Cookout Week: Cherry Limeade

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Using a can of concentrated frozen fruit juice is a requirement of pool parties and cookouts to me. So many drinks can be made with those frozen contraptions that I couldn't pass up sharing one with you for #CookoutWeek.


Cherry Limeade is such a classic pairing and I'm not sure I know anyone who dislikes it. Kids, teenagers, adults...I'm sure there are even some pets who wouldn't turn down the opportunity to have a nice icy cold glass of cherry limeade.





Cherry Limeade
Source: Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 2 ½ liters
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Ingredients:
    • 1 can frozen limeade

    • 16 oz. jar maraschino cherries

    • 2 liter Sprite or similar soda

    • 1 lime, sliced
Directions:
1. Allow the limeade to partially thaw.
2. Pour into a pitcher. Add the maraschino cherries and juice, reserving some of the cherries for garnish.
3. Pour in the Sprite and stir until combined.
4. If preparing in advance, add the Sprite right before serving. Limeade and cherry juice can mix together in the fridge overnight if necessary.
5. Pour into glasses, placing a lime slice or wedge on each.
6. Top with a maraschino cherry.


This had the perfect amount of sweetness from the cherry juice but the limeade concentrate still made it tart. 


Don't forget to enter the giveaway!




#CookoutWeek: Patriotic Jello Cups

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Since the #CookoutWeek event is ending right before the Fourth of July when cookouts are as common as fireworks, I wanted to share a easy dessert recipe with you that is color-coordinated with the holiday, super tasty and fits in at any cookout.



Jello and cookouts go hand in hand right? I honestly hadn't made jello in quite some time before making this recipe but after stirring in the hot and cold water and waiting for it to set, I was immediately transported back to my childhood, repeatedly opening the fridge and jiggling the containers to see if the jello had set yet.



Doesn't jello just make you happy? I couldn't stop grinning the whole time I was making this recipe. I honestly can't wait to make it again and take it to one of my mom's pool parties.

For this recipe, I purchased 5 oz. hard plastic clear cups from Amazon.



Patriotic Jello Cups
Source: The First Year Blog
Servings: 20 cups
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Ingredients:
    • .30 oz box strawberry Jello

    • .30 oz box berry blue Jello

    • 2 cups whipped cream

    • 2 cups strawberries, diced

    • 2 cups blueberries
Directions:
1. Prepare the strawberry jello according to package directions. Pour into 5 oz. cups, filling each cup halfway. (You’ll fill between 8 and 10 cups)
2. Drop a tablespoon or so of chopped berries into the jello before it sets.
3. Prepare the berry blue jello according to package directions. Pour into 5 oz. cups, filling each cup halfway. (You’ll fill between 8 and 10 cups)
4. Drop a tablespoon or so of blueberries into the jello before it sets.
5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until jello has set.
6. Fill each cup the rest of the way with whipped cream.
5. Sprinkle blueberries on top of the strawberry jello cups and strawberries on top of the berry blue jello cups. Serve immediately.




To be honest, I was a little worried about taking the leftovers into work. I figured my coworkers (all men) would roll their eyes at red and blue jello with fresh fruit on top. Instead it seemed as though I brought out the child in all of them as they all grabbed a jello cup and a spoon the minute they found them in the fridge. 


(Of course it was suggested that I could have added some liquor to the jello, which is a definite possibility in the future, but I kept them kid-friendly this time around.) 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!




#CookoutWeek: Slub Sandwiches

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Disclaimer: I received a 3-pack of sauce  from True Made Foods for the creation of this post. This post is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. 

Does your family have a vacation destination that they always go to, especially in the summer? For my husband Tom, that was the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Unlike a lot of popular tourists areas, the majority of the Outer Banks isn't very commercialized. There aren't chain and fast food restaurants on every corner, instead there are local places serving local favorites.

I can honestly say I was not thinking of this sandwich when I signed up for #CookoutWeek, but when the sponsors were announced and I saw True Made Food's BBQ Sauce, I knew I couldn't pass up a chance to use their sauce. 

True Made Foods uses vegetables to make their products taste better and naturally sweeten them, cutting added sugar in half. 

I'll be honest, at first I was concerned that Tom wouldn't get anywhere near this sandwich using a vegetable-based BBQ sauce. I've had him try others before without success, but then I read the backstory. 

Kevin, the founder of True Made Foods, hated vegetables. His wife, Abbey, started sneaking them into his food to make him eat healthier. And Kevin liked them. 

