Homemade Meatballs

This recipe is for a big batch of meatballs, intended to be prepped ahead and frozen for use in dishes such as traditional spaghetti and meatballs, meatball soups, meatball sandwiches, appetizer meatballs, etc.

Yield: 80 meatballs if formed into balls using approximately 2 tablespoons of meatball mixture. I typically use a cookie scoop to measure so I get uniform meatballs. Meatballs can be made larger or smaller to your preference. I like mine to be 2 tablespoon size as they reduce slightly when cooked and make the perfect 1-2 bite meatball. This recipe can also be reduced to 1/4 the amounts listed to make approximately 20 meatballs for a single meal and used immediately.

This recipe has very basic seasoning and is neutral so that flavors so the meatballs can marry with a variety of sauces and soup bases. This allows for versatile use of these meatballs in a variety of dishes.

Ingredients

20 oz. Ground Pork
32 oz. Ground Beef
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
15 oz. Ricotta Cheese
1 Cup Dry Bread Crumbs
4 Eggs, beaten
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley

Instructions

  1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly to combine and evenly distribute seasonings.
  3. Using a measuring spoon or scoop, measure meat mixture into the preferred size meatball.
  4. Place meatballs in uniform rows on the parchment paper until you fill baking sheets. Keep going until you run out of meat mixture. You can place the meatballs very close to each other, but do not let them touch.
  5. Cover meatballs lightly with plastic wrap and place baking sheets in freezer for 2 hours until meatballs are frozen.
  6. Remove meatballs from freezer and package using zip-top freezer bags.
  7. Return bags to the freezer until ready to use.
  8. For use in other dishes, thaw meatballs and then cook according to the recipe direction by oven baking, pan frying or dropping into soup broth. I typically put 2 dozen into a 1 gallon bag. They lay flat in the freezer and stack nicely.

Notes

  • Place 24 to 30 meatballs into a 1 gallon zip-top freezer bag and store them in the freezer flat. By freezing before putting in bags, the meatballs will not stick together when added to the freezer bags. The desired amount of meatballs can be removed individually. The remainder can be left in the resealed bag in the freezer.
  • Other herbs and seasonings can be added as desired.
  • If using a seasoned bread crumb, you may need to reduce the salt in the recipe.

Meatloaf Parmesan

Russ usually eats whatever I put in front of him, preferring to be surprised, but every once in awhile he comes up with a request. When I was menu planning this weekend, he mentioned that we haven’t had meatloaf in a long time and that it sounded really good. I cringed inwardly.

As a general rule, I really dislike meatloaf. There have been a few occasions where friends have served it and I’ve really enjoyed it, but those have been few and far between.

Over the years, I have been trying to find a meatloaf recipe that I could even marginally enjoy. We’ve had dozens of meatloafs, but for 30 years it’s like a once a year thing. For some reason Russ liked them all, but I’ve never warmed up to meatloaf.

During this same discussion, Russ also asked me to make some Chicken Parmesan. Inspired, I decided to make a mash-up of the two which became Meatloaf Parmesan. The result was good enough to write down and make again. I could even be persuaded to take leftovers for lunch.

Ingredients

1 pound Ground Geef
1 pound Ground Pork
15 ounces Ricotta Cheese
2 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Italian Style Bread Crumbs (I used Progresso brand)
1/2 medium yellow onion,grated or processed fine in food processor
1 Tablespoon Worchestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
32 ounces Marinara Sauce, divided (purchased or homemade) 
1 1/2 Cups shredded Mozzarella
1/2 Cup shredded Parmesan

Instructions

  1. Preheat ove to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients up the salt and pepper. Add in 1/3 cup Marinara Sauce. Combine well and form into a loaf in a 13 X 9 pan.
  2. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove dish from oven, remove foil, pour remaining Marinara Sauce on top. Add shrededded cheeses on top.
  4. Return to the oven and bake uncovered another 30-40 minutes until fully cooked and cheese is browned on top.
  5. Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice into squares, spoon reserved sauce from pan on top and serve.

Beef Tips with Rice

This may be the very first recipe I actually put on paper – over 30 years ago. my little sister, EO, used to stay with me in the summers during high school. I was a single mom back then and couldn’t afford a lot of higher priced ingredients, but on special nights I’d make this. It became one of her favorites and when she married and began her family cooking she asked me to write this down.

For some reason, I haven’t made this a lot in recent years, and decided to pull out my old recipe box and make it again. It’s finally warming up a bit and Spring officially starts next week, but the nights are still cold and a warm meal is still a satisfying way to end the day.

Turns out, this recipe stood the test of time. I was surprised my early attempts held up. The addition of fresh parsely and using long grain rice are about the ony changes from the original recipe in this version.

Ingredients

1.5 to 2 lbs Siroloin Roast or Steak, cubed
1 Medium Onion, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
8 Ounces Fresh Mushrooms
1 Tablespoon Cooking Oil (high heat avocado or canola)
1/4 Cup cooking Sherry or Red Wine
2 Bay Leaves
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Sage
2 Tablespoons Beef Base or Beef Soup Granules
4 Cups Water
2 Tablespoon of a Flour & Butter Roux
1/2 teaspoon pepper or to taste
1 Tablespoon Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, minced
2-4 cups Steamed Long Grain Rice


Brown
Simmer
Beef Base Used

Instructions

  1. Add oil to a deep sided cooking skillet or stock pot and heat to medium high heat.
  2. Brown sirloin cubes in oil until beginning to caramelize.
  3. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms have released a lot of moisture.
  4. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.
  5. Deglaze pan with sherry or wine and cook til nearly evaporated.
  6. Add Water, beef base, bay leaves, and sage.
  7. Bring liquid to a simmer and cover pot. Simmer for 2 hours.
  8. Approximately 40 minutes before beef tips are done simmering, cook long-grain rice to your preferred recipe.
  9. When beef tips are done simmering, make a roux using butter and flour and quickly whisk about 2 tablespoons of roux into the simmering liquid to thicken into a gravy.
  10. Add pepper to taste.
  11. Just before serving, stir in fresh parsley.
  12. Serve over steamed rice.

Notes:

  • Best served with a simple green vegetable or salad.
  • A sprinkle of parmesan as shown is a great compliment.
  • You can substitute noodles, polenta, quinoa or whole grains for the rice.
  • Garlic bread is a nice accompaniment.