Food by Friends: ScottySnacks

Monday, July 6, 2009 51 comments

Magic Sauce Meatball Sandwich

Two days after the grilled-meat gorgefest known as a Fourth of July barbecue, I'm still nursing a cow-sized protein hangover, but I don't regret a single bite. In fact, I was thinking about food even as I lay prone on the sofa, bloated and vowing never to eat again. Though it may confirm me as a glutton, the truth can not be denied: I have food on the brain, even when I also have a lot of it in my belly!

So what was I pondering in my ponderous state?

Since discovering the wonderful world of food blogs, I have quickly accumulated an enormous catalog of recipes from so many creative cooks. Each 'save' command and every comment of "I can't wait to try this!" were accompanied by the most sincere intentions of making these dishes. Now, it's time to finally turn sincere intent into edible action.

Therefore, with a still-distended stomach but a determined spirit, I present the first of what I hope will become a regular feature of this blog: Food by Friends, spotlighting favorite bloggers' dishes that caught my eye and whetted my appetite. I suspect that for every recipe made, at least another two or three will replace it, and there is no guarantee that you'll find my recreations as appealing as the originals, but it will be fun trying!

For this inaugural post, I turned to Scott at ScottySnacks, my co-host (along with Jennifer at Savor The Thyme) of our July Ice Cream Social contest. Although it may smack of favoritism, it's really more a case of 'snack on favorites' - Scott's blog covers all that is tasty and healthy about noshing, which in SnackLand ranges from Mango Tango Smoothies to Clarified Butter Sugar Cookies and Tequila Lime Pork Loin.

However, as delicious as these sound, there was one recipe whose name can not be ignored: Magic Sauce. This effortless recipe of just 4 ingredients yields sensational flavor that goes well on everything from roasted vegetables to grilled meats; I first used it on lightly pan-fried tilapia, adding a sweet bite to the delicate fish. This time, I decided to get a bit more meaty: a meatball sandwich, to be precise.

Now, a little Magic Sauce goes a long way but it's so delicious that I wasn't content to just spoon it over the meatballs. Oh, no - those orbs of beefiness called for full saturation! Imagining a gush of rich piquancy with every bite, I added a chunk of chilled Magic Sauce to the center of each meatball; unfortunately, the actuality of this delectable concept fell a wee bit short as the sauce was absorbed into the mixture as it cooked. Still, that bewitching flavor was preserved and judging by the gusto with which Mr. Noodle polished off his sandwich, I consider my attempt a success.

Try it for yourself - visit Scott's blog for the recipe and check out his other delicious treats. Then, in ScottySnacks syntax, "Go snack you some!"

[Disclosure: I made these sandwiches before the Fourth of July, in case you're wondering how I could possibly eat even more meat!]

Magic Sauce Meatball Sandwich
Taking a cue from the main ingredients in Magic Sauce, I emphasized a south-of-the-border spin on the classic Italian meatball sandwich by seasoning the meat mixture with ground chipotle pepper, topping it with pico de gallo (a deconstructed marinara sauce, if you will) and using bolillo rolls in place of Italian bread.

Magic Sauce by Brooks Bayne

Jalapeño Peppers

Combine ingredients and transfer to a container. Refrigerate until sauce is well-chilled and firm.

Chipotle Meatballs
(Please feel free to use your favorite meatball recipe!)

Yields approx 12-15 meatballs


1 lb ground round*
1/4 cup regular breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp crushed garlic paste (about 2 cloves, minced or 2 tsps garlic powder)
2 Tbsps fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 cup onions, finely minced
1 Tbsp ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup panko

*The absorbed Magic Sauce resulted in quite juicy meatballs so next time, I will use leaner ground beef.

To make:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or tin foil.

1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except panko and mix well, using your hands;
2. Scoop out enough mixture to form 1.5" meatball (about 2 Tbsps) then flatten it out on the palm of your hand. Place 1/2 tsp of chilled Magic Sauce in the center then carefully roll up the meat to form a ball again.

3. Roll meatball in panko and place on the cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining meat mixture;
4. Bake in the oven at 400°F for 15-20 minutes (use the shorter cooking time if you prefer meatballs with a bit pink);
5. When done, remove meatballs from oven and immediately assemble your sandwich!

