So…two themes were bouncing around in my brain regarding the Recipe RX challenge…
“Doctor, Doctor, gimme the news, I gotta bad case of Recipe RX blues,” (i.e., what am I going to do about Fae’s recent challenge).
“Contestants, open your baskets.” You have…
And so, you know the ingredients, you know the “rules.” Now what to do, what to do.
The first thing that came to me was, “well, this is boring and WHAT am I going to do to fix this up?” The second thing that came to me was that I wanted to try a Paleo technique that I had not yet tried. And so, off to the grocery store I went for the one ingredient that I needed that was NOT in my basket or pantry.
I had been hearing of Paleo Purists who had used pork rinds as a substitute for a breading. I’ve been wanting to try this, but hesitant to take the plunge. But with a challenge like this, what the heck? For some reason, the concept of breaded, browned meatballs called to me. Go for it! And so I did. I did a tiny bit of research about using pork rinds as breading; one tip suggested grinding the pork rinds with almonds. Hey! I have almonds in the freezer…let’s try that! And so, with my ONE item from the grocery store (the pork rinds) and the rest from the freezer and pantry, I was up for the challenge.
I measured 2 ounces each of pork rinds and sliced almonds;
I then set about to making the meatballs; substituting ½ pound of mild Italian sausage for ½ pound of hamburger, I added an egg. I mixed that, along with the minced garlic, chopped onion, oregano (I decreased this to 1 Tbsp.), salt and pepper (to taste; again, not in the original recipe) and formed about 16 meatballs. I “rolled” them in the pork rind/almond combo. I say “rolled” because the breading mixture wasn’t really dry like bread crumbs, it was more moist and kind of clumped together. So, my “rolling” actually became a rolling/pressing procedure.
At this point I melted about 2 Tbsp. bacon fat (my choice for frying fat as called for in the original recipe) in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. The desired outcome was to brown and pretty well cook the meatballs through. And here is the finished product from THAT procedure:
At this point, I have to confess…
I did take a bit of liberty in my interpretation of “chopped tomatoes.” The chopped tomatoes that I had in mind were in the form of my daughter’s recipe for Homemade Marinara Sauce (stay tuned). I just happened to have a batch in the freezer. Yay! Here it is, simmering away.
Regarding the zucchini, I was wanting to make this dish as more of a baked dish, similar to a baked pasta kind of fare, and so I decided to prepare the zucchini as a pasta substitute. I got out my handy dandy julienne peeler (once again, HUGE thanks to Farie for this gift) and prepared this “bed” for my tasty little meatballs:
and poured the marinara sauce over all.
This recipe just SCREAMED for some shredded cheese; I chose mozzarella and parmesan. I probably added a combo of the two that approximated 1 – 1 ½ cups.
Yum…look at how these layers stack up!
At this point, I put this lovely layered concoction into the oven, preheated to 375, and baked for approximately 40 minutes; until the cheese was browned on top.
And then…ladies and gentlemen, start your forks…
Yes indeed! Judges, what do you think? I think this modification cures what ails the Recipe RX Blues.
Thanks for the challenge, Fae! You got me out of my box…got me to try a new Paleo technique (the pork rinds) AND…a chance to show off my club shirt.
Now, where’s my $50,000 prize?