingredients. I also like the way Rachael Ray approaches cooking in a non-rocket-science sort of way. (Like "a handful" of parsley and "a little" olive oil.)  



Super Sub Balls was a slightly different take on meatball subs. The meatballs are baked, not fried, and the cheese is inside the meatball. 

(Funny side story: I totally befuddled the deli lady by asking for 2/3 pound of unsliced provolone cheese. She literally did not know what to do. She kept holding up increasingly thicker slices, asking if that was good. "Is that 2/3 of a pound?" I would ask, knowing that it couldn't be. She finally asked a coworker for assistance. They conferred, cut a hunk, bagged it, weighed it, and handed it to me. But it was only 1/2 a pound, so I asked for another one just like it. I ended up with extra cheese, but it seemed like the quickest way to get out of the deli and move on with my day!) 





SUPER SUB BALLS

Ingredients for meatballs:
1 and 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (a shake or two)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 medium Spanish onion, minced
a handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup Italian bread crumbs (a couple of good handfuls)
4 shakes Worcestershire sauce
2/3 pound provolone cheese, cut into 16 small cubes
olive oil, for baking sheet

Ingredients for marinara:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes*
15 to 20 leaves fresh basil, roughly cut or torn** 
2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves stripped from stem and chopped
a handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 sesame-seed sub rolls

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Combine meat, egg, red pepper flakes, garlic, onions, parsley, bread crumbs, and Worcestershire in a bowl. Pull a palmful of meat mixture into our had. Nest a piece of provolone in the middle of the meat and form a ball. Place on a nonstick cookie sheet brushed with a little olive oil. Repeat until mixture is gone, about 16 balls later. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. 


  For marinara sauce, warm evoo in a deep frying pan or pot over medium heat; add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until garlic sizzles. Add tomatoes and herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer over low heat until ready to serve. 



Drop the stuffed sub balls into sauce. Scoop up sauced sub balls and place in rolls. 
Serve with Pigskin Potatoes and a simple salad.***  


*    I only had petite diced tomatoes, so my sauce was a little chunkier.
** My basil is still young; 15 leaves would have stripped it bare! I substituted about a tablespoon of dried basil.
*** I served raw veggies and dip instead for a lower carb alternative. Another way to reduce the carbs would be to serve the meatballs and sauce over spaghetti squash instead of on a sub roll. 


This recipe was deemed a success by my family! The meatballs were flavorful and delicious . . . and decidedly less greasy than the typical fried meatballs. The cheese inside was a fun twist. 





What about you? Do you use all of your cookbooks? Is inspiration hiding there in your cookbook collection? Do you have a specific season in which you're lacking kitchen inspiration?

26 comments:

  1. Cookbooks? What a concept... I just donated a box of them because I have run out of room for them and I so rarely use them. The ones I have kept are boxed and stored, but the good news is that I have purchased a bookcase for them arriving soon. Is this your new summer series? I like the idea and will be reading. I love good meatballs! How funny about the deli worker who did not comprehend what 2/3 of a pound was. =D

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    1. Yes, Vee, this is my new summer series. However, considering the semi-regularity of my blogging lately, it may not be weekly. (I'll be trying a new cookbook recipe weekly, but I may not be posting one every week.)

      I suppose ordering cheese UNsliced is out of the box. ;)

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    2. Oh, I see! Well I like returning to read a comment, but a blogger must also visit according to Vee's Rules of Blogging. Isn't it a lot of work?

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    3. Yes! And yes! (That's why I may not be able to keep up with it. We'll see . . . )

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  2. That sounds really good! I have cookbooks but rarely use them! I should get them out and be inspired! I am a better cold weather cook than a hot weather cook!

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    1. That is me too, Deanna! In the winter there are always soups and stews and casseroles. I guess I like one-dish meals. ;) But in the summer I need inspiration.

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  3. Dear Cheryl - these subs look excellent. I know my cooking takes a slow down in the summer too. Good idea to sample something new each week - variety helps us move forward. Have a great day.

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! Good to know it's not just me. :)

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  4. Cheryl, I love Rachel Ray recipes, so I know this is a good one. Your deli story is so funny and sad. I guess they could only slice meats and cheeses for you. I enjoy cooking, but not all the time. Problem is I like eating daily. You are smart to use your cookbooks to add interest to your daily cooking. Grilling gives me somewhat of a break in the warmer weather. Having Grayden prepare the meat allows me to do the veggies and a salad. ♥

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    1. I totally identify with that problem, Martha Ellen! That's why I need a little boost in the summertime. Grilling is a great idea!

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  5. I am surely into the very same cooking "slump" these days! Being under the weather for the past month hasn't helped either I guess. I like your idea of digging out the stash of cookbooks and putting them to use over the summer. Maybe we should all try this!? "Pick-Up-That-Cookbook Wednesdays"?

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    1. I'm sorry you've been under the weather, Rosella . . . and glad to know you're on the mend! Hey, I'd love for you to join me in my cookbook capers! :)

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    2. That would be fun ... I DO have a stash of books - eek!

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  6. What a great idea, Cheryl. I hope you post what you make from your cookbooks, when you can. The meatballs look yummy. How funny about the provolone and trying to guess how much the proper weight is.
    In summer we eat a lot of grilled meats and salads. But the weather has been so cool this year that I might be resorting to soups again!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I do plan to post my cookbook adventures. I'm just not committing to every week on a particular day. (I am just not that kind of blogger these days!)

      Hope you soon get some of that summer-y weather that you love!

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  7. Wow does this look good! It takes me back to our years up north when we called these "meatball wedges." I just might make this as a surprise for hubby! Some of my cookbooks have only one or two favorite recipes in them. I should either just copy them and get rid of the book or broaden my horizons further into the books! Thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I purged my cookbooks several years ago. I did what you are contemplating: copied the one or two recipes I used and then passed them on. I still have a lot of cookbooks. :)

      Hope your hubby enjoys his surprise!

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  8. Sounds like a good plan for summer cooking. I really need to try these since Dear loves a good meatball sandwich. No, I do not use all of my cookbooks but I do enjoy getting inspired by a good cookbook. I find them more enjoyable to go through than magazines. Hope you have a good week.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes, there is lots to inspire when you browse through those beautiful food photos! For me, it's a discipline to sit down with the cookbook and make a decision and add the needed items to my grocery list before my weekly shopping. Otherwise, I'll resort to my "default" meals.

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  9. I wonder what the equivalent to Provalone cheese would be in UK? Like you I have many recipe books, some rarely looked at, some used over and over again.

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    1. I didn't know that provolone was not in the UK! It is an Italian, cow's milk cheese with a mild-ish flavor.

      Perhaps a bit of mozzarella could be used in this recipe? The flavor is different, but mozzarella pairs well with meat and tomato sauce.

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  10. Oh, I like that plan! Good idea. And I laughed at the deli women. That reminds me of one time (only one -just kidding - lol) that I was at McDonalds and asked for a biscuit NOT in the box (I didn't want it to get soggy.) It took a conference of three people before I could actually get my biscuit NOT in a box. I hate to think of them trying to solve important world issues. :-)

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    1. I suppose it's hard for people to think "outside the box"! (Sorry for that shameless pun.) :)

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  11. Now that's a inspired thought, Cheryl. Those meatballs look so delicious. A friend made something similar a few years ago, and they were so good. I'll be adding your recipe to the 'try this summer list'.

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    1. Thank you, Brenda! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. I always have a long "to try" list. I just need a bit of pre-planning to make it happen. :)

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