Monday, March 17, 2014

Honey Balsamic Meatballs

Dear Jess,

I hope you had a chance to make the Quinoa 'Fried Rice' over your March Break! I am so happy you were able to come by for a visit during your travels through Peterborough! I miss our chats and giggles. It was nice to be 're-charged' with them last week.

Today was grocery day. This is a good thing because my fridge was empty. It looked like the Grinch came and didn't leave us a crumb! As sad as my fridge sounds, I was actually happy, because the possibilities for meals this week became endless! I could potentially get ingredients for whatever I wanted! Woot woot!

Jason says he has been feeling 'foggy' lately, and has asked if I wouldn't mind making him lunches with no wheat and very little sugar in support of him trying to do a 'cleanse'. This was exciting for me, because it means I get to do more cooking!

Both of these stories, when combined, are what lead me to make these meatballs. I was trying to think of filling, yet wheat-free recipes that would be appropriate (and easy to eat) for Jason's lunch(es).

This recipe does have a little bit of brown sugar in the sauce, and there is sugar in ketchup. I did less sugar and ketchup than it calls for, and added more honey and some agave nectar. It's fun to play around with these things!

Honey Balsamic Meatballs

For the meatballs:
1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
2/3 cup water
1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg, whisked
1 large shallot OR 1/2 small onion, grated or minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper

For the Honey-Balsamic BBQ Sauce:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup browns ugar
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

Combine ingredients for Honey-Balsamic BBQ Sauce in a saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring every so often, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until suace is thick and has lost its vinegary bite, stirring every so often.

Meanwhile, combine quinoa and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil (lid on) and turn heat down to medium-low, and then cook for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork then cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place a cooking rack on top and sqray very well with nonstick spray. Set aside. (I didn't have a cooking rack that would fit on my baking sheet, so I just lined a large casserole dish with foil, and sprayed it well with olive oil.)

In a large bowl combine cooled quinoa, egg, shallot, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme and rosemary. Stir to combine. Add beef and mix to combine using hands. Separate mixture into eighths, then form three meatballs from each segment. This will give you 24 meatballs. (I got a few extra because I wanted to make them a tad smaller) Place on prepared cooling rack. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center. Add meatballs to the sauce and serve! You could also transfer them into a crock pot set to 'warm' if you are doing a potluck/hockey game/party type of night.

I hope your return to school is seamless and a breeze! I, of course, miss you terribly and can't wait until our next visit!

So much love,

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