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3 Delicious ways to use N.B. Ground Beef (or sausage!)

December 19, 2017

Ground beef can sometimes end up like chicken, you maybe a little tired of it, or just run out of ideas to use it that are new and exciting. One of my favorite things to do as a chef, is take familiar dishes or ingredients and introduce them in a new way that maybe you haven't thought of. While these ideas certainly aren't Earth shattering, if they inspire you to get in your kitchen and use our ground beef, then it's a success! 

 

While I am grateful for my culinary education, a lot of my favorite recipes and go-to techniques I learned from Momma. I also learned a fair amount from Grammie Cole. While not my grandmother by blood, I was always treated as one of her own. With my own love for cooking, I was in the kitchen with her every chance I had. 

 

Momma’s Meatballs

 

Growing up, mom spent Sundays in the kitchen. She’d prepare meals for the week, so after shuffling me to practice and lessons, dinner was more than half done, but always home made. Her meatballs are a still a go-to, just add your favorite tomato sauce and some crusty bread. If you want to make them in bulk, forgo the sauce, bake a few dozen, and freeze.; pull out 3 for a personal bowl, or 10 for the family.

 

1 pound New Boston Beef Ground Beef

1 egg

¼ cup Breadcrumbs (fresh, plain, Italian seasoned, whatever you like)

¼ cup Parmesan cheese (the real stuff, grated)

3 tbs Whole Milk (or cream for extra love), the fat helps keep the meatballs extra moist, juicy and soft.

1 tbs Garlic, minced

2 tsp Kosher salt

½ tsp Black pepper

 

In a medium mixing bowl, start with the ground beef. Crack the egg in a separate bowl, just to be sure you don’t ruin your meat if you get a bad egg, and then add to the mixing bowl. Add your breadcrumbs, cheese, milk and seasonings. Using a fork, mix all the ingredients together. Mix like you are “fluffing” the meat, until everything is combined. Do not over mix. Roll a small portion in your hands, it should be wet, but not sticky, and hold together well. If it’s too sticky, add some breadcrumbs. If the mixture is too crumbly, add some more milk, or another egg for binding. You can get 8-10, 3-bite meatballs from this recipe.

 

Healthiest cooking option: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Using an ice cream scoop, or a measuring cup and clean hands, measure the meat mixture to ensure consistent size meatballs, and roll in your hands. Place on the sheet tray with enough room around each ball for even cooking. Cook for about 15-20 minutes. From here, you can freeze on the sheet tray, and then add to a ziplock baggie for individually frozen meatballs. Or you can heat your sauce on the stove while your meatballs and pasta cook and enjoy immediately.

 

Best texture: In a large skillet preheat several tablespoons of canola oil, or whatever oil you cook with. I recommend canola, or veggie oil for cooking because it doesn’t add too much flavor to what I’m cooking, it has a high burning temperature, and best of all- it’s inexpensive! Using an ice cream scoop, or a measuring cup and clean hands, measure the meat mixture to ensure consistent size meatballs, and roll in your hands. Gently add balls to the oil. Cook on all sides until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Depending on how big they are, you can either add right to your bowl of pasta, or finish cooking through in warming tomato sauce on the stove. 

 

 

 

 

Meatloaf

 

Meatloaf is one of those meals people don’t usually eat unless their Mom made it. These recipes are worth venturing out and trying something new. 

 

Traditional

 

2 pounds New Boston Beef Ground Beef

2 eggs

¼ cup Breadcrumbs (fresh, plain, Italian seasoned, whatever you like)

3 tbs Whole Milk (or cream for extra love), the fat helps keep the meatloaf extra moist, juicy and soft.

¼ cup Parmesan cheese (the real stuff, grated)

A few dashes - Worcestershire sauce

½ small Onion; minced, sautéed until translucent. 

2 tbs Garlic; minced

2 tsp Kosher salt

½ tsp Black pepper

½ tsp each Oregano and thyme 

1 can Condensed Tomato Soup

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, start with the ground beef. Crack the egg in a separate bowl, just to be sure you don’t ruin your meat if you get a bad egg, and then add to the mixing bowl. Add your breadcrumbs, cheese, milk, onions and seasonings. Using a fork, mix all the ingredients together. Mix like you are “fluffing” the meat, until everything is combined. Do not over mix. Add mixture to your loaf pan. Spread meat until its even across the pan, but do not pack into the loaf pan. Using a spoon, empty the soup can on top of the meatloaf and spread evenly. Bake for about 45 minutes; you’ll see the soup and meat juices bubbling when its done. Serve with mashed potatoes, peas, and carrots for one of our favorite meals. 

