Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs - Lela's Cooking Journey Blog at - 259196

Lela's Cooking Journey

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 
Dec. 2, 2011 9:33 am 
Updated: Dec. 10, 2011 7:49 pm
  Although I think I make a pretty decent meatball, it could be better. As per the name of my blog "Lela's Cooking Journey", I am trekking along the Cooking Highway in search of a Great Meatball-the Holy Grail Meatball  to serve with spaghetti.

I have contemplated questions and mulled over what to put in meatballs. I surfed the Internet and also here on AR for a meatball that would be worthy of feeding my family. Although I think I am somewhat satisfied with the spaghetti sauce- once again, there is always room for improvement.

     I even picked the brain of my sweet little granddaughter, but she was preoccupied with the spaghetti. Where does the time go? She is now 3 going on 20. Here she is at 11 months. She is:

My Sugar Dolly

What is this stuff?

Where are the meatballs?

I have made meatballs, although they taste great--there is something missing. There are so many recipes and so little time.

Nobody's looking; I'll share with the pups.

How Do You Cook Your Meatballs?

What is your preference on cooking/baking meatballs?
Do you bake your meatballs in the oven? Or do you saute' them in a little olive oil and drop them in the sauce? Or just place them in the spaghetti sauce?

What Goes in Your Meatballs?
Do you use bread crumbs, soaked bread, soft bread, or cracker crumbs?
Do you use Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Parmesan Cheese?
What special herbs do you use?

Any Meatball recipes you have tried and liked?<<<<

So, I predict it's going to be Cloudy with a Slight Chance of Meatballs here or shall I say--- Slight Change in the Meatballs.

Please Share your thoughts!

Comments from the Buzz:
I requested recipes on the Buzz. Here is the link:
Thanks to all who responded to my meatball request with yummy recipes and tips on meatballs.

Pamela D.-tweaked the meatball seasoning recipe--See the review she wrote:

Sorry for the garbled letters below. Don't know how to delete these.

