Meatballs are not one of my favorite things to make, so when I do, I make plenty to freeze for later use. I always mix the meat and ingredients with my hands. I don’t like the texture or the coldness of the mixture, but unfortunately I am one of those people who don’t trust anything else other than my hands to get the job done right. It’s the texture that tells me when its mixed adequately. Some people wear plastic gloves; makes sense for people like me.
A few years ago I bought a cookie dough scoop to create uniform cookies. This scoop works in just the same way to make uniform meatballs that cook like a dream. Add the silpat sheet to the baking tray and now making meatballs is quick and easy!
3 pounds 80 % ground beef (feel free to create your own mix of ground meats)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup Italian shredded cheese (parmesan, romano)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black coarsely ground pepper (I use butcher ground pepper)
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1 package french onion soup mix (or 1/4 cup bulk mix)
1-2 tsp Italian spice mix
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
5-10 squirts hot sauce, or flavor to your taste
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until meat is uniform and easily makes a ball. Using the cookie dough scoop, or a tablespoon, spoon the meat balls onto a baking tray. I use my standard size heavy-duty cookie sheet purchased from E & S Bulk Sales, an Amish bulk foods supply in Shipshewana, Indiana. It cost about 7 dollars and works wonderfully!!! To make clean up easy, line the sheet with a silpat, aluminum foil, or parchment paper.
Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, or until evenly browned.
Begin with your favorite green leaf salad, and add one of the following:
Spaghetti or fettucine with browned butter and mizithra cheese (of the Old Spaghetti Factory menu), or
Spaghetti or fettucine with red (tomato base) or white (alfredo) sauce of your choice.
Pasta is good with mushrooms, sliced sweet peppers, onions, shredded and steamed carrots or zucchini, broccoli, celery, or any vegetable of your choice.
A Food Saver vacuum sealer is worth the investment, in my opinion, if you freeze much produce or meat. Items stay perfect in the freezer without freezer burn for months, unlike traditional freezer zip-lock bags. As you can see however, I do use zip-lock bags for items I know will be used within a few months time. Cool the meatballs before placing in the freezer to reduce the energy needed to freeze them.
This recipe is a winner with my family and I can now look forward to an easy and tasty meal in the near future, thanks to the packages of meatballs in my freezer. Preparing your own food at home is such a rewarding and simple pleasure of life. Share the process with your kids and help them learn nutritious and healthy eating styles to last a lifetime!