Monday, May 11, 2009

The Importance of Being Fresh

I have eaten and made a lot of meatballs and meatloaf and up until recently have used dry bread crumbs almost exclusively. But, America's Test Kitchen recommends fresh bread crumbs for these items. Hey, I thought, let's give it a whirl. Wow! What a difference! Both turned out moist and tender and delicious. They're okay with the dry, but fresh is really better. Here are my favorite recipes for meatballs and meatloaf.


2 slices white sandwich bread
1/3 c. buttermilk
1 lb ground beef (or 3/4 lb beef and 1/4 lb pork)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley (2 tsp. dried)
1 large egg yolk
1 garlic clove minced
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

1. Remove and discard crusts from the bread, then tear the bread into small pieces. Mash the bread pieces and buttermilk into a smooth paste in a large bowl with a fork.

2. Add the beef, Parmesan, parsley, egg yolk, garlic, salt and pepper to the mashed bread. Stir the mixture gently until combined a uniform. Gently form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch round meatballs (about 14).

3. You can cook these in a skillet, but they always turn out pyramidal and require a lot of tending. I usually cook them in the oven. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

I also like these with Montreal Steak seasoning. I leave out the Parmesan, salt, pepper, and garlic and add 1 Tbsp. of the steak seasoning.


1/2 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp. Dijon or spicy mustard (use a kind you like)
1 egg
1/4 c. milk
2/3 c. fresh bread crumbs (Pulse chunks of bread in the food processor or do as for meatballs.)
1 Tbsp Montreal Steak seasoning
(Or for Italian flavor--1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1tsp. oregano, 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, 1 minced
garlic clove, onions to taste--1/4 c. finely minced does it for me)
2 tsp. parsley flakes (or 2 Tbsp. fresh)
1 lb. ground beef

1. Mix together the ketchup and mustard. Set aside 2 1/2 Tbsp. of the mix. Add the other ingredients and gently mix well.
2. On a rimmed baking sheet, form into four football shaped loaves. Top each loaf with the reserved ketchup and mustard mix. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.

I usually make this into as many loaves as we need. Two big ones for Mom and Dad and 3 or 4 smaller ones for the kids. This worked great until Maggie turned into a carnivore and started eating adult sized portions of meat and Katrina started to eat real food. We've had to move up to 1 1/2 lbs to feed everyone, so that makes bigger loaves or more of them. The kids love getting their own meatloaf and it's on the table way faster than traditional meatloaf.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I usually use fresh bread crumbs, but that's just because I never remember to buy the prepared kind. I didn't know I was actually making a good choice.