Saturday, April 26, 2014

Marvelous Meatballs (and My Secret Ingredient!!)

I've always enjoyed meatloaf, and I have fond memories of my grandmother's version- unfortunately, despite many attempts, I'd never really been able to make it very well.  The taste was merely acceptable, the texture subpar.  

Until last Fall, that is, when I discovered The Trick.  I was following a meatloaf recipe that called for pork sausage, an ingredient I'd never thought to include, and it was wonderful.  The texture perfect, the flavor outstanding.  I will never, ever make meatloaf without it again!

The best part?  I use the cheap stuff.  No joke, the tube of sausage that's $1.50/lb.  The stuff that's a little fattier than the expensive stuff and you really wouldn't want to fry up as patties for breakfast.

Super cheap- and for some reason PERFECT when combined with pretty much any other ground meat.  In fact, I think I oddly prefer meatloaf made with that cheap pork sausage and ground chicken to ground beef!  Weird, right?  I know.
Anyway, my stepson came over for dinner last night and I needed to throw something together for us to eat.  My husband and I had spaghetti squash and meatballs with salad (yum!) and my daughter and stepson had standard spaghetti and meatballs.

Except this wasn't "standard" at all... I used marinara made with tomatoes I canned from last Summer's garden (more on that recipe this Summer when I have a garden to play in!) and homemade meatballs, you guessed it- made with that same cheap sausage.

And they were divine!

Easy to put togehter-  and it was made all the easier by the fact that I used an 1/8 cup scoop to help form uniform balls.  Plus it made a HUGE batch, so I froze half of them to cook and use later.  Awesome, right?  This batch fed three adults and one kiddo with enough remaining for leftovers and I still have half a batch leftover in the freezer for next time!  Score!

There's something magic that happens when you add that cheap, good-for-little-else pork sausage into meatloaf or meatballs- and this recipe is no exception.  I'll DEFINITELY be making this one again- and looking forward to cooking up the meatballs I have waiting for me in the freezer too!

2 1/2 lb ground beef 
1 lb pork sausage 
2/3 C bread crumbs 
2 eggs 
1/2 C sautéed onion 
1/2 C parmesan cheese 
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning 
1 Tbsp black pepper 
1 Tbsp garlic powder 
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 
2 tsp onion powder 
1 tsp rosemary 
1/2 tsp cayenne

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients well using stand mixer with paddle attachment. Form meatballs into 2 Tbsp balls. Place on baking sheet and cook until meatballs reach internal temp of 165 degrees F (about 20 minutes), flipping halfway through cooking.  Add to simmering sauce if desired.

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