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Meatball Amore!
Photo Detail
Dec. 2, 2011 10:22 am
"Polpette" An Italian meatball, veal and pork, fried in a pan, this way the outside becomes crusty, you can not get the same effect in the oven.
Dec. 2, 2011 10:30 am
King Sparta- you are so wise--ah a way to make the outside of the meatball crusty. Thanks!
Dec. 2, 2011 11:46 am
Enjoyed your post..! I have trouble with meatballs, too, so I'm afraid I can't add any suggestions. But I'll be checking back to see what you come up with!
Dec. 2, 2011 11:58 am
I use a beef/pork/veal mix, bread crumbs, an egg, dry onion, garlic powder, dry basil, dry oregano. I make golf size balls and brown them on all sides in olive oil in my trusty cast iron skillet. I do not worry about cookingg them through, jst getting an even "crust" on all sides then I add them to the sauce and allow them to simmer for a few hours. I use the dry garlic and onion so you don't get a clump in the meatball. You might also think about trying LovestoHost "Meatball Nirvana", which is a published recipe here. We like it for making meatball sandwiches.
Dec. 2, 2011 12:15 pm
Must use wet bread, I wet it with milk and wet english muffins work well too. I make the balls and then put them in the freezer to firm up for about 15 minutes. Then fry in olive oil. Keeps them from falling apart in skillet. I add them into sauce about 1 hour before sauce is done. I also a lot of parsley, dried or fresh, my Italian grandmother taught me that and the wet bread trick too. Manga.
Dec. 2, 2011 12:29 pm
Hi Lela! Hope you're enjoying the sunshine today :) I saute chopped onion and garlic and then add these to organic, grass-fed ground beef (makes such a difference!) and then add Italian bread crumbs, grated parm, fresh chopped basil and parsley, some dried oregano, salt and pepper and an egg yolk. I fry them in olive oil and drop them into my sauce to finish cooking. i have been tweaking this recipe for years and I finally have it just how we like them. Enjoy your afternoon!
Dec. 2, 2011 2:03 pm
Luann-nice to hear from you. I hope to see some pretty tasty meatballs here too.
Dec. 2, 2011 2:06 pm
Big Shot Momma-A cast iron skillet-I remember my Grandma cooked in them all the time, Your meatballs sound delicious. I like the dry garlic and onion, too. Thanks for the pearls of wisdom! I will look up the recipe for meatballs, too.
Dec. 2, 2011 2:09 pm
Oh Cover Girl-to have an Italian Grandma to teach all the tricks. Using wet bread. I had not heard about muffins. Putting the meatballs in the freezer-how clever-I certainly would like to see meatballs stay together. Thanks so much. Love your ideas!
Dec. 2, 2011 2:17 pm
Nancy- Wonderful combination-not the whole egg-organic grass fed beef-fresh herbs. There certainly is a difference in the taste of beef when it is grass fed beef. I am waiting for my 1/2 cow that will be ready in January. Someone once told me that olive oil is the way to go for frying meatballs. I am enjoying the Colorado sunshine here in Pueblo West, Co. It was very foggy this morning. It is now 39 degrees. I hope you are enjoying your day, too. Thanks so much.
Dec. 2, 2011 3:23 pm
Lela : My grandma did not have a lot of time to teach me. She had 10 children (my dad the oldest) 43 of us grandkids and I lost count in the 60s for greatgrandkids. AND SHE WORKED AT NIGHT CLEANING OFFICE BUILDINGS. Amazing? But I watched and I listened. Sunday dinner at her house....we ate in shifts, set table, dish out food, eat, do dishes, reset table, time for group 2 and on we went. I was so lucky!
Dec. 2, 2011 4:55 pm
Covergirl-Your Grandma cooked for a large number of people and worked that's amazing. I bet all of her food was delicious. The eating in shifts had to be something to see. Thanks for sharing your memories.
Dec. 2, 2011 5:35 pm
I'm firmly in the 'baked' camp, because (just my opinion) I think they come out more tender. I've never been a fan of crusty meatballs, UNLESS they're the main dish. But with spaghetti as we Americans normally do, nah. I prefer them baked. The bonus is less time spent sweating over a hot skillet. Use a rack in a baking sheet and turn once half way through cooking. Better air circulation means better browning. And the do brown nicely, just not crusty. What? Hey, she asked! :D
Dec. 2, 2011 7:29 pm
Lucy-When using a rack in a baking sheet-Sounds like it would be easier to turn and the bottom of the meatball doesn't get flat as in a pan. I like all these ideas everyone has come up with. Thanks Lucylove for the great advice.
Dec. 3, 2011 4:39 am
Hi Lela! I'm afraid I don't have any meatball wisdom to impart - I rarely make my own meatballs, only for special occasions. Otherwise I buy those frozen ones in the store(gasp!!). I just seem to never have the patience or time to form all those little meatballs. When I do make them I use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and I panfry them first for a bit to get that "crusty" outside that Sparta mentioned. Now, if my "Precious Baby Sweetheart" were to request homemade meatballs I'd make 'em. LOL Once you get a perfected recipe, please share, maybe I'll give them a try.
Dec. 3, 2011 4:41 am
