Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mama Mia! Italian Meatballs

During our January Challenge I discovered that I simply could not afford pre-made frozen meatballs.  I was determined to find a meatball recipe that I actually liked so I could make a big batch and freeze them for myself.

I wanted to have a recipe for Italian style meatballs and a traditional meatball recipe.  The traditional style recipe came as a lightbulb moment.  Another blogger mentioned that she simply used her meatloaf recipe for her meatballs.  Ta-da!  I love (and my family loves) my meatloaf.  It is a recipe handed down to me by my mother.  This is one of those rare recipes that I don't tweak when I make it.  I have tried tweaking it over the years, but I always come back to the original.

For the Italian meatball recipe, after some serious trial and error, I found my meatball! The pictures and directions below are for the Italian meatballs.  I will include the recipe for my "meatloaf" meatball at the end.


2 pounds ground beef
2 teaspoons Nature's Seasoning Salt
½ teaspoon ground fennel
3 tablespoons minced onion
½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
¼ cup parsley
1 tablespoon oregano
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil

1.  Mix all ingredients together except for the olive oil.  The best way to mix this is definitely with your hands.  You want the mixture incorporated very well.  No one wants a meatball that has a big bite of fennel!  Plus, it's just fun to mix this kind of thing with your hands.  I remember growing up I loved it when my mom made meatloaf because she would let me be the one to mix it.  I thought it was so cool and gross to feel the meat and slimy eggs squeeze between my fingers.  It was quite the thrill!  And yes, I have passed that on to my daughter!

2.  Next you need to roll the balls.  I like big meatballs.  Meatballs the size of my fist would make me happy.  But realistically, I rolled these to a bit bigger than a golf ball size but not quite as big as a clementine.  Still, nice, good sized meatballs.  Make sure that when you roll them that are packed fairly tight.  You don't want them to fall apart or crumble when you try to pick them up.

3.  Use the oil to coat your baking sheet or dish.  This will help to keep the meatballs from becoming stuck to the pan.

4.  Place your rolled meatballs on the oiled pan.  You can place them close, but not so close that they are touching.

4.  Bake the meatballs at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes.  You may have to adjust the time based on the size of the meatball.  Just make sure they are baked through when you take them out.  A good way to test this is to take the biggest, juiciest meatball and cut it open.  If there isn't any pink, you're good!  Then of course, since you only want to serve the best and prettiest to your family, you will need to dispose of this now broken meatball.  In you mouth.  Slowly.  Oh, the sacrifices we make for our families!

5.  When the meatballs came out, they had more grease sitting around them than I would like to see in my arteries, so once they cooled enough to touch, I transferred them to a paper towel lined cookie sheet.  This soaked up a lot of the extra grease.

6.  Finally we move to the freezing.  Once the meatballs are cooled, place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Again, make sure they are not touching.  Stick them in the freezer until they are frozen through.  Then throw them in a ziploc bag and you're done!  Ready to use meatballs whenever you want.  To use them, throw them in with your favorite sauce or dish and just heat until heated through.  So simple.  They are great to use in crockpots.

Mom's Meatloaf Meatballs
2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
2 eggs
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon basil
1 Tablespoon parsley
Dash of pepper

Follow the same steps as the Italian Meatballs!

1 comment:

  1. OK, I HAVE to try these! Hopefully I have some bread somewhere to make crumbs from! LOVE your blog and glad to be of any kind of help to you if I can in this wonderful new journey of yours! Just email me!