Basic Meatballs, then fit them to any meal

I have found my meatball recipe. Inside, I’m saying that with a bunch of excited exclamation points at the end. The reasons I wrote it so calmly instead are: because I don’t want to look too excited about meatballs (how weird would that be?!) and because I have friends who get annoyed at people who use a bunch of exclamation points. The reason I’m so happy about it is because meatballs is now officially on my serve-confidently-to-company food list, and the more things I can get on that list, the better.

meatballs menu


Here are the Baked Potatoes. We love them like this! They are featured here.
baked potatoes with kosher salt

Ok, now for the meatballs. I found this recipe in one of my newest cookbooks. I have used this cookbook ALOT! It is called Simple & Satisfying. It’s extra special because 3 of my friends play a big part in it… Berneice helped head it up, Shannon was the photographer for it, and Freida submitted the most awesome recipe in the entire book (at least in the Main Dishes section… it’s Chipotle in a Bowl and it is SO amazing). Another thing I like about this cookbook is that it has a red coiled binder. I have a bunch of cookbooks that are bound with those and they’re pretty much all black or white, so when I go to the shelf to pick one of those cookbooks, I have to look a bit for the one I want. This one, I can spot the red right away and go to it. It’s the simple things.

Ok, NOW for the meatballs. :)

I’m going to post the recipe here just as Mattie has it in the cookbook, then I’ll add my variations at the end.

Barbecued Meatballs

3 lbs. hamburger
1 can evaporated milk
2 c. quick oatmeal
2 eggs
1 c. onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. chili powder

2 c. ketchup
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 c. onion, chopped

Mix meat mixture and shape into balls.
meatball mixture

I used a medium Pampered Chef cookie scoop, then popped them out and finished rounding them.

Place single layer in pan.

Mix barbeque sauce in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour barbeque sauce over meatballs and bake uncovered. I’ve skipped the boiling step… works great and saves time.


Bake at 350 for 1 hour. They looked done at 45 minutes, so I jabbed a thermometer into a couple of them and yep, they were done. And no, the oven wasn’t on convection. Maybe I made them smaller than Mattie does. :)
Also, I’m not saying I’m ever last minute or in a hurry or anything, BUT I did somehow discover one of the times that I was making these that if I use convection bake instead of regular and turn the oven to 375 instead of 350, they get done in 20 minutes flat.


Just for your serving information, I made a half batch here and with the medium cookie scoop, it made 2 dozen meatballs. We have a family of 5, the 3 kids are all girls (ages 11, 7, and 3), the rest of the meal was baked potatoes, dinner rolls, and veggies, and we ate exactly half the pan of meatballs.  So, if you got lost there, 1/4 of this recipe fed our family of 5 with the meal on the chalkboard above.


— Save time by skipping mixing up barbeque sauce and just pop open a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce and pour over the meatballs. This changes the flavor significantly because the sauce above is sweeter and less tangy than regular BBQ sauce. Still really good, though!

— Spaghetti and meatballs. Trade the chili powder for Italian seasoning and skip the BBQ sauce. Just bake them un-sauced. Heat up pasta sauce and add meatballs to it when they come out of the oven. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti.

I, by the way, am not saying these variations are better than the original recipe. The original recipe is what I made first and is what made me decide “ok finally I found my meatball recipe”. It’s kind of a candied meatball and oh so good! I’ll still make them the original way for company and most of the time just for us, unless it’s an Italian meal or I’m in a hurry.

You might be seeing more from this cookbook… I just quickly flipped thro it and saw 12 recipes that I have reviews written beside and I could’ve easily missed some.

Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes

Just recently, Shannon said, “You oughta put some meat on Kitchen Scrapbook again.” As I thought about it, it did seem like it had been awhile, so just for kicks, I checked… and was surprised… in the last 27 posts, the only thing with meat in it on here was Haystacks! And that’s not a dish where the meat is really monopolized on. So, here we go, something with meat… a main dish, for something different. I know it’s not a CHUNK of meat, but hey, there IS meat here.

One main dish in 27 posts shows you a bit where my interests lie. I don’t churn out full course meals as often as you might think. I like cooking meals, I really do. But you know what I LOVE? Baking, desserts, decorating cakes, and playing around with food. It’s hard to do fun stuff with main course dishes. And main course dishes are necessary… the sweet things aren’t… and we all know that somehow there’s always more fun and passion in unecessary things. I should add in a clause here about meat… I’ve heard and seen enough from the guys I’m around that I DO understand that there is fun and passion in smoking and grilling chunks of meat… but I don’t know a flippin’ thing about doing it, so I’m quite happy to stay on the eating end of it rather than on the fire end of it. :)

This is the first time I’m posting one of Pioneer Woman’s recipes on my site, even though I’ve made quite a few of them. One I still need to try is the cinnamon rolls. I just need to see for myself that it’s just as good or better to sprinkle on white sugar instead of brown sugar just before rolling them up. When I do try them, I think I’ll do some with white and some with brown… and compare. The best part of all that is that it entitles me to TWO cinnamon rolls. 😉 Anyway… why am I talking about cinnamon rolls?! Back to the thing of posting a Pioneer Woman recipe on my site… It’s sorta like what’s the point because it’s already posted in much more finery and humor already on her site. It’s not that I feel threatened by her… because you can only feel threatened by people or things that are in your league. 😉 So, here is the link to the recipe on her site: Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes. And in case you don’t feel like clicking to go over there, I’ll post it here, too.