Oh, and I wanted to mention your pictures are great! I love the one of your granddaughter feeding the pooches!! I have one very similar to that of my own Precious Baby feeding our golden retriever a graham cracker.
Dec. 3, 2011 5:13 am
Mother Ann, hello and thanks! I hope others will share their recipe here too. There is this little Italian grocery store here that sells their frozen meatballs-I buy these occasionally. However, they are pricey. There is something about grandkids-you have to spoil them. It doesn't surprise me that you make PBS anything he wants. I had two mixed golden retrievers/mutt dogs, but one passed away. We miss that dog. People know that our dog is like one of our kids. Mother Ann-keep up the spoiling and I will be doing my best to spoil my son, daughter, and granddaughter.
Dec. 3, 2011 3:37 pm
i'm glad i just stumbled across this blog...i just got done standing over a frying pan making a big batch of meatballs. i used meatloaf mix, eggs, italian bread crumbs and a little store bought grated cheese. i cannot get these suckers to come out round to save my life. i thought about freezing them first as covergirl mentioned, but didn't feel like waiting. i find that this mix of meat always works well. i brown them up and then put them in the hot sauce to finish.
Dec. 3, 2011 5:36 pm
njmom - I fried them once, had the same problem you're having, they wouldn't stay round. Baked ones do, and like I said, no sweating. I'd advise spraying the rack first, though, b/c cleanup can take some time. Soaking helps, of course. And as i wrote, I just like the taste of baked better. Which is odd, b/c I prefer my meatloaf crusty. LOL
Dec. 4, 2011 4:29 am
Njmom-thanks for stopping in. Like you Njmom, I have fried the meatballs and like Lucylove I have baked the meatballs. I found baking them in a pyrex dish without turning them results in a meatball that is flat on the bottom. I never tried baking them on a rack. Well now, I will have to experiment with this. Thanks Lucylove for your advice.
Dec. 4, 2011 4:46 am
My favorite meatballs, loosley place 1.5 lbs ground round in large bowl, drizzle 2 tablespoons of your favorite red wine on meat,scramble one egg, pour on meat, sprinkle with black pepper, salt,italian seasoning blend and 1/4 cup breadcrums. Toss gently, do not kneed or they will become tough. Form meat ball around a small cube of parmesan cheese. Pack firmly to avoid leaking. Brown in olive oil. Simmer in sauce. I call them my sunday meatballs.
Dec. 4, 2011 5:32 am
Impellizzeri- Hi there! The parmesan cheese in the middle and red wine-sounds yummy and gourmet! Thanks, now I have all these wonderful recipes rattling around in my head. I love it!
Dec. 4, 2011 7:36 am
Aloha Miss Lela, Love this blog. I customized this great AR recipe and it is a winner. The raw meatballs are dopped into the simmering sauce. YUMMY!
Dec. 4, 2011 8:45 am
Maui Girl-Nice to hear from you! I am certainly going to check out your custom recipe and add it to my recipe box! Thanks!
Dec. 4, 2011 9:03 am
Hi, Lela. We love meatballs around here! The Succo recipe on this site has a good meatball base on it for us. I began with that and built my own over time. I like a mix of beef and pork--natural only!--with fresh herbs and garlic. I use dry bread crumbs with a bit of dairy (milk or ricotta), and I bake mine to brown and then simmer in the sauce. We like them softer. Ok, now I'm hungry! : )
Dec. 4, 2011 9:08 am
Hi Lela! I make Pasta and Meatballs every Sunday. It is a recipe handed down from my Noni. Calls for 1 1/4 pound of ground Sirloin, one egg, 4 cloves of crushed garlic, 3 Tbsp fresh minced parsley, 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 cup fresh grated parm/reggiano, 1 egg, splash of milk, salt & pepper. I lightly had mix as not to make them tough. Form into balls and bake at 325 for about 20 minutes, then put in sauce when it is about halfway done. Sooo good. Today I am making homemade meat ravioli for an extra special treat for my guy since he took me dancing last night. LOL! And, btw, I love the pictures. Soo cute!
Dec. 4, 2011 9:31 am
Wisweetp Hello! mmmm-sounds great. Another meatball fan. My son's favorite meal is spaghetti with meatballs. I will have to look up the Succo recipe. I do like mixing the beef with the pork. Thanks so much for sharing.
Dec. 4, 2011 9:40 am
Hi Anissa, can I come for Sunday dinner? You are so lucky to have a Noni who made all those special meals. Sounds like you're spoiling your guy. My goodness homemade meat ravioli-now you really got me hungry. How big are your meatballs? Now, you really got me hungry. Do you have a recipe for your sounds-so yummy beef ravioli?
Dec. 4, 2011 9:41 am
Anissa-I love my Sugar Dolly (granddaughter) who also loves spaghetti.
Dec. 4, 2011 1:13 pm
Lela! I can't decide! I love them all! Sometimes it's fresh bread crumbs, sometimes dried. Sometimes egg, sometimes not! Some can't bare the thought of not cooking them before going in the sauce but Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs is a wonderful recipe I've made many times! But I love Meatball Nirvana, too, baking them. I don't brown them much anymore - messy! Sooo, as long as you and your Sugar Dolly love them, they are the BEST!!
Dec. 4, 2011 2:06 pm
