One of my major goals with the Whole30 challenge was to develop my cooking skills and expand my culinary vocabulary. I feel like I have been wildly successful with this goal thus far, since I have prepared several new recipes per week for the past 6 weeks (recipe reports to follow!). I still worry, though, that this will end up being a phase instead of a foundation. That is why I am working to turn it into a habit. It is my understanding (based on a very cursory investigation) that habits can take anywhere from 1-6 months to form. The hard thing about habit formation is that it requires a lot of energy and focus to perform new skills and keep on track. The wonderful thing about habit formation comes at the end, when tasks and processes are finally ingrained and can run in the background. I am determined to develop this approach to cooking into a habit, and so I will continue to plan new meals several times a week for the rest of 2012.
One result of needing to make several new food items per week is that I find myself being less cautious with my food choices. You see, so many of my favorite foods were always a bit mysterious to me. My past (limited) culinary adventures occasionally resulted in a new item that was tasty enough to fold into our meal repertoire, but my few attempts to recreate specific tastes failed spectacularly, so there have always been two distinct categories: the things I can make well, and the things I like that other people make well. It seems odd to say it now, but somehow I believed that the latter category was not available to me, somehow. I suppose this is because I am a perfectionist, and if the meal didn’t taste just so, then it was a failure.
The Whole30 challenge helped me rearrange my priorities: Priority #1 is making sure each meal has all the necessary macronutrients, while priority #2 is to put together a tasty meal. This means that even if #2 fails (assuming the food is at least somewhat edible, which it is), as long as I have achieved #1, I will have successfully fed myself and my family. And, bonus, I know for certain that the meal tomorrow or the next day will be delicious, and there will be more fabulous new recipes in the coming weeks.
This brings us to meatballs. I have enjoyed meatballs my entire life, but they were always a specialty item. I don’t recall my parents or grandparents making them, so they remained mysterious. (Yes, I realize I just called meatballs mysterious. I do know how silly that sounds.) I have now made four — 4! — different meatball recipes and have several more waiting in the wings. Here is what I have made so far:
- Recipe #1: Paleo Czech Meatballs from Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. I reviewed these in a prior post. Verdict: tasty flavor, but very dry. You will definitely want a sauce or dip to go with this.
- Recipe #2: Bacon Meatballs from cupcakesomg.com. I will have to save this review for another time because, um, I forgot the bacon. So sad.
- Recipe #3: Slow Cooker Italian-ish Meatballs from jenniskitchen.com. These were extremely damp and kinda…mushy. Ede attempted meatballs and used cabbage for her layering veggie, and I think she ended up with one of her few inedible meals. I decided to form the meat into a loaf because I didn’t see how the balls would hold together in the crockpot, and I used a mixture of kale and collard greens (I can’t digest cabbage). The meatloaf was actually decent, though I think most of our enjoyment came from the way its flavor complemented he greens. You see, the kale and collard greens were Amazing, and I will definitely try them in the crockpot with meat juices in the future.
- Recipe #4: Curried Meatballs from everydaypaleo.com. I love these, and want to share them with you.
Do you have a favorite Paleo-friendly meatball recipe? Please share in the comments!
Recipe taken from EverydayPaleo.com
3 lbs ground beef
1 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup apple finely diced
2 tablespoons curry powder
½ tablespoon sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
*2 tablespoons coconut oil
*1 teaspoon crushed garlic
*1 tablespoon raw organic honey (optional) – I skipped this
*1 tablespoon curry powder
*2 tablespoons tomato paste
*½ cup chicken broth
*I doubled these amounts
“Preheat oven to 400.
In a large bowl, place all of the meatball ingredients and mix well. Using your hands, form into meatballs just a little bit bigger than a golf ball and place into a large glass baking dish.
Bake for 25 minutes. While the meatballs are cooking prepare the sauce!
Makes 24 meatballs.“
In a large skillet saute the garlic in the coconut oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the honey, curry powder, and tomato paste and whisk together. Add the chicken broth and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth. Bring to a simmer.
After the meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the sauce in the skillet and coat well. Cover and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Serves 6-7.” I found that this served 4-6.
Verdict: Yum. Yum, yum, yum! These are tasty and moist, and just exactly what I think of when I think “meatball.” I had these with spaghetti squash noodles, and the next day I cut them in quarters and used them in a salad l(ettuce & spinach, green bell peppers, carrots, a tangy basalmic dressing). These are definitely going into my rotation. The only reason I will need to wait to make them again is because there are so many curry-based items in rotation & in the new-recipes list.
Adjustments to Recipe: I found the amount of sauce indicated in the recipe was barely enough to cover the bottom of the pan. The sauce is yummy, and I wanted more, so I doubled the amounts, and was happy.
For Next Time: I will save this recipe with the sauce amounts doubled, and I will definitely make extra for freezing.