Gyoza Meatballs

    Pork and Spinach Gyoza Meatballs! 


Pork and Spinach Gyoza Meatballs! 

The idea for these meatballs came about when the day before I had made some gyoza for dinner. I still had some ground pork leftover and didn't want it to go to waste. I decided to keep the same flavors of the gyoza but just add some bread crumbs and an egg to bind the meatballs together. This turned out to be such a great idea! 

It is especially handy to have a new take on meatballs that my family enjoys. It is a fast, healthy and easy dinner to make during the busy weekdays. 

If you are gluten free you may choose to use gluten free breadcrumbs or rice to replace the traditional bread crumbs. This is a delicious dish accompanied with a side of rice and roasted vegetables as pictured below: 

    A whole meal! Delicious gyoza meatballs served with sides of rice and broccoli roasted in the oven with sesame oil. 


A whole meal! Delicious gyoza meatballs served with sides of rice and broccoli roasted in the oven with sesame oil. 


Pork and Spinach Gyoza Meatballs: 

Serves 4-6

2 heaping cups spinach, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup fresh gluten free bread crumbs or rice

1 pound ground pork or ground turkey

1 egg

2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon mirin

3 cloves garlic, minced

Extra sesame oil for cooking

1. In a small bowl place the finely chopped spinach. Sprinkle salt over the spinach and let sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, place the spinach in the middle of 2 paper towels. Over the sink, squeeze the extra liquid out of the spinach before adding it to the meatball mixture. 

2. In a medium bowl mix together the spinach with the rest of the ingredients. Mix with your hands- mix thoroughly so that the meat mixture comes together. Form small mini meatballs. You will have 20 or so meatballs. 

3. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with sesame oil. Heat the skillet to medium-low. Place 6-8 meatballs at a time in the skillet. Brown on one side, then flip using a spatula to the other. Make sure all sides are browned and the centers of the meatballs are cooked through. This will take a few minutes per batch. When  a batch of meatballs is done, place them on a nearby plate. Repeat the process until all of the meatballs are cooked. 

4. Serve with rice and roasted vegetables and enjoy! 

If this yummy dinner post made you hungry, be sure to pass it on to a meatball-loving friend! 


Al Pastor Tacos & Camping Tips

A delicious Al Pastor Taco enjoyed al fresco at a beautiful campsite! 

A delicious Al Pastor Taco enjoyed al fresco at a beautiful campsite! 

 I love the outdoors and I feel so lucky that I grew up with a yearly camping trip tradition in my family. This trip has evolved throughout the years, and now we have great systems in place to make sure that we have a great camp-out and enjoy some delicious food and festivities as well.

 This week I took my son camping with a large group of my extended family. Last year we started the tradition of me taking my son camping for 3 nights & 4 days with my parents, aunt and uncle, brother and sister in law and my cousin. For an afternoon we were also joined by some family friends. 

It all started several months ago with a fun breakfast meeting to plan out the meals, the annual camp August birthday party and a run-through of who would provide what meal/equipment. 

Usually each family/couple provides 1-2 meals. This year I made a lunch and a breakfast. For my lunch, featured here, I made al pastor tacos with fresh tortillas, a veggie assortment, chips and guacamole. We all pitched in to help with this meal. 

This delicious camp meal started out with prep work back in my home kitchen. First, I made the sauce and al pastor taco meat, placed it in a freezer bag and froze it until I placed it in our cooler for the trip up to the lake campsite. I brought masa mix, a tortilla press, a freezer bag, salt, carrots, peppers, olives, celery, avocados and limes to the campsite to prepare there. 

Al pastor taco meat heating up on the camp stove. 

Al pastor taco meat heating up on the camp stove. 


At the campsite, we heated up the meat in a pot on the camp stove. Meanwhile, my mom heated up a a frying pan on the other burner of the camp stove greased with bacon grease from that morning's breakfast. I mixed up the masa mix, pressed the tortillas and my mom cooked them. 

