Monday, May 9, 2011

Baked Meatballs

Do you have omnivores in your life? I do, and I cook meat for them. Where my son is concerned, it's a matter of choice: When Gavin is an adult, he'll choose what diet he wants to follow. In order for it to be a real decision, he'll need to be able to digest meat. Sure, he could get all of the nutrition he needs from an octo-lavo vegetarian diet like I do, but as anyone who has eaten a big hamburger after giving up red meat for a significant period of time can tell you: It's not going to be a picnic digesting the thing. So, Gavin will eat meat as a little boy. If he trends like his mama he'll get sick of it by the time he's in middle school, and he can learn how to have a healthy diet without it. If he follows in his daddy's footsteps, I'll need to invest in a good set of steak knives. Either way, it'll be his choice.

Now, where others (including my husband) are concerned, it comes down to this: I do not feel that my status as a vegetarian means that others around me should/must follow the same path. You'll encounter some "Vegan-gelicals" out there, but I am not one of them. Vegetarian food is tasty and nutritious, and you're missing out on a great meal if you poo-poo food when it doesn't have cow, pig, chicken, fish, etc. in it, but if you feel you want to eat meat-- eat it. My only request to my omnivore friends is to look into where your meat and animal products come from. Purchase them from local, responsible, humane, and (ideally) organic farmers; do not support the factory farming industry.

Phew! Quite a soapbox speech that was. On to the recipe. These meatballs have been endorsed by Gavin, who cleaned his plate, and Greg, who said that they were "tasty".

- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 TBSP red wine, plus a little extra
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (either from a container, or made with stale bread you've got laying around)
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp oregano

How To Cook It
1)  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Get a big bowl, and mix together all of your non-meat ingredients until well-blended.
3) Using your hands (or gloved hands), knead the beef into the mixture.
4) Roll meat into balls (this recipe should make about 15-20) and leave in the bowl.
5) Heat up a little olive oil in a large oven-safe pan with a lid.
6) Once the pan is hot (but not scorching... olive oil has a low smoke point), add the meatballs and brown for a couple minutes.
7) Add a splash of red wine to the pan, immediately cover with the lid, and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
8) Serve over pasta and red sauce, sliced up on a pizza, on a salad... be creative!

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