Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nikki's Italian Stallion Balls (aka "Inconspicuously Healthy Meatballs That My Husband Will Eat")

*edit* OMG I just realized I never posted the pics... I am so sorry that I have deprived you of the beauty of my balls... it will NEVER happen again (until the next time my camera's battery dies...)
*Disclaimer* I will be adding pictures tomorrow, the battery in my camera died and apparently you can't retreive the pictures until its been re-juiced!

I opted for a more traditional italian style meatball that I served in meatball subs for friends on Saturday night. I must note that my hubby is not happy with the name of my balls (he's Polish, not Italian) although after some deliberation he decided that Polish Balls wouldn't be much better as he wasn't particularly crazy about saying that he was eating Polish Balls... Anywhoo here we go:

My history with meatballs is a short one, hubby and I have attempted to make them on several occasions only to come up with balls that are Sahara Desert Dry and horribly bland. Our very own Hooker Chick, Kim told me her super secret ball boiling method so I decided to give that a shot... I have coupons for Pizza Hut if this doesn't work out.

My guests were due at 6pm so I headed out shopping at about 4 (I'm not so good at the advanced planning thing...) and got immediately to work when I got home.
This is everything but the egg and breadcrumbs...
Into my skillet went the healthy stuff:
1 red bell pepper diced itty bitty tiny
1 small yellow onion diced itty bitty tiny
4 oz of portobella mushrooms (you guessed it) diced itty bitty tiny
I drizzled about 2 tbs of EVOO over the top added the lid & turned the heat to medium-high.
Into bowl number one:
1 italian sub roll torn into small pieces
1/3 cup 1% milk
I mooshed that together and realized there was WAY too much milk in there so i drained off the excess and was left with probably 1/4 cup. Set this aside to soak.

Before moving on to the meat mooshing I gave the skillet with my veggies a little jiggle to make sure everything was cooking evenly & turned the heat down to medium.

Into bigger bowl number two:
20 oz (1.25lbs) hot italian turkey sausage (it was in "link" form so I had to squeeze it out...)
.98lbs of 90% lean naturally raised ground beef
1/2 cup Sargento's Italian Blend cheese
(don't start smooshing yet!!)

At this point the veggies were sufficiently softened so I added them to the milk/bread mixture (I was afraid start cooking the meat if I dumped them in still hot... probably this wouldn't have made a difference... but it made me feel better... and that makes AAAALLL the difference...)

I now added all of my ingredients together and commenced with the smooshing (after removing all jewelry first, I didn't want my guests choking on my wedding rings... the only CPR I know is what learned from TV...) after thoroughly smooshing all ingredients dear hubby reminded me that I forgot the egg... I couldn't remember why I needed an egg but figured it couldn't hurt so had him crack one in there (I forgot Lacey's cardinal rules and had both hands in on the mooshing) At this point hubby points out that it seems to sticky so we tried to form a ball... and it just wasn't happening so he got the bread crumbs down for me and dumped about 1/4 cup in. I mooshed that together and had another failed attempt at creating a solid ball. Hubby got in on the mooshing and declared that I had over-moisturized them to the consistency of snot. I ended up having to add a full cup of bread crumbs before everything held itself together.
On to the ball rolling and boiling!!

I dumped a really really big can of low fat, low sodium chicken broth into a pot, turned the burner on high (or rather my lovely husband did all this because I was... goopy...) and started rolling balls while it heated. Now, I prefer bigger balls than the rest of the chicks(I like to have something substantial to sink my teeth into) so I made each one about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Once the pot reached a rolling boil I dropped about 10 in and timed them for about 8 minutes before pulling one out to check for pink. Everything looked good so I pulled them all out to drain on a papertowel and dropped in the next 10.

While those boiled I tasted my first ball and it was FANTASTIC! Not too spicy, not bland, not dry, not overly vegified, my only complaint... the reason I picked red peppers is I wanted them to blend with the meat (remember these are supposed to be INCONSPICUOUSLY healthy balls) BUT after boiling the meat turned really pale and the peppers stuck out like a sore thumb. It all worked out though because once I added them the pot of simmering Prego Mushroom spaghetti sauce too keep warm everything blended right in :)
I completely forgot to count the balls but I know I boiled 4 batches with about 10 in each plus there was one last half batch so we'll guestimate that it turned out to be 45 good sized balls.

Hubby prepared the foil boats for the italian sub rolls and I put three balls in each, topped them off with a little extra sauce and more italian cheese. They went into the oven at 350* for 10-15 minutes (until the cheese is good and melty and the buns are sufficiantly toasty). We sat down to eat at about 6:30 (see my shopping procrastination only made us a half hour late!)
The meatball subs were a hit, and no one got food poisoning so I would declare the Italian Stalion Meatballs to be a success!!

Official recipe for Italian Stallion Balls (aka "Inconspicuously Healthy Meatballs That My Husband Will Eat")
1 red bell pepper (locally grown!)
1 small yellow onion (also locally grown!)
4oz portobella mushrooms (from the grocery store... but I tried!)
2tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil (note: I used a nonstick pan, if you don't you'll need more oil!)
1 italian sub roll (2 slices of italian bread will probably work just as well)
1/4 cup 1% milk (rBGH free!)
20oz lean hot turkey italian sausage links (5 links)
1lb 98% lean ground beef (naturally raised with no hormones or antibiotics!!)
1/2 cup italian blend cheese (I used Sargento's... because they make tasty cheese)
1 egg (free range AND locally... um... layed...)
2/3 to 1 1/3 italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 48 oz can low fat, low sodium chicken broth

Dice the red pepper, mushroom and onions up itty bitty and stick them in a skillet over high heat. drizzle EVOO over them and toss lightly to coat, allow to cook covered while you assemble the rest of the ingrediants. Tear your sub roll into tiny peices and let soak in a bowl with the milk. Toss veggies lightly again and turn heat down to medium. In a large mixing bowl squeeze turkey sausage out of casing add ground beef, egg, cheese and 2/3 cup bread crumbs. Add veggies to milk/bread mixture then dump everything in the big bowl. Using the Lacey approved one handed method smoosh to mix, then attempt to make a ball roughly 2 inches in diamiter. If the ball isn't sticking add more bread crumbs in 1/4 cup incremints until your ball retains its shape (no one likes saggy balls!) and then form all of your balls. Pour chicken broth into a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a light boil. CAREFULLY add 8-10 balls into the pot (I burned myself a few times on boiling ball broth...). Boil for 8 minutes and put them directly into a pot of simmering sauce or onto a serving dish. ENJOY!


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