Comfort Food: Homemade Meatballs

Comfort Food- Homemade MeatballsThere is nothing quite like meatballs to make a dish feel special.  They easily transport themselves from Italian Spaghetti dishes to meaty Swedish dishes.  I use meatballs in a Thai Soup recipe, too.  Homemade Meatballs are easier to make than you might think.

Making Paleo Homemade Meatballs

Now you might think that meatballs should already be Paleo, but one of the most common ingredients is breadcrumbs to provide filler.  I know that there are folks out there who will swear that this is an absolute must have ingredient.  I disagree.  The addition of breadcrumbs, or other fillers such as oats, are left over remnants of a time when people needed to add less expensive filler to stretch their expensive meats.  I have been making filler-less meatballs for years, and have yet to receive a complaint.

Secret Ingredient

I like to add in some finely blitzed mushrooms to my Homemade Meatballs.  There are a couple of reasons for this.

  1. Mushrooms are really nutritious for you.  They are the only plant based source of vitamin D.  Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. Eating them with a fat containing meatball, allows your body to make use of the vitamins.
  2. The mushrooms add in a little texture to the meatballs.  As well as helping them maintain some moisture.
  3. Plus, if simmered in the sauce or soup the meatballs are being served with, the mushrooms will absorb some of that flavor.

Efficient Kitchen: Making Extra Homemade Meatballs

Earlier this year, in my Efficient Kitchen series, I explained how I save time making food from scratch by making more of it at one time.  I then freeze the extras for use later on.  Meatballs are perfect for this.  I usually make two or three pounds of meatballs at one time; precooking them to freeze.  This way, I have quick and easy access to an almost prep free dinner right in my freezer.  Due to the fact that I make neutral seasoned meatballs, they can easily go into any dish that we are craving.  Some of our favorites are:

  1. Homemade Meatballs in a quick mushroom gravy
  2. Thai Meatball Soup (recipe coming soon)
  3. Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs and tomato (spaghetti) sauce

Meatballs as a Comfort Food

My favorite comfort foods have always been hot, meaty and covered in gravy.  Perfect with a side of mashed potatoes.  Meatballs fit this bill, and then some.  I derive comfort from knowing that I have the ingredients for a quick and easy meal in my freezer.  There’s the added comfort that it is also a nutritious meal.  Finally, there’s the flexibility in knowing that this basic ingredient can be molded to fit whatever mood I’m in.

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Print Recipe
Comfort Food: Homemade Meatballs
Easy, neutral flavored Meatballs. Perfect for a variety of soups, sauces or gravies.
Comfort Food- Homemade Meatballs
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Homemade
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
Meatballs
Ingredients
Basic Meatball Ingredients
Additional Optional Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Homemade
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
Meatballs
Ingredients
Basic Meatball Ingredients
Additional Optional Ingredients
Comfort Food- Homemade Meatballs
Instructions
Preparation
  1. Prepare the Mushrooms, onion and other optional ingredients first. I like to put them all into a small food processor and blitz them together.
  2. Your ground meat should be fresh or thawed. Add the blitzed mushroom mixture to the ground meat, with the egg. Mix everything together either by hand, or in your stand mixer with the dough hook. The stand mixer will give you the smoothest consistency to your meatballs.
Shape the Meatballs
  1. I like to use a tablespoon and my hands to make golf ball sized meat balls. Make all of the meatballs, placing them on a plate, before doing any cooking.
Cooking the Meatballs
  1. Option #1: In a frying pan or wok, heat lard or other high heat oil cook the meatballs over med-med high heat. Turn them, to make sure they are brown on all sides. Once they are all browned, you can cover them to make sure they get cooked through. If you are making a large batch, you will have to rotate them out of the pan once they are browned and cooked.
    Homemade Meatballs- Instruction 2
  2. Option #2: You can place all of the meatballs, in a single layer, in a greased baking pan. Bake at 375°, rotating occasionally, until they are browned on all sides and cooked through. 30-45 minutes, depending on size.
  3. Option #3: If you are cooking all of your meatballs in a sauce or soup, follow the instructions for your recipe, regarding whether they need to be cooked/browned first, or just added in with the other ingredients for a slow cook.
Recipe Notes

Freezing Your Homemade Meatballs

If you are making extras for the freezer, you have a couple of options for storage:

  1. Freeze the meatballs in separate, meal sized containers.
  2. Lay the meatballs out on a cookie sheet to freeze them individually.  Once frozen, place them all in a single container, and just take out what you need.
  3. Probably the least efficient method, but what I did last night, is to place them all together in a single container when they were cooled.

Using the Extras

These precooked meatballs can easily be used in place of making them fresh for every recipe.  If using a slow cooker recipe, however, I would probably not cook them all day, but instead would add them in an hour or two before serving.  This would allow them to provide some flavor to the dish, as well as absorb the flavors of the surrounding sauce/soup.

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2 thoughts on “Comfort Food: Homemade Meatballs

  1. Mmmmm meatballs are one of my favourite types of comfort food!! Going to try this recipe, hopefully this weekend! Thank you 🙂

    • Thanks Kate! I hope you enjoy them 🙂

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