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The holidays are over, and now it’s time to dive into some serious comfort food. I have just the cure for those January blues: meatballs and meatloaf.

People all over the world eat meatballs. My grandmother’s sweet-and-sour ones were the hit of every holiday dinner. She served them as an appetizer and included chicken-liver bits in the rich tomato sauce.

There are a few schools of culinary thought when preparing meatballs. Some use only ground beef, others like to mix in pork. The size of each ball also comes into play. (I like them walnut-size.) To brown or not to brown before simmering in the sauce also is a matter of opinion. I do not, since it ends up being extra work and cleanup.

My meatloaf is a triumph of taste and texture. (I include some defrosted frozen chopped spinach to keep it juicy.) Nothing is nastier than dry, overcooked meatloaf. Since this is good, old-fashioned comfort food, I serve it with baked potatoes and stewed tomatoes.


Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs

Ingredients:

2 pounds of ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1 cup of fine dry breadcrumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes with their juice
1 (15-ounce) can of whole cranberry sauce
Juice of 2 to 4 lemons

Directions:

Place the beef in a mixing bowl. Add the egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Blend with your hands.

Place the tomatoes, cranberry and lemon juice in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.

Form the beef mixture into walnut-sized balls with wet hands. Make bigger, if desired. Add to the sauce.

Lower the heat to the lowest possible simmer. Cover with the lid askew. Simmer for at least three hours with four being preferred.

Taste the sauce to see if more lemon juice is needed.

Serves four to six.

Note from Phyllis: I use 85 or 90 percent ground beef for this dish. You do not want to use a beef that is too lean.


Italian-style Meatballs

Ingredients:

1 pound of lean ground beef
1 pound of ground pork
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup of fine dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes with their juices

Directions:

Blend the beef, pork, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl with your hands.

Heat the oil over medium-high in a 4-quart pot. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about five to eight minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the tomatoes and blend well.

Form the beef mixture into walnut-sized balls with wet hands. Drop into the sauce. Bring to a boil, then lower to the lowest possible simmer. Cover with the lid askew. Simmer for at least three hours with four being preferred.

Serves four to six.

Note from Phyllis: Because pork has a little more fat than ground beef, it is fine to use a leaner beef in this dish. I use the 90 percent type.


My Meatloaf

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground beef
1/2 pound of ground pork
1/2 pound of grown veal
1 egg, beaten
1 cup of grated Parmesan
Sprinkling of dehydrated onion flakes
1 (10-ounce) package of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Chili sauce, to taste
Dijon mustard, to taste
1 (15-ounce) can of tomato sauce

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Blend the beef, pork and veal in a mixing bowl with wet hands. Add the egg, Parmesan and onion flakes.

Squeeze out as much water as possible from the spinach. Add to the meat mixture. Add the salt and pepper and blend well.

Place in a loaf pan.

Blend the chili sauce and Dijon mustard and spread over the meatloaf.

Bake for about one hour and 15 minutes.

Place the tomato sauce in a saucepan and heat through. Serve with the meatloaf.

Serves four to six.

Note from Phyllis: Use 90 percent ground beef, if desired.