I love me a deal!!! For those of you who know me, know that I get all giddy when I feel like I’ve found a great deal. Don’t get me wrong, I hate shopping for clothes and the thought of sorting through rack after rack after rack for the ONE shirt that was a steal is what I would call ‘Anti-Awesome” – so places like TJ Max and Marshalls stress me out (unless I’m looking for kitchen stuff that is ;o). Don’t get me wrong, I’m super jealous of people like my sister who always seem to find that one “diamond in the rough”… for half of what it would normally have cost, but I just don’t have the patience for it.
What I’m talking about it doing a little bit of research and finding out where to get the best…for less!!! For example, I know that on Tuesdays I can get organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts at the Fresh Market for only $2.99/lb and their hormone free milk is only $2.99/gallon…that is a steal!! I also know that fruits and veggies at the farmers market on Kings Drive are a FRACTION of the cost of most grocery stores, so I like to shop there for as many of my fresh ingredients as I can. My kids also love trips to the farmers market because they get to pick out their favorite fruits and veggies (I use the term “veggies” quite loosely when referring to my son ;o)
But one of my all time favorite ‘steals’ when it comes to food, has to be the Fresh Market’s “Little Big Meal.” It happens every Thursday, and the menu changes monthly. To say that it is a busy mom/dad’s BFF on crazy weeknights is an understatement!! For $20, you get everything you need to put a healthy and quick meal on the table for your family. It says that it will feed a family of 4, but it will easily feed a family of 6 (assuming some of the 6 are children and not 6 hungry high school boys!). A complete meal (protein, carb, fruit, etc…) for $20?! Ummmm, yes please!!! This month’s deal is for more of an Italian night and features a pound of their lean ground sirloin (or ground turkey or ground turkey breast…yes, there are options!), as well as a huge tub of pre-cut fruit, pasta, sauce, bread and salad with dressing!!! With this menu in mind, I have one recipe I hope you’ll try – my quick and tasty BAKED meatballs!!
Do yourself a favor, at least one Thursday a month, put it in your planner to stop by the Fresh Market on your way home and pick up the Little Big Meal…trust me on this, on days where you have no idea what to make, it will make at least one decision that day an easy one.
First things first, let’s get those ingredients ready!!!
Ground lean sirloin, seasoned breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, eggs or egg beaters, ketchup, parmesan cheese, garlic POWDER (NOT garlic salt) and onion powder.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg, Worcestershire and ketchup with a fork and set aside. Grate the parmesan cheese – I like to use the box grater so I get nice sized shredded cheese, but feel free to use a microplane. Add the seasoned breadcrumbs, and cheese and pepper to the ketchup mixture and mix well until you form a paste, and set aside.
The reason that I don’t just dump everything on the meat and start mixing is because I find that when you mix all of the ingredients first, then add it to the meat, it really combines everything so that you get the seasoning well distributed throughout, and no one gets one big bite of something and not enough of something else.
Spread out the meat in your bowl, and sprinkle the onion powder and garlic powder evenly. Then add the “paste” to the top, and spread that somewhat evenly too, then using your hands, get to work and combine everything well.
Once you have everything combined, get our your trusty scooper and start forming those meatballs. I like to use the one in the middle for these – it’s about a Tablespoon sized. If you don’t have one, grab your Tablespoon to measure out even sized meatballs, so they all cook at about the same rate.
I have gotten a lot of emails asking me for my favorite brands of things, so while I’m thinking about it, Cucina Antica is one of my favorites. It is sooo tasty and very close to that “homemade” taste, but doesn’t have a ridiculous fat content like some of the other “premium brands”. At only 1.5 g of fat, this is one yummy marinara – IMHO…but I digress..
Another reason to use the box grater on the block of parmesan? Check out the yummy bits of cheesy goodness in those meatballs! Ummm, I do believe there is a meatball thief in this house!! Hands off, Dr. Clark!
Bake the meatballs at 400 for 15 minutes, or until the tops are browned and the meatballs are cooked through. I used my convection setting, so 15 minutes was the perfect time, but if you’re using a conventional setting, check on it at 15, but it might take closer to 17 mins.
Whether you add them to your favorite marinara sauce to toss with pasta, or throw into a fresh hoagie roll for a meatball sub, or (for another quick meal) serve with a splash of soy sauce with my Emerald Studded Rice – this is one meatball recipe you will reach for over and over again!!!
Cyn’s Baked Meatballs
– 1 lb lean Ground Sirloin
– 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
– 1 Egg
– ¼ C Seasoned Breadcrumbs
– ¼ C freshly shredded parmesan cheese (if you’re finely grating it, use a little less)
– 1 ½ scant tsp onion powder
– 1 scant tsp garlic POWDER (NOT garlic salt)
– ½ tsp black pepper
* You might have noticed that I didn’t add salt to this recipe. Between the Parmesan cheese, seasoned breadcrumbs and Worcestershire sauce, you really won’t need it.