Meatballs are a staple in our house. But, I can’t stand touching raw meat! Instead of buying pre-made ones and either paying a fortune for ones I feel are acceptable without things I don’t want in them, I suck it up and make them. To make the job more bearable, I only make them about every 6 months, but when I do make them, I stock up, making enough for at least 8 meals, if not more. Yep, that’s a few hundred meatballs!
I also like to add some extra veggies to my meatballs. I’m all for sneaking vegetables in whenever possible. Of course, they also have to be gluten free. While the kids will eat them on whole wheat pasta, IronFish and I have them either alone with a salad (skipping the pasta since we aren’t much for gluten free pasta) or over spaghetti squash.
My meatball recipe isn’t too drastically different from my meatloaf recipe but I do pre-cook them before freezing. Much easier to keep their shape that way and pull out of the freezer for a last minute dinner too!
- 1.5 pounds of ground meet (I like to mix beef and turkey)
- 1 diced onion
- 1 diced green pepper
- 2 grated or finely diced carrots
- 1 Tablespoon garlic
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup oats (process them a bit in a food processor or blender if you don’t want them obviously oats)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Optional: 1 grated zucchini or a bunch of spinach or kale finely chopped
I like to mix my oats and veggies up first. My pictures are of big batches, I usually at least triple if not quadruple the recipe! If I’m using spinach or kale, I stack the leaves up, roll them and then slice them really thin. I’ve used a combo of both and included the zucchini if I have it all available. The more the merrier!
Then I throw in my eggs and Greek yogurt. And the nutmeg, which I love the little different flavor it adds, I always mean to include it with the first ingredients, but it never fails, that I remember it after I’ve got the veggies
Finally, I mix in all the meat. Eventually I give up, remove the rings and dig in with my hands. I just have to get it over with! Luckily, JuneBug likes to make meatballs so I try to make them when she is around and willing to help.
While rolling the meatballs into shape, let the oven pre-heat to 350 degrees. I try not to have unnecessary cooking tools in my house, keep to the basics and things I use frequently, but I do have a meatball pan that I definitely find useful to have. I used to use my broiler pan so the meatballs wouldn’t bake in their own grease, but I find the meatball pan worth storing in my kitchen. Every now and then the bottom part gets used when I run out of other baking dishes!
Bake the meatballs in batches and let them cool before putting them into the freezer. This is one of those things where we usually have meatballs the night I make them and then I freeze them for several other dinners.
Some nights we have meatballs the traditional way, with marinara sauce on top of pasta (or spaghetti squash) but other nights I like to mix it up. They ask for “Ikea style” meatballs some nights, so we have them alongside mashed potatoes and broccoli topped with gravy. Or with rice and a homemade sweet and sour sauce. Meatball subs are another favorite.
If you like spaghetti squash instead of pasta, poke a few holes into a whole squash and toss the it into a crock pot with a bit of water in the bottom. Let is cook up there all day. When you’re ready for it, cut it open, remove the seeds and scrape the yummy “spaghetti” out with a fork. Sometimes I toss a few in together and then freeze the cooked squash so on days when pasta is a last minute decision, I just defrost and reheat the squash.
How do you like to serve meatballs? Do you have a favorite meatball recipe?