Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Meatball Sliders

Did you miss me?  Well, I'm back, even if you didn't miss me.

The weird traveler of the week award goes to....me.  I know its totally lame to give an award to yourself, but I deserve it.  And I'll tell you why.

Have you ever seen people asleep in the chairs at the gate in airports?  How they just fall asleep sitting up and their heads either fall forward on their chests or backwards onto the back of the chair?  And you're like, who can sleep like that?  That can't be comfortable!  And they're snoring in front of a bunch of strangers!  And their mouths are wide open!  There could be drool! 

Yes.  Its true.  This past Friday, I was that person.  Its shameful, but true.  I arrived at Austin International Airport on Friday after a long, long week, feeling utterly exhausted.  I mean, top 10 most exhausted days of my entire life.  Maybe top 5.  It literally took everything in me to put one foot in front of the other and not throw a temper tantrum in the security line because people were taking too long to take their belts off.  All I wanted to do was sleep for one billion years.  And then an extra day for good measure.  I arrive at my gate, and realize with dismay that I have an hour and a half until boarding time.  What do I do?!  I can't wait an hour in a half until I settle into my comfy first class seat (Thanks American Airlines!  You rock, I don't care what they say about you!).  So I settle into a seat near the gate but away from other passengers and put on my sunglasses, telling myself that I'm just going to close my eyes for a second....

Next thing I know, I awaken with a jolt.  I'm not sure exactly what it was that woke me up.  It was either the loud snore that escaped since I was sleeping with my mouth wide open, or it was when my chin hit my chest with the power of 10,000 horses.  I sheepishly look around and realize everyone within earshot is staring at me.  Like, jaws dropped, eyebrows raised, staring.  They are probably thinking, "Who can sleep like that? That can't be comfortable! And she's snoring in front of a bunch of strangers! And her mouth is wide open!  I think I saw drool!"

Yep, I was that girl.  And I get the award.  The end.

Too bad that when I finally got on the plane, they served gross airplane food instead of something tasty like these meatball sliders.  I love meatballs and am always looking for new ways to make them.  I also love sliders because sandwiches are the best food in the entire world.  These were amazing.  They were juicy and garlicky and the sauce was sweet and the cheese creamy.  Nom.  They were pretty healthy, too, since they were baked and not fried.  You know what that means?  Yep, you can eat twice as many.


Meatball Sliders
Source: Meatballs adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride; Sauce adapted from Food Network's How to Boil Water

1 lb ground chuck (I used 90/10)
4 oz dried bread crumbs (I used seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs)
4 large eggs
4 oz whole milk (I used 2%)
6 oz grated Romano (I used parmesan, romano, asiago mix)
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves finely diced fresh garlic (I used 6 cloves)

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Make sure everything is mixed in, but do not overmix or your meatballs will be too dense.

Roll meat mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball and place onto the greased baking sheet. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled, tomatoes, roughly chopped (use the best quality you can find)
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
1 small bunch fresh basil, leaves chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with about half of their juices (discarding the rest), the thyme and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 25 to 30 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in the salt and season with pepper, to taste.
To make sliders:
Top slider size potato rolls (or sliders rolls of your choosing) with one meatball, sauce, and a small piece of fresh mozzarella.  Place under broiler (on low) for just a minute or two, until cheese melts and roll starts to brown.  Serve and enjoy.

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