Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sweet Basil Meatballs

Middle school was the most awkward time of my life. I feel like I'm not alone here.  Or maybe I was the only awkward middle schooler. Let's face it. I'm still awkward. I'm ok with it. I've learned to embrace it actually... 

One of the only bearable middle school memories were speech tournaments. I'm not sure if every state has this program or not but they should. Every Saturday we would hop on a bus at the butt crack of dawn, armed with Ale-8 and junk food and travel to far away places to compete in our different events such as Original Oratory, Poetry, Storytelling, Broadcasting, Duo Acting--the list could go on but I'll stop there.   (If you don't know what Ale-8 is, look it up. Hashtag Kentucky Proud is what it is. The original energy drink.) 

Kentucky does such a great job with their speech program (insert inappropriate Kentucky hillbilly joke here). It gives each and every competitor a great sense of confidence and what middle school student couldn't use a big ol' dose of that? 

Not to brag, but I did win first place in broadcasting when I was in the 8th grade. My plan was to become the first female ESPN anchor. So obviously, I majored in music in college and now work at a bank. What is it they say about plans? If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans, I believe. I've been responsible for more than a few laughs for the Big Man upstairs. 

I told you that story because I am writing this post from one of the state speech tournaments! My cousin Betsy is one of the organizers for the KESDA state tournament and I volunteer to judge because what's more fun than judging a child? I kid, I kid.  But seriously, it's a great event and I enjoy it so much that I give up two Saturdays to help out. 

I realize this tangent I just went on had nothing to do with basil or meatballs. I'm getting there. Patience. It's a virtue.

I've told y'all about my friend Jen a few times before.  Sweet Basil Meatballs just happened to be one of the first meals she ever made for me--100 years ago when we became friends.  She is a great cook and an incredible hostess.  I hadn't known her very long before I felt comfortable enough to raid her fridge for Keebler fudge shop cookies.  Keeping those in the fridge reminded me of my grandmother and I knew we would be friends forever.  This is one of the meals that her son, and my godson, Jarrod requests for his birthday and in honor of his 16th birthday rolling up very soon (where does the time go?  And why have I not aged a day since the kid was born?) I thought I would share her delectable meal.  Plus it brings back great memories of spending time with the Lange family.  That's what comfort food is all about, right?  

Jen has made some changes to this recipe but this is the original that she started with and it is delicious. It's just a simple, warm, comforting meal.  Plus, this meatball recipe might be my new go to.

If you enjoy this one you should really taste her lasagna.  She makes the best lasagna in the world.  You're thinking that the world is a really big place.  I know it is.  And hers is the best.  I'm trying to talk her into a guest post so she can tell you a little bit about her amazing self and share her recipe.  That would be so exciting!! 

Sweet Basil Meatballs                                                       Printer Friendly



1 egg, beaten
3/4 tsp dried basil plus 1/2 tsp for sauce
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a mixing bowl combine the egg, bread crumbs, milk, basil, onion powder, marjoram, salt and pepper. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.  Mix in ground beef.  Roll into one nice balls and brown in a skillet over medium to medium low heat.  Drain the grease from the skillet

Sweet Basil Sauce

1 can cream of mushroom soup*
1 can milk
1/2 tsp basil

In a small bowl mix the soup, milk and basil.  Pour over the top of the meatballs.  Let simmer for 30 minutes.  

Serve over rice or my favorite, egg noodles

*Note:  I rarely, if ever have canned soups in my pantry.  I most always have mushrooms in my fridge though.  This is what I substituted for the cream of mushroom soup:

1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 5 more minutes to make a roux.  Add milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat and allow to thicken for about 10 minutes, stirring often. 

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