Family Dinner

Hey!  Day after the big website launch and I’m back to cooking.  Am I the only one out there who scratches my head wondering what I should cook for dinner tonight?

Sister Molly called Monday wondering if I was free to have dinner with Dad Tuesday (yesterday).  I paused a moment wondering if I’d be able to pull my head up from the computer screen (this website stuff takes a bit of work, ya know!)- figured it would be healthy for me to break away and get into the kitchen.  So I suggested that I host.

Sometimes people ask me, “what do you like to cook” or “what is your specialty” or… and I am always hard pressed to give an answer.  If you go check out the new, shiny About page, and see the pictures representing “my brain on food”- yes I cooked all of that.  And yes it covers the gamut from poultry to meat to game; soups to salads to salsa; dumplings to dessert (representing all of the cuisines of the world I think- Memphis BBQ to French Vichyssoise to Pakistani samosas to Chinese new year to Puerto Rican sofrito-loaded chicken).

Note: if you get an invite for dinner, please please tell me what you are hungry for so I can think of something new to make.  Because that’s what I like to do, try new stuff.

Back to Molly, I asked her what she is hungry for and she gave me an answer I’ve heard before- Swedish meatballs.

Back to our roots.  Grandma used to make the loveliest Sunday dinners, served at the grand table in her dining room.  After which we’d retire to watch Lawrence Welk in the family room.  I also remember mom putting Swedish Meatballs into our dinner rotation in our humble eat-in kitchen at home (family dinner always started promptly at 5pm so dad could retire to watch the evening news at 5:30 with Walter Cronkite.  isn’t it funny that meals were followed by important TV?)

The family dinner is what brought us together.

We enjoyed a great family dinner last night, and thankfully I had all of the stuff in my kitchen so that I could quickly throw together an improvised mushroom gravy, meatballs, some homemade pasta, and a side salad of spinach and jicama.  Molly brought dessert and wine and there you go- a quick family dinner with no grocery trip required.

Here is the recipe for the Swedish Meatballs & gravy- you can find the recipe on how to make the pasta in this post.  Enjoy!

Grandma's Swedish Meatballs
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Recipe type: Main Course
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Serves: 4
Grandma's secret, simple recipe for delicious Swedish Meatballs bring me back to childhood every time I make them. Of course it wouldn't be my recipe without a few changes!
Ingredients
  • ½ lb ground beef (lean)
  • ½ lb ground pork (lean)
  • 1 cup stuffing mix, crumb style, or dried breadcrumbs
  • ⅓ Cup Milk (or beer or water)
  • ⅓ Cup finely diced onion
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • dash nutmeg
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided
  • ½ Cup red wine
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • ½ Cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1½ Cups Mushroom soup (I use homemade, or you may use a 10-11oz can of concentrate-don't add water.)
  • 1 lb egg noodle pasta
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a 2 qt bowl, Combine the beef, pork, stuffing, milk, onion, and seasonings very well until thoroughly integrated. Shape into 20 evenly-sized meatballs and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet (I prefer my cast iron skillet)- place 1 T of butter and melt over medium/high heat. The butter should melt evenly and not too fast- when it just begins to bubble, place half your meatballs into the skillet and thoroughly brown on all sides (make sure not to overcrowd the skillet- this step should take 5 minutes). When browned, set meatballs into a large casserole where they can sit in one layer. Repeat this step until all meatballs are browned.
  4. Leaving the meat juices in the skillet, turn the heat to high and add the wine. It should immediately boil- with a spoon, deglaze the pan to get all of the good meat bits into the wine, and allow it boil until half of the liquid has evaporated. Turn off the heat and set the skillet aside.
  5. If you are using canned mushroom soup, add it to the skillet at this time.
  6. If you are not using canned soup, you will make homemade gravy. In a saucepan, melt the last 2T of butter over medium heat. When it's melted, add the flour and combine with a whisk (it should look like wet sand- add more butter or flour if needed). Continue whisking. Once the flour has been in the pot for one minute, add the chicken stock, the wine mixture from your skillet, and your homemade soup. Continue to whisk until it has the consistency of gravy.
  7. Pour the contents of your skillet or saucepan over the meatballs. Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered. The meatballs should have uniform color throughout when they are done.
  8. While the meatballs are cooking, boil your pasta.
  9. Serve immediately! Plate the meatballs (5 per person) over the pasta (1/2 Cup per person). Enjoy!

 

 

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