Meatballs with Fresh Herbs

It's no secret that I love pasta and all that goes with it . . . the sauces, the vegetables, the meats, and the herbs!  A big favorite at our house is the meatballs.  I like to make them with fresh herbs so much better than dried herbs.  So, in the summer while the garden is producing, I make up batches of meatballs and put them in the freezer.  Then in the winter, we can still have meatballs with fresh herbs! Of course, you can make this recipe with dried herbs, but it's just not quite the same.

I'm giving you the recipe for using 1 lb. of meat. Please note that these photos show a triple recipe for freezing a bunch of meatballs! Preheat over to 350°F. and gather the ingredients:

1 lb. ground meat
1 large egg
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Fresh herbs, chopped

You can use store-bought bread crumbs, but I like everything soft and fresh, so I make my own by crumbling bread in the food processor. I actually didn't have any bread in the house this day, so I used hot dog buns (same thing).

Pour the bread crumbs into a bowl and then snip off the herb leaves into the food processor, discarding the stems.  I like to use parsley, oregano, basil, sage and thyme.  I'm sorry, I don't really measure.  I would say it amounts to about a tablespoon each of the fresh herbs. If you're using dried herbs, use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon each according to your taste preference.

Pulsate the herbs in the food processor to finely chop them. I can't even describe for you the sweet, aromatic scent that fills the kitchen and lingers when you process the herbs.  Oh my! Add the herbs, the parmesan cheese, and the other seasonings to the bread crumbs.

Stir it all together well.  (I just get in there with my clean hands and fluff it around.)

Beat the eggs with a fork or whisk.  Add the eggs and the bread mixture to the meat and combine it by squishing it together with your hands. If it's not quite wet enough, you can add a little bit of milk.  You don't want it so wet that the meatballs won't stand up though.

Shape the meat mixture into two-inch balls.  I like to use this meatball shaper. I still have to roll the meatball in between my palms, but this grabs the meat in uniform sizes and it does go a little faster.

Place the meatballs on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Three pounds of meat made 45 two-inch meat balls. (I love baking on parchment paper . . . cookies, french fries, roasted vegetables, meatballs.  It keeps things from sticking and burning and is an easier cleanup.)

Bake the meatballs at 350°F. for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool and then transfer them to a tray lined with clean parchment paper.  Put the tray in the freezer until the meatballs are frozen solid, and then place them in a freezer bag and put them back in the freezer. Since they were frozen individually, you'll later be able to retrieve the number that you need to thaw and heat for your favorite dish with meatballs.  Enjoy!

Related posts:
Spaghetti Sauce
Lasagna (coming soon)
Egg Noodles

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