Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mini Meatballs and recipes

Make a big batch of these mini meatballs and then keep them in the freezer. Then you can pull them out to whip up any of these recipes. I usually make the meatball pita pizza or the meatball hero. The meatball hero is great and has veggies. I make a similar spaghetti sauce, but not this exact recipe. I omit the bacon from the meatballs and use 97 % lean hamburger. This makes for some healthy quick meals. Oh, and making 40 meatballs per pound sounds like a huge chore, but surprisingly, it takes no time at all. This recipe comes from Everyday Foods.


yield 40


1 lb lean ground beef

2 slices bacon, finely chopped (2 oz)(optional)

1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 T grated Parmesan cheese

1 T plain dried breadcrumbs

1 large egg

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp coarse salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1. In a large bowl, combine beef, bacon, parsley, garlic, cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, nutmeg, ½ tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground pepper. Shape mixture into 40 meatballs. 2 tsp each. I divide the mixture into fourths and then make ten from each quarter.

2. Arrange meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet or on two large plates. (I freeze on waxed paper) Freeze for one hour. Transfer into a Ziploc bag. Use strait from the freezer for recipes.


serves 4


1 T olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes in puree

1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes



12 oz spaghetti

28 frozen meatballs (7 per person)

grated Parmesan cheese, optional

I’d add suggest possibly adding any of the following. (I'm guessing on amounts)

1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (added with garlic and onion), 1 T fresh basil, 1/8 to 1/4 c fresh parsley, 1 tsp sugar, dash balsamic vinegar, 1/4 c wine, and more garlic.

You can also add green peppers, mushrooms or other veggies.

1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Break up whole tomatoes with your hands, then add to the pan along with crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti until al dente, according to package directions. Drain.

3. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes. ( I brown them on 3 “sides” in a separate pan and then add to sauce. (About 3 c sauce if using canned)

4. Toss with pasta and serve with Parmesan cheese.

I added a few extra veggies to the sandwich in the picture.


serves 2


1 onion, halved (through the root end)and sliced

1 yellow bell pepper (I use green) ,cut into 1/2-inch wide strips

1 zucchini, halved crosswise and lengthwise and then cut into 1/2-inch wide strips

1 T olive oil

1/4 tsp oregano (1 use more)

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

coarse salt

10 frozen meatballs (5 per serving)

2 hero rolls, split

1. Preheat oven to 400. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss onion, bell pepper, and zucchini with oil and oregano. Bake 15 minutes.

2. Sprinkle vegetables with vinegar and season with salt; toss to coat. Push vegetables to one side of the pan, place meatballs on the other end.

3. Bake until meatballs are cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. (Meatballs took me more in my cruddy oven) Serve in rolls. (I take out some bread so it closes easier)


serves 4


2 tsp olive oil

2 thinly sliced garlic cloves

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 bunch (12oz) kale, stemmed and thinly sliced (you can substitute a box of frozen spinach added directly to the soup instead. Substituting other fresh greens for the kale should work also)

1 can (19 oz) cannellini beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed

2 cans (14.5 oz) reduced sodium chicken broth

2 c water

20 frozen mini meatballs

coarse salt

1. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds. Add red pepper flakes and kale; cook until wilted, 3 minutes.

2. Add broth, beans, and water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer.

3. Add meatballs. Cover; simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with coarse salt.


serves 2


2 whole wheat pitas (6-inch)

1 c (4 oz) mozzarella cheese

1/4 c thinly sliced red onion

6 thin slices plumb tomato

8 frozen mini meatballs (4 each)

1. Preheat oven to 400. Place pitas on a baking sheet. Divide cheese, onion, and tomato between pitas. Top with meatballs, pressing them, so they don’t roll off.

2. Bake until meatballs are cooked through, cheese melted, and pitas are crisp, about 20 minutes. (this took me much longer) Serve immediately.

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