Heather says:
This recipe is quick and so simple the kids can help. If they can roll a playdough ball, they can make a meatball. I tend to make this in large batches so I can freeze leftovers for future meals of calzones, subs, or even more spaghetti. If you have a vacuum sealer, from experience, I know they can be kept at least a year in a deep freeze. If you’re out to make a year’s worth of meatballs, I’d suggest inviting a friend over break up the monotony. Bulk cooking goes a lot faster with an extra pair of hands.

Meatballs on Spaghetti

For each pound of ground beef I add:

  • 1 lb bulk hot Italian sausage (use mild if you’d prefer, but make sure it contains no gluten if you’re opting for a gluten free version)
  • 1 finely minced clove of garlic
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 generous tsp Italian seasoning (omit if you use flavored bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or gluten-free oats

Meatballs ready for the oven

Preheat your oven to 350F. Mix above ingredients thoroughly and shape into one inch meatballs. If your mixture is a little dry, add about 1/4 cup of water to the mixture. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. If you like a crispy outer layer, switch on the broiler and watch them carefully the last few minutes.

Remove from the baking sheet and allow to drain on paper towels. Cool and freeze in dinner size portions. To thaw, heat through in marinara or pizza sauce, they’ll absorb extra flavor.



  1. CG Jenny on February 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Regarding subbing grnd turkey or chicken, it works but seems to make a denser meatball. When I have subbed, I up the bread crumbs or add some oatmeal. You should experiment to find what your family likes.

    I have a tip for shaping the meatballs.
    Once you have mixed it all together, dump it out onto a cutting board. Pat and shape into a big rectangular slab. I make mine about 1 1/4 in. thick. Now, use a long knife and cut in a grid pattern making squares as big as you patted the thickness (1 1/4 in. squares for us). Now you have it portioned out evenly and it is easier to pick them up and roll. However… I don't roll them. I just place them 1 in. apart on a cookie sheet with sides and bake for 20 minutes. The meat "wants" to be round so the chunks loose their squarishness. But even if they still look squary, who cares? They still taste the same and I have never had anyone comment on the shape of my meatballs. Have you?

    This also works well with chilled cookie dough! I was doing it 35 years ago, before pillsbury started making their break apart cookies.

  2. Shelyn on February 8, 2010 at 3:14 am

    How about substituting the ground beef with ground chicken/turkey to help lower the fat content?

    • Heather on February 8, 2010 at 8:18 pm

      That works, but there is a chance they will be drier. This isn’t too much of a concern if they are simmered in a sauce before serving.

  3. newscoma on April 10, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    I love this site.

  4. Home Ec 101 » Blog Archive » Menu Monday 4/9 on April 10, 2007 at 7:39 am

    […] – spaghetti and meatballs, tossed salad (The in-laws took us out for dinner on what would have been taco night. Consequently […]

  5. Ann on April 10, 2007 at 7:12 am

    I love meatballs, but I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never made them. I always by the low-fat version at Aldi’s, which are good, but I’m sure that don’t compare to homemade in taste or healthiness. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Heather on April 9, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    I think taste-wise they are very similar,but you could easily pan fry a few and compare them yourself. We prefer to bake them as it lets some of the fat drain off. If I’m feeling particularly health conscious I’ll use a broiling pan to let more fat drip off.

    Make these whatever diameter you’d like, we just prefer the smaller ones for their versatility. It’s harder to stuff a 2″ one into a calzone. You will need to adjust the baking time accordingly.


  7. Howard on April 9, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    I’ve done meatballs only once (2″ diameter), and I deep fried them in olive oil before letting them simmer for 30 minutes in marinara. How does baking/broiling them compare taste-wise?


    • CG Jenny on February 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm

      I have found that baking the meatballs compared well with deep frying, for flavor. Once you simmer in a sauce, any difference between the 2 methods of cooking the meatballs disappears.

      I triple or quadruple the recipe and put a bunch in the freezer. When I want to use them, I just dump as many as I need in the crockpot and cover with my sauce of choice. An amazingly easy dinner.

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