Four Season(ing)s

Use any of these recipes to season one pound of ground meat. They are best when mixed into your meat one day ahead, but still very good added right before cooking. Use the seasoned meat for meatballs, patties, frittattas etc. I’ve made a few suggestions about what type of meat to try, but there are no hard, fast rules so feel free to use what you have, what’s on sale, or what you’re in the mood for.

Extra-fresh Thai Herb Mix

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Inspired by this recipe. Try with chicken or pork.

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • serrano pepper, minced
  • zest of one lime
  • 2T gluten-free fish sauce (such as Thai Kitchen brand)
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Lemony Souvlaki Seasoning

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Inspired by this recipe. Try chicken or tuna.

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic, mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leafed parsley, chopped

Chorizo Seasoning

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Adapted from this recipe. Try with pork.

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Breakfast Sausage

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Adapted from this recipe. Try pork or beef.

1 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Meat-N-Veg Balls

Here’s a basic formula for making meat and vegetable balls (or patties) that lets you mix & match flavors to suit your taste.  For simplicity, each uses one pound of lean ground meat, and one bag of frozen vegetables (or a similar quantity fresh). This can go wrong when there’s too much water in the vegetables, so we’ll and drain veggies and add just a little coconut flour to absorb excess moisture. One batch will make 16-20 meatballs for a quick, complete, snack,  for lunch with cut veggies and dipping sauce, or simmered in sauce for dinner.

Basic outline

  • 1 lb. lean ground meat
  • seasoning of your choice (try italian sausage, chorizo, thai, or greek)
  • 4 servings of a vegetable (1 bag frozen or 1 bunch fresh: spinach, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 egg

What to do

  1. Prepare your herbs and spices, mix with ground meat, and let rest in the fridge overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. Thaw veggies and break down in a food processor or blender. Process until shredded. Stop well before they turn into a smooth puree.
  4. Toss veggies with a sprinkling of salt and place in colander. Cover with a paper towel and place a bowl full of water on top to press the moisture out. Let drain at least 30 minutes.
  5. After draining, wrap in the paper towel and squeeze out all excess moisture.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix vegetable,  coconut flour, and egg use a fork to thoroughly blend.
  7. Add seasoned ground meat. Mix well.
  8. Make golfball-sized meatballs. I keep a small bowl of olive oil on hand so I can grease my hands occasionally.
  9. Heat a well-oiled, oven-safe pan to medium high and brown meatballs. Since these do not contain breadcrumbs, they may not hold their shape as well as regular meatballs. Be gentle and make sure the pan is well oiled.
  10. Transfer pan to oven, bake for 10 minutes, turning once.

Illustrated notes

Spinach, zucchini, and cauliflower shredded and salted.

Spinach, zucchini, and cauliflower shredded and salted.

A bowl full of water weighs down the vegetables, pressing out the water.

A bowl full of water weighs down the vegetables, pressing out the water.

Really squeeze the water out of your veggies.

Really squeeze the water out of your veggies.

Coconut flower absorbs excess moisture, egg helps to bind the indredients together.

Coconut flower absorbs excess moisture, egg helps to bind the indredients together.

Mix the vegetable, eggs and coconut flower first, then add the seasoned meat.

Mix the vegetable, eggs and coconut flower first, then add the seasoned meat.

I keep a little bowl of olive oil handy so the mixture does not skick to my hands.

I keep a little bowl of olive oil handy so the mixture does not skick to my hands.

Give the meatballs plenty of space while browning. Crowding them will make them slow to crisp up on the outside.

Give the meatballs plenty of space while browning. Crowding them will make them slow to crisp up on the outside.

Let cool completely with some space before packing and refrigerating.

Let cool completely with some space before packing and refrigerating.