Sweet Chili Meatballs

Sweet Chili Meatballs

It is cold here.  So cold that we don’t want to move and instead want to sit around and eat cookies.  This is a problem especially if your house is filled with leftover Christmas cookies you “forgot” to give away as presents. Uh…

Also, during December we spent money like it was leftover Christmas cookies (wow, I’m really stretching this one).  I mean, we would go to the grocery store every night and spend $20 on dinner groceries.  So right after our New Year’s bash, I put my foot down and proclaimed: “No more!  We’re going to start meal planning!”

Meal planning, my friends, is what we do when we’re good and disciplined.  We make a list each weekend of foods we’re going to make, and then we go to Aldi (OH MAN, this store is the greatest) for the basics, and then our neighborhood grocery store for the specialty items and produce.  It saves us so much money I don’t even know what to do.  For this week we planned mostly healthy meals, one of them being this amazing dinner of sweet chili meatballs.

I stumbled on this recipe in the November issue of “Cooking Light” where it boasted to feed 4 people in under $10. Light and cheap?  Okay.  Made even cheaper by the fact that our pantry is stocked like an Asian market anyway. I’ve made them twice now and we are totally in love.  Especially because meatballs are the new thing.  Frank gets them with his mac n’ cheese at Noodles and Company.  When did meatballs get so hot?  Well, we basically serve these with rice and green beans, not mac n’ cheese… although that’s a really good idea.

Sweet Chili Meatballs
(recipe adjusted from Cooking Light, November 2010)

1/3 cup green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce, lower-sodium
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound ground sirloin
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs*

Preheat the oven to 400.  Mix the first seven ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the sirloin and breadcrumbs and mix by hand.  Form the mixture into meatballs.  This will make about 15-20 balls.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet (this time I used a large dutch oven) over medium-high heat.  Add the meatballs and cook until all sides are browned (around 4 minutes).  Try to fit all the meatballs into the skillet–it’ll make things easier, but it’s not necessary (just a time saver!).  Transfer the skillet into oven and cook the meatballs for 7 more minutes.**

Serve the meatballs with rice.  It is best to toss the rice with some more sweet chili sauce, but Frank prefers to dress his himself with sweet chili and soy sauce.  Garnish with some more green onions and enjoy!  This make about 4 filling servings.

*The original recipe doesn’t use bread crumbs, but I highly suggest using them as it’s almost impossible to form the meatballs without.

**Cooking Light suggests putting the meatballs on a separate cookie sheet and THEN putting them in the oven.  I prefer to use the same skillet as a time/dish saver, but you might want to use a cookie sheet if you can’t fit all your meatballs on the same skillet.

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