And I was sold. My husband hates vegetables. I have taken to sneaking them into dishes. I feel like Abbey and I could be good friends. 


Below is the BBQ Sauce, Veracha and Ketchup I received. 


Since I knew I would be trying out this sauce on my husband, I asked him for a suggestion of what I could make using BBQ sauce that was also a cookout recipe. He immediately replied that I should make slub sandwiches. 

Which brings us back to the North Carolina story. One of the restaurants that his family always used to visit during the week in OBX was a little place called Bubba's. It was a sub shop, family run and sold a sandwich called the Slub. A slub was made up of deli turkey meat, provolone cheese, BBQ sauce, onion rings and coleslaw served on a sub roll. 


The summer Tom and I first started dating his family made a trip to OBX and I was invited along. For days Tom talked me about this sandwich and how amazing it was and I finally got to try it. There is something very unique about the flavor combinations that just melds together so perfectly. 

Unfortunately, Bubba passed away and his children decided not to continue the legacy of his restaurant so I can't tell you to stop on by and try one out for yourself, but you could find a local and ask them about it and I'm sure you'll hear a wonderful story. 



Slub Sandwiches
Source: Bubba’s Restaurant, Outer Banks
Servings: 4 sandwiches
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Ingredients:
    • 1 lb lean turkey breast (like Boar’s Head)

    • 4 slices provolone cheese

    • ½ cup True Made Foods BBQ Sauce

    • 12 onion rings,cooked (homemade or store-bought)

    • ½ cup coleslaw (homemade or store-bought)

    • 4 sub, club or hoagie rolls
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice the rolls in half and slather each side with BBQ sauce. Add a slice of provolone cheese to each roll followed by 4-5 slices of turkey breast.
3. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese has melted, the bread is toasty and the turkey is warmed through.
4. Place 3 onion rings on each sandwich and divide the coleslaw on top.
5. Serve immediately.







True Made Food's BBQ Sauce isn't a Carolina style like Bubba's used, it's thicker, but the brown sugar, vinegar and liquid smoke make a rich and flavorful sauce that would trick anyone into thinking it didn't contain a single vegetable. 

Tom seriously has no idea that he ate BBQ sauce made with tomatoes, spinach, carrots and butternut squash. True Made Foods is proof that when you cook with real foods, it tastes better. 

I challenge you to buy a bottle (of any of their sauces) and test it out on that fellow vegetable hater you know. You'll be able to snicker along with me that they're eating vegetables and like it. 

Buy their sauces on their website, and don't forget to hit them up on social media as well! 


Don't forget to enter the giveaway



#CookoutWeek: Welcome and Giveaway

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As you likely know, summer is my favorite season. Flip flops, sunshine, warm weather, trips to the beach, days at the pool...those are just a few of my favorite summertime activities.

But the other stuff I love about summer revolves around food. Obviously. Grilling out, BBQ's, pool parties and most importantly, cookouts! 

This summer, I've joined forces with around 50 blogging friends to bring you #CookoutWeek - an entire week filled with yummy summer recipes perfect for your next cookout, along with a fun giveaway, courtesy of some awesome sponsors.



It's super easy to enter, and one lucky winner will get:
It's pretty much everything you need to host an awesome cookout this summer. It's a prize pack worth over $300! 

Thank you so much to all of the wonderful sponsors listed above, who have made #CookoutWeek possible. 

And thank you to Allison and the ladies of The PinterTest Kitchen for organizing the event!

 Enter now: a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Don't forget to check back throughout the week with all of the bloggers participating to get some yummy #CookoutWeek recipes. Here's the full list of participating bloggers: 


 Looking forward to sharing some yummy recipes with all of our readers. :)



Check back tomorrow for my first recipe, using True Made Foods, a company founded by Veterans and proving that when you cook with real food, it tastes better! 

What's Baking: Raspberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars and Round Up

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This month I am the host for What's Baking! It's my first time doing so and I have to say, I was pretty excited to choose themes for everyone to vote on and then see what they made. I offered the other bakers the choices of souffle, bars or baking with candy. June is National Candy month and I thought it would be cool to tie that in.




The votes came in and bars were the clear winner. I immediately thought I would find a bar recipe that used candy so I could incorporate both into the theme. Bars with Reeses Pieces were my choice and I even ended up making twice recipes back to back that tasted absolutely delicious and thrilled my coworkers but refused to photography nicely. 



