Monday, December 31, 2012

Mini Meatballs

Maybe it's because I'm Italian. Maybe it's because I like beef. Maybe it's because unadorned spaghetti is so sad to me. But I love meatballs. Not just a ball of meat, meatballs are like mini meatloaves, with all kinds of yummy good stuff rolled up in them.

Have you ever bought a bag of those frozen pre-made meatballs? Um, ew. I'll admit I have bought them in a pinch, but they're spongy, flavorless, and just odd. They remind me of school lunch, but maybe a little worse. I'd much rather make my own. And then I like to share them with you! Of course, they don't have to be mini. You could make them whatever size you want, but I like the minis for soups and kids plates and such.

Mini Meatballs
Makes about 50 mini meatballs

What I use:
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 Tbsp. seasoned salt
  • 1 Tbsp. water
How I do it:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, beat the egg, then add the breadcrumbs, garlic, Italian seasoning, seasoned salt, and water. Mix well with a fork.
3. Put the ground beef in a medium bowl and pour the egg mixture over the beef.
4. Mix the beef and egg mixture together with a wooden spoon. (I used to use my hands, but it's too easy to overmix it and end up with tough meatballs.)
5. Shape the meat mixture into little balls, about the size of a cherry. Using a tiny ice cream scoop will make this an easy job, but you can use a spoon or your hands as well.
6. Place the meatballs onto a foil-lined baking sheet, about 1 inch apart, so they brown all evenly. (You can bake them on a metal rack over the foil-lined sheet to allow the fat to drain away; see picture above.)
7. Bake for 15 minutes.
Serve immediately or freeze for later. To freeze, pat the meatballs dry with a paper towel and place on a rack or baking sheet. Freeze for one hour, until frozen solid. Place the meatballs in a freezer bag. Reheat by cooking in sauce or soup for 10 minutes.

You can use them in soups, spaghetti, or make mini meatball sliders like these:

The boys love these!

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