Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mega-batch Meatballs...

Ok, here's another "no photo" post...unless I manage to take a picture of the finished product...we'll see :) But I wanted to get this post up while the recipe was fresh in the front of my head so that you all can benefit from it :) 

Every month or so I make what I call my "Mega-batch Meatballs". This is just an extra-large batch of "plain" meatballs that I make, divide into meal-sized portions and freeze for later use.  It really is a big time-saver as well as a sanity saver to have these in the freezer for last minute dinners. 

We use them for everything from spaghetti/ravioli and meatballs to Swedish meatballs, to meatball soup to meatball sandwiches to meatball lasagna... Really, the ideas are endless for what you can do with these! 

One of the big secrets to making big batch meatballs though is in the making and cooking of them.  I use a "cookie scoop" (disher) to create same-sized meatballs, scooping them out then rolling with gloved hands (only because I don't like the feel of raw meat!).  Once they're rolled, I place them all on a rimmed baking sheet, pretty close together, and pop them in the oven to bake until done. I usually get about 4 dozen on a sheet, each about 2" in diameter.  

Once they're baked and cooled, I put them in freezer bags (I use a vacuum sealer) and freeze. I can then use them straight from frozen if making spaghetti/ravioli by dropping the bags into the water with the pasta to thaw, or can thaw them overnight for other uses. 

Four pounds of ground meat generates about 5 dozen meatballs, which is enough for 5 meals in this house with leftovers. You can double this recipe if you like to make even more or half it to make fewer.  It's a very forgiving recipe and you can add your own favorite spices, use fresh or canned breadcrumbs, skip the milk, etc. as you like.  I hope you'll give this recipe a try and then let me know what you think!

Note: Back in 2009 I posted another meatball recipe from the Make-A-Mix cookbook... I like that recipe as well, but like this one better with the combination of beef and pork...

Mega-Batch Meatballs

2 lbs ground beef (I prefer 85/15 ground chuck)
2 lbs ground pork
2 pkg. Lipton onion soup mix (one box)
4 eggs
2 cups dried breadcrumbs (homemade or store-bought, plain or Italian style)
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 tbsp Italian seasoning (optional, not necessary if using Italian style breadcrumbs)

Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk together eggs, water and milk. In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs and soup mix.  Add liquid ingredients and mix to combine. Allow to stand 5 minutes to hydrate. Add ground meats and throughly combine with gloved hands. Using a cookie scoop (disher), scoop out mounds of meat and then roll to make balls. Place close together on an ungreased rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned. Use immediately or, if freezing for later use, allow to cool, then package and freeze. To use from freezer, either thaw overnight in the fridge or, if using with pasta, drop frozen package into boiling pasta water to thaw, then combine with sauce. Enjoy!

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