Several years ago there was an advertisement for a national hamburger chain that asked the question “Where’s the Beef?” If you’ve been purchasing those frozen meatballs from the grocery or warehouse store, this is the question you need to ask. Those frozen meatballs only contain about half meat; the other major ingredient is textured vegetable protein, also know as soy protein, or TVP. Another term for this disgusting ingredient is ”Fake Meat!”
While prepackaged frozen meatballs are perfectly round, they have a rubbery texture and very little flavor. If you really care about what you and your family are eating (and care about your taste buds), you will toss the meatballs that are sitting in your freezer and set aside an hour or two to make a few hundred proper meatballs from real beef.
Oh, and if you aren’t already convinced, please note that my two miniature dachshunds gave me my first clue that those store-bought balls aren’t real meat – they actually turned their noses up at those disgusting meatballs and ate their dry dog food instead!
Basic Meatball Module
Makes about 225 small meatballs.
Note: When determining the amount of meatballs for dinner or an event, I allow four for an appetizer offering or eight for a full meal serving.
5 pounds lean ground beef
1/4 cup 1/4 cup dehydrated onion flakes, or 1 finely chopped onion
1 3/4 cups dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mix the ingredients well. With a 1" scoop (1 1/2 teaspoon capacity), scoop balls onto a broiler pan. They can be close together; I get 10 down the long way and 9 across the short way. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.
When all the meatballs are cooked, lay them in one layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for about an hour or until almost frozen. Remove from the freezer and put in freezer bags. Label and freeze.
Preparation notes: if you plan to make authentic Italian Wedding Soup with some of the meatballs (a very good idea), scoop about 30 meatballs, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze for about an hour. Put the uncooked meatballs in a zipper bag; label and freeze.
Also, if you want some larger meatballs for Spaghetti and Meatballs, which traditionally includes golfball-size meatballs, you can form them with an ice cream scoop; these larger meatballs will take about 30 minutes to cook through in the oven.
Amount Per Serving (4 meatballs)
Calories 107 Calories from Fat 59
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 56% Protein 34% Carb. 11%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Cholesterol 47 mg
Sodium 178 mg
Total Carbohydrate 3 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 9 g
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 1% Calcium 0% Iron 5%