Easy Cocktail Meatballs

Easy Cocktail Meatballs

We were having friends in for dinner and I wanted an easy appetizer that didn’t take much effort on my part.  And it doesn’t get much more effortless than Easy Cocktail Meatballs. And I like the retro feel that cocktail meatballs have.

I hadn’t made cocktail meatballs in years and I was surprised at how quickly they were devoured by the Husband and our 4 guests.  In fact at the end of the evening, not one meatball was left.

If I wasn’t in the mood for effortless, I may have made the meatballs myself, but it’s so easy to use the frozen meatballs, which are all exactly the same size. I used the bbq sauce that I had on hand, nothing special. And this time I cooked them, covered, in a 200 degree oven for 1 1/2 hour and then at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 1/2 hour. Of course using a slow cooker is also an option, but mine is quite large and I didn’t want to get it out for just one pound of meatballs.

Easy Cocktail Meatballs

16 ounces frozen meatballs

1/2 cup bbq sauce

1/2 cup grape jelly

1 tablespoon hearty red wine

1/4 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Place the meatballs in an oven-proof dish.

Mix the bbq sauce, grape jelly, wine, and chili garlic sauce in a bowl. Pour over the meatballs.

Cover the baking dish and cook the meatballs at 200 degrees for ninety minutes. Increase the temperature to 350 degrees.  Remove the cover from the dish and cook for another 30 minutes.

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It’s Opening Day of Crabbing!

Steamed Crab

Today, July 3rd!  It’s been posted around town and in the paper, but even if I hadn’t seen that, I would have known.  When I took my usual daily walk to the marina this morning, the trailers were lined up at the boat launch and all of the boats contained two or three crab pots.

We’re spoiled and particular and we like to eat our Dungeness crab fresh out of the bay. We bring it home live and cook it right away.

It’s my husband’s job to clean and cook the crab.

crabs with Rick

He cooks it outside in a large multi-purpose cooking pot that is attached to a propane tank, and he cleans it after it’s been cooked.

Boiled Dungeness Crab

Determine how much liquid will be needed to cover the crabs by 2 to 3 inches when they are immersed in the pot. Add the liquid in a ratio of 2/3 water to 1/3 beer.  Pour in enough salt that you can taste it if you take a little sip of the water. Add several bay leaves, celery chunks, and a handful of peppercorns. Bring the liquid to a boil.

Grab the crabs by the back and immerse them in the water head first. When all the crabs have been added, allow the water to come to a boil.  Once it is boiling, lower the temperature to a simmer and cook the crab for 7 to 8 minutes a pound.

When the crab is cooked, allow it to cool and then chill it.

While Husband is outside cooking the crab, I’m inside melting the drawn butter and making my very favorite aioli sauce.

mayonnaise homemade

Aioli Sauce

2 medium garlic cloves

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 egg

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

pinch of salt

Add the garlic, Dijon mustard, and egg to the food processor and pulse several times. In a thin stream, very slowly pour in the oils while the machine runs.  The sauce should thicken as the oil is added. Add lemon juice and a pinch of salt and process for 10 seconds.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I cover the table, inside or out, with butcher paper, roll up a bunch of wet clothes for the wiping of hands and chins, and we just pour the crab onto the table. Everyone cracks their own and dips it into the drawn butter or aioli sauce.

July 2011 071

I can’t wait!!!!

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Spanish Almonds

Spanish Almonds

I like to have these treats on hand to serve with a glass of wine or cocktails, so I make them about once a month. They don’t last long at my house.

In the photo you can see that I did not use whole almonds.  Sometimes I do, but I wanted to use these almonds in a salad I was making, so I wanted them to be a smaller size.

1  cup olive oil

3 cups blanched almonds

1/2 cup torn fresh sage leaves

1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not boiling, add the almonds, sage and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the almonds begin to turn toasty brown. Drain the almonds from the hot oil and spread them on a tray covered with a layer of paper towels. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over all.  Allow to cool and then store in an airtight container.

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Orange Mayonnaise

I made this quick and easy Orange Mayonnaise last night to accompany some grilled asparagus that I was serving to family and friends. It was delightful!
And it was still great this afternoon when I topped some leftover fish with a tiny bit of Orange Mayonnaise.

