Showing posts with label meatballs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meatballs. Show all posts

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Welcome Julia Buckley!

A very warm welcome to Julia Buckley! Julia writes the Writer's Apprentice Mysteries. What a fun idea to write a series about someone who has become the assistant to a bestselling suspense writer.

Julia is very kindly giving away a copy of A DARK AND STORMY MURDER, which debuts July 5! Leave a comment with your email address below to enter. 

Good Luck!

Hello, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen!

Thanks for inviting me onto the blog today. I’m celebrating the release of my new mystery, A DARK AND STORMY MURDER. While this is not a culinary mystery, a lot of eating takes place in Blue Lake, the fictional Indiana town that Lena London discovers at the beginning of the novel (and which is based on THIS place that I once visited).

Blue Lake is situated somewhere between Chicago and Indianapolis, a lovely lakefront town not yet discovered by more than the most adventurous tourists.

Lena’s culinary introduction to the town begins at Wheat Grass, an elegant eatery just off of Green Glass Highway; she shares some memorable meals with other characters here, and part of the plot is linked closely to this restaurant.

She also discovers Willoughby’s, a homey little diner with a sign in the window that says “Join us for breakfast or lunch! Willoughby’s is NOT open for dinner.” This diner becomes the backdrop for some of the most important moments in the mystery.

Lena consumes all sorts of meals in the book: sweets ranging from Willoughby’s waffles to cupcakes made by Rhonda, the cook at Graham House (where she works with her employer, the famous suspense novelist Camilla Graham), to Schuler’s Ice Cream, famous in Blue Lake and sold at, among other places, Bick’s Hardware, an eccentric little store on Wentworth Avenue. (How many commas did I use in the previous sentence? I think I might have earned a comma award). She also consumes gourmet salads, delicious soup, elegant sandwiches, and much more—just a part of life and sleuthing in a lovely little resort town.

There are no recipes in the book, but one of the things on the Willoughby’s menu is a meatball sandwich. I am sharing my own super-easy recipe for meatballs here, and I don’t even need to consult a list of ingredients, because they are simple:

Willoughby’s Restaurant Meatballs (for sandwiches or sides)

1 pound ground beef

1 cup Panko bread crumbs (plain)

2 packets dried onion soup mix (Mrs. Grass preferred)

2 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

(optional: diced red pepper)

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients well; then roll into medium-sized, uniform balls and place in a flat baking pan.

Bake for 40 minutes; remove and let cool.

You should taste one or two meatballs just to be sure they’re delicious. J Then serve on crusty white bread with your homemade or store-bought tomato sauce, OR whip up a pot of pasta and serve these meatballs with the noodles and the above-mentioned sauce.

So good!

Now, while you’re eating those meatballs, you might want to consider adding something to your TBR pile. Dean James wrote of A DARK AND STORMY MURDER, “I can’t remember when I’ve been so enthralled by a story and its characters.”

The book is an homage to Mary Stewart and her stellar suspense novels, which captivated me so much in my impressionable teen years that Stewart remains, three years after her death at age 97, my favorite writer. In a little burst of wish-fulfillment, I allowed my main character, Lena London, to live out a fantasy I would have loved: to meet her idol, suspense novelist Camilla Graham, and to live and work with her as a sort of writer’s apprentice. The two of them end up confronting a real mystery while they are plotting a fictional one, and thus begins the tale.

Summer, delicious food, and an intriguing tale: what more could we ask? (Maybe some money to spend on more books)?

I hope you’re all having a terrific summer; happy Fourth of July, happy halfway through the year, happy long summer days, happy cooking, and happy reading!!

Julia Buckley is a Chicago area mystery and suspense writer. She also teaches secondary English and journalism. She lives in the suburbs with her husband, her two sons, three cats and a black Lab named Digby,

who gets into everything but is always forgiven because he is so cute.

Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address to enter to win a copy of A DARK AND STORMY MURDER!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Cocktail Meatballs with Cranberry Glaze #Recipe @PegCochran

November is here--although it's hard to believe considering the warm weather we've been having in Michigan.  I gather other parts of the country have experienced the same delay in colder temps.  In November our minds turn to all things turkey and cranberry.  (And since I'm working on the third Cranberry Cove, cranberries are definitely on my mind!) I needed an hors d'oeuvre to take to a party (where the hors d'oeuvres pretty much function as a substitute for dinner) so I decided on meatballs in a cranberry glaze that is sweet, spicy and a little hot.

My meatball recipe made a ton of meatballs so I used half for dinner one night and turned them into Swedish meatballs.  The others I took to the party.

Ingredients for Meatballs:
2 lbs. ground beef
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
2 TBLS parsley flakes
1 onion, chopped
2 TBLS Worcestershire sauce
2 tsps salt
1 tsp pepper

Mix 2 lbs. ground beef with the rest of the ingredients.