I played around with the bolillo rolls, slicing one down the center for the classic 'clamshell' look then scooping out the middle of another for a 'boat' effect! I topped it with fresh pico de gallo made with Vidalia onions, plum tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, chili pepper and a sprinkle of salt.

How would you put your meatball sandwich together?


  • Chef E said...

    LOL I too have been nursing a protein hangover from my three week trip and seem to still be eating more than my share of meats this past weekend! What a beautiful creation! I might have to have one more before I go all rehab on you!

  • Anonymous said...

    I am intrigued by the idea of the Magic Sauce and the chipotle meatballs do sound absolutely delicious and so perfect with fresh bread rolls!

  • Jenn said...

    At first I thought that was an odd looking hot dog. Haha...My mind and eyes are paying tricks on me. Now that I know it's a sandwich, I'll take two.

  • Lori said...

    Ha, ha! A cow-sized protein hangover...that's funny! I know what you mean about all the recipes found through food blogging. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever make it through my list of bookmarks. :)

    I love making meatball sandwiches for a treat every now and then. However, I usually just top mine with a spicy marinara. This combo sounds wonderful. A very nice change.

  • Anonymous said...

    I haven't visited in a while and I'm am truly sorry about that. I'll be catching up here over the next few days :)


  • Teanna said...

    Ooooohhhh that meatball sauce sounds so good! This post is making me want to go grab lunch right now! It looks soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good!

  • Marta said...

    Oh delicious sandwich!!! Those meatballs looks succulent, I could probably have me quite a few of them :)
    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • The Diva on a Diet said...

    What a brilliant idea for a feature, Noodle! We should all do likewise ... or at least I should, I have a ton of "to make" recipes on file from blog friends as well. Love it!

    And I sincerely love the looks of this dish. Meatball sammies are one of my most favorite things and these look extraordinary!

  • Scotty Snacks (from Snack Land) said...

    You are awesome, Tangled Noodle, thanks much for including me in such a detailed article, your grammar and vocabulary never seize to amaze me. These meatballs sound (and LOOK) incredible - I will have to give them a try sometime as I have never actually made meatballs from scratch (did I just admit that, live? ;) ).

    Here's to a super week, can't wait to see what lies ahead in this, your food blog!


  • Forager said...

    Yum! Those meatballs looked like small coconut covered chocolate balls at first glance - had to do a double take. Using panko is ingenious! Must try it myself. And that magic sauce sounds like the goods!

  • gastroanthropologist said...

    I'm usually turned off by meatball sammys as they are smothered in marinara type sauces that lead to indigestion. This magic sauce sounds perfect and loves the pico de gallo topping. So this is bookmarked with not only good intentions but I will make it for dinner Thursday night.

    (ps - away from the US on the 4th meant no protein heavy bbq so we are due for a dose!)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Thank you all for your comments - I hope you've had a chance to visit ScottySnacks!

    Chef E - We all need serious de-meatoxification! I think I'm finally back to normal because I'm craving hot dogs again. 8-)

    5Star - The sauce is really a straightforward 'herbed' butter and I was hoping to get a Chicken à la Kiev effect with it in the middle. Alas, it didn't quite work out but the flavor did saturate the meatballs. My husband then asked to melt the sauce so that he could spoon more over the sandwich!

    Chow and Chatter - Thanks! It tasted pretty good, too!

    Epicurean's Market - Hi! Thanks for visiting - I hope you enjoyed it!

    Jenn - It was a bit difficult getting a good angle so that it would be obvious that it was meatballs! Have to work on my plating skills. 8-D

    Elra - Thank you! I was a bit timid with the peppers: the recipe calls for habañero but I subbed jalapeño because I wasn't sure if I could handle the heat. Next time!

    Mediterranean Kiwi - That's one of the best parts about Scott's blog: he's very health-conscious (bikram yoga, weights) so he's trying to do his part to redefine 'snack' as something a little less 'cheat'-y!

    Sophie - Yes! They're pretty much burgers in a different form, aren't they? 8-)

    Lori - I didn't want to make promises that I'll get to eveyone but I'm going to try my best. I don't bookmark, save or print a recipe unless I feel that I can actually pull it off. You're actually an enabler - I've got more than a few of your recipes! 8-D

    As much as I like marinara, I prefer it on pasta - the pico de gallo is a nice contrast from the richness of the meatballs.

