Not to totally jump on the bandwagon, but The Boyfriend and I don’t go out for Vday anymore. We used to. But the restaurants we really wanted to go to were booked and the ones we ended up at were more expensive than usual and served a dumb limited menu. So the last couple of years, we’ve treated ourselves to a fancy dinner sometime in the middle of February, but on the actual day of roses and chocolates, we eat crappy chinese take out on the couch and practice our jumping high-fives (to congratulate ourselves on a savvy night in, obvs).
But the fact is that The Boyfriend is the Jeffrey to my Ina, and everyone knows that Ina would rather die than admit she eats chinese takeout on a holiday — even a dumb Hallmark holiday like Valentines or Earth Day — and Jeffrey would rather die than crappy eat take out ever. So this year I’m going to channel a lil of my inner Ina and make something that my Jeffrey will love (imagine my face on Ina’s body in one of those denim smocks standing over a simple meatball sandwich proclaiming, “How easy is that! Boyfriend is going to love this!”).
When Real Jeffrey is allowed to speak he likes roasted chicken and over-doing his errands (does anyone else remember the time Jeffrey was supposed to pick up wine for a party and instead he went to a winery and took a lesson on blending his own wine? Say what you will about who wears the (linen, elastic-waisted) pants in that relationship, but the man can run an errand.) When My Jeffrey is allowed to speak — which, for now, is generally unrestricted, except when we impose Silence during The Americans — he likes a good meat sandwich.
And if I’ve learned anything from Ina, it’s to give Jeffrey what he wants on holidays and his birthday so he will be happy and go back to being mostly silent and absent from all the fabulous parties thrown without him. So this Valentines, I dedicate this meat sandwich to my Jeffrey, my roommate, my BFF and my boo thang (for anyone who thinks I’m steppin’ out, those all refer to the same ol’ Boyfriend, duh). There were a lot of directions I could have taken this sandwich — something like an italian club, with a stack of different meats and cheeses, or like a Philly cheesesteak, with hot, cheesey ground beef on a toasted roll — but I decided on a classic meatball sub. Mostly because ol’ Ina and Jeffrey have been known to split a Subway meatball footlong every now and then, even though Jeffrey once saw the Subway guy at his college food court thin the meatball sauce with a liquid that looked/smelled like sewage. Also, The Boyfriend loves a good meatball sub. And — I actually do hate to sound like Ina here — it was just really easy.
Baked meatballs come together in no time and cook in the oven, which means less grease in the balls and less time hovering. As in, no time hovering. Just mix up the mix, spoon it onto a baking sheet, cook in the preheated oven, and serve with toasted buns and some leftover sauce. While the balls bake you can even do something Ina-inspired and fabulous — like practice flower arranging, or make your grandma a handmade calligraphy birthday card, or text your dentist about a piece of plastic you found in a bag of popcorn from the vending machine at work that sort of cut your gum so please just confirm that I can’t get tetanus from plastic, please? (Okay, fine, two of those were Real Ina-inspired and one of them was Me-Ina inspired but that piece of plastic was freaky.) And the recipe itself is really simple — just some ground beef, some breadcrumbs and milk (which form a “panade,” otherwise known as meatball magic), a little egg (for cohesion), and a lil’ onion and garlic for flavor.
“Jeffrey is going to love this!”
Happy Valentines Day!!
- ½ c. bread crumbs
- ½ c. milk
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- 1 T. onion, minced (optional)
- 8 mini pretzel rolls
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and milk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until the breadcrumbs have absorbed all the milk.
- To the breadcrumbs and milk mix, add the ground beef, minced garlic, egg, and onion. Mix together with your hands until fully combined. Drop loosely-formed 1-tablespoon balls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. You should make around 24 meatballs.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
- While the meatballs are baking, lightly toast the split pretzel rolls until warm.
- Serve meatballs on rolls with chimichurri for garnish.