Sunday, February 27, 2011

Make Ahead Spicy Italian Meatballs

Meatballs are a bit of work so I like to make big batches and freeze in smaller portions. 

Sure... you can buy them in the freezer section at the grocery store, but I know exactly what is in my recipe... no fillers.
 I think the addition of fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese makes them extra nice.
 And... as an added bonus, these meatballs are baked in the oven... not fried.
Make Ahead Spicy Italian Meatballs
3 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound hot Italian bulk pork sausage (if you prefer, mild or sweet Italian sausage)
1 half of a yellow onion, finely diced (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup (packed) finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley (I used more than 1/2 a bunch of parsley)
2 eggs
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (Italian or plain)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons each dried basil and dried oregano
1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt (I used kosher salt)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 20 to 25 grinds)
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two 13"x9"x"2" pans with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Mix together gently with clean hands to distribute all ingredients.  Shape into meatballs (a little larger than golf balls).  I make 30 meatballs with this recipe.  Place into prepared pans. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until no pink remains. 

A hungry taste tester passed though the kitchen upon his return from the gym and promptly snagged two meatballs for a snack quality assurance purposes.  I ended up with four bags (each containing seven meatballs) for the freezer.  Each bag will yield one big dinner for me and my husband, as well as some smaller lunch portions to take to work for me. (Son doesn't like spaghetti and meatballs.  Crazy, huh?!)     

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