March 5, 2012

Meatballs Made Easy

I really don’t like those prepared frozen meatballs. They have the consistency and texture of cork and a dreadful artificial flavor. That being said, they are awfully convenient and inexpensive so they’re tempting to use when you’re pimping on a budget.

I like to make huge batches of meatballs then freeze them in gallon-sized zip-top bags for easy use. It’s not expensive to make meatballs but it can be time consuming. And that’s why I figured out a super easy way to make them. Holla!

I make mine two different ways: Basic (like for appetizers and Swedish Meatballs) and also Italian (for subs, lasagna and spaghetti).



Basic Meatballs
1 small onion, grated
1 egg
1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/3 pounds ground beef
1/3 cup plain dried bread crumbs

In a medium bowl combine onion, egg, worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic powder; mix well.

Crumble ground beef into mixture and mix with your hands until just combined. Don’t “squeeze” the mixture with your hands – overworking the meat is what yields that “corky” texture.

Add bread crumbs and continue to mix the ingredients until everything is just combined.

Now comes the easy part. Turn mixture out onto a cutting board or clean counter and shape into a rectangle. Pat her down good and keep working on it until it’s perfectly shaped.

Using a sharp knife, cut the mixture into 24 squares (or less if you like bigger meatballs). Now your work is halfway done because you don’t have to stand there and eyeball the amount you’re using to make uniformly sized meatballs. Roll each square into a ball. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and spray with cooking spray.

Place meatballs onto baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Baking makes this process sooooo much easier. The meatballs cook so much more evenly and so long as you cook them in a nice hot oven, the outsides get a nice sear too.

*you might notice that the onions (the actual onions, not THE onions) are diced and not grated in the photos. That's because THE onions were using my box grater to shred crayons for an art project (and I didn't feel like dirtying up my food processor for one onion). Definitely grate your onion, though... dicing them leaves a little too much "bite".

Italian Meatballs
1 small onion, grated
1 egg
1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/3 pounds ground beef
1/3 cup Italian dried bread crumbs

In a medium bowl combine onion, egg, worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic powder; mix well.

Crumble ground beef into mixture and mix with your hands until just combined. Don’t “squeeze” the mixture with your hands – overworking the meat is what yields that “corky” texture.

Add bread crumbs and continue to mix the ingredients until everything is just combined.

Turn mixture out onto a cutting board or clean counter and shape into a rectangle. Pat her down good and keep working on it until it’s perfectly shaped.

Using a sharp knife, cut the mixture into 24 squares (or less if you like bigger meatballs). Roll each square into a ball. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and spray with cooking spray. Place meatballs onto baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

PRINTABLE RECIPE



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19 comments:

  1. That rectangle trick is brilliant. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. PS, I just "pinned" this recipe, too!

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  3. Girl...I just pinned this to Pinterest. In less than 10 minutes it had 3 likes and 7 repins (and I don't know any of the people!) :-)

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    Replies
    1. That's AMAZEBALLS! Thanks for pinning it!

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  4. This is SO good! I used ground turkey (trying to be a little healthier) and I browned them in my cast iron skillet in olive oil for a few seconds before I put them in the oven. Then I cut out some of the oven time! Definitely making this again...thanks for sharing!

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    1. Wow, Ali... I only just now seeing this! Thank you for your comment and I'm so glad you liked the recipe!

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  5. My Mom's secret to great meatballs. Broil the meatballs about 10 minutes & turn & cook another 10 minutes. If you make homemade spaghetti sauce, turn the heat down to a slow simmer, add the meatballs, and allow them to cook in the sauce for about 3 hours. They are the most delicious meatballs you will ever have!!

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  6. I made these and thought it looked like a lot of pepper when I mixed them up...I made a double recipe and only used 1/2 the pepper. Glad I did, they were too hot for me (I'm a bit of a wimp), but my husband loved them! I browned them in a skillet with a little olive oil and put them in the crockpot with some BBQ sauce....cut down on the heat in this darned hot weather. I will definitely make them again, just cut down on the pepper. I love the idea for cutting them. They were all the same size,no hassle. Thank you for sharing!!!

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  7. I'm going to be trying these tonight when I make spaghetti for dinner. My dad requested meatballs and I've never made them, but these look pretty simple. It will make a lot more than we will eat, so I was wondering if I can freeze them once they are cooked? Then I could just pull them out another time and reheat. Would that work? Thanks! I'm really looking forward to trying these!!

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely! I make huge batches and freeze them. Once cooked, let the meatballs cool completely then place in a large zip-top freezer bag. I pop a few into jarred spaghetti sauce when I'm heating it and then by the time the pasta is done, I've got spaghetti & meatballs. I hope you dad likes them!

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  8. Made a large batch of these today and served them with spaghetti tonight! Oh love! Family went nuts over them~making another batch tomorrow to freeze. Thank you so much!

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    Replies
    1. You just made my day! I'm so glad everyone liked them. Thank you so much for letting me know!

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  9. When I made mine I grated a couple cloves of fresh garlic into the mixture. Tasted great.
    Thanks for sharing your secret for quickly making them the same size.

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  10. Maybe I'm blind and just missed it but how much Westchester does the recipe call for? Thanks!

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    1. Whoa... so weird! The measurement was missing?! I was in this a few days ago and maybe I accidentally deleted it (???). I've read over it to make sure nothing else was missing and I don't think so. Thanks for asking!

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  11. I used my cookie dough scoop to make them all the same size. Even quicker than having to rectangle them. :)

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  12. I just found your site and I've already printed 3 cake recipes for my family reunion this summer [if I can wait that long.]and the one with sausage and rice to try very soon. When I make meatballs I boil them instead of fry or bake them. I love your site and plan to visit often.

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