(The crust kept breaking and I kept ending up with lopsided bars that wouldn't sit pretty for pictures.) Determining that candy and I were just not getting along, I decided to go another route. You can never go wrong with a bar recipe that includes a stick of butter and oatmeal. Or if you can, I don't want to know about it. 



Raspberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars
Source: Averie Cooks
Servings: 16 bars
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Ingredients:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour

    • ¾ cup old fashioned rolled oats

    • ¼ tsp salt

    • 1 stick unsalted butter

    • ⅓ cup sugar

    • ¼ cup brown sugar

    • 1 tsp vanilla

    • 12 oz. raspberry preserves (or jam)
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8x8 baking dish with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats and salt.
3. Melt the butter either on the stove or in the microwave. Stir in both sugars and the vanilla, whisking to combine.
4.Pour the butter mixture over the oats and stir to combine, until no lumps of raw flour remain.
5. Scoop out a heaping cup of the mixture and set aside. Press the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan, using your fingers or the back of a spatula to get it into an even layer.
6. Spread the raspberry preserves on top and then use the remaining crumble mixture to cover the top.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 2 hours for the bars to set. Cut into 4 strips, rotate the pan and cut 4 more times, creating 16 evenly sized bars.





I opted to reduce the sugar a little bit in the recipe because I knew the raspberry preserves I was using was pretty sweet. I think these turned out to have a nice balance of fruit and sweet without being cloyingly sweet. As expected, my coworkers practically inhaled these. 




Here's what everyone else made for the "bars" theme!


Eva of Eva Bakes  mastered the art combining candy and bars to create these heavenly looking Twix Shortbread Bars and even made her own caramel sauce. 


Coleen of The Redheaded Baker went fruity, making Strawberry Lemon Bars to use up the lemons and strawberries in her fridge. 

Kate, of Kate's Recipe Box, had help from her son making Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars


Ashley, of Cheesecurd in Paradise, took advantage of all the fresh, local strawberries and made a recipe very similar to mine, Strawberry Crumb Bars.


Nicole of Cookies on Friday, went tropical using cream of coconut to create these Pina Colada Cookie Bars.

Kylee of Kylee Cooks chanced melting in 117 Phoenix heat to bake up these Blackberry Pie Bars for her sons daycare teachers.

Heather of Hezzi-D Books and Cooks couldn't pass up the chance to bake with rhubarb and even made her own jam to use on her new favorite, Berry Rhubarb Bars.


and last but certainly not least, Liz of Books n Cooks dug into her freezer cranberry stash (hey, I have one of those too!) to make Cranberry Shortbread Bars.

If that collection of bars doesn't want to get you into your kitchen trying out some new recipes, I don't know what will! 

Creamy Cucumber Radish Salad

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When I was a kid, we had a creamy cucumber salad as a side dish at least once a week in the summer. It was made with cucumbers, sour cream, onions, salt and pepper.



Recently I wanted that salad but thought I would make my own spin on it, adding in radish slices and using up some fresh herbs. 

This cucumber and radish salad goes great with a burger, chicken breast or just about anything else. 



Creamy Cucumber Radish Salad
Source: Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 2 cups
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Ingredients:
    • 2 English cucumbers

    • 6-8 radishes

    • 3 scallions, chopped

    • ½ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

    • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

    • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped

    • 1 tsp salt

    • 1 tsp pepper

    • ½ tsp sugar
Directions:
1. Slice the cucumbers into ½ inch rounds. Thinly slice the radishes, discarding the stems and bottoms.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, dill, chives, salt, pepper and sugar.
3. Place the cucumber and radish slices and scallions in a medium bowl.
4. Stir in the sour cream mixture, tossing to coat. Seal the container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop.
5. Adjust salt, pepper and sugar if necessary.





The little bit of sugar in the recipe helps to balance the bitterness that comes from the radishes. While this can be eaten right away, its best to allow it to rest in the fridge first. The cucumbers will release their liquid which thins out the sour cream and better coats the rest of the ingredients. 

Lemon Blueberry Bread

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Fresh blueberries are so cheap in the stores right now I can't pass up buying them, even though they are the only berry that I don't like to eat raw. But baking with them? I love it.

Wegman's recently had a 2 pound container of blueberries on sale for $5. I bought them and made this recipe and froze the rest of them to use in other baked goods or smoothies.


To match the light flavors and lemon and blueberry, I opted to make this bread lighter as well, using yogurt and applesauce to keep it moist. 



