I have always enjoyed meatballs with pasta, but have never been a fan of the work! They are enough work just to put together. Why would I want to brown them each individually, on each side, before baking them or putting them into the crock pot? Too much extra work, and too many extra dishes! So I created this recipe to be done in 3 simple steps; mix the meatballs, roll the meatballs, cook the meatballs - and didn't sacrifice any flavor to do it!
My mom, who never liked meatballs before, loves them! My oldest son requests this meal for his birthday every year! The really great thing about this recipe is that it makes a lot, and keeps well! You can make them, and freeze half of them, for another meal, another day!
The even more fantastic thing about this recipe? Absolutely everything in it can be found at Aldi!! The ground beef packs are usually between 2 and 2.5 lbs. Every time I get them, it hovers around 2.3 lbs, and that's the perfect amount for this recipe. The sweet Italian sausage I buy is in the links. I use 2 of the links for this recipe, and freeze the other two. I just squeeze them out of the casing, and they mix right in well. It is between 8 and 12 oz.
Could you use Italian season bread crumbs? Sure! If you want it to be even easier, BUT I enjoy seasoning my own foods, and wanted a little more control over the flavor. This is just another great thing about this recipe though; you can play around with the flavors to see just how you like it. I do highly recommend the fresh shredded Parmesan, as opposed to the grated. It does make a difference! However, if you're on a tight budget, the grated Parm will do in a pinch!
The above picture has everything but the milk. I like to add that in last, after mixing everything else. I break it all up with a wooden spoon, gently stabbing (couldn't think of a better descriptor for this action, but it's almost Halloween, so that works), and stirring, until it is mixed up. Once the spoon has broken up the eggs and meats thoroughly, then I stir in the milk, and dive in with my hands
Massage that meat!
Yeah, ummm, that's a weird thing to say, but accurate! Work it until all ingredients are blended nicely. It should look like it could all make one, fine meatloaf. Then, start pulling it apart and rolling the balls!
I can usually fill my crock pot with 2 layers of meatballs. The meatballs will cook down a bit and become smaller. Some small pieces will fall off and become part of your sauce, which makes it even better!! But they won't crumble or fall apart completely. I've made these many times, and love the shape they keep!
Use only one jar of the sauce for cooking, so that both jars don't get cooked down. Add the second jar at the end, just to heat up with the rest. That's only if you want a good amount of sauce, if you're planning on making meatball subs with this, use only the one jar!
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I have spent that last decade or more, cooking and baking on a tight budget. Here, I'd love to share with you some fun recipes I have come up with over the years; many with ingredients which can all be found at the very budget-friendly Aldi!