I suggest combining the ingredients several hours before using so the flavors can blend.

Orange Mayonnaise

Whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, 1 teaspoon grated orange peel, and a pinch of cayenne.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.


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Free Books on Kindle!

Four of my Kindle e-books are free today and tomorrow!  Feel FREE to take a look at one, or all, of the following books. And if you are so inclined…..please leave a review.

Easy French Dinner      An Easy French Dinner guides you through the preparation of a French dinner that you can easily make at home.

51S1uUvaqWL__AA160_Simply Salad Dressing contains recipes for 18 delicious salad dressings.

simplypork (2)   Simply Pork has 18 of my favorite pork recipes.

51xIJFwoZWL__SY96_SH35_    And even thought it isn’t winter right now…..Simply Winter Salads included 18 salads that use ingredients easily available in that cold-weather season.

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Copper River Salmon, Grilled Vegetables, and Grilled Romaine Salad

We had a feast on a lovely sunny Sunday in Eastern Washington.

I had everything for the vegetables and salad, but went to the local market thinking of maybe……steak, chicken breasts, or maybe a nice piece of halibut. But instead I found fresh Copper River Salmon at $12.99 a pound. I couldn’t pass it up.

Copper River Salmon with a Soy Sriracha Marinade

Fresh Copper River Salmon right off the grill.

Fresh Copper River Salmon right off the grill.

Serves 2

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1  tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon sherry

1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 pound Copper River Salmon

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 lemon, cut into wedges



Place the soy sauce, oil, mustard, honey, sherry, sriracha sauce, and lemon juice in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Seal and shake well to blend.

Pour the marinade over the salmon 2 hours before serving.

Preheat the grill to medium-high.  Cook the salmon, skin side down for 4 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish), flip it and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Place the fish on a warm platter. Top with 1 tablespoon butter, cut into 4 pieces. Allow the butter to melt and the fish to rest for 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Grilled Vegetables for Two

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled Vegetables

Serves 2

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

1/2 red onion

4 spears asparagus

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

Slice the zucchini and squash lengthwise into 4 pieces. Cut the onion into 1/2 inch slices. Trim the tough ends from the bottom of the asparagus stalks. Combine the oil and the salt and pepper. Brush all of the vegetables with the oil mixture.


Grill the vegetables over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side, until they are slightly blackened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Grilled Romaine Salad

Grilled Heart of Romaine with Blue Cheese Dressing

Grilled Heart of Romaine with Blue Cheese Dressing

Serves 4

3 ounces crumbled blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1/4 teaspoon mixed salad herbs

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

fresh ground salt and pepper to taste

2 heads romaine lettuce

cooking spray

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

To prepare the dressing, combine the blue cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, buttermilk, salad herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.  Whisk the ingredients to blend well. Cover and chill.

Remove the tougher outer leaves from the romaine heads.  Cut the heads in half lengthwise.

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Spray the lettuce on all sides with the cooking spray.

Sprinkle the cut side with salt and pepper. Spray the cut side of the tomato halves.

Place the cherry tomatoes and the lettuce cut side down on a grilling pan. Grill for 2 minutes.

Allow the lettuce and tomatoes to rest for 5 minutes and then transfer 1 lettuce piece and 6 cherry halves to each of 4 chilled salad plates. Drizzle all with 1 to 2 tablespoons blue cheese dressing and serve immediately.

Enjoy! Eat well!

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It’s Time for the Purple Chive Flowers

I love this time of year….when the garden starts to bloom.  And right now, it’s the purple chive flowers.

Purple chive flowers

Purple chive flowers

I use them in salads, toppings for deviled eggs, in bouquets, and in little bouquets to garnish cheese platters. How about you? How do you use these little garden treasures?

Since we are very careful about keeping our plants organic, we have no qualms about eating them.  They add a peppery kick to salads and eggs.

Alaska July 29 to August 4 2011 013 Alaska July 29 to August 4 2011 011 Purple flower ingredients in basket green salad with chive flowers  herb bouquet June 2011 021


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