Generally, serving meat at a reception may not be considered the most affordable option, but if you’re willing to add a little extra expense to your food budget, these baked meatballs will be a hit with your guests. I always receive a lot of compliments when I make these and they are so easy! The addition of spinach and Parmesan cheese gives a fresh, sophisticated taste and makes for a classier, “wedding worthy” meatball in my opinion. I would recommend preparing these ahead of time and then flash freeze so they keep their shape. Admittedly, this recipe is not my own but is from the Food Network. I will include the original recipe and add a few of my own tips.
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 pound ground lamb
- 1/2 pound ground round
- 5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 1 whole egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, lamb, ground round, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Place the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs into a small bowl. Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1.5-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds, roll in the bread crumbs and place the meatballs in individual, miniature muffin tin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
A few pointers:
I have never been able to find ground lamb at my grocery store and I can’t imagine it would be very affordable. I always just leave it out and use extra ground pork. The bread crumbs are optional. I also have never used a scale to measure these individually but I think if you make them about the size of a ping-pong ball then they will cook quickly and make a great bite-size addition to your buffet table.
To flash freeze, just place the raw meatballs on a cookie sheet with wax paper underneath (or grease it really well so they don’t stick). Make sure they aren’t touching each other. Place in the freezer for a few hours or until solid, then transfer them to a freezer safe ziploc bag to store. This will ensure that they keep a nice round shape while still allowing you to store a lot in the freezer. Make sure you thaw completely before baking.