Posted in appetizers/snacks, Food, Gifts, Kids in the Kitchen

Italian Nut Medley

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When looking for a salty snack, I usually reach for a jar of nuts on the pantry shelf. Recently, I scoured my cookbooks for a recipe that might change up the taste of my everyday snack staple. Most recipes I found included a good dose of sugar which was definitely not the direction I was headed. I stumbled on a recipe in my Best of Country Cooking Cookbook from 1999. I had all of the ingredients on hand so I whipped up the quick recipe. What a yummy, crunchy, surprise! The four ingredient recipe calls for a mixture of Italian spices, a bit of butter and soy sauce mixed in with a few cups of quality nuts. After tasting this flavorful crunchy mix, I’m sure this will become a staple recipe in my snack folder.

Italian Nut Medley

2 tablespoons butter
4 cups quality mixed nuts ( cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix

In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add nuts; cook and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce. Sprinkle with salad dressing mix, stir to coat. Immediately transfer to a baking sheet and spread thinly to cool. Store in an airtight container.
Adapted from The Best of Country Cooking – 1999.

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Posted in Beef, Dinner, Food, Main Dish

Homemade Spicy Italian Meatballs

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In our house, we traditionally try to have some sort of pasta dish the day before a swim meet. Today, when I asked my swimmers what they would like for dinner, all agreed that rigatoni and meatballs would fit the bill.
I am not a fan of store bought or pre-packaged frozen meatballs. It seems the amount of salt that is dumped into the processed recipe is usually quite overwhelming. I have yet to find a frozen, pre-packaged meatball that appeals to me.
The recipe that follows is tender and flavorful. The sodium level is certainly not over powering and the addition of crushed red pepper and hot sauce make these meatballs a bit spicy. I add a sprinkle of sugar to my tomato sauce to cut the acid in the tomatoes and the combination of slightly sweet against slightly spicy is quite pleasing.

Homemade Spicy Italian Meatballs

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup milk
2-3 dashes hot sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 slices of bread, processed into bread crumbs or 1 cup bread crumbs

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients until just mixed together. With a 1 1/2″ ice cream scoop, gather mixture into a ball and carefully release onto a large jelly roll pan. Bake 400 degrees for 18-25 minutes or until center is no longer pink. Blot each meatball on paper towel. Serve with your favorite sauce over rice or pasta.

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