Fresh tortillas cooking on the camp stove. 

Fresh tortillas cooking on the camp stove. 

My cousin Helen cut up the veggies and some fresh pineapple to round out the meal while my sister in law Kim cleverly made the guacamole by placing pieces of avocado in a large gallon bag with lime and salt. She then pressed on the bag to smash it together. It was delicious! 

    Camp Guacamole


Camp Guacamole

My mom also came up with a clever way to keep the tortillas warm. She placed a plate above the heating taco meat with a towel over it and it kept the tortillas nice and hot for serving. 

Delicious fresh tortillas kept warm on the camp stove. 

We all sure enjoyed these tacos for a lovely camp lunch. 

    Fresh pineapple and an assortment of veggies & lime slices for the tacos. 


Fresh pineapple and an assortment of veggies & lime slices for the tacos. 

Here are some more camping tips for dining outdoors: 

  • It is handy to have a kitchen prep table where you can cut vegetables and fruit and also set up a dish washing station there. We also had towels, cutlery and other supplies stored there. 
  • Make sure to keep anything that is not in a sealed container locked in your car at all times. If you leave bags open, chipmunks and birds will surely help themselves. 
  • If  you have a large group of people eating at your picnic table, you may extend it by bringing a piece of plywood & attaching it with clamps as my uncle did. 
  • A large piece of oil cloth works very well for a camp table cover. 
    My uncle attaching a "leaf" to our picnic table so that more people could sit there. 


My uncle attaching a "leaf" to our picnic table so that more people could sit there. 

I hope that these tips help you for your next camping trip or picnic experience. 

Now, for the yummy taco recipe! 

Al Pastor Taco Meat: (This recipe serves 6-8 but I doubled it for our trip) 

10 large dried pasilla peppers- all seeds and stems removed (these are the most easily found dried peppers found in the Hispanic foods section at most grocery stores. Usually 2 bags of peppers will be plenty)

1 1/2 cups water

1 containers (about 2 cups) grape tomatoes

8 garlic cloves, peeled

4 bay leaves

salt, pepper

3/4 teaspoon sugar or honey

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1/2" to 1" thick pieces

1-2 limes

You may serve this meat with tortillas, lime slices, salsa, guacamole, chopped fresh onion or cilantro if desired. 

1. Put the chiles (make sure seeds are taken out & stems are removed) into a large Dutch oven, toast them for 1-2 minutes. Add the water, grape tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, sugar or honey. Bring this mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, stir occasionally for about 20 minutes. 

2. While the sauce is simmering, trim slices from the pork shoulder. It has a large piece of fat on it, but work to get as many pieces trimmed of fat as you can off of the shoulder as you can. 

3. Transfer the chile/tomato mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the chile mixture through a fine metal mesh strainer into a bowl. Press on the mixture with a spatula to get as much liquid out as possible. 

4. Return the sauce to the pot and add the meat. Stir the mixture to make sure the meat is thoroughly coated.  Partially cover the pot with a lid and cook for 90-105 minutes. Make sure to flip meat halfway through cooking. Save the sauce in the pot for coating the meat after it is grilled and chopped. 

5. Take the meat out of the pot with tongs. Next you are going to grill the meat slightly on both sides so it gets a slight char and a smoky flavor. You may grill the meat on a gas grill or a charcoal grill  over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side, or you may broil the meat in an oven for a few minutes until the meat is slightly charred.  After grilling, let the meat cool for a few minutes before chopping it. 

6. When the meat is slightly cooled, chop with a chef's knife on a cutting board into small bite-size pieces.

7. Put the chopped meat back into the pot and stir around in the sauce to coat. Add a bit of lime juice to the sauce. 

8. Now, you are ready to assemble and enjoy your tacos! 

I hope that you enjoy these tacos and your next camping adventure! 

If you enjoyed this post, pass it on to your favorite campers & taco enthusiasts!