Sunday was Mart’s second day living in his new apartment, and we decided to cook our first meal together. We are both newbies to cooking since we’ve always been lucky enough to have home-cooked food. However, this is Mart’s first time living away from home without a meal plan, so I really wanted to have frequent cooking dates together in order to prevent his starvation and to improve our cooking skills.
The picture of our efforts is to the left, and it doesn’t look too appetizing, especially with the horrible lighting (I actually had to brighten up the picture…the original picture was so dark it looked like a plate of poo!). But I swear, it looked and tasted way better than it seems in the picture!
A long while back I remember visiting this website for beginner cooks, and I really loved it. It has simple recipes and quick videos that showed even the most simple techniques (which are new to rookies like me). Today Mart and I decided we would have an adventure today by going out to buy the ingredients and cooking up a meal, and I was the one who looked for a recipe. I tried so hard finding that website I previously mentioned but I couldn’t find it saved anywhere on my computer. Finally after some hard thinking the name popped into my head: “Start Cooking!” The website is startcooking.com.
I did a little browsing and when I saw the Sweet and Sour Meatballs, I knew that one had to be our first meal. It was simple enough and had a bit of fun in it (rolling the meat into balls)!
Here are the ingredients:
- 1/2 cup of minced onions
- 1 pound of ground veal*
- 1 pound of ground pork*
- 1 cup of seasoned, dry bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons of butter, melted
- One 10-12 ounce jar of apricot jam
- 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce
*We substituted 2 lbs of ground beef for the pork and veal.
Original recipe found at Startcooking.com! Video is here as well.
We went to the supermarket at around 8:30pm (pretty late dinner…) to gather up all the ingredients. It was the first time either of us went shopping by ourselves for real food besides junkfood, too. It was kind of fun. Hell, anything I do with my boyfriend is fun. With the addition of a few other food items (like cereal, bananas, frozen food, etc) and measuring cups/spoons, the total came out to be around $50. Of course, that’s because we started from scratch and pretty much had to buy everything since his apartment kitchen is empty. Grocery shopping is always such a wallet killer. Every time I would go to the market with my mom, around $100-300 would go down the drain in food to feed our 4-person family.
And here is the recipe:
Preheat Oven to 350.
Break 2 eggs into bowl and gently beat. Cut one onion: slice off the top, keep root in tact and cut in half and peel off the outer skin. Make 1/8 inch cuts perpendicular to the root. Then make 1/8 inch cut parallel to the root. The result is minced onions.
Mix the onions in with the eggs and add the 2 lbs of ground beef, 1 cup bread crumbs, and 2 tsp salt.
Form into 1 inch balls.
Melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan with medium heat and brown the meatballs. That’s about 2 min and 30 seconds for one side of the meatball. If pan is not large enough to fry all meatballs, do in separate batches. Blot away grease/oil with paper towels after each new batch and add new butter/oil.
In a large bowl, mix together melted butter (2 tbsp in the microwave), 12 oz apricot jam and 1/2 cup barbeque sauce. Add the browned meatballs into the bowl and gently coat the meatballs with the sauce.
Pour the meatballs and sauce into a large, flat, baking dish and bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Makes 5-6 dozen Meatballs.
It’s such a nice and simple recipe! It was perfect for beginners like us. It tasted delicious too. The sauce sounds rather strange, but the mix of bbq sauce and apricot jam was perfect! We ate the meatballs by themselves, but I can picture eating it with some steamed rice or maybe some type of chipotle pasta. Perhaps we will try that next time, because I think there will definitely a lot of “next times” for this recipe.
NOTE TO SELF AND MART: Do not pour used olive oil or cooking grease down the sink… it will cause it to clog… learned that the hard way… good thing I decided to Google this after doing it only once. Grease and water do not mix, DUH. Of course it will clog the sink. And it’s bad for our water system!!! Where the hell did my common sense go? If you ever make the same dumb mistake I did, boil some hot water, mix in a lot of dishwashing soap, and pour this down the drain for at least 3 minutes to wash away the grease you accidentally poured down… Update: apparently while using the boiling water trick to clear up the sink, Mart also found a plastic cap in the sink that probably helped contribute a little to the sink clogging…wth? lol
All in all, it was still a success and I really enjoyed more bonding time with my S.O.