Oh my. Getting caught up on posts that I had intended to publish some time ago. What’s next? Meatballs! Lots and lots of them.

I recently put out a lunch spread for a bunch of folks at the office. I do love a themed meal and this meal was all about meatballs. Long story short: Lots of meatballs. Several sauces. Happy people.

Meatballs with Three Sauces

Meatballs with Jack Daniels Glaze, Cognac & Cremini Cream Sauce and Pepperoni Sauce

You can easily scale this recipe up or down. While I went way overboard–as I’m sometimes prone to doing!–and made 20 pounds of them, you can just as easily make a pound or two. They’re baked in the oven and then you can serve them or freeze them for later. The formula, more or less, is the following:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 scant teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • a dash of white pepper

And, of course, you can always vary seasonings as you wish. I like to keep it fairly neutral so the balls go with a variety of sauces.

I made the meatballs the day before and heated them up in a few crock pots. I also made Tangy Jack Daniels Glaze, Cognac & Cremini Mushroom Cream Sauce and Pepperoni Sauce to go with and you’ll find the recipes below. I served rolls and mashed potatoes alongside and just let people do their own thing.

And, as an aside, there’s nothing wrong with using bottled sauces if you don’t feel like making your own. Say you’re pulling a bag of these from the freezer for a quick dinner. Heat them up in the microwave. Open up some BBQ sauce, brown gravy, sweet & sour sauce or bottled marinara. You’d be in business in no time.

And here we go…

Meatballs for a Crowd
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A kitchen scale is a handy tool to have for this recipe. (And after a pound or so, you'll probably be able to start eyeballing it pretty accurately.) You can quickly whip out equally sized meatballs using an assembly line process. Recruit some help and it will go much faster!
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 64 Meatballs
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups dry plain breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 4 pounds ground beef
  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then add the breadcrumbs, onion, salt, Worcestershire sauce and white pepper. Mix well, then add the ground beef. You can mix this with a spoon but you might find it more expedient just to dive in with clean hands.
  3. Shape mixture into balls. I aimed for 1 ounce per meatball. Place balls in a single layer on oven safe baking racks placed on a rimmed baking tray.
  4. Bake for 20-22 minutes. You can turn the meatballs once during the process if you want them to be uniformly brown. I didn't and was still happy with the results, though. Cooking them on racks helped there.
  5. Cool and enjoy with your favorite sauces!
These freeze and reheat very well. If you want to have a few quick meals ready to go, freeze them in servings for later.

Tangy Jack Daniels Glaze
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Recipe type: Sauces
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated shallot
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons Jack Daniels Whiskey
  1. Toss all the ingredients into a sauce pan and simmer until the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes.
I used a microplane to grate the shallot and it worked beautifully for this glaze.

Adapted from Once Upon A Chef.

Cognac & Cremini Mushroom Sauce
Recipe type: Sauces
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sea salt
  • Cognac
  • Aleppo pepper
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add mushrooms and saute until cooked down a bit, around 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add smoked sea salt and a dash or two of Aleppo pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. Pour heavy cream into mushrooms. Lower the heat and simmer for around 10 minutes. The cream will have thickened up and the mushrooms should be cooked down.
  4. Add a good splash of cognac and stir it into the sauce. Let it simmer for a few more minutes to incorporate.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over your choice of proteins, veggies or pasta.

Pepperoni Sauce
I make pepperoni sauce often. I wing it each and every time. This is how I do it, more or less.
Recipe type: Sauces
  • One large onion, chopped
  • Some chopped garlic or garlic paste
  • Some Anchovy paste
  • A few dashes of Aleppo pepper
  • 4-6 ounces of pepperoni, chopped up
  • 1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes. (I like Cento San Marzano or Dei Fratelli.)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce or another 28 ounce can of tomatoes. (I like Scimeca's marinara but use whatever floats your boat.)
  • Italian seasoning (I like Pendery's Whole Italian.)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Chop up an onion and throw it in a large pan with some olive oil. Add some chopped garlic or garlic paste. Add a squirt of anchovy paste--a teaspoon or so, unless you prefer more--and a few dashes of Aleppo pepper. Saute it all up over medium heat for several minutes, until the onion is transparent.
  2. Add the pepperoni to the pan and let it cook for 5-10 minutes.
  3. While the pepperoni is cooking, pour the tomatoes into a bowl and mash them up as much as you'd like. I use a potato masher for this. Add them to the pan, along with the marinara sauce, if using.
  4. Lower the heat and let the mix simmer for around 20 minutes. Taste your sauce and start to correct the seasonings with the Italian, salt and pepper. You can probably bypass the salt since the pepperoni is sodium-heavy but follow your own taste buds. Don't go too overboard because you'll continue to simmer the sauce for another hour or two and things will get a little more concentrated with time. You can always add more later.
  5. After the sauce has simmered for the final two hours, give it another taste to see if you need to adjust the seasonings at all.
  6. Serve with or over whatever! The work guys said this made an awesome sauce to put on a hoagie roll with the meatballs. I've also used it in baked pastas, including lasagna. It is good over grilled chicken.