Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Big Batch of Meatballs

I eat meat, but can just as easily do without it. I think of meat as a condiment to a meal - it adds flavor but it's not the main attraction. But Aries is an avowed carnivore. He'd make a meal of meat and bread if left to his own devices. He won't eat salads either, so I sneak veggies into his meals by making lots of soups and stews in the winter (out of the veggies stored in the cellar), and stir-fries in the summer (right out of the garden). I'll rarely buy meat when I make my twice-monthly trip to the market, unless it's some turkey ham to flavor a pot of beans.

But we also have a grocery store a block down the hill. Aries will walk down there a couple of times a week - because his bank is inside, or for me if we're out of milk, or to rent a DVD when there's nothing on TV (we never see movies in the theater - even newly released DVD's are only $1.50 for a 1-day rental). Usually, he'll check out the meat section for the must-sell-today specials. Yesterday, he came home with two pounds of country sausage, reduced to 99¢. When someone hands you that much ground meat, it's time to make meatballs. I had a pound of ground round in the freezer (also bought on sale, $2) - taken out to thaw yesterday, I made a big batch of meatballs today.

Big Batch of Meatballs (makes 75 1" meatballs)

3 pounds ground meat (I usually use a combination of beef and pork)
1½ cups fine bread crumbs
1½ cups finely chopped onion
3 eggs
2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
¼ cup ketchup
salt & pepper

Mix everything together. Spray a broiler pan with non-stick spray. Roll mixture into 1" meatballs (the easiest way I've found to make equal portions is to dump the mixture out on my cutting board, shape it into a 1" high rectangle, and cut it into 1" cubes). Bake 400º 20-25 minutes (I'll usually take them out of the oven after 15 minutes, and using a fork, flip the meatballs over so they'll brown on the other side too, putting them back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes).

This recipe makes just enough to fill my broiler pan. After the meatballs have cooled, I move them to a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. After they're frozen hard, I transfer them to a gallon freezer bag to use as needed. Classically, I'll add them to a tomato and veggie sauce to serve over pasta, but they're also good in a brown sauce with mushrooms and yogurt as a meatball stroganoff, tucked in a pita pocket with lots of cucumber slices and a bit of ranch dressing, or Aries will sometimes make himself a meatball sandwich with cheese and barbecue sauce.

For a normal meal, Aries will have 4-5 meatballs as a serving, and I'll have maybe 3, so this $3 of meat will make 9-10 meals for the two of us. Today, I only had 1 tablespoon of worchestershire sauce, so I used 1 tablespoon soy sauce too, and didn't add any salt or pepper (also, because the sausage had seasoning already added). They turned out just fine.

Other notes: Sunday, we had 80º weather, yesterday 60 mph winds(!), and then it snowed for a while this morning. Also, Reno (25 miles away) had about 20 little 3.something earthquakes this morning. I didn't feel any of them.

On his motorcycle ride Sunday, Aries went with a buddy over Monitor Pass nearby. The road was dry, but snowbanks still lined both sides on top. Just as he was at the top of the pass, a long straight level stretch, he saw some roadkill in the road ahead. As he came up to it, he looked up and there was a golden eagle, flying head-on right at him, headed for the carrion. Aries laid on the brakes and the horn simultaneously, and it flew up right over him. He said the wingspan was wider than the travel lane, and he was close enough to see the wide-stretched talons glinting. Living in Nevada is so much fun!


Anonymous said...

Wow! love the vast quantity of meatballs. I do so love to get a bargain. I found you through Rhonda Jeans blog and "call in" most days now. You really get some wild and wonderful weather.
How lucky is Aries seeing a golden eagle so close.
Cheers, Eileen.

Sadge said...

Every late February, early March, we see lots of eagles around here - golden and bald. They're out just walking around in the cow pastures south of us - it's calving time and they feast on the afterbirth.