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Catastrophe Kitchen: Meatloafballs

So, the reason I call these meatloafballs? They are basically my meatloaf, pared down to bite-sized. You could totally make these into loaves (that word sounds so wrong paired with meat) or even brush them with ketchup five minutes before they’re done to make mini-meatloaves that will get you laid. Or, you can do what I did, and make the oldest of the old school sauces, using totally prepared ingredients. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL FROM SCRATCH! This is 2015, yo.

The meatballs take a minute, not much more, since all you do is dump everything together and then throw it in the oven. The sauce takes less than a minute since it is just opening jars and cans. You can do this. Your friends will be amazed. Your romantic interests will become lovers. Your mother will APPROVE OF YOU! Okay, maybe not that last one. But it was worth a shot.

MOVING ON!

You'll note soy sauce is not in the recipe. DUN DUN DUN DUNNNNNN Spoiler alert...

You’ll note soy sauce is not in the recipe. DUN DUN DUN DUNNNNNN Spoiler alert…

Ingredients:

3 lbs. extra lean ground beef
4 slices bread, crumbed
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs
2 mushrooms, chopped tiny
1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped tiny
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. dry mustard
Optional: 1 tsp. tarragon, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. sage

OKAY! Here we go. Set your oven to 400. Throw everything in a bowl. Mix it together. Make balls. Cook them 20 minutes. VOILA!

What, you want more steps? *Dramatic sigh* FINE. So, meat in bowl first. Then make your bread slices into crumbs. I did not feel like taking out the food processor, so I just chopped it with a knife. It’s better if the crumbs are smaller, but whatever. This is a catastrophe, anyway.

In no way small or uniform or crumbs.

In no way small or uniform or crumbs.

Throw the bread into the bowl with the meat and pour the milk over the crumbs. The goal is to get them to soak up the milk. Chop up your onion pretty small (you can grate or use a food processor if you want) and the mushrooms, too. The mushrooms, in case you were wondering, enhance the beef flavor. I didn’t really cut mine that small because I was being lazy. But the smaller the better with this stuff. You can press the garlic (vastly preferable because it’s vastly easier) or mince it.

All the things, pre-mix.

All the things, pre-mix.

Put everything in the bowl, all of it. I didn’t have Worcestershire sauce, which is ESSENTIAL to get the best flavor, so I subbed in, like, half the amount in soy sauce. Did it ruin all the things? This turned out okay, but it may have been missing that special something. (Who am I kidding – they were still fabulous.)

Meat mix, AKA Adult Play-doh.

Meat mix, AKA Adult Play-doh.

Okay, so, I also was thinking, hey, I wonder how many meatballs this will make. Because mostly I just threw this stuff together, trying to approximate measurements as it went into the bowl. The spices were literally the first three jars I grabbed that sounded good, other than the mustard, which is essential.

Various sizes. The Kid kept trying to make tiny ones "for the cat."

Various sizes. The Kid kept trying to make tiny ones “for the cat.”

In the end? I had to MacGyver my meatball pans because I had one hundred and thirty-seven of them.

You will be glad you made 137 when you are down to the last 3.

You will be glad you made 137 when you are down to the last 3.

This is good, though, because the Mickey Mousing led me to realize that you really want to bake these things on racks if at all possible.

We were baked on racks. We are perfect and brown.

We were baked on racks. We are perfect and brown.

Otherwise, they kind of stew in their own juices and get all soft and not really the brown you want.

We are anemic and nasty-looking, and need some makeup badly.We are anemic and nasty-looking, and need some makeup badly.

We are anemic and nasty-looking, and need some makeup badly.

So, I had to throw the ones from the bottom of the pan back in on the racks for a few minutes to get them nice.

HOLY GOD, THESE ARE SO GOOD. Like I said, you can do the ketchup-brushing in the last five minutes, or just douse them in ketchup out of the oven, because they taste exactly like meatloaf. OR. OR you can make a sauce for them.

Sauce: One from each side, or a mix of all of them.

WE ARE SO DISJUNCTIVE.

WE ARE SO DISJUNCTIVE.

I used all of them, mixed together. Whole bottle chili sauce, whole cranberry sauce, whole jelly, about 1/2 a bottle of BBQ sauce. Just throw ’em in a bowl, mix ’em up, and toss into a crock pot.

This looks so nasty. But it melts into a beautiful sauce that everyone at your party will love.

This looks so nasty. But it melts into a beautiful sauce that everyone at your party will love.

Put the meatballs in, then mix it all up, kinda carefully, with a spatula. Turn it to high for about an hour, maybe two if you’re watching it. Or low for three hours. Stir it a couple times if you’re around. Otherwise, stir it up a few times before serving. The various sauces will melt into each other and soak into the meatballs a little and NOM.

Eff. Yes.

Eff. Yes.

Everyone loves you!!

Check it. I wanted to take more pictures but I forgot because I was busy eating and then they were GONE.

Check it. I wanted to take more pictures but I forgot because I was busy eating and then they were GONE.

 

Salongo lives in the mountains of Idaho with her kid and her two cats. She believes in laughing loudly. She enjoys food, beer & wine, being outside, and trying to get past the next level in her stupid phone games. She owns 21 pairs of yoga pants and has never been to a yoga class in her life.

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1 Comment on Catastrophe Kitchen: Meatloafballs

  1. A 50’s classic! And you’re right, everyone *will* love you. I’ve made this for office/family/church parties. Almost every time it seems there are folks who have never had it and are begging for the recipe. And I have never, ever taken home leftovers. These things evaporate.

    If you’re short on time, it’s great with smoked sausage. Just chunk it up and throw it in the oven until browned. Love that you can play fast and loose with the ingredients, too. My favorite sauce combo on the sauce is currant jelly/chili sauce but I’ve done a slew of combos over the years. When with like minded folk, I’ve even spiked it with a couple of drops of “Endorphin Rush” hot sauce (really hot, hence only a couple of drops, but it has really deep flavor). Will try your meat balls next time – they look dang good! And using cranberry sauce is something I’ve never tried so, well, yeah! Let’s do that, too!

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