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Baked Meatballs

Baked Meatballs Extravaganza: Elevating Comfort with Flavorful Perfection

Embark on a culinary journey that encapsulates the essence of comfort food with a twist of culinary finesse – Baked Meatballs. These bite-sized delights, enriched with savory spices and succulent meats, offer a symphony of flavors that transcends the ordinary. Join us as we delve into the art of crafting the perfect Baked Meatballs, a dish that not only warms the soul but also invites creativity and customization to suit every palate.

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef (or a mix of beef and pork)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the Baking Sauce:

  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For Garnish:

  • Fresh basil or parsley, chopped
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat and Prepare Prelude: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a baking dish or line it with parchment paper, ensuring easy cleanup.
  2. Meatball Mingle: In a large bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, onion, minced garlic, egg, oregano, basil, salt, and black pepper. Mix the ingredients thoroughly until well combined.
  3. Form and Shape Sonata: With damp hands to prevent sticking, form the meat mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs. Place them in the prepared baking dish, ensuring they are evenly spaced for even cooking.
  4. Saucy Symphony: In a separate bowl, mix together crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Pour the sauce over the meatballs, ensuring each one is generously coated.
  5. Bake to Perfection: Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until they are cooked through and browned on the outside. Make sure to check the internal temperature, which should reach 160°F (71°C).
  6. Garnish with Elegance: Once baked, sprinkle chopped fresh basil or parsley and grated Parmesan cheese over the meatballs for a burst of freshness and added flavor.

Cook’s Notes:

  • Meat Selection: Experiment with different meat combinations, such as a blend of beef, pork, and veal, for a nuanced flavor profile.
  • Breadcrumbs Alternative: Substitute breadcrumbs with almond flour or grated zucchini for a low-carb variation.

Variations:

  1. Mozzarella-Stuffed Surprise Allegro: Add a cube of mozzarella cheese in the center of each meatball for a gooey, melty surprise when you bite into them.
  2. Spicy Jalapeño Tango Crescendo: Incorporate finely chopped jalapeños into the meat mixture for a spicy kick, perfect for those who enjoy a bit of heat.
  3. Mediterranean Fusion Symphony: Infuse Mediterranean flavors by adding feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives to the meat mixture. Serve with tzatziki sauce on the side.

Keto Version:

  • Almond Flour Alchemy: Replace breadcrumbs with almond flour for a keto-friendly meatball option.
  • Low-Carb Sauce Marvel: Opt for a low-carb tomato sauce or make your own by blending fresh tomatoes with garlic and herbs.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Zucchini Noodles Harmony: Serve the meatballs over spiralized zucchini noodles for a low-carb alternative to traditional pasta.
  • Cauliflower Rice Companion: Pair the meatballs with cauliflower rice for a delicious and low-carb side dish.

As you savor the delightful bites of these Baked Meatballs, relish the simplicity of a dish that brings comfort and flavor to your table. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or venture into creative variations, these meatballs serve as a canvas for culinary exploration. May your kitchen be filled with the aroma of baked goodness, and may each bite bring joy and satisfaction. Enjoy the journey of crafting the perfect Baked Meatballs, where every morsel is a testament to the artistry of home cooking!

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