When the end of summer and the beginning of fall meet, you might find yourself faced with produce that seems mismatched. The last of yellow squash might be coming in along with your pumpkins. But if you think outside the box, summer and fall ingredients can be interesting companions. I discovered a mixed-season trio of ingredients I love – – butternut squash, basil, and red bell peppers. And on pizza nonetheless.
We moved about 6 weeks ago, and are still not unpacked. We are ripping up some flooring, so I’m still swimming in boxes. I can’t find sheets for my dehydrator, which is extremely inconvenient since I just bought 50 pounds of butternut squash. It was 26 cents a pound. Couldn’t turn that down. But now I’m wanting to make butternut squash powder, and cannot find those sheets for making leather, which I grind up into powder. I’m never moving again.
Because everything has been in such disarray, I’m relying more on my slow cooker. My absolute favorite slow cooker meal is meatballs and sauce. I quickly oven-brown the meatballs first, for food safety reasons. Browned meat gives slow cooked dishes more flavor as well. (Putting fully-cooked meatballs in the sauce won’t give this dish the same flavor.) I often put these meatballs together the night before, and brown them in the morning as I’m putting together the sauce. These meatballs are cooked to perfection, and melt in your mouth. Freeze leftover meatballs, and make for subs on a busy night.
Slow Cooker Meatballs and Sauce
2 pounds lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/4 cup onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Mix all the ingredients. Roll into large meatballs. (Out of 2 pounds I always get 13 meatballs) Either coat cookie sheet with cooking spray, or line with tin foil. Bake meatballs just until brown. Do not cook through.
2 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
6 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup minced onion
1 can (6 oz) can of tomato paste
1 tbsp. of olive oil
2 tsp. of sugar
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Add all ingredients and stir. Place browned meatballs in sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, and serve over spaghetti.
After a big ham dinner, there is always the dreaded task of what to do with the ham bone. In the past, I have watched my hostess trying to saw off every last bit of meat, wondering aloud what she should do with this clunky holiday has-been. Once the star of the show, it’s now a nuisance. I offer suggestions for its use, and she lifts her eyebrows to the possibilities. But after quietly realizing the ham bone will just end up taking up space in her fridge, finally with a sigh, she offers it to me. Trying not to get too excited, I accept and wrap it up. Upon leaving her home, I greedily tuck the treasure under my arm, as I promise this ham bone it will produce great things. This is a star that will shine again.
I don’t even know if I can call this a recipe, but maybe just a technique. I first discovered slow roasting pork butt when making a Michael Chiarello’s Forever Roasted Pork, which, if you want to knock your very socks off, you must try. Chiarello’s recipe uses a fennel rub you can make, which is out of this world. I, however, was short on fennel, so I used this technique with a different rub. During Super Doubles, I got a smoked applewood maple rub for free, so that’s what I used. Delicious.
Has your kitchen been a mess this week with wayward ribbions of cabbage flying through the air? I bought seven heads of cabbage because, at 79 cents a head, it’s stock-up time. I dehydrated two heads, made sauerkraut with three more, and freezer slaw with another. With the seventh head, I made this tasty casserole that your kids will love.