Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meatball recipe to the rescue

I purposely did not attach a recipe to my recent posting about meatballs because I kind of just wing it each time. In my mind everything is negotiable. I realize this is not the most helpful way to go about cooking so I simply neglected to put anything. However, this could be construed as somewhat cruel after making boosting comments about how good meatballs are and then not writing about how to make them.

First things first, I am not opposed to buying frozen meatballs. Trader Joe's has a great variety of turkey meatballs. One bag is only about $4 and they are pretty good and super easy - just heat them up.

But let's not lie, nothing is the same as homemade, so here is my best attempt at capturing my method for meatballs.

*Pick your meat: Beef or Turkey, If opting for beef this is one of those times where less fat is a good thing. You don't want your meatballs floating away on grease. I use about a 1lb package.
*one egg
*1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
*1 cup bread crumbs - I always use 2 or 3 slices of whole wheat bread in the food processor
*1 Tbsp oregano
*1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
*1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves), garlic powder works too
*1/4 cup onion or green peppers or both (ground in food processor)
*1/4 -1/2 cup ketchup

Throw together and mix with hand or spoon. I make about 1inch balls. I find the best, simplest, and easiest to clean up after method for meatballs is baking them. Foil a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remember the time varies with the size of the balls.

Now here are all of the cravats. The portions above are types of ratios. When I make the meatballs I don't really measure the bread crumbs or ketchup. There is a certain consistency you are trying go for - moist but solid in the squishy beef mixture solid way. You should get this feeling as you are mixing everything together. If all the ingredients are not coming together you need a bit more ketchup. If things feel a bit wet and you cannot form perfect round balls probably need a bit more bread crumbs. It sounds complicated but once you practice a couple of times you should know what I mean. I am confident within two attempts you should be golden.

As mentioned above, baking is not the only method. Putting them in a heated skillet also works well but takes more hands on time. You cannot make them all at once and you must stand there turning them around in the pans. By baking you pop them in the oven for 20 minutes and walk away. Once you remove the meatballs from the pan you can throw the foil out and clean up is done.

I have frozen the cooked meatballs as well, and they last for about 2 weeks. Just take out the night before you want to use them. You can also make them up Sunday night, they last for about 2 or 3 days in the refridgerator after they are baked.

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