Baked Italian Meatballs

Baked Italian Meatballs

Barbecue Pork Meatballs are a favorite in our house, although my 5-year old will call me out if I make the sauce too spicy (seriously, how tomato sauce, brown sugar and mustard can be spicy is beyond me…but we all know how “testy” those young palates can be).

Staring at a pound of ground pork in the fridge the other day, I thought I’d try my hand at another version of those meatballs. Something with a completely different flavor. Like the way a “spaghetti and meatballs” meatball tastes, but without the spaghetti. And not at all like spaghetti and meatballs.


So, with fresh basil, shredded mozzarella and an unfinished can of tomato paste in the fridge, the flavor direction came together nicely.

Baked Italian Meatballs

I used ground pork in these Baked Italian Meatballs because that’s what I happened to have already thawed in my fridge. You could also make these with ground beef or turkey, or even with meatloaf blend (pork/veal/beef). Whatever floats your boat!

Also, if you don’t have oats on hand, you can use Italian bread crumbs, panko or even stale bread ripped into tiny pieces.

AND, if you’re looking for a good party recipe, these (or the Barbecue Pork Meatballs) would be great baked in a mini muffin tin, and served via toothpicks. They’d probably only take about 20 minutes to cook at the mini size.


Baked Italian Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped basil
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat the inside of a 6-spot muffin tin with non-stick spray or with butter.
  2. Combine the pork, oats, egg, ⅛ cup tomato paste, basil, ½ cup mozzarella, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix it well!
  3. Form the pork mixture into 6 meatballs and place one in each spot of the muffin tin. Top them with the remaining tomato paste and mozzarella.
  4. Bake the Italian meatballs for 30 minutes, and let them rest for 5 minutes in the tin before removing them to eat.

Oatmeal Cookie Cinnamon Apple Crumble

Are you sick of apple recipes? I mean, sick of seeing them from me? Because it’s only early October, and my apple cooking prowess is just starting to rear her ugly head.


Seems like every weekend there’s a bag of apples that need to be used; they’re on the verge of getting too soft to eat. So of course I need to think of something utterly scrumptious for which to use them.


Pie was last week, so this week I wanted something else. A recipe that’s new and leans towards comfort food.


I’ve made many a crumble, crisp and cobbler in my day.


I’ve also made all sorts of cookies.


But never have I married the two. Oh yes. Yes indeed.


So there you have it.


Oatmeal Cookie Cinnamon Apple Crumble



{Print this recipe}

Prep: 20 minutes | Bake: 30 minutes | Serves: 6-8

1/2 stick salted butter, softened
1/2 stick salted butter, chilled and cubed
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups quick cook oats
6 apples, peeled and chunky-chopped


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toss the apples, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon and nutmeg together in a medium bowl and set aside.


In a large mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer to combine 1/2 stick softened butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and then continue mixing until it’s smooth and the egg has been fully combined.


In another mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon.


Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture a third at a time, using the mixer set on low to incorporate each third before adding the next.


Once the last of the dry ingredients have been mixed in, add the oats and mix until they’re just combined.


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Spread the apple mixture in 1 layer on the bottom of a 9×13″ glass baking dish. Dot the oatmeal dough on top, and then place the butter cubes in the open spaces.


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Bake for 30 minutes, and let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top of each plate before you eat!


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Elegant Finger Foods for a Homecoming Party | Guest Post by @StyleCynics

Today’s post is by Rachel by @StyleCynics – she proposed writing about great finger foods for a homecoming party. I loved the idea! What are your favorite unsloppy party foods? — Liza

6 Yummy, No-Mess Edibles for a Fancy Dance Party

Homecoming is a huge deal at colleges, universities, and even some high schools across the United States. Nothing says welcome back better than a party all about dancing, dressing up, and of course delicious food! When it comes to celebrating in style, finger foods are typically the best option. Let’s face it, no one wants to balance a plate while wearing a tux, and no girls want to slurp spaghetti in a beautiful gown.

That’s why munchies for the masses are your best bet, bitable bits served with a napkin for mopping up. It’s all about taking some classic appetizer favorites and making them mini for grub stops between dances.

