Saturday, January 24, 2009

Parmesan Meatballs

Ages ago I had this really great recipe for Parmesan Meatballs. I've no idea what happened to it, but since I got a great deal on burger at Safeway, I decided to give it a go. There seem to be two basic variations on meatballs: an Italian type for pasta and tomato sauce, and a Swedish type for gravy or cream sauce. In my opinion, this meatball came out pretty all purpose.

I started with these two recipes for reference: Parmesan Meatballs ( and Easy Baked Parmesan Meatballs ( Here's what I ended up with:
Parmesan Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef
1/2c oatmeal
1c grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. Combine all ingredients well (hands work best) . Form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on the baking sheets so they're not touching. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Makes 50-60 meatballs.
I took half of these and froze them for later. The rest I put in an airtight container until the spaghetti sauce was hot, then added the meatball to the sauce for about 5 minutes to get them warm. This made 5-6 meatballs for everyone, and was a huge hit. You could easily make a Swedish meatball sauce and serve them over rice or noodles, or heat them in barbecue sauce and serve them with toothpicks.

It's a very forgiving recipe. You could, of course, adjust the seasonings to taste. A dash of salt and pepper to taste wouldn't hurt either. I used "canned" grated Parmesan, as we buy that in the giant size from Sam's, but I have to mention that fresh grated "real" Parmesan will give you superior flavor. With my old recipe I also used to use half Italian sasuage, which is very tasty.

The oatmeal - well, the purpose of filler in a ground beef recipe (besides stretching it a bit) is to soak up juices and make the result less dry. I remembered that my old recipe had a tendency to crack, and one of my references suggested soft bread crumbs (made from fresh bread instead of dried bread). I tend to use oatmeal because I've got it but don't use it much. You never see it in the end result. Italian bread crumbs would probably work well.

What I like best, though, is these are very freezable. One day I'll be at a loss for dinner, and there in the freezer will be meatballs, just waiting!

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