Rocci's Modern Life

the life of a twentysomething living in music city

The Best Homemade Meatballs

Meatballs are something I have been trying to perfect for years. I've browned them and popped them in a Crockpot for a few hours. I've baked and boiled them. I've used everything from beef to veal to pork. 

Homemade meatballs are a staple in my life and every time I cook them, I alter the recipe just a bit. So after countless recipes from friends and family, I think i've nailed it down.

The Best Homemade Meatballs

  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 green bell peper, diced
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lb. ground beef (the leaner, the better)
  • 1/2 lb. ground veal
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper

Combine all ingredients into and bowl and mix. I've used my KitchenAid mixer for the process, but I've learned that using my hands works the best. Shape the mixture into your desired size. I typically do mine a little bigger than a golf ball. The bigger the meatball, the longer the cook time.

So my sauce recipe will come later (still working on making it perfect), but when I'm in a crunch I cheat a bit and use about 2 jars of sauce. Cook the sauce and meatballs on low in a slow cooker for 4-5 hours.

Serve over pasta, make a sandwich or just sprinkle some cheese on a few and enjoy!


Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

When it comes to fall, I am the typical yoga-pants-pumpkin-everything-oh-so-basic white girl. I love Pumpkin coffee from Dunkin Donuts, Pumpkin Pie Blizzards from Dairy Queen (if you have never had one, stop reading this, drive to Dairy Queen and get one... it will change your life), anything pumpkin you put in front of me, I will eat.

When I came across this recipe for pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel frosting on Pinterest, I HAD to make them. I hit the nail on the head with my first attempt. My mom told me she literally dreamed about these cupcakes after I made my first batch.

In my family, I am cupcake queen. My mom does cakes, my Aunt J does cookies and my Aunt Teri does pies. It all comes back to my Grandma Cookie (we call her Gaga). I pretty much grew up in her house... my step-dad was always on the road and my mom was always working, so I spent the first 10 years of my life baking eveyrthing possible with Gaga.

Baking has always been a passion of mine, so I plan on having plenty of recipes I've adapted to fit my style of baking. Cupcakes are certainly my favorite, the mini ones to be specific. I love a good cupcake, but a standard sized cupcake is just a little too much for me. I bought this mini cupcake pan at Michael's and it has been a godsend. (Hint: sign up for their coupons and you can get the cupcake pan for 40% off!)

Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the  brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Beat on medium speed until well combined.  Add dry ingredients, and mix on low until smooth. Fold in pumpkin puree. 

    Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

    *from Made in Melissa's Kitchen*

    Now for the icing... this can be pretty tricky. The first time I made this icing, it was perfect. I didn't burn the caramel, it wasn't too runny. I don't know what I did, but it was amazing. The second time I made it, I decided to use caramel topping you find in the grocery store. Still just as good.

    This year when I made the icing, I could just not get it right. I decided to tweak my cream cheese frosting recipe to make this Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting recipe.

    Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

    • 2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
    • 2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature)
    • 2 tablespoons of Torani Salted Caramel syrup
    • 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar

    Mix cream cheese and butter together until creamy, then add the Torani salted caramel syrup. Slowly add the powdered sugar. 



    • Spices can be expensive, if you are looking to cut costs on this recipe you can use pumpkin pie spice in lieu of nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and allspice.
    • Room temperature is key in baking. I take my eggs and butter out of the fridge as far ahead of time as possible.


    © Rocci's Modern Life 2015