    Bergamot - Thank you!

    ValleyWriter - Thank you! I should note an acknowledgement above that other bloggers have been doing something similar before me but I want to have a way to recognize the great work of blog friends!

    Kat - That's exactly what I thought! And you really can't, once you've tasted it.

    Reeni - The sauce is simple yet incredibly flavorful! I'm totatlly in love with dried chili peppers now, especially chipotle.

    Eric - No worries! I've been rather scarce on your blog although I do see your posts. I'm so behind on my blog reading that what I'm doing now is batch commenting: I visit a site and read all that I've missed so that my comments are all on the same day!

    Teanna - Since this reply is late, did you get your lunch? 8-D I don't normally choose meatball sandwiches but now I'm hooked!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Replies, cont'd

    Molly Jean - Thank you for stopping in! I enjoyed stopping by your blog (great name and banner!)

    Marta - You're welcome and thank you! Believe me, I had made more than enough of these but barely saved enough for another meal.

    Bob - Thank you! Sorry you had to work on a holiday but now you get to celebrate when everyone else is back to work!

    Diva - Thanks! Other blogs have been featuring their food friends' work and I wanted to do the same. I hope I can keep it up! Before this, I have probably had only one meatball sandwich in my life - now, I'm hooked!

    Juliana - Thank you! The sauce inside ended up being absorbed but it left behind chunks of cilantro and chili peppers - very delicious! I wish I had a photo of that to show everyone . . .

    Fahrenheit 350 - Thankyyou! Thankyou! Thankyou!

    ScottySnacks - The man of the hour! I was trying to figure out a way to really showcase the Magic Sauce other than just spooning it on something (which my husband loves). The meatballs seemed perfect because they are totally snackable by themselves! I'm glad you liked this!

    Lisa - The sauce is really quite delicious and nice to just have on hand to perk up meats and veggies (that is, unless the hubs melts it all up and pours it on everything!)

    Deborah - Thank you for your comment and for stopping in! I just popped over to your blogs (I can barely keep up with one and you've got, what, five!) and enjoyed the beautiful photos of your family and the great recipes. I'll have to stop in at your foodie giveaway, especially if I'm feeling lucky!

    Figtree - Thank you! I appreciate your comment, especially since I just popped over to your site and saw all the fantastic food there. I don't know where to start . . . !

    Forager - [LOL] After I posted this, I thought the same thing when I saw the photo! I submitted it to Tastespotting and hopefully made it clear that it was raw meat!! Definitely try them and the sauce - it's a great combo. 8-)

    Deb - Thank you! The sandwich was an entire meal and the sauce really brought a great flavor. The hubs and I are now totally addicted to it!

    Foodcreate - Thank you! It was my pleasure to share and I'm glad you like it!

    Gastroanthropology - I recall your mention that you and tomato sauce don't get along too well. My preference for meatballs in marinara is over pasta which is why I thought pico de gallo would be a nice substitute. Please let me know how it turns out! And hope you get a proper dose of protein soon! 8-D

    Chrystal - (Is this Duo Dishes?) That's what I was hoping for! The meatballs were delicious but the whole thing could be overwhelming. The pico and the bolillo rolls are both lighter than the topping and bread in traditional MB sandwiches so it's a great balance! Thanks!

  • Anonymous said...

    Fellow glutton here! Oh my...they look SO good! The magic sauce is just magical, for the lack of a better word!

    They also look a tiny bit like chocolate-hazelnut truffles with coconut...hee hee!

  • Phyllis said...

    Omigosh, I can't stop staring at these meatballs. Now I want some magic sauce meatballs for breakfast! I'm definitely printing out the recipe for this and the magic sauce (habaneros scare me a little, but at least you just throw them in the blender, thank goodness I don't have to cut them up because knowing me I'll rub my eye afterwards and require a visit to the emergency room)

    And I totally know what you mean about having the best intentions when you bookmark a recipe. So many recipes so little time! But I finally started with a recipe from a very good blogger friend of mine...'Please Make Me Some More' Cornmeal Mush!!
    And yes, silly me forgot the recipe when I went to the store, luckily it was only 3 ingredients but I still bought the white cornmeal instead of the yellow. And I panicked a little when the only loaf pan I had was gigantic making my cornmeal loaf very shallow. So the slices ended up more like 'mush fries', but they were so delish with maple syrup, crispy on the outside and velvety on the inside! Made them for hubby for his birthday and told him the story of Mr. Noodle's grandma and he loved them! Thanks TN :)

  • Lisa said...

