cooking · Food · Recipes

Recipe: Spaghetti Meatball Cups

meatball cups

Photo Credit: Beko

We know you’d rather be out in the sun, but we have the perfect rainy day recipe. You can use classic comfort food to turn lunch into a fun activity while you’re stuck indoors. These Spaghetti Meatball Cups are also delicious and easy enough for anyone to make.

This recipe comes from Beko’s “Eat Like a Pro” campaign. They promote healthier food for parents to feed their kids by partnering with FC Barcelona. Check out some of their recipes for the whole family.

 

Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 4 people

 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb. spaghetti
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/4 cups marinara
  • 1 1/8 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • additional Parmesan and parsley for garnish

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water.

 

  1. In a large bowl, toss cooled spaghetti with 2 beaten eggs, shredded mozzarella, and 1/2 cup grated parmesan.

 

 

  1. Grease a muffin tin and nest spaghetti inside. Using the bottom of a small glass, firmly press down to create a well.

 

  1. Bake until set.

 

  1. While spaghetti cups bake, make meatballs. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, garlic, remaining egg, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Roll into balls.

 

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Brown meatballs, then drain fat. Pour over marinara and let simmer 5 minutes.

 

  1. Spoon meatball onto spaghetti nest. Garnish with Parmesan and parsley.

 

Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

cooking · grilling · Recipes

Recipe: Fireball Pineapple Grilled Pork

pork recipe

Photo and recipe credit: Andrea Alden

What are your Memorial Day weekend plans? If you envision yourself grilling out, try to impress your guests with something a little different.

This amazing recipe from Napoleon for Fireball Pineapple Grilled Pork  is essentially cinnamon whiskey-glazed pineapple with grilled pork. It’s the perfect spin on a grilled classic with sweet pineapple and spice to let everyone it’s summertime.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 pork loin, approx. 3 lb.

salt and pepper to taste

1 pineapple

¾ cup of brown sugar

3 tbsp. melted butter

½ cup of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

 

Step 1

Preheat the grill to 375°F using the rear burner. Move the cooking grid to the high position and preheat the Infrared SIZZLE ZONE™ to high. If you do not have an infrared side burner, preheat the grill to high using all bottom burners.

Step 2

While the grill is preheating, season all sides of the pork loin with salt and pepper. Remove the top and bottom of the pineapple, and remove the rind on the sides. Carefully thread the pineapple onto a rotisserie spit rod, ensuring that when put on the grill, the pineapple will be centered in front of the rear burner.

Step 3

In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, melted butter, and Fireball.

Step 4

Place the pineapple onto the grill, ensuring that the correct end is firmly in the rotisserie motor. Turn the rotisserie on and let the pineapple start cooking while you sear the pork.

Step 5

Sear the pork on all sides until delicious grill marks have formed. Then place it under the pineapple so that it will drip onto the pork while it cooks.

Step 6

Baste the pineapple with the Fireball mixture every 10 minutes until the pork as reached an internal temperature of at least 145°F (for medium). Use a digital thermometer for accurate readings. Feel free to “accidentally” get extra Fireball mixture on the pork while basting the pineapple.

Step 7

Remove the pork and pineapple from the grill when the pork reaches your desired finished temperature. Allow the roast to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing everything and serving

 

Notes from Andrea:

“Fireball Pineapple Grilled Pork is flavorful, a little sticky, and super sweet. Initially, I butterflied the pork, however, I found that it cooked too fast and became a little unwieldy. Leave the loin whole when you make this recipe, the results will be much better.”

Please let her know if you plan to try this recipe. Take pictures and post of social media using the hashtags #BestLaidBBQPlans and #NapoleonGrill.

cooking · HOW TO · Ranges

How to buy a stove/range – shopping tips

Whether you call it a stove or a range, you’re going to want to keep these considerations in mind when shopping for a new … oh I give up.

black-electric-range

Though freestanding ranges are the most commonly used, slide-in ranges are growing in popularity. Featuring unfinished sides and controls on the front, this style lends a more built-in look, great for islands, and featuring decorative backsplashes. Professional ranges mimic the performance and appearance of a true commercial range.

pro-style-range

Pro-style ranges use the most durable components and achieve high temperatures for rapid boiling as well as extremely low temperatures for delicate and precise simmering.