I actually just grabbed my cell phone to take pictures of these because, well, my camera battery needed charged. :roll: Also, I made a half batch, in case the quantity in the frying pan looks small to you… you know what I thought of right now, I should’ve made a full batch and put half of in it the freezer for another meal!


Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes

2 Tbsp. butter
2 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. chili powder (more to taste) I actually cut back on this because I wasn’t sure how much kick it would give it.
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (more to taste)
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (optional)
Tabasco sauce (optional; to taste)
Salt; to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Kaiser rolls

Add butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard. Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft. Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Spread rolls with butter and brown on a griddle or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls. And then I added a slice of provolone cheese and put it under the broiler for a few minutes.


These are hands down THE BEST sloppy joes I’ve ever made or eaten! Dancing with flavor. I backed up the spicyness a little and I think it was just right… in my world, sloppy joes aren’t supposed to be spicy. But a little zing was perfect. So, anyway, this will now be my sloppy joe recipe unless I find another one to kick it out of 1st place.

In other news, we’re grilling tonight. Not sure what we’ll grill, but I think I’ll feature it in the next post, whatever it ends up being. The meats we have on hand to choose from are: burger, chicken breast, fish, and a 1.14-lb sirloin steak. Oh, and when I say “we’re grilling”, I am, as usual, using the term ‘we’ very loosely.

What are you grilling tonight? And feel free to use the term ‘you’ very loosely. 😉

Memorial Day, Charcoal, Cheeseburgers and Gold

Hey! We’ve got a guest writer! Since I am not the griller around here (thankfully!), it seems fitting that I also shouldn’t be the writer of the grilling posts, right? So, here is my husband Shannon:  

Did you read in the news this week about the restaurant on Wall Street in New York that serves a $175.00 cheeseburger? Yup, you read right, $175.00! It is Kobe beef topped with foie gras, exotic mushrooms and golden truffle mayonnaise. Golden truffle mayonnaise is made from chopped black truffles, truffle oil, and gold flakes. Gold as in “silver and gold”.  So let me get this straight… Some chef in New York decided it would be a good idea to make his gold watch into Miracle Whip? Wow. Remind me not to leave the Midwest.

This is not that burger.

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial line between spring and summer (or if you are from up here in Wisconsin, the line between winter and summer).

Cheeseburgers sizzling on the grill… What could be a more sure sign of summer than that?

Cheeseburgers are such a basic food that you don’t even need a recipe. But here is my recipe, just the same.


2 pounds fresh ground beef. Not too lean, 80/20 would be good. I used 85/15 this time. If they don’t have enough fat, they will fall apart on the grill.

1/4th cup chopped onion.

1 chopped jalepeno. Use as much as you like. We like a bit of kick.

BBQ sauce. Your favorite brand.

Lawry’s seasoned salt. Put in as much as you prefer, but don’t be scared to use quite a bit. I use about 2 teaspoons (that is completely a guess, I have never measured). :)

1/4th teaspoon coarse ground pepper.



Combine the ground beef, onion, jalapeno, 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce, Lawry’s, and pepper in a mixing bowl.


Shape into patties. This is hand work, no Pampered Chef burger shooter or other cheating! This is a cheeseburger, keep it simple. I made 4 patties this time, but that makes pretty big burgers. Depending on your group, you may want to make them smaller.


Using a brush, brush a light coat of BBQ sauce on the patties. This is not for flavor as much as to carmelize the suger in the BBQ sauce for a nice “crust”. It may actually work better to do this step just a minute before they come off the grill.



Grill on a charcoal grill. I almost don’t want to put times here because each grill will differ in temp. I grilled them for about 6 minutes on each side. DONT LEAVE THEM ON TOO LONG! Seriously, the most common way to ruin a good burger is to overdo it. A little pink in the middle is perfect.


Put cheese on. Leave on grill for an extra minute to melt the cheese. I used provolone cheese. The buns must be grilled.


Dress to taste. I like tomato, lettuce, Bread and Butter pickles, ketchup, and mustard.


Ah, now that’s a “God bless America” cheeseburger! Serve with extra napkins. 

While you are enjoying your good honest cheeseburger this weekend, remember to feel sorry for some guy out in New York whose self esteem is so low that he needs to eat a $175.00 cheeseburger with jewelry in it, just to prove he can.

Me again: Well, after a grilling post like this, I’m going to close my kitchen for the weekend and be outside. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! See ya Tuesday!

Beef Open-Faced Sandwiches – use your crockpot, then your broiler

This is one of those things that you CAN’T do last minute because it takes the crockpot, yet it doesn’t take much of your time and you CAN do it on a busy day. Or on a day where you’ll be gone all day… say, if you’d go scrapbooking about every Tuesday or something. And it would also work great for a crowd. And they are just tops!

