Snowed In and Homemade Meatballs

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What do I do when I am sick of the news replaying details of the most recent storm and constantly discussing the polar vortex and minus freezing temperatures…..I make a big batch of mini-meatballs. School was cancelled yesterday so I had the perfect excuse to hide away in the kitchen and cook.  

A hot, steaming bowl of spaghetti with my mini-meatballs. YUM!

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I usually begin with one package each of ground beef and ground pork but on this occasion I only had beef and was not going to brave the cold temperatures to run to the market for pork.  So I have only beef for this recipe.  The rest of my ingredients are eggs, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, milk, sriracha hot sauce.

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I begin my dicing up the onion and then placing the onion and about 2 tablespoons of minced garlic into a hot skillet.  Saute these until they are soft.  I am trying to take the bite out of the onion and garlic.  Cooking it until soft and transparent works better for these small meatballs.  When onions are softened and translucent set mix aside to cool. 

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Next prep the ground beef…whole package into a big bowl.  Break the beef apart with your hands, add in 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of bread crumbs, 2 eggs (beaten), salt & pepper, and 1 teaspoon of sriracha hot sauce.  If you do not like heat in your meatballs then do not add the sriracha.  This stuff is very strong and a little bit goes a very long way.

So now you should have your ground beef with all the extras in a big bowl, time to get your hands dirty.  Using both hands mix all the ingredients into the ground beef.  Once all the ingredients are incorporated (about 3 minutes of mixing) you are ready to make meatballs.  Make sure you have a cutting board or platter ready to line up the meatballs as you finish each one.

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I roll about a tablespoon of the ground beef mixture into a ball, place on cutting board and so on until I can fill a freezer bag with about 55-58 meatballs.  It helps to have a cookie sheet on hand so you can slide your bag full of meatballs onto it and then the next bag on top and place the whole thing in the freezer.  Cookie sheet can be taken out once the meatballs have frozen in the bags.  This recipe made about 125 meatballs.

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I keep about 25 meatballs on the side to use for the evening meal.  Heat up a skillet (medium heat) with a little bit of olive oil.  One the oil is hot I drop in my meatballs.  The goal here is to brown them all over.  They will finish in the sauce so I am not trying to cook them through at this point.

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I use tongs to turn each meatball so they brown all over.

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In the photos below you can see that the meatballs are nicely browned but not in the least bit cooked completely.  At this point they are ready for sauce.

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A whole jar of tomato sauce goes in over the meatballs.  I use the same skillet they were browned in as I don’t want to lose all the good bits on the bottom of the skillet.  I add in about of cup of good red wine, cover the skillet and let the sauce reduce.  In about 20-30 minutes I have the most wonderful sauce…the meatballs have finished in the tomato sauce and red wine, all the crispy bits from the bottom of the skillet have been stirred into the sauce and it is just heavenly.

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Spaghetti with meatballs, for me the ultimate comfort food.   

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If tonight’s storm is as bad as the weatherman says then tomorrow will be a snow day as well.  Luckily I have bags of meatballs in the freezer ready to go.  I am thinking meatball grinders…

Stay safe and warm!

-Andi


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