Italian Meatballs

Fall is here! That means lots of comfort food –  soup, stew and all the baked goods that warm our hearts, and by heart I mean tummy. Though I do love all those things all year round.

I try to keep our home-cooked meals simple with minimal prep time. We enjoy these Italian Meatballs all year with spaghetti and marinara sauce, a side of veggies like steamed broccoli or frozen peas and homemade garlic bread. Comforting and delicious.

Next time you’re at the store or Costco, get these seasoning mixes (see the “recipe notes” below). They are very versatile – good with roasted chicken, grilled chicken, garlic bread, pasta, soups and more. They’re good for 3 years but you’ll use them up in 6 months or maybe a year, tops. I often make Fresh Herb Italian Meatballs* but ran out of fresh herbs one day and decided to give these a try, yummy!

Italian Meatballs

Servings: 6 – 8

Prep time: 8 – 10 minutes

Bake time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef (80/20)
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs (panko)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Spice Island garlic & herb seasoning*
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup marinara sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped

* See Recipe Notes for more tips and other seasoning options

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line large baking pan with parchment paper and set aside

In a large wide bowl, gently break up the ground beef with a folk, add finely chopped onions and remaining ingredients. Gently mix by hand until combined. Do not over mix or meatballs will be tough and chewy. 

Scoop out portions, about 2 tablespoons each and place onto baking pan 1 inch apart. After meatballs have been scooped onto tray, light wet hands and gently roll into balls.

Bake for 20 minutes or until exterior is brown. Let cool 3-5 minutes, remove from pan and discard drippings. Add to your favorite sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes. Served warm with pasta of choice and topped with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. 

Recipe Notes

  • 80% lean ground beef is best, leaner meat means tougher meatballs.
  • Fresh herbs: Finely chop/grate 2 garlic cloves,1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil, 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Dry herbs: ½ tablespoon of dry garlic, rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil, 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Gently breaking up the beef before adding other ingredients helps with mixing and prevents from over-mixing. Scooping out portions before rolling the meatballs saves a lot of time and also helps with making sure they are the same size to ensure even baking.
  • Freeze half the recipe up to 3 months –  we go through ours in a couple weeks. Simply thaw in the fridge overnight before adding to our favorite sauce and reheat. Easy peasy. 
  • Other ways to enjoy these meatballs: Mix with marinara sauce, put on a bun, topped with mozzarella cheese and turn them into meatball sandwiches. Add carrots and/or mushrooms to any pasta sauce like alfredo, pesto, even enjoy with some BBQ sauce or just eat them plain as the kids often do.
  • Spice Island Garlic & Herb Seasoning – $7.69 for 17.3oz, a bargain at Costco warehouse compared to other stores ranging from $16-$20.
  • Organic Classico Tomato, Herbs & Spices – this is our go-to pasta sauce. Available at Costco, also check Target, Safeway and Instacart.

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