Hey! Wait! Did someone say scrapbooking? How about we skip the beef sandwiches and just talk about scrapbooking. I love scrapbooking! And someday, I’m going to start putting scrapbooking on here now and then. Scrapbooking recipes, that is. This is, after all, Kitchen Scrapbook. To me, the definition of Kitchen Scrapbook is: The best of both worlds. I have done a few recipes and it’s actually a bit harder than scrapbooking people because there isn’t alot of personality going on, but it’s still a load of fun. But, since I wasn’t actually serious about skipping the beef sandwiches and talking about scrapbooking instead, let’s get on with them…


There is no recipe, but the ingredients are:

Beef roast
About 1/2 cup of water
Salt & pepper
Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic seasoning (or seasoning of your choice)
2 bay leaves
Half of an onion, sliced
Barbeque sauce
Hamburger buns
Shredded cheese

Here’s what I did for a 6:00 supper. Around noon, I put the roast, water, seasonings, onions, and bay leaves in the crockpot and turned it on High. It wasn’t frozen. If you’re using a frozen roast, you may want to start it a couple hours earlier. It was also only about a pound of meat. We have my husband, a 5-yr-old, a 2-yr-old, and me, around here for diners and since I don’t like leftovers, I usually cook small.

Let it go all afternoon and around 5:00, take the bay leaves out, trim off the fat, and shred the beef. As you shed it, most of the liquid will ‘disappear’.

beef3.jpg  This is how much barbeque sauce I used. I dumped it in, then put a little water in to rinse out the bottle (I know, so thrifty… I’ll bet I kept from throwing away a whole Tablespoon of sauce!) and dumped that in too. A little more barbeque sauce and a little less water would’ve been ideal for more flavor, but I guess that’s the thing of always just doing it without a recipe… it’ll always get a little different. Plus, to do that, I’d have had to break open a new bottle of sauce, just to get a little more. Oh, what a bother.

Cover and turn the crockpot to Low.

Around 5:50, toast the buns (I used the toaster). I did not take a bit out of that one piece, part of it stayed with the bun beside it in the bag.

Oh, now would be a good time to turn the broiler on High.

Top bun halves with some beef.

Then the cheese.

Then put them on the top oven rack under the broiler (which has already been turned on High). Let them in there for 1 minute and 20 seconds, then take them out.
Perfection! Now eat them with a fork.

You could also top it with another toasted bun half if you’d prefer a regular sandwich, as opposed to open-faced. These are really good and very little effort! And it’s a hit around here… both with the cook and the diners.

Pizza Steak Bake

This was the first time that I’ve ever bought cube steaks. Maybe I’m kind of a creature of habit, but I don’t really venture away from my ‘norm’ too much. In fact, I didn’t even realize until I found this recipe that cube steaks were just thinner steaks run thro’ a tenderizer… at least that’s what they look like.

I should know these things because I used to work at a butcher shop with a meat case/deli out front. But, that was 13 years ago, 2 or 3 days a week, for 4 months, in MS. We ran stuff thro’ the tenderizer, but I don’t remember calling anything cube steaks. Anyway, what still makes my toes curl is thinking about that meat slicer and how we cleaned it. I don’t know how you’re supposed to clean the meat slicer blade, but we’d take a bucket of hot soapy water and a rag, turn it on, and hold the rag against it as it’s spinning around. First on one side, then the other. Any little slip and you’d have had a finger chopped off. I hated cleaning the thing and cringed every time I did. And to this day, 13 years later, I still shivver when I think of it. Oh, we had LOTS of fun working there though… assembly lines of packing meat, getting good at knowing how much burger a pound is, frying thick bacon in the microwave, and Leroy keeping things lively and fun. Ah, good memories! And I still know that when I’m holding raw hamburger, 1 pound is when both hands are around it, but the fingers of the one hand can’t quite touch the other hand.

Pizza Steak Bake …taken from an Easy to Bake, Easy to Make recipe card

1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 beef cube steaks (4-6 oz each)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups (6 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup sliced onion (1 medium)
1 can (15 oz) pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used pizza cheese because I didn’t have mozzarella on hand)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour and salt in a shallow dish.
steak1.jpg Dip cube steaks into flour mixture, coating well. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over med-high heat until hot.
steak2.jpg Add cube steaks, reduce heat to medium. Cook until browned on both sides, 4-6 minutes.
steak3.jpg Place browned cube steaks in a 3-qt baking dish (9×13 pan worked great).
steak4.jpg Top with mushrooms and onion.
steak5.jpg Spoon pizza sauce over top.
steak6.jpg Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake steaks 30 min.
steak7.jpg Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Continue baking, uncovered, until steaks are fork-tender and sauce thickens, about 30 min. Yield: 4 servings. 

These were tender, we didn’t need knives to cut it. They were really good and I’ll probably make them again, but next time, I’d add some seasoning in with the flour mixture. Not sure what, maybe some Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic.

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