This is a great recipe for weeknights – hence the name. It’s quick, can be doubled for larger families, and makes for great lunch leftovers. I usually serve red meat about once or twice per week, and this recipe is on the bi-weekly “red meat” rotation. Pair it will whole wheat pasta and some stir fried green beans, and you’ve got a decently healthy meal. You could make it even healthier by substituting ground turkey for the ground beef. Be sure to leave that Italian sausage in there as the flavor is really difficult to emulate using other meats.
I didn’t eat a lot of meatballs growing up. My parents always put whole Italian sausage links in our red sauce growing up. Nowadays, I mix new with old by using both ground beef and Italian sausage in my meatball recipe. But the secret ingredient here is the cheese. If you don’t have gruyere, make it tomorrow’s mission to buy it. This cheese is incredibly flavorful while somehow subtle. And it makes this recipe really stand out, especially in contrast to the spicy red sauce I typically serve it with. If you are really dead set against trying gruyere, you can use sharp cheddar cheese. I’ve done that in a pinch and still had a tasty meal.
1/2 lb ground beef
3 Italian sausage links
1/4 C onion, minced
1/4 C green pepper, minced
1/2 C bread crumbs
1 T Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp clove
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 C cheese, mix of parmigiano and gruyere (or sharp cheddar if you don’t have gruyere)
1. Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Remove sausage meat from the casings, and mix together with ground beef. You need to use your hands to do this to make sure that it’s really mixed in together.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix together with hands.
4. Form into approximately 20 round meatballs.
5. Drizzle olive oil over meatballs.
6. Cook for 15 minutes. Then turn broiler on high and cook for additional three minutes until the meatballs are browned.
7. Optional – I usually add the meatballs to my red sauce and let them soak in there for 10-15 minutes, if not several hours.
For a quick red sauce, bring 2 28 oz cans of stewed tomatoes to a boil with 1 8 oz can tomato sauce, 2 tsp salt, 1 T pepper, 1 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1 T hot pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp clove, 1 tsp sugar, 1 T Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1 T parsley, and 1 bay leaf. Boil the tomato sauce for 1 minute, then reduce heat to medium-low, or a simmer, for approximately 20-30 minutes. At the end of the 30 minutes, purée the mixture or break up the tomatoes by pushing them against the side of the pot. Add seasoning according to your preference.
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