Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sweet and Spicy Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy

My coworker just smelled this as I was eating my lunch and asked all about the recipe.  We talked a lot about how eating plain during the week is something you need to get over. It was definitely something I had to get over.  Before I started prepping my meals I really struggled to eat the same thing day in and day out.   Even sometimes now I can't stand to eat all of my prepped meals.  It's really a mind over matter thing.  I am about to talk about two things:  the mind game of eating the same meal,  and the mind game of cooking relatively plain.  

I think some of us need to force ourselves to eat the same meal over and over again.  But the key for me was to find out how many times I could actually stand eating something in repetition.    In the beginning I would prep 6 or 7 of the same meal and end up throwing half of that prepared food away. I had to learn over time that I can stand to eat something about 4-5 times before it begins to gross me out, in a sense.  I also have a weird thing when it comes to food which I feel is too old.  I cannot eat something on Thursday that I made on Sunday.  I just can't do it.  So I learned I had to prep on Sunday day and Wednesday or Thursday night.  

I have always cooked pretty fancy,  with tons of ingredients.  I had to learn to eat plain during the week,  and eat fancy (if I chose to) on the weekends.  Someone once said to me KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID (KISS), in regards to something totally different,  but I started applying it to my everyday eating.   My typical go to meal is 4 ounce of chicken with seasoning,  1/2 cup starch,  and a vegetable. I may make 6 of those,  but change the starch and the vegetable throughout so I don't get bored.  But again if I made it Sunday,  I ain't eating it Thursday.  NO WAY NO HOW.

Sweet and Spicy Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
Serves: 5-6 (2 meatballs per person)

Ingredients for the Meatballs
1lb ground meat mix---pork, veal, beef (typically says meatloaf mix)
1/2 cup Almond Flour
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp parsley
2 tsp Smoked Paprika
3 tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce 
2 tbsp oil,  for frying

Ingredients for Mushroom Gravy
1lb Button Mushrooms, sliced
1lb of Bella Mushrooms,  sliced
1 white onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
3 tbsp Tomato Paste
1 cup of water
1/4 cup parsley (plus more for garnish)
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp oil, for sauteing 

For the Mushroom Gravy:--

I would recommend making the sauce first, then the meatballs since they are less time intensive.  This should make your sauce and meatballs finish right around the same time.

1. Heat a large pot over medium high heat with 1 tbsp of oil.
2.  After the oil has thoroughly saute your onions for 3-2 minutes, add a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Add mushrooms and allow to saute until light brown and glossy, about 5 minutes.
4. Add  garlic and continue to saute for about 3 more minutes (add garlic last so it does not burn, burnt garlic=bitter).
5. Add spices and tomato paste---incorporate well and allow to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
6.  Add diced tomatoes and water.
7.  Bring to boil.
8.  Reduce heat to low,  cover with lid (I used my little dutch oven because I am now obsessed with them now).
9.  Allow to cook for 30-45 minutes,  stirring occasionally.

For the meatballs:

1.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Heat a large cast iron skillet (or nonstick, whatevs)over medium high heat (without oil!!) for 5-7 minutes (if you are using nonstick,  you have to add a touch of oil so your house doesn't burn down).
3.  While the pan is heating,  mix all of the ingredients for the meatballs together into a large bowl.  Mix gently and do not over mix.
4. Once you feel your pan is hot enough coat with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. 
5.  Roll the meatballs into balls weighing about 3 ounces each.  I chose 3 ounces because that would cook down to right around 2 1/2 ounces per ball---making two total balls 6 ounces (do you like how I keep calling them balls for shits and gigs?)
6.  Drop the meatballs into the skillet and allow to brown on each side for 4-5 minutes.  The important thing to remember with meat and a skillet is it will move when it is ready.  If it doesn't budge when you try to flip it,  it isn't done.  Meat will naturally release from a greased pan when it has browned.
7.  Once the meatballs have browned on each side place into the oven (either in your cast iron or on a baking sheet) for about 15-20 minutes until the meat has cooked through.

Garnish with additional parsley and Serve :)