Saturday, November 24, 2012

Provolone Stuffed Meatballs

Olivia and I usually try to update our blog weekly, but recently that didn't happen.  The reason was the death of my father-in-law and Olivia's grandfather at the age of 95.  Had he lived until Christmas Eve he would have celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary with my mother-in-law.  They were married at Fort Knox during World War II.  Oddly enough, his death and funeral were punctuated with nourishing moments where food was involved.  Friends brought us soups and stews at home and brought food to the visitation for us to snack on in between visiting times.

We found ourselves nourished both physically and spiritually during this time.  Whether it involves major life events, holidays, or special occasions, food finds its way into the heart of life.  Each time we now eat stew or soup we will recall the kindness of those who share our journey through life.

Food feeds our memories, our hearts, and our very souls.  This holiday season look at food in a new way--a way that connects you to others and life itself.

Making these meatballs may start a new holiday tradition.  They are great for appetizers, a buffet, with pasta, or even in sandwiches.  Enjoy their versatility and enjoy one another this holiday season.

Provolone Stuffed Meatballs

2 lbs. 95% lean ground beef
2 lbs. Italian sausage
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
3 tablespoons dried minced onions
3 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons garlic infused red wine vinegar
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
3 eggs, whisked
1 lb. Provolone cheese, cut in 50 small cubes

Mix the beef and sausage together by hand in a large bowl.  Add in the garlic, onions, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, Italian bread crumbs, and eggs.  Mix until combined, but do not over mix.  Take a golf bowl sized size piece of the mixture, and press a cube of Provolone cheese in to the center of it.  Pinch the meat around the cube so the entire piece of cheese is covered.  Place meatball on parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until solid.  Transfer meatballs to freezer safe plastic bags for long term storage.

To prepare to eat:  Thaw as many meatballs as you need for a meal in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.  Place a cookie cooling rack on a cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan) with edges around the entire sheet.  Place the thawed meatballs on top of the cooling rack and bake at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes, until the meatballs are golden brown and cooked through.  The cooking time will really depend on the size of your meatballs and how well thawed they are before baking them.  Throw them on top of a bed of pasta with tomato sauce, and you have an easy dinner!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Custard Pie

It's Pumpkin Pie Time!

I started thinking the other day about all the different smells associated with seasonal foods and I realized those smells are almost as appealing as the taste and texture of the food.  In spring we gravitate toward the fresh sharp smells of micro greens, lettuce, green onions, peas, etc.  In summer we are drawn to the smell of grilled meats, vegetables, and the aroma only given by a vine-ripened tomato.  Fall offers the rich bold flavors of smoked meats, the earthy smell of root vegetables, and the steamy scent of comfort filled soups.  Of course the nose could not round out the aromatic year without the plethora of tempting spices, sugars, and yeasty goodness of holiday baked goods.  

Close your eyes for a moment and remember what Thanksgiving smells like.  I'll bet a pumpkin pie comes to mind somewhere in there.  Here is an out-of-this world pumpkin pie recipe Olivia made.  Just look at the crust ingredients and you will be ready to give it a try.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  Remember to savor the smell before you devour it!

Spiced Pumpkin Custard Pie


  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ice water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • Whipped cream, optional
  • Additional ground cinnamon, optional


  • Place pecans in a food processor; cover and process until finely ground. In a large bowl, combine the pecans, flour, ginger and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Press dough onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. pie plate.
  • For filling, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, spices and salt until smooth. Beat in pumpkin. Gradually beat in milk. Pour into crust.
  • Bake at 400° for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary. Cool on a wire rack. Garnish with whipped cream and additional cinnamon if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 8 servings.
Recipe from "Taste of Home" Magazine" (November 2011)