April 26, 2009

Big Batch Italian Meatballs

I love to make up big batches of meatballs and freeze them. They are great for a quick spaghetti dinner, to put into BBQ sauce in the crock pot for lunch or in Italian sauce for sub sandwiches or to serve over polenta. We also like them over rice with gravy with green beans on the side. This is a recipe I adapted from The Joy of Cooking, it is so good! You can mix and match these meatballs with just about anything and you can change the spices up to suite your tastes. If you are making a casserole that calls for ground beef, you can thaw a few of these and break them up and viola! you have a great meat filling for your casserole. Whatever you do, don't skip the lemon juice, it takes them over the top! Not only are these good but it's a very frugal recipe because you can make 3 - 4 meals for 6 people with this one recipe.

Big Batch Italian Meatballs

4 lb. ground beef
4 cloves garlic
2 cup chopped parsley (or 3 Tbsp. dried parsley)
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
3 medium onions
3 stalks celery
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons oregano
olive oil

In a food processor, process onions, garlic and celery until very well minced and liquidy. Drain the liquid, set aside.

In a large bowl, add ground beef, processed vegetables, parsley, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, vinegar, lemon juice, tomato paste, salt, pepper and oregano. Mix well with your hands or use a stand mixer to blend.

Pinch off small amounts of meat (about 2 or 3 Tbsp.) with your fingers and form into balls. Brown in olive oil in batches in a skillet then put on a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Drain on paper towels. Serve or add to gravy or pasta sauce then serve. Or allow to cool and freeze in meal size portions in Ziploc bags.

Reheat in oven, microwave or crock pot. No need to thaw before reheating!


vehementflame said...

Ahhhhhh! Yum! I wish my husband wasn't allergic to beef- turkey meat balls are good...but BEEF?!! No substitute. It's so funny you posted this- I made an Indian dish called Chloe that I posted a while back- it made me think of Italian meatballs- and it calles for lemon juice too- and the dish is sooo sooo good with the lemon:)

Michele said...

That sounds really good! I love how lemon sets of spices in a dish. I make this great lentil stew that uses lemon juice as well and a Greek chicken dish... all this food talk is making me hungry! I will be looking up your Chloe recipe on your blog, the name sounds so interesting!