Mix ground beef with seasonings, bread crumbs and eggs

Form into meatballs and bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees until done (time will depend on your oven--check after 15 minutes and then every 5 minutes until meat reaches desired temperature)

Ingredients for Glaze
1 14-ounce can whole cranberry sauce
3 TBLS cider vinegar
2 TBLS orange juice
2 TBLS brown sugar
1 to 2 tsps. sriracha or another hot sauce (I used one teaspoon)
1 TBLS minced fresh ginger
1 TBLS orange marmalade
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper (about three turns)

Place cranberry sauce in food processor and blend until smooth:

Love that gorgeous color!

Add the cranberry sauce and remaining ingredients to saucepan.  Stir and heat until combined.
Add meatballs to warm glaze and heat through.  Enjoy!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Guest Blogger Edith Maxwell's Haitian Meatballs

Since Edith Maxwell (also known as Tace Baker) has a new book out this month, I am happy to turn over my blog slot to her. If the new book is anywhere near as good as the last ones, you're going to want to read Bluffing is Murder! Plus you get a delicious and unusual recipe.

I, wearing my Tace Baker author hat, am delighted to be a guest on one of my favorite web sites again!

In Bluffing is Murder, Lauren’s boyfriend Zac is temporarily taking care of his twelve-year old Haitian niece. He invites Lauren over for dinner one night and makes the following recipe, which he learned from his grandmother in Haiti. But after Zac and Marie-Fleur head to Port-au-Prince for the summer and Lauren discovers the body of a local man whom she’d argued with earlier that day, her peaceful summer becomes a lot more complicated.

Boulett ak Espageti (Zac’s Haitian Meatballs and Spaghetti)


1/2 onion, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 T salt
1 T ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour

2 T olive oil
1 large can tomato sauce
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 habanero pepper, minced very small after discarding seeds and white membrane (use fork and sharp knife to avoid touching with your fingertips). Adjust more or less depending on your tolerance for capsaicin (the heat in peppers).
1/2 bouillon cube or 1/2 tsp concentrated bouillon
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Careful with the habanero!
1 lb spaghetti

Meatballs: Saute onions and green pepper in 2 T oil until onions are clear. Add garlic and fresh herbs and saute another minute. Don’t let the garlic brown. Remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, combine ground beef, salt, pepper, and vegetable mixture and squish together. Form meatballs and roll in flour. 

Heat 2 T oil over medium heat until hot, then saute meatballs, turning gently until brown all over and cooked. Remove from heat.

Sauce: In a medium sized sauce pan, saute onions in 2 T oil until soft. Add tomato sauce, habanero pepper, bouillon, and cilantro, and salt to taste. Heat until warm. Add meatballs and more fresh herbs if you’d like, and to cook together for 5-6 minutes or until warm.

Boil spaghetti until al dente, drain, toss with oil, and serve meatballs and sauce over it. Serve with optional bottle of habanero sauce on the side.

Serves four or more.

About Edith:

Edith Maxwell writes the Lauren Rousseau mysteries under the pseudonym Tace Baker, in which Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau solves small-town murders (Barking Rain Press). The second book in the series, Bluffing is Murder,  was released in November, 2014. Edith holds a doctorate in linguistics and is a long-time member of Amesbury Friends Meeting.

‘Til Dirt Do Us Part is the latest in Maxwell's Local Foods Mysteries series (Kensington Publishing, 2014). Her new Country Store Mysteries, written as Maddie Day (also from Kensington), will debut with Flipped for Murder in fall, 2015.

Maxwell’s Carriagetown Mysteries series features Quaker midwife Rose Carroll solving mysteries in 1888 with John Greenleaf Whittier’s help, as portrayed in “A Questionable Death.” The series is in search of a publisher.

Maxwell’s most recent short story of murderous revenge, “Breaking the Silence,” appeared in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold (Level Best Books), also featuring characters from the Carriagetown Mysteries.

A former tech writer and doula, Maxwell lives in an antique house north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors (, and you can find her at, @edithmaxwell, on Pinterest, and at

About Bluffing is Murder:

Summer promises to be anything but easy for Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau in Bluffing is Murder. Still reeling from an attack by her student’s murderer, Lauren decides to brush up on her karate and finds herself drawn to handsome sensei Dan Talbot. During a run near the sea bluffs, she discovers the corpse of her insurance agent, Charles Heard, who is also a Trustee for one of the oldest land trusts in the country. Earlier that day, Lauren had a public argument with Heard over her policy—and is now a suspect in the case.

