Italian Square Meatballs

Monday 6 February 2012

Meatballs and What You Can Do With Them 

 I have to confess that I can be rather lazy when it comes to cooking from time to time. I don't always want to spend hours and hours slaving over a hot stove. 

 I do enjoy cooking, but if I can find an easier and quicker way of doing something without compromising flavour . . . I'll take it!

  Meatballs and What You Can Do With Them 

 I also like to have things in the freezer that I can take out in an emergency so that I can have a quick and tasty meal on the table in just a short time. I keep bags of frozen vegetables and a variety tasty homemade and pre-baked meatballs in the freezer. 

 These here today are the Italian ones I like to make. I picked up this recipe about 15 years ago in a grocery store flyer and I have adapted it to use over here. Not all of the original ingredients were available here and so I did what I always do . . . improvised and I was very happy with the results.

  Meatballs and What You Can Do With Them 

 What I like the most about them, is there is no rolling or frying. You just make a square on your baking pan, cut the meatballs into squares, bake and then separate and freeze after baking. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeasy!

  Meatballs and What You Can Do With Them 

  *Italian Square Meatballs* 
Makes 36 meatballs, or 4 servings

 You don't have to use sausage in these if you don't want to. You can use a mixture of all beef, or a mixture of beef and ground pork or ground turkey. This is a great make ahead recipe. Just bake the meatballs and then separate them, freeze and pop into freezer containers, storing them for up to two months in the freezer. Handy to have at the ready! 

 1 large free range egg 
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped 
30g fine dry bread crumbs (1/4 cup) 
45g of finely grated Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup) 
55g of tomato sauce (Ketchup, 1/4 cup) 
1/4 tsp of black pepper 
1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 
1 tsp dry oregano flakes 
1 tsp dry basil flakes 
1 pound extra lean beef mince (ground beef) 
3/4 pound of bulk pork sausage meat (use a meaty good quality, or an Italian sausage meat if you can find it) 

 Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7. 

 Line a large baking pan with aluminium foil. Lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray, or some oil. 

 Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well together with your hands. Shape the mixture into an 8 inch square on the baking sheet. Cut into 36 evenly sized squares, without separating them on the tray. 

 Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked and no longer pink in the middle. Cut apart with a sharp knife and allow to cool completely before using in another recipe or freezing. 

 To make ahead: Freeze the meatballs by separating them into recipe size portions and placing them in freezer containers or resealable freezer bags. They can be frozen for up to 2 months. To thaw, place in the microwave and microwave them on defrost for 4 to 6 minutes until thawed. 

 Here are three really simple and delicious things you can do with them! Taken from and adapted from the same booklet as the original meatball recipe. I love it when things go together like that! 

  *Meatball Sandwiches* 
Serves 4 

 I like to use the sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil and herbs for these. For extra flavour cook the peppers and onions in some of the oil from the tomato jar. Delicious! 

 80g of drained oil-packed sun dried tomatoes in herbs, julienned  (1/2 cup) Reserve 1 TBS of the oil) 250g frozen pepper and onion stir fry strips (about 2 cups) 
18 cooked Italian Square Meatballs, thawed 
4 sub buns, split and toasted as below 
55g of mayonnaise or salad dressing (1/4 cup) 
40g of shredded lettuce or lettuce leaves (1 cup) 

 Toast the buns before assembling by placing them, cut sides up on an ungreased baking sheet and baking at 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5 for 8 to 10 minutes. 

 While the buns are toasting heat a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the reserved oil from the tomatoes. Once it is hot add the pepper and onion stir fry mix. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the meatballs. 

 Cover and cook, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Spread the cut sides of the toasted buns with the mayonnaise or salad dressing. Fill the buns with lettuce, slivered sun dried tomatoes and the meatball mixture. Serve hot. 

  *Meatball Primavera* 
Serves 4 

 I like to use fresh pesto if I can, but that's not always possible. A good quality purchased pesto will work just fine. This is delicious, quick and simple. 

 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine, broken in half 
low fat cooking spray 
1 small red onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges (about 1/2 cup) 
2 small courgettes (zucchini) washed, trimmed and cut into 1 by 1/2 inch strips 
4 Plum tomatoes, chopped (about 1 cup) 
18 cooked Italian Square Meatballs, thawed 
60g of prepared basil pesto (1/2 cup) 

 Cook the fettuccine as directed on the package. Drain well and keep warm. 

 Cook the onion in a large nonstick skillet, (which you have sprayed with low fat cooking spray) over medium heat for several minutes, until crispy tender. Add the courgette strips and cook for a futher 2 minutes, stirring. 

 Add the tomatoes and meatballs. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until heated thoroughly, stirring occasionally. 

 Add the cooked fettuccine and pesto, mixing all together well. Heat through and serve. 

  *Creamy Meatballs & Potatoes* 
Serves 4 

 You don't have to use broccoli in this recipe if you don't want to, green beans or peas are also lovely. 

 1 lb of new potatoes, boiled until tender, cooled and then cut into wedges 

1 tin of bachelor's condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted 
1 single serving envelope of dried French Onion instant soup mix 
2 fluid ounces of water 
450g of frozen broccoli florets ( 2 cups) 
18 cooked Italian Square Meatballs, thawed 
30g of sour cream (1/4 cup) 
salt and pepper to taste 

 Combine the potatoes, soup, dry soup mix and water in a 12 inch nonstick skillet. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

 Stir in the broccoli and meatballs. Simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the broccoli is tender and everything is heated through, stirring occasionally. 

 Stir in the sour cream and cook just until thoroughly heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Serve hot.


  1. These meatballs look really delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you very much for making my stomach growl so early in the day! I too love to find ways to make things easier without compromising quality. I love the idea of not rolling out the meatballs, the freezing method and the multiple ways to serve them!

    I'm so glad to find your blog and speculate that I really enjoy following you!

    Have a wonderful day!


  3. Ah, meatballs...! So many wonderful ideas for things to do with them, Marie!

    How are you doing??? I've been a horrible visitor lately...things have been a bit nuts here. I THINK we're starting to calm down a little--I THINK! I sure have missed visiting you!

    Hope your day is beautiful and not TOO cold! Sending lots of love and warm wishes on this blustery February day...


  4. Oh Marie - you'll have to come over and make this for the girls - they'll love you forever!
    Mary x


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you so do not be shy!

Did you make the recipe as directed? Recipe results are not guaranteed when changes have been made.

Is this comment helpful to other readers? Rude or hateful comments will not be approved. Remember that this website is run by a real person.

Are you here to complain about ads? Please keep in mind that I develop these recipes and provide them to you for free. Advertising helps to defray my cost of doing so, and allows me to continue to post regular fresh content.

Thanks so much for your understanding! I appreciate you!