Larger models (36”, 48” or 60” wide) can include built-in griddles and grills. Their ovens offer convection and high-temperature broiling. Convection ovens use airflow for even heat distribution and consistent baking, even with multiple racks. When cooking meats, convection fans sear the skin to retain moisture.

wolf-range

Gas vs. electric

Professional and aspiring chefs usually prefer gas due to a common misconception of all-around superior performance; In most cases electric ranges boil liquid just as quickly and frequently, electric burners reach extremely low temperatures for delicate and precise simmering. But the heat-retention qualities of electric coils and ceramic surfaces cannot range from high to low heat instantaneously as gas cooktops can. But glass surfaces of electric ranges are the easiest to clean and maintain.

When it comes to ovens, electric responds quicker to temperature changes, providing less heat variance overall for more consistent baking results. However, gas ovens provide more “moist heat,” which is better for meats and vegetables. For cooks who want the best of both worlds, the dual-fuel range has the flexibility and control of gas burners on the cooktop with the accuracy and precision of an electric oven.

Induction range burners use magnets to directly heat cookware and leaving the surface cool to the touch, combining an unmatched degree of safety with high power and the responsiveness of gas.

‘HOT’ features to consider

  • Warming Drawer – functions as a keep-warm area.
  • Second Oven – additional cavity functions as a separate oven. Perfect for cooking short items such as pizzas, pies, casseroles, etc.

slide-in-double-oven-range

  • Split Oven Racks – can be partially removed as needed for cooking multiple dishes simultaneously.

    split-rack
    Split racks accommodate simultaneous baking of tall dishes.
cooking · grilling · Recipes

Breakfast on the grill: Bacon Asparagus Quiche Tarts & Grilled doughnuts

You might not be thinking about grilling right now, but we never stop.

In fact, Joe Warner will be grilling for KARE 11 tomorrow morning sometime from the 5:45 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.

Bacon Asparagus Quiche Tarts

Makes 12 pastries

  • 1 package flaky biscuit dough
  • Muffin tins (to accommodate 12 pastries)
  • Cooking spray

“Custard”

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 oz shredded swiss cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

“Filling”

  • ½ cup chopped asparagus, cooked
  • ½ cup chopped bacon, cooked crispy
  • 6 oz cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, whatever)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green onion for topping
  1. Preheat grill to 350 degrees
  2. Line muffin tins and grease with cooking spray.  Take biscuit dough and place about a spoonful sized and flattened dough ball into the tin.  Place on middle rack of oven and bake for 5 minutes or until dough rises close to the top of the tin.
  3. Remove tins and set aside for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
  4. While dough is cooling, whisk the custard ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.
  5. After dough has cooled enough, form the dough around the muffin tin sides.  It should be able to rise to about a quarter inch from the top of the liner.  Put a pinch of cheese in the bottom of each tin and then top that with about 2 Tbsp total of chopped asparagus and bacon.
  6. Put 2-3 Tbsp of the custard into each tin, filling to just beneath the top of the dough.  Top with another pinch of cheese and a pinch of green onions.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the custard is set.
  8. Best served warm, not hot…so let cool a bit before removing from the tin and liner.

Make it vegetarian by substituting 8 oz mushrooms (chopped, cooked, and dried)  for bacon.

Note: Bacon and asparagus can be grilled at 350 degrees prior to cooking the pastries.  Bacon should be cooked on a broiler pan for 10 minutes a side.  Asparagus should be lightly oiled, with salt and pepper to taste and grilled for about 10 minutes or until crisp.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

…and now for my FAVORITE recipe I’ve ever made up:

Incredibly Easy Grilled Donuts

Grill refrigerated biscuits on a cookie sheet (or well-oiled grill grate) using indirect heat at about 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, melt a stick of butter in a grill-safe bowl away from direct heat. Dip warm biscuits in the melted butter and roll in cinnamon sugar. Yum!

cooking · HOW TO · Microwave

Baking tips: how to soften butter

microwaving-butter
Betcha didn’t think Christmas cookie baking could be improved with your microwave.

This weekend, the ladies in my family attempted to start a tradition of Christmas cookie baking.

Baking Christmas cookies takes a lot of planning and shopping and measuring and mixing and of course, baking (which includes cooling and sometimes rotating, if your oven lacks convection).

My soon-to-be sister-in-law chose to make these Russian Tea Cakes for the first time ever. The recipe calls for a cup of softened butter, but because we were making 6 dozen instead of 4 dozen, we needed a cup and a half of softened butter (that’s a lot). And although I am  horrible baker, she asked me a question I could actually answer:

“How do you get butter to soften without melting it?”