Determined to clear her name, Lauren sets out to discover the real story behind the mismanaged land trust, the dead man’s volatile sister—and a possible link to her own father’s mysterious death more than a decade ago. But a near miss with a car, snippets of strange conversations in French and Farsi, slashed tires, and finding yet another attack victim on the beach make it clear that Lauren is also a target—and the killer is closing in. Can Lauren discover the killer before she becomes the next victim?

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

I'm having my annual New Year's house party with my old college roommates. It's the one time of year when everyone can get together, and we have time to sit around in our pajamas, eat, and catch up.

It has become a tradition to have fondue, both cheese and meat, for our New Year's Eve dinner. It's such a nice choice for a long meal and very little work for me.

But there's that little hour or two when people are arriving but it's not quite time for dinner that's always tricky for me.

Many years ago, at a catered party, I had the best little meatballs. At first the caterer acted coy and simply thanked me for my praise. But I pestered and pestered him until he shared the secret to the disappearing meatballs that no one could resist. So easy. So simple. Currant jelly.

So I whipped up these mini-meatballs for my friends. Honestly, I think they'd be every bit as good with a savory sauce. Be warned, this sauce is very sweet. If the sauce is too sweet for your taste, add 1/2 a cup of dry champagne!

Party Mini-Meatballs
(makes 32 mini-meatballs)

1/2 pound ground beef
2 slices bread
1/3 cup cup milk (approximately)
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
scant 1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano

olive oil

1/2 cup red currant jelly
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Grease baking tray with olive oil.

Soak bread in milk and squeeze out. Mix beef, bread, eggs, cheese, onion, garlic and oregano in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Roll into 1-inch meatballs.

Roast meatballs for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring jelly, ketchup and Worcestershire to a boil and reduce heat. Add meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Say Cheese Meatballs & Gluten-free!

From: Avery Aames

I shared this recipe on one of my dear friend Janet Rudolph's blogs, she has two: DYING FOR CHOCOLATE and MYSTERY FANFARE, but it bears repeating on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. This is one of my husband's and my all-time favorite meals.  It's good in June and in January. The flavors are hearty. The fixings are easy - 9 items.  And it all mashes together. Served with a simple salad, it is divine and delish.

My mother always made spaghetti as I grew up, but she never served just the meatballs. My husband and I were at an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles that boasts "gluten-free" items, so we went. He had these delicious meatballs, and I couldn't have them. They had bread crumbs in them. So I immediately sobbed in my soup. Boo-hoo. Okay, I did not sob. I did have a lovely gluten-free meal. And then I went home and made my own recipe, and the meatballs turned out exactly the same, according to my husband. They're big, about three ounces of meat in each, and moist!!

The cheese...of course the cheese...makes them superb!  Say cheese! 


Italian Meatballs - Gluten-free

Serves 3-4


2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (I use Glutino – you can also mash up gluten-free rice cereal and use that)
2 tablespoons mixed herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme, parsley)
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I use Paul Newman's Tomato Basil)
3-5 cloves garlic
6-8 slices fresh Mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees
Mix the beef, eggs, GF bread crumbs, and herbs in a bowl. Roll the mixture into six to eight "large" balls (depending on how many you are serving).
Lay a 15 x 10 cookie sheet or 9 x 13 pan with foil. 
Pour half of the pasta sauce onto the foil. Lay the onions on the sauce. Add the cloves of garlic. 
Place the beef balls on the sauce. Top each with a slice of Mozzarella. Seal the foil.
Bake for 60-90 minutes in a slow oven.

Set out three to four plates. Divide the remaining sauce among them. Place two meatballs in each serving. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

* * *

You can learn more about me, Avery, by clicking this link.
Chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you haven't done so, sign up for my mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

Also, do you know about my alter ego?
That is my "second" name on the left.
Daryl is what my husband actually calls me.

Daryl--I--will have a new series out in 2013:
featuring a cookbook store owner
who is an avid reader and admitted foodie!

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
She doesn't say all the same things "I" do. Promise.

Say cheese!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Food of Love: Spaghetti and Meat(less) Balls

Want to hear a romantic story?

Back when Mr. Wendy and I were simply living in sin, he went on tour with his band for three long, lonely weeks. The day he got back, I made a celebratory dinner of spaghetti and faux meatballs (we're both vegetarian, so the real deal is off the table). We spent the evening being our usual classy selves, eating spaghetti in bed with the TV on. Fully clothed. (Get your minds out of the gutter.)

With the dirty dishes piled on the rumpled bedclothes between us, and a commercial blaring in the background, he told me he had a present for me. But I could only have it if I agreed to marry him ... and he proceeded to pull a ring from his pocket.

Yep. That's how we got engaged. Forget the wine and roses ... we had garlic breath, sweatpants, and the Mattress Giant. But it was still unbearably romantic to me, because it was Mr. Wendy. And he asked me to marry him.


