Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bake It Off

I feel a bit guilty because I haven't been devoting as much of my brain, keystrokes and energy toward my beautiful blog.  I've been working on the very beginning of my book, which I need to submit to school by the middle of May.  It's super-exciting (the prospect of school, not necessarily the beginning of the book, although I really hope so), but I miss my food.  I've been working on a great post about my dad's unbelievable wine collection, but I'm still not done.  So, I'll talk about meatballs for now. 

Meatballs can be kind of tricky, especially if you follow most mainstream recipes like the one in the Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook.  That's my first cookbook and the one I learned to cook with, bought during a school book fair while I was still living in the dorms.  Not a whole lot I could do with it when I only had a microwave, mini-fridge and contraband hot plate, but I tried my best. 

I remember my first round of Swedish Meatballs, created in the laughably small kitchen inside my first apartment, about the size of my current bedroom closet.  Carefully following the directions, I put each little ball in a skillet to brown on each side.  The end result?  Completely charred balls with cool, pinky insides.  The Swedes would not have approved, nor rewarded me with tulips and wooden shoes.

Or is that the Dutch?  What would the Swedes give?  Pickled herring?  Maybe it's a good thing I pissed them off.

The secret I've found to perfect meatballs is - baking them in the oven! 

They cook evenly, stay moist, and taste delicious when tossed into some spaghetti sauce.  If you're concerned about excess grease, just remove them from the sheet after baking and place on paper towels to drain.  For these beef meatballs, I used lean ground beef from the farm near my parent's house.  They were delicious.  For me, I used ground turkey.  Healthier, but not as good.  The story of my life. 

If you don't want to use them in spaghetti, Matt's trick is to squeeze some sriracha sauce and eat them straight off the sheet.  I have absolutely no objections to this method. 

Better-Than-Schwan's Meatballs
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup minced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Heavy shake of worchestershireshehshchrereiopure sauce
1 teaspoon Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle, or Italian seasoning

Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Mix them together with your hands - spoons are worthless for this!  After well combined, roll into 1" balls.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until well browned on the outside.  After that, toss with warmed marinara/spaghetti sauce, or eat straight off the sheet with sriracha.  Oooh, you could make a meatball sub too!  Or, if you used chili powder instead of Italian Seasoning, these would be great warmed with some BBQ sauce as an appetizer.

Whatever.  They're juicy balls of meat.  You really can't lose.
Salt and pepper


  1. Wow these look so good! I don't know what sriracha sauce is but I'm sure if Matt likes it, its great. There's always that yummy sauce from William Sonoma cut with some non fat sour cream and sauteed onion and mushroom over egg noodles for a great version of stroganoff too.

  2. It's the red Asian sauce that's in the bottle with a rooster on it and a green cap. You'd know it if you saw it. Which sauce from Williams-Sonoma that I'll pray ends up in the short-to-code basket are you referring to?

  3. right now I have a Fig Bourgogne but any of their beef based sauces would be good.

  4. Your blog will be so much more helpful for me after my Korea stint. Damn Koreans and their lack of ovens! Think I could pull this recipe off in a toaster oven?

  5. LOL! I'm not sure, I've never had a toaster oven! You could maybe do a little tray of mini meatballs.

    I think I have one of their beef sauces in the pantry. I never thought of using it that way. Thanks mawm! :)

  6. It might depend on whether the toaster oven has a bake setting. If so, go for it. Since there's only two of us in the house, I use my toaster oven for lots of half recipes. I've baked fish, casseroles, and bread in there.