Monday, April 11, 2011

"Just Like Italy, But Without The Price Tag" Meatballs

I'm lazy! 

I love to cook first thing in the morning, but by the time dinner rolls around, I'm too tired.  In order to avoid the "let's just order in" downfall, I make sure to cook when I have the energy and freeze it for quick use later. 

Meatballs are the perfect freezer food.  They're versatile for Meatball Sandwiches, chopped up on Homemade Pizzas, or that old dinner standby Spaghetti & Meatballs. 

This recipe for meatballs is an amalgamation of a few recipes that I used while living in New Zealand where the pre-made Italian Meatballs were just not the same as home.  I think you'll find these much tastier than the pre-made ones you can get in the US, too, but most importantly, they're cheap!


1 lb Ground Turkey
2 lbs Ground Beef (I use 80/20 mix)
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
1 C Dry Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
2 Pieces Stale Bread (I like Rye, but you can use any kind), crumbled well
1/2 C Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
1-2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Garlic (according to your taste)
1 Grated Onion
1/2 Cup Graded Asiago Cheese/Parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon Seasoned Salt (You can also use Italian Seasoning)
Olive Oil

Gather all ingredients together.

Put in all ingredients into the bowl with the exception of the meat and mix it together well.

Oh!  That basil smells so good!

Add the meat and mix extremely thoroughly using your hands until the mixture appears uniform in texture.

Let the mixture sit for about a half hour on the counter.  This lets the bread crumbs absorb some of the moisture and lets the ingredients blend.  Next, form the meat into golf ball size meatballs and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Place them somewhat close together as they shrink a bit when they cook.  Drizzle with a very tiny amount of Olive Oil, and Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. 

Wow!  That's a whole lot of meatballs! 

When they've cooled a bit, put them in date-marked freezer bags.  I like to make lunch for my husband out of the previous night's dinner, so I packed 16 meatballs per bag to ensure leftovers.  Meatballs will last up to one year in the freezer.

Now the Fake-It Yourself Breakdown:

Aldi Ground Turkey $2.50, Aldi Ground Beef $5.73, Fresh Basil $2.00, Asiago Cheese $1.00
Total Fake-It Cost:  $11.23 for 64 Meatballs

Compare to Shadybrook Farms Pre-Made Meatballs @ $3.49 for 12 Meatballs, $18.61 for 64 Meatballs
Total Fake-It Savings:  $7.38

Compare to Aidell's Pre-Made Meatballs @ $5.99 for 16 Meatballs, $23.96 for 64 Meatballs
Total Fake-It Savings:  $12.73

1 comment:

  1. I made these tonight for dinner and they were delicious! I made a few adjustments because I didn't have a few of these ingredients on hand. I omitted the milk, stale bread, and basil, and I used plain bread crumbs instead of italian seasoned. I made one addition though, a few finely chopped mushrooms. My fiance doesn't like many vegetables, so I've begun sneaking a bit into dinner - he has no idea there were mushroooms in there :)

    Next time, I'll make sure to pick up some basil and italian breadcrumbs. I was thinking of doing 1 lb. turkey, 1 lb. beef, 1 lb. italian sausage next time as well! This will be a great freezer meal, thanks again for sharing!


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