Here are my favorite elegant finger foods for a homecoming party:

1. Mini pizzas

Source: via Liza on Pinterest

I don’t know of a high school or college-aged student who doesn’t like pizza! That’s why the mini variety—made on mini crusts that are bitable at 2-inches across—offer the most elegant pizza delivery method. You don’t want sauce on your pageant dresses now do you? These are readily available in the frozen variety with different toppings—such as veggie, pepperoni, chicken barbecue, and even Hawaiian. Or, alternatively, you can make your own dough crusts and shape them into the school crest or mascot for a really yummy treat!

2. Poppers of all kinds

Buffalo wings, Chicken fingers, cheese sticks, and jalapeno poppers. All of the former provide easy pop-able, less messy alternatives to the full sized versions of the foods. Plus, add an array of dipping sauces—honey mustard, barbecue, blue cheese, ranch dressing, and mustard and ketchup—and you’ve entered taste bud paradise.

3. Sliders

Portobello Mushroom Sliders

Source: via Crystal on Pinterest

Big messy burgers are out of the question at formal occasions. However, the mini slider version offers mini beef and chicken burgers (maybe even veggie) on bite-sized buns for easy eating without the mess. Just stick to the basic toppings of ketchup, mustard, and cheese to lessen the chances of stains.

4. Sandwich slivers

Source: via Liza on Pinterest

Choose a variety of breads topped with delectable deli meats as well as veggies, egg salad, and even tuna and salmon salad. Make them into large sandwiches and then cut them into 2-bite wedges for mobility. That way the kids can grab a quick egg salad between songs and fuel up for the next Lady Gaga number.

5. Sushi rolls

Sushi Rolls

Source: Liza on Pinterest

Now days most students like a little adventure when it comes to appetizers. Plus, appetizers are a way to try something new without totally committing to a whole meal. Serve sushi rolls—just the basic California, cucumber, and tofu rolls—without the raw fish for now.  Serve alongside trays of vegetables and fruits with dipping sauces for a taste of the Far East.

6. Mini cupcakes

Mini Cupcakes

Source: Liza on Pinterest

Everyone likes something sweet at a super sweet dance party so make up a few batches of vanilla, chocolate, and marble cupcakes with frosting in your school colors. Place them on a pick-able cupcake tree for easy tasting.

Bio: Rachel Barnard is a self-confessed shopaholic and contributing writer for Style Cynics, a fashion and celebrity gossip site that features the latest buzz and the hottest styles. 

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting

Yesterday I shared a bowl of lovely macerating strawberries: sugar, chopped strawberries and some lemon zest all melded together to create a sweet, fruity yummy-ness complete with a berry-infused syrup.

Really, I could have just picked up a spoon and hoovered the whole thing in about 60 seconds flat.

But instead I saved them for this recipe as intended.

Probably a good idea; my family appreciated that.

Being Father’s Day focused on a dessert that my husband would love and strawberry shortcake happens to be one of them. A BIG one.

Plus, who doesn’t love cupcakes? And homemade whipped cream?

So, there’s that.


Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes with

Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting

strawberry shortcake cupcakes with vanilla whipped cream frosting

{Print this recipe}

Prep: 60 minutes | Bake: 25 minutes | Yield: 36 cupcakes

1 pint fresh strawberries, diced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1-1/2 boxes French vanilla cake mix
3 large eggs
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 6-ounce container of strawberry yogurt (the blended kind)


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Stir the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and zest together in a medium bowl. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 30 to 45 minutes, or until you can see that the strawberries have macerated.

how to macerate strawberries for strawberry shortcake cupcakes

Combine the cake mix, eggs, water, oil and strawberry yogurt in a large mixing bowl and beat the mixture on low for about 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating the batter for another 2 minutes.

Fold in the macerated strawberries and their juices until they’re just combined, but be careful not to over-stir.


Fill cupcake papers about 3/4 full with the strawberry batter and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and bounce back when they’re lightly pressed.

Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them with the vanilla whipped cream. Sprinkle the tops with freshly diced strawberries, and then keep the cupcakes refrigerated until you’re ready to eat them.


For the Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting:

2 pints whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chill a large glass or metal bowl and mixer beaters in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before you’re ready to make the frosting.

Add the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla into the chilled mixing bowl and beat on high until the cream thickens and makes stiff, firm peaks – about 4 to 5 minutes.

Refrigerate the whipped cream until you’re ready to use it, and then pipe the cream onto the cupcakes using a gallon size zip-top bag with a corner snipped off.

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