Easy Meatballs

I had BOTH weekend days off a couple weekends ago. The coveted residency ‘golden weekend.’ The elusive 2 days off in a row that you don’t realized are absolutely amazing until you NEVER have them. Well never say never I guess because I had one. What did I do? Well I took a 5 hours practice test since I was taking boards in 2 weeks. Something they kinda slide over in the medschool interview. Really they should be asking: Do you really want to be taking expensive tests that ‘determine your future’ UNTIL YOU DIE? Instead they say, tell me about yourself. And you repeat your well-polished answer while really thinking why did I spend a million hours stressing about my application to ‘tell you about myself’ now. Anyway, this golden weekend also meant I got to cook myself a nice dinner 2 nights in a row. And the first night was meatballs.

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I don’t think I really appreciated the versatility of the meatball until recently. My mom visited me for Christmas since I was working. It was amazing, I would come home to warm food that required no effort for me to obtain. One day she got food from this really good Italian restaurant by me (post coming in the next year at this rate…) and one of the dishes she got was meatballs. They also have amazing gnocchi which is totally for a different post but I can’t help myself. It is SO good. Anyway, the meatballs got me thinking, this is the perfect thing to make because it is super versatile. You can eat them by themselves, with pasta, make a sandwich or I’m sure get more creative. I got my inspiration for these babies from Smitten Kitchen and added my own twist to her everyday meatball recipe. I love her stuff.

What you need:

1 pound ground meat (I used 1/2 beef and 1/2 pork, but Turkey would be good too if you don’t eat pork or you are hosting someone who does not eat pork)
1/2 cup panko break crumbs
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley approximately (I used fresh because I happened to have it, but you can definitely substitute dry)
2-4 tablespoons grated parm or asiago or both and some mozzarella for topping if you want (I used all, obviously, because the more cheese the better in my opinion)
2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt, divided
Pinches of red pepper flakes or few grinds of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 28-ounce can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes (make sure you have a can opener…if not a knife can do the trick says google)

What to do:

Place meat, panko , water, parsley, cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, onion powder, eggs and half of the garlic in a large bowl. Mix it all together. Get your hands in there or use a fork. It all works. Form mixture into 1 1/2 to 2-inch meatballs and arrange on a plate. Don’t worry too much about them all being exact. My meatballs definitely were getting bigger and bigger the more I made. Smitten Kitchen recommended letting them sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. I was not going to do this, because I am impatient, but in the end I did because I was going to be sad if my meatballs fell apart. So, I don’t know if this is necessary or not.

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In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add remaining garlic and some pepper flakes sizzle for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant. Add tomatoes that you may or may not have had to use a knife to open because you don’t have a can opener yet (no judgement) and season with remaining salt. Let mixture simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

With tomatoes at low simmer,  add meatballs to sauce one by one, and cover with a lid. Don’t touch them and let them cook for 25 minutes.  Once they are fully cooked. You could transfer the ones you are going to eat then to oven safe container with mozzarella on top and bake. I just sprinkled the mozzarella in the general area in the pot over the meatballs I was going to eat then and it worked just fine too.

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Enjoy your meatballs however you want! With garlic bread. Make some pasta or zoodles.

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