For the past couple of years, our family has had to find new traditions for the holidays.
Christmas 2007, we went to a Chinese restaurant and a movie.
Christmas 2008, at one minute past midnight my children tore into their presents (and I received a marriage proposal).
This year, my daughter and her new husband spent Christmas with his family, leaving me to put on a happy face while personally battling a cold and the "empty nest syndrome." The rest of my family (husband, son and father) stayed home and fought colds.
My father felt so bad, he didn't even open his presents until late Sunday evening.
Although everyone felt terrible, we still tried our best create some fun memories of the four-day holiday weekend.
What better way to do that then try some new comfort food ideas?
We made everyone's favorite dishes.
I made my grandmother's treasured chicken and noodles for my father and son.
My husband learned how to make New England clam chowder and mastered making Divinity! (I told him it was pretty rare for someone to make the first two batches perfect. It is a task I've never completed successfully.)
We also made a few appetizers to munch on, like bacon-wrapped sausages, and tried a new twist to making meatballs. Instead of ground beef, I purchased ground lamb at a local grocery store.
I've never cooked with lamb, so I was concerned about the seasoning part. So I read about 10 different recipes and how to spice lamb.
However, I must have done something right because the 40 I made disappeared so quick I didn't have time to make a dipping sauce.
Now, the following is my first attempt. I plan on continuing to play with this basic recipe (especially with a dipping sauce), and I hope you do as well.
Thoroughly mix together in a large bowl the following ingredients:
1 pound of lean ground lamb
1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs (use more if you need to)
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped fennel (including the little sprigs on top)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons of crushed garlic
3 tablespoons of lemon/lime zest
2 eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
Form into quarter-size meatballs, place on a greased baking sheet and bake uncovered in a 400-degree oven until no longer pink inside, approximately 15-20 minutes.
There wasn't much grease or drippings in the pan to make a sauce.
However, like I said, they didn't have much time to cool off before they were eaten!
I'm thinking about making a lemon mustard sauce to dip the next batch in. But if you have any ideas about a different sauce, let me know!