Years ago, I worked for a couple who owned a small business in large property land investments. They pretty much had an entire bookcase filled with thick binders each representing a limited partnership and they were acting General Partners for every single one. I started out as an office assistant and in 4 years left after being their Office Administrator, Bookkeeper, Customer Service Representative, and Personal Assistant. I had gotten this job shortly after graduating from high school thanks to my mom’s connections since she had spent years prior organizing and hosting their very lavish Christmas parties. My mom even connected them with their future adopted son since my mom had a good and caring relationship with the young baby’s biological mother. They would, occasionally, meet at a Mrs. Field’s bakery for breakfast and enjoy muffins, bagels, and conversations together.
Any ways, my former employers were doing very well financially and they would host these very lavish, overly decorated, and fun-filled holiday parties full of joy, merriment, live music, endless amounts of catered food, and one-uppers all to celebrate Jesus’s birthday. I’ll admit, those parties were a great way to celebrate a birthday! You might think the decorations would have been my favorite part of the parties, except that I was the one that put up all those decorations over a course of several days. I remember standing on the very top of a very high ladder to decorate their Christmas tree and thinking, “If this is how I go, I am going to be so pissed.” Wreaths, lights, endless assortment of glittered fruits, nuts, and birds were wrapped and hung everywhere. Strands of garland were wrapped around every table, stair railing, along the sides of every hallway, and their back yard. Beautiful and festive centerpieces were placed on every table for the guests that were covered in mahogany/or a deep red table cloth. I even decorated their Guest House. I am pretty sure some people had a good time in there when no one was watching. I remember finding a bag of weed during clean up one year. Ho, ho, ho! (By the way, I have never smoked weed before. Ever. I threw the bag in the trash out of disinterest. Honest.)
Actually, my favorite part were the buffet tables. One table was full of assorted cheeses from the approachable and common parmesan, mozzarella, and Asiago to the scary smelly kind like blue cheese. There were breads and crackers in all sorts of festive shapes with plenty of dips that were not made from anything processed. Every year there was the unassuming large plate of liver pate (I still don’t know what that tastes like, but I hear you either you like it or you don’t). Another overly decorated and very large table was full of meats, fish, and other hot/cold items. Roasted beef, roasted turkey, cold salmon with butter and dill, honey-baked ham, an over abundance of shrimp cocktail, bacon-wrapped everything, and more. My favorite were the slow cooked scallop potatoes. There was also the salad table with spinach and strawberry salad, Waldorf salad, mixed green salad with candied walnuts, potato salad (not with yellow mustard), fancy macaroni salad, my mom’s broccoli and tomato pasta salad with Italian herb dressing, mushroom and eggplant salad, and the classic caprese. Finally, there were the desserts, which I’ll describe as bite-size morsels of sweet chocolates, cakes, pastries, danishes, and more conceived by the consummation of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker getting it on with Willy Wonka from the Chocolate Factory. JUST INSANE AMOUNTS OF SUGAR WITH NO APOLOGIES.
So, I did mention there was a meat table. If there was one item that caught my attention during the few times I helped my mom host these parties (so that my former employers could enjoy the parties) it would be the meatballs. All the dishes and plates were catered or homemade, except for those meatballs. Stick a toothpick in each one and cover with a little bit of barbecue sauce and no one knows that they are the microwaveable meatballs you can buy in large frozen bags from Costco. They seemed really out of place to me. However, every carnivore loves meatballs.
Meatballs are these round flavor bombs of happiness. Whether they are microwaved, broiled, baked, or however you decide to cook them bad meatballs do not exist. There are good meatballs and then there are better than good meatballs. That’s it. That’s the spectrum. The only BAD meatballs are the ones not cooked properly and that’s not the meatball’s fault. Bad meatballs were good meatballs that fell into the wrong hands. Poor meatballs.
Today, on occasion, I make my version of those decadent frozen and microwavable meatballs. To be honest, my recipe is different from the Costco brand, but they were my inspiration. These Decadent Meatballs are a meal in themselves due to the fact they are huge! I make tennis ball sized meatballs; there is no reason to have a side of spaghetti with them. There are herbs to make them more flavorful than just cooked beef. Plus, I like to add mushrooms and spinach for more texture and nutrients. They simmer in broth and warm up in an oven as if they purchased a Japanese onsen and sauna package. Finally, I use one secret ingredient to ensure they stay moist, juicy, and tender.
Yep! Not even kidding. I use Extra Firm Tofu and the moisture and consistency of tofu blends perfectly well with the beefy meatball. Now here’s how to make these very delicious, chock-full of flavor, and gluttonous meatballs.
|2 ½ pounds of Lean Ground Beef|
|½ a block of Extra Firm Tofu|
|5-6 small Portobello Mushrooms finely chopped|
|Handful of Baby Spinach finely chopped|
|3-5 Garlic Cloves finely chopped|
|Salt and Pepper|
|2 beaten Eggs|
|Provolone Cheese (optional)|
|Dried Parsley (garnish)|
|Red Pepper Flakes (garnish)|
Begin my prepping the vegetables first:
- Chop PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS, GARLIC, and BABY SPINACH very finely
Then take out a small bowl or container
- Whisk 2 WHOLE EGGS so the whites and yolks combine evenly
Take out a mixing bowl:
- Place LEAN GROUND BEEF into the mixing bowl
- Add a couple pinches (or to taste) of DRIED THYME, DRIED BASIL, SALT and PEPPER
- Then add in the prepped vegetables
- Using your hands, crumble the EXTRA FIRM TOFU
- Cover all the ingredients with the whisked eggs
- Mix all ingredients together
- I prefer to use to my hands to ensure all the ingredients are well incorporated
Then take out a baking pan:
- Portion tennis ball size meatballs and place them into the baking pan with space in between each meatball
- Gently pour in CHICKEN BROTH
- Heat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit and let the meatballs bake for 30 minutes
- After 30 minutes, take the meatballs out and add provolone cheese and broil for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted
- Or, do not add provolone and let meatballs broil until crispy on the outside
Sprinkle with DRIED PARSLEY and RED PEPPER FLAKE for garnish, serve immediately and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy these Decadent Meatballs. My husband, Jeff, absolutely loves them. Let me know what you think. Feel free to share your secret ingredient or family meatball recipe in the comments. Until next time, have a great day!
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