I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

I may never know whether Mr. Wendy married me for my tender heart, my sparkling wit, or my delectable meatballs, but I hedge my bets and make spaghetti often. And in honor of Valentine's Day, which is right around the corner, I'm sharing my recipe for the most romantic spaghetti and faux meatballs in the world. To make the recipe vegan, simply substitute a soy-based "parmesan" for the real deal; everything else is vegan.

Spaghetti and Meatless Balls

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsps. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
salt to taste


1 tube "Gimme Lean - Sausage Style"*
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
2/3 c. panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 c. minced parsley
2 Tbs. ketchup

* Gimme Lean comes in a tube like real breakfast sausage. It is available in the produce, dairy, or "hippie chow" section of many national grocery stores

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all meatball ingredients together in a very large bowl (ideally, use your hands). Spray two mini-muffin pans (or a large cookie sheet) with nonstick spray. Using heaping tablespoons of the mixture, form mixture into 24 small balls (do not compress too much - roll gently). Place the balls in the muffin cups or on the cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

For the sauce, in a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until just fragrant, then add tomato paste. Stirring occasionally to incorporate the oil into the paste, brown the tomato paste for about 5 minutes. Add red wine to the pan and "deglaze" (I use quotes here because I use a nonstick pan, so there's really no deglazing to be done -- but you want the wine to hit the hot pan, sizzle, and be incorporated into the paste). Add remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and simmer (covered) for about 30 minutes. Add salt and possibly a pinch of sugar if necessary to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.

Bring pasta water to boil. When you put the pasta in the water, put the balls in the sauce (to heat through). Serve with additional parmesan.

The sauce recipe makes plenty of sauce for a single box of pasta, with enough left over for a faux meatball sub or two.

Please share the menu for your most romantic meal ... What is your special "food of love"?

Wendy Lyn Watson writes the Mysteries a la Mode. The third in the series, A Parfait Murder, will be available in June, 2011.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's Super Sunday!

by Sheila Connolly

If you're into football, you know what today is. If you're not,
just go on about your business and ignore those people shrieking at the television set.
It's Super Bowl Sunday. I almost went to a Super Bowl once, when it was held close to where I lived AND I had connections through which I could have gotten tickets. The thing of it was, I was seven and a half months pregnant, and I thought spending the day fighting crowds and jumping up and down in a football stadium was not a wise thing to do under the circumstances. As a result, I missed watching Joe Montana kick Dan Marino's butt live at Super Bowl XIX. Yay, Niners! I'm sure my daughter appreciates my thoughtfulness.

But cheering is hungry work, either at the field of battle or sitting in front of your television (and hey, you get a much better view watching on television). So I offer you two recipes for football-watching sustenance. The first is a recipe for Swedish meatballs, from my Swedish-born step-grandmother (it's complicated). Make them small (under an inch), hand people toothpicks or skewers, and you're good to go.

Grandmother Johnson's Meatballs

½ lb. ground pork
1 ½ pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tblsp butter
1 cup moist (not dried) bread crumbs
1 egg yolk
½ cup water
½ cup milk
salt and pepper (you can also add herbs such as thyme or parsley if you like)

Sautée the onion in butter until soft but not brown.

Mix all the ingredients together, and form small meatballs (about a teaspoon each).

Bring a pot of water or broth to a boil. Drop the meatballs in, a few at a time. When they float to the top, remove and drain.

Sautée the parboiled meatballs in a combination of butter and oil until brown. Serve warm, with whatever dipping sauce you like (barbecue, horseradish, etc.). These may be made ahead and sautéed immediately before the game (just don't miss kick-off–or any of those expensive commercials!).

And now for something completely different...Nacho Layer Cake (courtesy of my mother's bridge club in West Chester, Pennsylvania)

1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
1 package (8 oz.) Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
1 container (8 oz.) sour cream
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles
2 fresh ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
4-5 scallions, chopped
Taco seasoning

Use cooking spray to grease an 8" or 9" spring form pan with a flat bottom.

Spread the refried beans over the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle some taco seasoning on top.

Combine the cream cheese and sour cream, and spread over the layer of beans.

Drain the chiles and scatter over the cream cheese layer, then sprinkle the chopped tomatoes, the grated cheese, and the green onions.

Chill for 1-2 hours, then remove the sides of the pan (and admire the lovely layers–it'll get messy fast, but it looks nice at the beginning). Serve with sturdy corn chips to dig in.

Don't be afraid to experiment–you can add a meat or guacamole layer if you like. Just don't make the mix too goopy, or it will collapse in a messy but tasty puddle when you take the mold off.

See? Another recipe you can do ahead so you can sit down and enjoy the game.

Go, um...whoever is the better team (since neither one is the Patriots).