Hey … it's Debbie. I thought I would hijack Jeff’s blog while he’s off prank calling his ex's and throwing snow balls at coworkers. I thought I'd use his space to share my meatballs...don’t tell him and ruin the fun. I know Jeff cook’s stuff, but he doesn’t make meatballs as good as mine, so here you go:
I make them a little different every time. I've experimented with different recipes over the years at many home poker games, and they always get good reviews. I hardly ever measure things out exactly, but for this recipe I’ll give you a rough estimate – and when in doubt with the seasonings for this recipe – just ADD MORE than you think you should. I figured out the reason many people's meatballs taste like little rolled up hamburgers is because they don't put enough seasonings in!
Here's what you need:
- Ground Beef (80/20 is actually the best kind for meatballs - the grease it creates when baking helps add to the flavor). I use about 2/3 of a family pack of burger and make about 80 meatballs from it. If you want to make this healthier you can use ground turkey.
- Parmesan Cheese (I buy Kraft or store brand cheese in the shaker bottle and use the whole thing)
- Shredded cheddar cheese (again, I just pretty much dump the whole bag in!)
- Italian seasoned bread crumbs (the small container, you’ll sprinkle these in until you get the right consistency for the meatballs to stay rolled together)
- Grape Jelly (yes... grape jelly)
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup Mayo
- 1 onion
- Garlic powder or crushed garlic (I prefer the Garlic Garlic seasoning from Tastefully Simple but you can use whatever you have on hand).
- Onion powder or onion flakes (Again, I use Tastefully Simple Onion Onion in the baby shower meatballs but any kind will work)
Here's what you do:
Get a huge bowl and dump the ground beef in. Then add about half the small container of bread crumbs to start with, parm cheese, and cheddar cheese. Add a lot of garlic powder or several tablespoons of crushed garlic - remember a lot is the trick - and add the same amount of onion powder. Mix it up really good (I usually put plastic gloves on and mix by hand).
Chop the onion really fine and mix that in.
Add 3-4 tablespoons of grape jelly. (if you don't have grape jelly you can add the same amount of sugar)
Add 2 eggs and mix again. If it doesn't seem very sticky, you then add mayo to make sure it's going to stay together, or you may need to add more breadcrumbs to get the right consistency.
Once it's all mixed up really good, start rolling into meatballs and put on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. I pull it out and break one open with a fork to make sure it's cooked all the way around 18 minutes. They're usually done but if you want the bottom to get a slight crunch to it, you can leave it in a minute or two longer.
If you’re not worried about calories or excessive sugar, while they're sitting on the cookie sheet and still warm, sprinkle a little white sugar on them so it melts in. I know. Lots of sugar. I never said these were the healthy version!
I let them cool a little after they bake so they don't all break apart when I take them off the cookie sheet.
I like to use two different kinds of spaghetti sauce if I'm not making my own – combine a meat sauce and a traditional marinara for example. Cover the bottom of your crockpot with sauce and put in some of the meatballs. Cover the meatballs with more sauce and add the rest of your meatballs on top of that later of sauce, then add the rest of your sauce! Don't stir them or they'll all break apart.
The other trick is to let them sit in the crock pot at room temperature until they cool off- then store in the refrigerator over night and then take them out in the morning. Bring back to room temperature, then put on low heat until they are heated through. (Try not to stir them). For whatever reason, sitting over night like that really enhances the flavor.
Serve with Italian rolls (perfect for parties), maybe toss some shredded mozzarella on top - or with spaghetti.
Sometimes in place of bread crumbs I will take Honey Bunches of Oats cereal and grind it up in the food processor! These come out SO GOOD - if I use cereal for bread crumbs I don't add sugar or grape jelly because the cereal adds the sweetness itself.