Meatballs – in the oven

Seriously, I have yet to find a recipe that is better. I was never very good at frying bacon (always seemed to burn it) or making meatballs (they always came out hard like hockey pucks) in a pan. So I started making both in the oven. 

Bacon

Bacon is so easy in the oven!!! Place bacon on a baking sheet (line with aluminum foil, to catch grease), place in oven (unheated, don’t preheat!), turn oven on and set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and let bake for 15-22 minutes (depends on the number on slices, I find 7 slices need at least 22). Remove from oven and place (or as I do roll up) on paper towels. Bacon is perfect every time. 

Meatballs

I found a recipe a while back that used all ground pork in their recipe, I like pork, but I prefer a mix, so I changed it up a bit. I use half ground pork and half ground beef. There’s also milk, bread (good bread!), seasoned bread crumbs (I buy plain and add my own seasoning), garlic seasoning* (I create my own with equal parts salt, organic garlic powder, and black pepper), eggs, and cheese (I use a 3 cheese blend, Romano, Parmesan and Asiago). Soak bread with milk then add remaining ingredients. Mix, I prefer to do this with my hands as opposed to a spoon, until throughly combined. I do it with my hands because the bread pieces (soaked with milk) need to be broken apart a little further (especially if it has a good crust on it). You could break it apart with a potato ricer, before adding he remaining ingredients, but there’s something cathartic about the squishiness. 

Once it’s all together you’ll need to form the meatballs. Here’s where I turn on the oven (set to 350 degrees again, but here you will need to preheat).  I’ve got two sizes I like to make an 1/8th of a cup (or 2 tablespoons) and newly attempted 1 tablespoon sized meatballs. Let me say, right now, that the smaller size is awesome; easier to cut into smaller pieces for the kids and poppable for adults! I use a 1 tablespoon scoop and I’ve just purchased a 2 tablespoon one as well, which I’ll test out next time. Spray your dish/tray with a non-stock spray or coat with oil. Place formed meatballs on dish and place in oven.

You can see, in the picture below, that there are still some larger pieces of bread visible, I like it that way. This recipe will make roughly 80 mini meatballs or 40 1/8th cup sizes meatballs. 


The larger ones…


Place in oven and cool them for 35-45 minutes (shorter time for the smaller ones and longer for larger). The way I know they’re done is when I life a meatball off the tray it’s got a crispy bottom). 

Recipe

3 slices Italian white bread (not wonder bread!)
1/2 cup milk (I use whole organic)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80/20)
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
3 eggs (whisked)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic seasoning* (see above)
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs 
1/2 cup three cheese shredded blend (Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago)

1. Soak bread with milk, allow bread to fully absorb milk.
2. Add meat, whisked eggs, garlic seasoning, breadcrumbs, and cheese and mix thoroughly
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 
4. Spray Pyrex dish with nonstick spray.  Shape mixture into meatballs and place in dish, making sure that meatballs are not touching.
5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on size. Start checking at 35 minutes. The bottoms of the meatballs should be toasted/brown colored.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a little bit. I make my own marinara sauce and transfer the meatballs to the sauce for further cooking/absorbing flavor. This is totally optional, as these meatballs are delicious on their own.

I’ll make a separate post for the marinara sauce, also a delicious (and simple) recipe.

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