What makes a good meatball is being surrounded by its good friends - the pasta and the sauce. It's a meatball Trinity! I loved your blog.
Dec. 4, 2011 2:20 pm
How cute! Loved the pics. Meatloaf and meatballs are one of those things, practice makes perfect. Just don't overcook them so they aren't dry.
Dec. 4, 2011 5:51 pm
Mickdee- hello!--you are right, so many choices and all so tasty. My little grandbaby doesn't want me to call her Baby anymore, but she likes it when I call her "My Sugar Dolly." Freckles-thanks for reminding me--sharing with family and friends makes anything taste better. Cat Hill-thanks for the tips and I'm glad to hear from you. By the way, I love your Christmas Kitty!
Dec. 4, 2011 7:08 pm
I've always made my meatballs (usually half venison, half pork shoulder) with rolled oats, egg, taco seasoning (from this site), and a little ketchup ... bake on a sprayed rack on top of a foil-lined cookie sheet ... easy cleanup.
Dec. 4, 2011 9:56 pm
Patches-Wow, your meatballrecipe is the most unique meatball I have seen here on AR. It sounds like the pork in combination with venison would make it a moist meatball. Now,my brother would hunt elk and then have some of the meat ground up. I have eaten Elk burgers and Elk chili before at his house.
Dec. 5, 2011 4:19 pm
Such a great blog ~ love the photos!
Dec. 5, 2011 7:24 pm
Thanks Apple strudel. Nice to hear from you. Happy Holidays!
Dec. 7, 2011 7:12 am
Your blog is ahead of my kitchen/laboratory experiments, but I'm going to be working on recipes that use TVP (texturized vegetable protein). I plan to modify this recipe . .by the time I finish with it, it may not even be recognizable as the inspiration, LOL!
Dec. 7, 2011 7:31 am
Ladysparkle-I like the way you think! I am presently experimenting with Christmas recipes. My family is used to my experiments in the kitchen, although there are times the experiments end up in File 13 (trash) for safekeeping. By the way, I loved your virtual field trip!
Dec. 7, 2011 8:11 am
So Lela.....ARe you going to make the Denver round up in Feb. ?
Dec. 7, 2011 8:20 am
Mauigirl-I want to go. It sounds like fun. Just trying to round up a few foodie friends here to go. Are you coming?
Dec. 7, 2011 11:02 am
hey lela. i grew up in "little italy" here in toronto and this is how i was taught. use ground veal, pork and beef, bread crumbs (i use italian style) parm, fresh minced garlic, fresh chopped parsley and an egg or two, depending on how much you're making. then drop them into the sauce. they turn out soft and moist everytime and imparts great flavour to your sauce as well.
Dec. 8, 2011 12:42 pm
Weeble-Thanks so much for the recipe-I think I am leaning toward a mixture of different meats. It sounds delicious. So there is a Little Italy in Toronto! I learn something every day! Thanks so much for sharing your delicious recipe. Happy Holidays!
Dec. 10, 2011 7:49 pm
Everyone-thanks for all the great tips and sharing your recipes. I will try the recipes that my family likes and will post another blog-probably after Christmas.
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About Me
I enjoy cooking for our family sit down dinners. Although my kids are grown, we are a close family that enjoys 4-5 sit down dinners a week together. My family's favorite dinner is chicken enchiladas smothered in green chili. I have a passion for cooking, baking for the holidays and food photography.
My favorite things to cook
I am family oriented and spend time with my family enjoying meals. My favorite things to cook are Mexican food and any food my family asks me to cook. My family looks forward to home cooked Mexican food at least once a week and Italian food.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I am on a journey to reclaim family recipes that were lost when the cooks in my family passed away. Cooking traditions are a major part of my passion for cooking. On Christmas Eve, we always had green chili and tamales. Cookie baking, lemon bars, pizzelles , and potica have been a must at Christmas as long as I can remember. My family looks forward to homemade pizza, when we gather as a family to decorate the Christmas cookies. Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without noodles and gravy piled high on mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and broccoli and rice casserole. On the 4th of July, there is the 4th of July Potato Salad that I make using 10 pounds of potatoes. Mexican Food is part of our weekly menu--green chili served over mashed potatoes or as a slopper (green chili poured over hamburgers.) I am always making tortillas for someone. They call my tortillas little white pieces of gold. Saturdays are Family night for dinner. It is the one day my kids can request a meal.
My cooking triumphs
Seeking help on the Buzz and the AR Blog has resulted in a few triumphs. I am extremely ecstatic about overcoming the yeast monster. I can now bake baguettes, focaccia and the best rolls in the world, my Grandma Rita's Butter Rolls.
My cooking tragedies
My first attempts at baking bread/rolls resulted in rock hard flat rolls. However, I am improving. Baking at High Altitude is somewhat of a challenge.
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