Lemon Blueberry Bread
Source: Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 1 loaf
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Ingredients:
    • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour +1 teaspoon

    • 2 tsp baking powder

    • ½ tsp salt

    • 1 cup sugar

    • 1 cup vanilla yogurt

    • 3 eggs

    • zest from 2 lemons

    • ½ cup applesauce

    • /1 tsp vanilla extract

    • 1 cup fresh blueberries

    • /1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1/3 cup sugar
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the 1 ½ cups of flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon zest, applesauce and vanilla.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet mixture until no lumps of flour remain.
5. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the teaspoon of flour.
6. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter.
7. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.
9. Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then cook for 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
10. Prick the cake with a fork and pour the cooled syrup on top, allowing it to soak into the bread. Let sit for 30 minutes before removing from the loaf pan and slicing.





I had a few slices of this before deciding that it really needed to be taken to work so I didn't eat the whole thing. 



Improv Challenge: Prosciutto Melon Salad

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My oldest cat Gidget and I have something in common. We're both completely content to munch on fresh mint leaves. For her, it's equivalent to catnip and leaves her rolling around on the floor, rubbing her face on everything as she contorts her body in the way only cats can. For me, it's just a fresh, crisp flavor that I absolutely love.

I've had a hard time growing mint this year. I don't have a balcony or yard (#apartmentlifeproblems) so I keep my fresh herbs indoors in the sun room. My first mint plant was paired with parsley and I don't know what happened but both of them died off rather within a few weeks. (It might have been too early in the season.)

My second mint plant, I had it share a pot with basil. They say that mint is a plant that will take over whatever space you give it and then some. They basil is a finicky plant that dies easily. Not my basil. It hoarded all of the water and its roots choked out the mint. I mean, really? Have you ever seen basil kill mint? That seems impossible.



My basil is a bully. :/

Now, in a pot all on its own, my mint plant is quite happy to take over the whole pot and bask in sunlight. So now that you're aware of my fresh herb growing issues, lets get onto the point of this post, yeah?



Today is Improv Challenge day. If you're not familiar with the concept, Improv Challenge is hosted by Edesia's Notebook and each month bloggers have two ingredients they're given. They create a recipe and we share it on the third Thursday of every month. You can skip a month or three, there's no requirements. But if you do participate, you add an Inlinkz code so the other bloggers recipes are linked to yours.

The two ingredients for June are melon and mint. I immediately knew I wanted to make a salad I had pinned some time ago. Plus, it included prosciutto and you know I will never turn down a chance to work with prosciutto.



Prosciutto Melon Salad
Adapted from: Cooking Light, July 2012
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 2 cups seedless watermelon, sliced into wedges

    • 2 cups honeydew melon, sliced into wedges

    • 2 cups cantaloupe, sliced into wedges

    • ¼ tsp kosher salt

    • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

    • 2 tbsp olive oil

    • 1 ½ tbsp honey

    • 4 cups arugula

    • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves

    • 3 oz. prosciutto, trimmed and thinly sliced

    • ½ oz. Romano cheese, shaved
Directions:
1. Combine watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe in a bowl and sprinkle the kosher salt on top.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the fresh lemon juice, olive oil and honey. Drizzle over the fruit and toss to combine.
3. Combine arugula and mint together and then divide evenly over four plates.
4. Divide the fruit mixture onto the plates.
5. Top with sliced prosciutto and Romano cheese.


You know how sometimes the flavors of a salad all muddle together and you can pretty much just taste crunch and dressing? This salad is not like that at all. Every single bite you take, no matter what ingredients are on your fork shine through individually in a complex combination of flavors that dance along your taste buds. While that sounds a bit much, it's honestly the best way I can describe the salad. 




This would make a perfect first course for a summertime dinner party. Actually, I think I'll recommend it to my aunt who has them quite frequently.



Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad

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Peanut butter and jelly.

Ham and Swiss.

Ice cream and hot fudge.

There are just certain ingredients that go so well together, we being to automatically combine them in our minds.

Chicken + Bacon + Ranch is definitely one of those combinations. If you are a fan of ranch dressing, I'm sure you've found a variety of items to put it on aside from your standard garden salad. Personally, I believe bacon is a welcome addition to just about any meal and chicken is so versatile that you can add it to just about anything.



Combining these three flavors into a salad was a no brainer.



Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad
Adapted from: Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:
    • 1 rotisserie chicken

    • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

    • 6 cups spring mix lettuce

    • 6 hardboiled eggs

    • 3 bell peppers, diced (any colors)

    • 2 cups corn, cooked and cooled

    • 1 cup red cabbage, chopped

    • 1 pint grape (or cherry) tomatoes

    • ½ red onion, minced

    • ½ cup green onions, diced

    • 2 avocados, sliced

    • Ranch dressing homemade or store bought
Directions:
1. Remove meat from the rotisserie chicken and dice.
2. Slice the hard-boiled eggs into quarters.
3. Rinse, dry and tear the lettuce. Place in the bottom of a bowl.
4. Add a layer of bell peppers, corn, cabbage and red onion. Top with chicken and bacon, followed by grape tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and avocado. Sprinkle green onions on top.
5. Drizzle with dressing.




If you are serving for a crowd, a large glass bowl or trifle dish would be a great vessel to use to show off all of the ingredients within. I made this for my lunch each week and kept everything in separate containers in the fridge. Each morning I transferred everything into one bowl and took it to work.

SRC: Basil Meatballs with Crunchy Veggie Slaw

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I can't believe we are thirteen days into June already! I really hope after the extended chilly and rainy spring we had that summer slows down and crawls on by at a snails pace. If you've been a reader for a while, you already know that I love all things summer.

Sitting by the pool, flip flops, food on the grill, going to the beach and hot, sunny weather! I don't know about your area, but we have a few local meteorologists that post on Facebook and when they share a post in the winter about the freezing cold temperatures and the white stuff falling from the sky, there is inevitably someone who responds that they can't wait for summer and warmer temperatures and someone else who replies that 'come summer, they'll be wishing for cool temps'. I can without a doubt tell you I have never complained about the hot, muggy summers Maryland is prone to. Bring on the heat!



Anyway, for the June reveal of the Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to The Tasty Cheapskate which is written by Jean. Her childhood seems similar to mine, not cooking nor eating very much with that stick of fat-free margarine glistening from under the butter dish. Oh the misguided-ness of the 80's and 90's and what was actually good for you.

Did anyone else put margarine under the butter dish? The always seemed to amuse me.



Since then, Jean has learned to cook and eat healthier choices all while keeping it on the budget-friendly side. Healthy foods are expensive. Processed foods lacking all nutrients are cheap. That's the sad state of our grocery stores. Personally, I think link to The Tasty Cheapskate should be handed out at every food pantry and discount grocery store. Sure, its harder to eat healthy when you're on a small budget, but it's not impossible given the vast variety of recipes listed on her site.

That got a little heavy, didn't it? Sorry, but it makes my blood boil thinking about how much harder it is to eat healthy than to just pop into the nearest fast food restaurant and feed a family for $10. (I'll save my ranting about this for another post.)



So I chose this recipe because it reminded me of the great flavors of summer. I have a basil plant growing out of control and the combination of fattier beef with light, fresh basil is something to make your taste buds sing. Then the crunch of carrots, celery and cabbage combined with the tang of vinegar in a slaw? That screams summer!



Basil Meatballs with Crunchy Veggie Slaw
Source: The Tasty Cheapskate
Servings:  2-4
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Ingredients:

      For the Slaw:
    • 2 cups carrots, chopped, matchstick or grated

    • 1 cup cabbage (red or green), shredded or grated

    • 1 cup celery, chopped

    • ¼ cup rice vinegar

    • ¼ cup sugar

    • 1 tbsp. sesame oil

    • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

    • For the Meatballs:
    • 1 lb. ground beef

    • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped

    • 4 cloves garlic, minced

    • 3 green onions, diced

    • 1 tbsp. fish sauce

    • 1 tbsp. hot chile sauce (or garlic chile sauce)

    • 2 tsp. cornstarch

    • 1 tsp. sugar

    • salt and pepper

Directions:
1. First prepare the slaw by combining all of the slaw ingredients into a medium bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop. (If you are in a rush, you can skip this step, but the slaw tastes much better after the flavors mingle together.)
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire cooling rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Combine the meatball ingredients into a medium bowl. Form into 1 ½ inch meatballs and place on the wire rack.
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. (Alternately, you can cook the meatballs in a skillet over medium high heat for 2-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.)
5. Serve meatballs alongside slaw.






We ate them with a side of corn on the cob and slaw. It was delicious and I cannot wait to make this recipe again!




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