As a quick wrap up of events before I get to a recipe for my parents, I’d like to share what I’ve been up to lately. During the first week of October my mom suffered two strokes followed by several seizures. My parents live 10 miles from my family, so of course I immediately jumped into action. And, my sister who lives a couple of hours away, also dropped everything to come to my parents aid. Initially, we were unsure of how my mom would fare after so many doctors continued to give us vague answers when she was barely opening her eyes or moving her body voluntarily. Now three months later, I can gladly say that she has recovered all of her speech, and she is able walk with a walker. She certainly faces many challenges, but she is the most determined person I know, so I am positive she will continue to improve her condition. My mom is not the only one that is learning new things; my dad has stepped into the role as caregiver, which seems to suit him perfectly. He’s much more patient than I am. Although he’s a lover of food and certainly will try new flavors, he’s never done much cooking. He’s been the griller up until now. So of course this is where I step in, since my main concern is not only that my mom continues to heal, but that at the end of the day the two of them have a meal to eat that doesn’t require a ton of complicated steps or ingredients. With all of the other challenges throughout the day I want my parents to be able to eat healthy and simple meals that work for their lifestyle. This is a new kind of normal for our family, so I hope you understand my mini-break from the blog.
Over the last few months, I’ve been scouring the scores of recipes that I’ve collected to find a small collection that would work for my parents’ dietary needs (low sodium, low-fat, diabetic and minimal dairy) and their abilities. In the process of doing this I’ve talked with them on many occasions about meals that we can make together. So now my teaching career has taken a new twist; teaching my dad how to cook a few simple dishes. Obviously coming from an Italian background, I thought that meatballs would be a good place to start.
1/2 lb. ground veal
1/2 lb. ground chicken
1 lb. ground beef (I used 7 % fat)
1 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. Italian herbs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter
salt and pepper
2 cups Marinara Sauce
1. Start by heating the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl combine the egg, veal, chicken, beef and 1 cup of the bread crumbs and all of the parmesan cheese and herbs. Gently mix this together with your hands, just until everything is incorporated throughout.
3. Form into 2-3-inch size meatballs (mine ended up being closer to 3-inches), and then place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes (up to 24 hours). NOTE: At this point you can also freeze the balls on the baking sheet and then once frozen transfer them to a freezer safe ziplock bag. They will keep for 1 month in the freezer. When you’re ready to use them, defrost them in the packaging in the refrigerator overnight, and then continue to the next step.
4. Next, combine the melted butter and the remaining bread crumbs and roll each meatball in the mixture. This step will give the meatballs a nice crunchy texture on the outside, while remaining moist inside.
4. Place the meatballs in a shallow baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes. While baking warm sauce in separate container and pour over meatballs after cooked.
Serves 5-6; makes 12-16 meatballs
Adapted from: Barefoot Contessa Family Style