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Recipe Rescue: 7 Must-Have Meatball Recipes You Should Be Cooking Now

Why are meatballs so endearing? It could be their diminutive size, that even little hands can manage, or maybe it’s the endless possibilities of flavor combinations. Pretty much any meat or seafood—even vegetables—can be turned into a delicious, spherical supper.

Or appetizer. Meatballs, of course, make excellent party fare, too.

Photograph by Finding Tasty

Ham Meatballs with Pineapple Sauce

Aside from being a great way to use up leftover ham, these savory, tangy meatballs are delicious served for dinner with steamed rice and stir-fried veggies or piled into a crockpot and ready to party!

1 large shallot, peeled and quartered

2 fat garlic cloves, peeled

2 pounds left-over cooked ham, cut into large chunks

1 pound bulk (uncooked) pork or turkey breakfast sausage

3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

2 extra large eggs, lightly whisked

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tbs Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1) Drop shallot pieces and garlic into the feed tube of a food processor as it runs. Once minced, turn off processor and add in ham chunks. Process until finely minced, then turn that mixture out into a large bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients. Mash around with your hands until evenly combined. If you have time, cover and set in the refrigerator for 1- 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

2) Pre-heat oven to 350º. Roll ham mixture into golf ball-size rounds and set into a 9" x 13" baking dish (that has been sprayed with non-stick spray). You should have between 36-48 meatballs. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, then remove foil and pour sauce over (recipe below), turn each meatball to coat in the sauce and continue baking, uncovered for 15 minutes, turn the meatballs in the sauce again and continue cooking for 10 minutes longer. Serve hot. Makes 36–48 meatballs.

Pineapple Sauce

1 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup sugar (brown or white)

1/2 cup sherry vinegar (or apple cider or white wine vinegar)

1 tbs Dijon mustard

1 tbs ketchup

Whisk everything together in a small pot and set over medium heat. Bring just to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Mini Meatballs: These wee meatballs make cute appetizers, but are also right at home on top o’ spaghetti for a family dinner.

Image via Not Without Salt

Asian Pork Meatballs

Although these are intended to nestle inside a bahn mi sandwich, they are great served with rice noodles, for an Asian twist on pasta with meatballs.

Photograph by The Naptime Chef

Turkey Pesto Meatballs: Um ... yes, just, yes. How good would these be in a meatball sub or on pasta ... or straight from the fridge, cold—stop it!

Image via Generation Y Foodie

Vegetarian Baked Falafel: What is it about falafel that makes them so darned tasty? Baking rather than frying simply makes them more craveable.

Photograph by Finding Tasty

Thai Chicken Meatballs: These meatballs pack a flavor punch but are still super kid-friendly.

Photograph by Bon Appétit

Turkish Köfte

A really popular meat dish in Turkey (as well as parts of the Middle East), köfte are made with equal parts lamb and beef (or sometimes just one of the two), they can be shaped into ping-pong ball size for meatballs, or mashed down to form mini-burgers. They are also sometimes shaped into logs about the size of a hotdog then skewered and cooked. Grilled, broiled, baked or sautéed, köftes are savory and delicious.

12 ounces ground lamb

12 ounces ground beef

3 tablespoons finely minced shallot

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

¼ cup chopped parsley

1 packet Saltine crackers, pulverized (or ¼ cup cracker or bread crumbs)

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1) Mix everything together with your hands until well combined. You can cook right away or stash in the refrigerator, covered for up to 24 hours (a couple of hours in the fridge will allow the flavors to meld).

2) When you are ready to cook: Shape the meat into ping-pong ball-size rounds. Set a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Allow it to get hot. Do not add any oil if the meat you used is fatty, but if you use lean meat, add a bit of veg oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the meatballs into the pan, cover (with lid cracked) and cook until brown on one side (about 3-5 minutes), then flip, cover and cook on the other side for 4-5 minutes more. Keep warm in a very low oven while you cook the rest.

Makes about 35 small meatballs. Serve with tahini-köfte sauce, crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes and warm pitas.

Tahini-Kofte Sauce

4 tbs tahini

6 tbs hot water

4 tbs milk

4 tbs lemon juice

Good pinch of salt

1) Mix everything together, thinning with more water or milk if you like.

Refrigerate until use. Drizzle over köftes. Makes approximately 1/2 to 2/3 cup.

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