Don't you just love it when you're on your game and you are just all ready and prepared for life? Kid needs a permission slip? You already signed it! Boss needs that project wrapped up ASAP? You say it's already in their inbox! You are awesome. Let's not forget, the family is hungry. No problem. You made up these meatballs last week and you can pop them out of the freezer and into your sauce and you've just made an awesome and not to mention impressive homemade meal.
These are easy to make and yet will taste so much better than anything you will buy from the freezer. Not to mention it's the perfect way to use up that extra package of ground beef you bought and never got around to cooking.
My best meatball tips:
- Use your hands to mix, but be gentle. Over-mixing will make tough meatballs so mix until just evenly combined
- Use an ice cream scooper or something similar so that you have the same amount for every meatball. This will help prevent undercooked or overcooked meatballs
- Use panko breadcrumbs soaked in milk for a quick solution when you don't want to make breadcrumbs - they really make the meatballs tender
- Broil first to get a nice brown crust, then bake until completely done and no pink remains
- To freeze place meatballs an inch or so apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze for a couple of hours. Then you can toss them in a zippered freezer bag and they will not stick together or get squished
Next time you have a little extra time just whip these up and be prepared for the next dinner emergency!
Freezer: Make-Ahead Italian Meatballs
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork sausage (I used sage flavor)
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning blend
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Line large cookie sheet with foil and set aside
- Add milk to panko bread crumbs and let soak for 5 minutes
- In mixing bowl add both meats along with seasonings and egg
- Add soaked bread crumbs
- Using hands gently mix until well combined but be careful not to overwork
- Using an ice cream scooper to ensure uniform size scoop meat into hands and gently roll into a ball shape
- Place on foil lined cookie sheet and repeat until all meat mixture is used up
- Place cookie sheet in oven and turn on broiler
- Broil for about 8 minutes until lightly browned and crispy and then carefully flip meatballs and broil for about another 4 minutes
- Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees and let meatballs continue to cook for about another 10 minutes or until cooked through
- Remove from oven and let cool completely
- Transfer cooked meatballs to a clean parchment paper lined cookie sheet
- Place in freezer for about 2 hours or until firm
- At this point you can transfer meatballs to a zippered bag and return to the freezer for up to 4 months and they will hold their shape
- Use in recipes calling for cooked Italian meatballs
Interested Person says
I always make my crumbs by using whole grain bread and or cracker crumbs. Panko is a good sub.
Also, I always add some grated romano or whatever cheese, as it adds flavor.
Good luck on your choices.
Yep! The panko just makes a bit quicker work of it. We had these for dinner the other night in a tomato cream sauce topped off with some fresh grated Parm. So good! Of course, adding cheese to the meatballs is always good!! The more cheese the better, right? 😉
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
I've never made my own meatballs before.. so thanks for the inspiration, these are something I have to try!
In a pinch I will certainly use store bought, but I just love homemade meatballs so much!! And they freeze so well so it makes it easier to keep them on hand!