Meaty Meatballs!

23 Oct

I have never been a huge meatball fan.  I really didn’t have them growing up, and it just seemed easier to make a meat sauce with ground beef rather than the extra step of making meatballs. And a meat sauce is a better way to stretch food dollars, so I had another good reason to make meat sauce instead of meatballs and marinara.  I have nothing against meatballs, I just didn’t usually have the time to make and cook the meatballs.  But fall is here, and comfort food is front and center.  So is being versatile with 1 food item.  So I made meatballs!

I had been asking my friends about meatball recipes.  If I was going to jump into this pond, I wanted a real whiz bang recipe.  The meatball had to be worth the effort!  I had a pretty good idea what the recipe would be like, but wanted to hear others “secrets” to this dish.  I heard lots of great information, and also peeked at some recipes in some cookbooks.

Not only did I think about the ingredients, I learned about how to cook meatballs.  The cooking methods ranged from baking to frying to throwing them into marinara raw and letting them cook for hours.  I took all the pointers and let it simmer in my own creative juices for a bit.  Then I went about creating my own fabulous meatball!  This is what turned up.

Mama’s Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2-1 pound mild italian sausage

1/4 cup bread crumbs moistened with 3-4 T milk

1 T. Basil

1 T. parsley

1 t. salt (or to taste)

1/2 t pepper

1 T worcestershire sauce

1 beaten egg

Mix all ingredients together.  (I really dug in and mixed  this up with my bare hands.  Just squashed everything together).  Shape the meat mixture into little 1 inch balls and baked them at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

For the bread crumbs, I used my moms trick. I took some saltines as well as a few buttery crackers, crumbled them, and used that as my bread crumb mixture.  While I keep bread crumbs and Panko (light Japanese bread crumbs) in the pantry, sometimes I like to use the cracker trick.  It adds a little more flavor if you have an extra minute or two to do it.  And remember, when in the kitchen and cooking, wash your hands often.

My youngest son had friends over when I created this recipe and I decided to veer away from the typical spaghetti with meatballs.   I made meatball subs for them instead.  I had made some marinara sauce earlier that was simmering on the stove, sending delicious aromas wafting through my home.  To make the sandwich, and I made many,  I took a hogie roll, toasted it, and layered some meatballs on it.  I covered that with mozzarella cheese and put it under the broiler.   When it was hot and gooey, I slathered the sandwich with piping hot marinara and put the top of the roll on.  Well, when those sandwiches hit the table of boys, silence ensued.  Chewing noises replaced talk of the latest football game.  Delight!

This is one of the things I love about cooking…creating.  I guess that is where cake decorating comes in with baking.  Baking, to me, is chemistry, an exact science.  I like to feel my food, change my recipes, and play with ingredients.  I can’t do that while baking.  I am sure that great bakers can, but I am missing that gene in my gene pool.  But cooking brings out my creativity, and I hope that this meatball recipe gets you started in that direction.  I am a new meatball fan, and hope you become one too!

One Response to “Meaty Meatballs!”

  1. Shirley K October 24, 2011 at 1:15 am #

    Hello, well, again another fine piece of wisdom and excitement in cooking. Great recipe, I will give it a try and let yoiu know how it comes out for me, May try it on my Italian/Equador best friend. She has much wisdom in that kind of cooking. love to you, mommy

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