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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Putting ground beef to use

As I write this, the coronavirus is causing havoc with the state of the world. Grocery stores are running out of products as quickly as they can stock the shelves. When I have gone into grocery stores, ground beef is in short supply.Which got me thinking, how is everyone using their ground beef.

Today, I thought I would share with you two recipes with this currently hard to find product, Meatballs and Spaghetti and Cajun Meat Loaf. Both dishes are great for stretching the meat over a couple of meals. Both are packed full of flavor and can be served on any size budget.

This recipe is from my mother’s collection. Please read the recipe before you start. I did not want to change her recipe and she includes more ingredients in the directions. Meatballs and Spaghetti is a labor of love, since it takes some time to cook. It is a perfect Sunday evening meal or any other meal in which you have plenty of time to make it.

For the Sauce

1 stick butter

1 cup green onions, chopped

2 jumbo onions, chopped

1 cup chopped celery`

2 cups chopped bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped parsley

5 cloves Garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

5 bay leaves

Sauté all ingredients 15 minutes in black iron pot, then add one 2 1/2 can imported whole Italian tomatoes, let cook, slowly for 1 hour. Then add 3 cans imported tomato paste 6oz, 3 cans tomato sauce 8oz, then 3 cups water. Salt and Pepper. Let simmer another 2 1/2 hours then add the meatballs and simmer of 1/2 hour to 45 minutes on low heat.

For the Meatballs

3 pounds ground meat

1 cup green onions, chopped

1 large onion chopped

2 cups celery, chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 cup bell peppers, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

6 eggs

1 cup breadcrumbs

Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all and make into balls. Sauté in one cup Olive Oil until browned. Add to sauce and cook for 15 minutes over low heat.

This recipe is from the dean of Cajun cooking, Paul Prudhomme. I have previously published my version of meatloaf. One of the fire stations told me that the crew often ask for it. They need to try this version and compare.

Cajun Meat Loaf

Seasoning Mix

2 whole bay leaves

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup finely chopped onions

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped green onions

2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup ketchup

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup very fine dry bread crumbs

Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, Tabasco, Worcestershire and seasoning mix. Sauté until mixture starts sticking excessively, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the pan bottom well. Stir in the milk and ketchup. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

Place the ground beef and pork in an ungreased 13×9 baking pan. Add the eggs, the cooked vegetable mixture, removing the bay leaves, and the bread crumbs. Mix by hand until thoroughly combined. In the center of the pan, shape the mixture into a loaf that is about 1 1/2 inches high, 6 inches wide and 12 inches long. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, then raise heat to 400 degrees and continue cooking until done, about 35 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

With ground beef being so inexpensive and versatile, it’s no wonder that during this situation ground beef is being sought out. Hopefully these recipes will add variety to your meals and we get back to normal soon

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