Because of our early morning start, the butter I brought to my mom’s was still refrigerator-hard. So we needed to intercede.

Perhaps your experience with softening butter in the microwave involves you — nose pressed up against the glass — nuking the flavorful fat ingredient in short intervals and praying it doesn’t melt.

Softening gone wrong
Softening gone wrong

But that’s not how it’s supposed to be at all.

Soften a stick of butter by microwaving it for a minute at 10% power.
Soften a stick of butter by microwaving it for a minute at 10% power.

 

To soften our cup and a half of butter, we microwaved each stick for a minute a piece at 10% power.

Based on your microwave, you might want to amp up to 20% and adjust the time or even use the defrost setting (which is 30% power).

Later, we also adjusted our microwave power to soften cream cheese for Peanut Butter Balls (which are amazing, by the way).

Microwave power levels can also come in handy for reheating foods, I’ve found. Foods like pizza and French fries revive less soggier when microwaved longer at lower power.

Try it out!

cooking · grilling · Outdoor Kitchen

See our beautiful topless grills, LIVE!

I love my gas grill, but the configuration doesn’t make for easy conversation with my guests (OK, fine, guest).

Think about it: I flip the top to land about even with my mouth, which maybe doesn’t matter as I — like many I suspect — locate my gas grill against something (a wall, a deck, a fence) anyway.

How am I supposed to conversate? Who wants to gather round that?

Now imagine a setup where the grill is more like a cooktop setup…just open, with no top to baffle your babble or keeps guests away (my personality handles that just fine, thank you!).

OK, stop imagining; I found my picture of it.

Those who have lots of friends and parties (and are into that kind of stuff) will probably wonder why no one thought of this before. This being the DCS Liberty, which “even allows you to effortlessly host an omelet bar in your outdoor kitchen.” Well thank goodness!

It’s called the Liberty because all the individual applications free up your outdoor living design, unhinging it from all those icky conventions and letting you enjoy your outdoor cooking experience along with — instead of apart from — all your friend(s).

You can pretty much mix and match all the individual pieces in the DCS Liberty Collection to do whatever you want. This curved shape lets everyone gather round (pun intended).

DCS expert Michael Mahin will be traveling from Warner Stellian Appliance store to store this summer, cooking on the Liberty and feeding you ideas about outdoor entertaining. Stop by and ask him a lot of questions. He’ll be able to answer because he’ll be cooking topless…topless grill, that is.

Woodbury appliance store
Thursday, May 10 from 4 to 7 p.m.

St. Paul appliance store
Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, May 20 from noon to 4 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 11 from 11 a.m to 2 p.m.

Maple Grove appliance store
Saturday, June 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Edina appliance store
Saturday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Apple Valley appliance store
Saturday, July 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

cooking · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star

4 ways to cook more efficiently

No, I’m not offering tips on expediting meals with mise en place. I’m talking about ways to save energy when cooking.*

Stoves, cooktops and ovens aren’t Energy Star rated, because most models use about the same amount of energy. But there are certainly ways to use less gas or electricity when cooking.

Here are 4 tips to help you become a more energy-efficient cook:

1. Keep your burner caps and drip pans clean
Maintaining a tidy cook surface isn’t just about impressing company (or your cat).

Dirty surfaces don’t reflect heat as well as polished surfaces, thus wasting energy and potentially your time. Read my manageable daily cleanup plan.

2. Match pots and pans to the size of your burners
Unless you’re using an induction cooktop or range, you’re heating a lot of air while you try to heat your food. Induction cooking is 20% more efficient than electric and 70% more efficient than gas.

To mitigate energy loss, choose the appropriate sized pot or pan for the size of burner you’re cooking on (i.e. don’t put a 1-qt saucepan on a ginormous “power burner”).

3. Cover your pots while boiling water
When you think about it, it makes no sense to boil water in an uncovered pot. Using a cover helps water boil faster while creating pressure and preventing evaporation.

4. Skip preheating
Unless you’re baking and require precise temperatures, you don’t need to wait till your oven reaches 350 degrees to throw your food in.

I start cooking my casseroles as soon as I start my oven, and not only do they still turn out, they often turn out faster than if I wait for the oven to heat up! Better yet, shut off your oven a few minutes early and let residual heat finish off your dish. Even better yet, make two pans to freeze leftovers and reheat in the microwave later.

*If you’re trying to cook faster, use the microwave (coincidentally, using the microwave as an alternative to the oven cuts energy use in half).