    I'd like to say that I thoughtfully read each and every word but I saw the pictures and thought heavenly thoughts about the sandwich and my mind then went blank. It's breakfast and I want one. However, I'll settle for BerryBerry Kix and read the rest of the post because it will make the cereal taste better. :)

  • Heather S-G said...

    These look magical! I love everything about them...from the bolillos to the pico...and I do the same thing {save}...with the best intentions, really :D

  • Anonymous said...

    That sauce, indeed, sounds magical--what bright, amazing flavors. And I'm diggin' your sammich, to! Love the idea of putting sauce inside each little meatball for Mega Absorption. It's magickier than magic!

    Plus how cool of you to spotlight other folks' dishes. You rock, TN!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    And after you've eaten this, save room for ice cream and sorbet!

    Burpandslurp - [LOL] You're not the first to mention that. I was a bit worried that people would get confused with the pictures. But either way, they're tempting, aren't they? 8-D

    Pearl - Thank you! It wasn't too hard to come up with pico in place of marinara but I'm happy it came out so well.

    Phyllis - You are such a joy! I'm also scared of habañeros which is why I subbed jalapeños, which are much more tolerable (I'll work my way up on the Scoville scale someday!)

    And yay! I'm thrilled to hear that you tried out the cornmeal mush, even though I can not claim a single molecule of credit for the 3-ingredient recipe! But I'm happy to have brought it to your attention. 8-) Quite frankly, the 'mush fries' sound good - I may have to try it out. Hey, a recipe from me to you then back to me! The Circle of Life!!

    Lisa - So did the cereal taste better? ;-D I do it all the time, reading delicious recipes and staring at gorgeous food photos but always at the 'wrong' time of day. But no matter what I'm eating, I'm always thinking about the next dish . . . ! Thanks!

    Girlichef - That's the best and worst part of all these wonderful blogs: so much good food, so little time! I'm totally in love with bolillos now and pico has always been a fave. It was great to bring them all together here. I wonder how they'd taste w/lengua? Mmmmmm . . .

    Jo - Thank you so much! The taste turned out really well!

    OPC - Mega Absorption was the plan and it worked! I am so inspired by my foodie friends like you that it was time to show it! Thanks so much!

    That's What Sam Said - The Magic Sauce really makes the sandwich and it goes with so many other foods. Make up a batch and you'll be hooked, too! Thanks so much for stopping by. 8-)

    Mariana - Thank you! A butter sauce can be overwhelming for me, too, but with the peppers and herbs, a little bit really packs a delicious taste!

    Zerrin - I loved your kofte video but your 'meatballs' are more complex that this one. The sauce, too, is very easy but gives a wonderful flavor. Scott will be happy to hear that meatballs are definitely snacks in Turkey!

  • Anonymous said...

    I finished eating a short while ago and looking at the photo is causing me to be hungry again.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Comfycook - That's the danger of visiting food blogs, isn't it? 8-D Thank you!

    Krissy - I used to be so sensitive to spicy heat but now I'm really starting to appreciate it! The original recipe called for habanero but I'm not there yet. 8-)

    Y - Thank you! When the Magic Sauce was absorbed by the meat, it left behind chunks of jalapeno and cilantro in the center. I didn't post the photos of that but it's a nice surprise at the meatballs' centers. 8-)

  • Debi said...

    When I first saw this post I knew they would be perfect to bring to a party we are invited to this coming weekend. Rather than leaving a comment before making the dish, I "test-drove" the recipe last night and shared them with my family and neighbor up here on the lake. The Magic Sauce is phenomenal! I know they will be a hit this weekend!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Debi - Oh, I'm so happy to hear they turned out well! The Magic Sauce is really addictive: I have to take it back from my husband b/c he just spoons and slathers it all over his food. Thank you so much for letting me know how it turned out for you!


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