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Baked Meatballs

Heavenly Baked Meatballs: A Flavorful Twist on a Classic Favorite

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Indulge in the irresistible aroma and taste of homemade baked meatballs with this delightful recipe. Perfectly seasoned and baked to golden perfection, these meatballs are a crowd-pleasing dish that will leave everyone asking for seconds. Whether served as a hearty appetizer, atop a bed of pasta, or nestled in a warm sub sandwich, these meatballs are sure to become a staple in your recipe collection. Let’s dive into the culinary magic!

Baked meatballs are a timeless comfort food that never fails to satisfy. With a perfect blend of ground beef and pork, seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices, these meatballs are tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor. Baking them in the oven allows the flavors to meld together, creating a mouthwatering dish that’s sure to impress. Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner or entertaining guests, these baked meatballs are guaranteed to be a hit.

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated from a block
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 lbs. ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground pork

For the Sauce + Cheese:

  • 32 oz marinara sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh Parsley, to garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Grease a baking dish or line it with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  2. Sauté Onion and Garlic: In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely diced onion and minced garlic, and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Prepare the Meatball Mixture: In a large mixing bowl, combine the Italian breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, oregano, kosher salt, and pepper. Add the sautéed onion and garlic mixture, milk, and egg. Mix well to combine.
  4. Incorporate the Ground Meat: Add the ground beef and ground pork to the breadcrumb mixture. Using your hands or a spoon, gently mix until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in tough meatballs.
  5. Form the Meatballs: Shape the meat mixture into uniform-sized meatballs, about 1-1.5 inches in diameter, and place them in the prepared baking dish, leaving a little space between each meatball.
  6. Bake the Meatballs: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through and browned on the outside.
  7. Add Sauce and Cheese: Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the marinara sauce over the baked meatballs. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the top.
  8. Return to Oven: Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  9. Garnish and Serve: Once the cheese is melted and bubbly, remove the baked meatballs from the oven. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired, and serve hot.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Make Ahead: These meatballs can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. This allows the flavors to meld together even more, resulting in even tastier meatballs.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond meal in place of the Italian breadcrumbs to make these meatballs gluten-free.
  • Vegetarian Variation: For a vegetarian option, substitute the ground beef and pork with plant-based alternatives such as textured vegetable protein (TVP) or lentils.

Keto and Low Carb Versions:

For those following a keto or low-carb lifestyle, here are some modifications you can make to enjoy this recipe:

  • Breadcrumbs Substitute: Replace the Italian breadcrumbs with crushed pork rinds or almond flour to reduce the carb content.
  • Sauce Modification: Use a sugar-free marinara sauce or homemade tomato sauce with no added sugars to keep the carb count low.
  • Cheese Selection: Opt for a low-carb cheese option such as shredded mozzarella or provolone for topping the meatballs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef and pork? A: Yes, ground turkey can be substituted for the ground beef and pork in this recipe. Just be aware that turkey has a leaner texture, so you may need to adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Q: Can I freeze the baked meatballs? A: Absolutely! Once baked and cooled, you can freeze the meatballs in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and warm them in the oven or microwave until heated through.

Q: Can I use store-bought marinara sauce? A: Yes, store-bought marinara sauce works perfectly fine for this recipe. However, feel free to use homemade marinara sauce if you prefer.

Q: Can I skip the cheese topping? A: While the cheese adds a deliciously melty and gooey texture to the meatballs, you can certainly omit it if you prefer. The meatballs will still be flavorful and delicious without the cheese topping.

Baked Meatballs are a comforting and versatile dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re serving them as a hearty appetizer, pairing them with pasta for a satisfying meal, or enjoying them in a warm sub sandwich, these meatballs are sure to please. With their tender texture, flavorful seasoning, and cheesy topping, they’re a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. So gather your ingredients and get ready to savor the savory goodness of homemade baked meatballs!

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