Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Meatballs {Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free}

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Meatballs have been a long-standing favorite in my family, but I always thought they were too time consuming to make from scratch.  I had become accustomed to buying the ready-made meatballs in the freezer section at the grocery store.  Can't do that anymore.  Besides, I'm pretty sure there are lots of things in those store-bought beauties that NO ONE should be eating. 

So I've discovered that making homemade meatballs is easy!  Why haven't I done this before? And to add to the ease, I always make a double batch - one for tonight and one for the freezer.  When I'm ready to eat the freezer batch, I just heat them, straight from the freezer, in my saucepan full of spaghetti sauce.  Or, when my daughter couldn't tolerate tomatoes, I heated the frozen meatballs in a broth-based gravy.

Meatballs can of course be served over rice, put in a hoagie roll, or eaten by themselves.  But for classic spaghetti and meatballs, you'll need pasta.  Our family favorites for gluten-free pasta are Ancient Harvest Gluten-Free Quinoa noodles and Schar gluten-free noodles.  We are lucky that our grocery store carries Schar noodles so we usually buy those.  If you can't find these locally, you can order them from Vitacost for a reasonable price.  (Vitacost is one of my favorite places to buy gluten-free items as well as vitamins.  Their prices are great and they have unlimited $5 shipping.  BTW, I have no connection with Vitacost - I just like it!).  Just a  note of caution:  Ancient Harvest does sell a quinoa pasta that has duram wheat in it and the box looks very similar to the gluten-free version so be careful!  I made that mistake.

This recipe can also be used to make meatloaf.  Same ingredients, just different presentation.  So anyway, here's the recipe:

Meatballs or Meatloaf {Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free}

2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
½ cup ketchup
1 tsp garlic powder
2 TBSP Italian Seasoning (or a mixture of basil and oregano)
2 TBSP ground flaxseed meal mixed with ¼ cup water (this is the egg replacement)
Step 1- Mix all ingredients together in large bowl using your hands to mix.

Step 2 (meatloaf)- If making meatloaf, put the mixture into a loaf pan and bake at 350 for about 60 minutes.

Step 2 (meatballs) – If making meatballs, shape meat mixture into golfball size meatballs.  Place balls on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mat.  (The parchment paper/silicone mat makes cleanup a lot easier, but its not necessary for the outcome).  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. 

NOTE:  This makes a double batch of meatballs – one for tonight and one for the freezer.  To prepare frozen meatballs, just cook the frozen meatballs in spaghetti sauce in a saucepan while cooking noodles separately. 

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