Mini Italian Meatballs

The one problem with a physical injury to your lower body is that you have to limit your standing and walking time, which means that we need to think of ways to significantly cut down our cooking time.

Unwilling to sacrifice eating good wholesome food, K and I have started using our weekends to batch-make dishes that will last us through the upcoming week. Over the last 3 months, we have made giant pots of soup, hundreds of wontons and dumplings, and dozens of these mini Italian meatballs.

After they are frozen and properly stored, we can then turn them into pasta & meatballs or meatball marinara baked eggs (pictured below), or simple meatball sandwiches whenever we please. This recipe is adapted from Anne Burrell of The Food Network (we added stock, kale, and took out the veal), and we think it’s a winner.

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Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1/2 cup lacinato kale, cut into long, thin strips
Pinch crushed red pepper
1/2 pound ground beef, preferably grass fed & non-medicated
1/2 pound ground pork, also preferably medication/hormone free
2 large organic, free range eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano
1/8-1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup breadcrumbs, white or 60% whole wheat
A big splash of beef stock

  1. Coat a saute pan with olive oil, add the onions and bring to a medium-high heat. Season the onions generously with salt and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until soft and transparent.
  2. Add the garlic, kale and the crushed red pepper and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
  3. In a large bowl combine the meats, eggs, Parmigiano, parsley and bread crumbs.
  4. Add the onion/kale mixture and season generously with salt and mix some more.
  5. Add the beef stock and do 1 final mix. By this point, I’ve usually started using my hands to get everything evenly distributed.The mixture should be quite wet.
  6. If you like, you can test the seasoning of the mix by making a mini hamburger size patty and cooking it.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Using a medium ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop the meat mixture into your hands and form into meatballs.
  9. Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides.
  10. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.
  11. Serve them immediately with homemade tomato sauce on pasta, or let them cool on the baking sheet, then pop the sheet into the freezer until frozen, and store in ziplock bags.
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