 

The next day, slice meatloaf, and nuke in the microwave for 2 minutes, add a slice of cheese, and serve on your favorite bread for a delicious meatloaf sandwich. 

 

BBQ style

 

Swap the Italian seasonings out, and use cumin and chili powder instead. Once in the loaf pan, add a cup of your favorite BBQ sauce on top.

 

French Onion (if you like onion dip, or French onion soup, you’ll LOVE this)

 

Mix first 7 ingredients with a packet of Onion Soup mix. 

 

 

Minestrone Soup with Meatballs 

 

 

There are few things more soul warming and comforting than a bowl of soup. This pot of soup is surely hearty enough after a long days work, with enough leftovers for lunch… for the week. This is my favorite soup to make at the end of the week, before heading to the grocery store. Seriously, clean out that produce drawer. You’ve probably got half these ingredients in some form ready to go. Have some but they are already cooked-left overs? Wait until the soup is done, and add them- minestrone = everything but the kitchen sink soup!

 

1 pound                    New Boston Beef ground beef – this will make about 16 meatballs. If you want

                     more, just increase the beef!

1 pound                     Carrots; cleaned, ends removed, small-medium dice

4 stalks                      Celery; cleaned, small-medium dice

1 large                      Onion; small dice. (white, yellow, sweet, Vidalia)

2 tbs                         Garlic, minced

2 each                      Zucchini, cleaned, ends removed, halved or quartered

1- 17ish oz can          Diced tomatoes- I like fire roasted, to add another layer of

                     flavor, but you can add whatever you’d prefer.

1 can each               Dark red kidney beans, and cannellini beans 

½ box (or ½ lb)         Elbow macaroni, ditellini, or small shell pasta. Tortellini is also 

                     a wonderful addition to minestrone soup!  I cook my pasta separately before adding it

                     to the pot so that it doesn’t soak up all my delicious broth. It will soak some up over

                     night, but not as much if it’s precooked before adding to the pot. 

1 qt each                  Chicken Stock and Beef Stock- I like both because again, 

                     layering flavors is delicious!

1 big piece             Parmesan cheese rind. Use the real stuff, trust me, it’s worth 

                     the cost. You’ll never buy the jarred stuff again. Buy whole wedges of Parmesan

                     cheese, grate it fresh over your bowl, and keep the rind in a ziplock in your fridge. Add

                     it to soups, stews, or sauces and just let it melt away leaving amazing flavor and                                     savory-ness to your dish.

3 each                    Bay Leaves

1 sprig                    Rosemary, fresh

2 sprigs                   Thyme, fresh

In a large soup pot, give a few swirls of canola or olive oil to the bottom over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions and celery to the pot and sauté until the onions are translucent. After a few minutes, add garlic, zucchini and herbs, season with salt and pepper. Once garlic has softened, add stock, and

 parmesan cheese rind, and simmer over medium heat. While stock is coming up to a simmer, add ground beef to a bowl, and season with salt and pepper. If you’d like, you can add some grated parmesan and garlic too. Form into ¾ inch balls. I like to use a measuring spoon to ensure they are all the same size to ensure even cooking. Once all the meatballs are formed, drop into the simmering broth and give the pot a stir to ensure they don’t sink to the bottom or stick together. Once meatballs have been in for a few minutes, add the entire can of tomatoes, including the juice. Open cans of beans into a colander, and rinse, then add to the pot. You can also add your cooked pasta. Your meatballs shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes to cook all the way through. Serve now, or tomorrow, with a big hunk of crusty bread. Whoever gets a bay leaf is free of dish duty. 

 

Other thoughts:

Stir in a bag of spinach or kale at the very end to sneak some greens into your kids, or just to add some extra bulk to this already hearty soup and stretch it out a little more.

 

Want it gluten free? Swap the pasta for quinoa- or lentils! Cook quinoa or lentils separately, and add in at the same stage as you would pasta. Delicious!

 

Enjoy a little heat? Use New Boston Beef hot sausage! Remove sausage from the casing, and make into meatballs. Or don’t! Just slice, and add to the broth to cook. 

 

Other vegetable/starch variations:

Butternut squash is delicious in this soup, and literally melts into it. Just peel, seed and cut into cubes, and add right to the pot with the onions, carrots and celery. Baby potatoes are a great substitute over pasta as well. I buy the tiny ones that are so tender you don’t need to peel ‘em, and just toss them right in. Got a bag of frozen green beans or corn? Toss that in about 5 minutes before service.  

 

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