Friday, February 17, 2012

hey hey hey, it's that time again!

Happy Foodie Friday!

Today I want to share with you another family recipe that has always been a favorite. When we went gluten-free is was quite easy to convert. The thing is, everybody seems to love meatballs, adults and children alike. And there are so many kinds out there. I love this recipe above the rest because it will guarantee that your days of making meatballs too dry or crumbly are over. These meatballs melt in your mouth, stay together well, but tender to the touch of a fork and are super great as leftovers too. I am so positive you will love them. Oh, also, my favorite thing in a recipe: you can make them ahead of time, freeze them if you like and they go in the oven for about an hour and half before serving.

No-Fail Applesauce Meatballs
adapted from Gma JJ's recipe
gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free
bake time 1-2 hrs (depending on size)
makes approx. 30-40 meatballs (about 1 1/2 inch)

*note: Dr. Schar bread crumbs are gluten-free, dairy/lactose-free, but they are not free of corn, rice and soy. Check other brands if you need them to be free of corn or soy check with other brands. Or I recommend buying a loaf of gluten-free bread that is free of these allergens and sitting them out till they get stale (or dry them out in your oven) and make bread crumbs by hand or in your food processor. :)

2 pounds ground beef

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
 (I prefer Dr. Schar brand) 
2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 onion, chopped very tiny
gluten-free flour for coating meatballs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying

2 cups tomato juice

2 cups ketchup

1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt (optional)

Combing ground beef, applesauce, bread crumbs, beaten eggs, salt, pepper and onions. Mix together well.  I use my hands to ensure it gets mixed well. 

Shape 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch balls (sometimes I make 2 inch balls - it's up to you). Make sure they are smooth round balls. Put some gluten-free flour in a dish and roll each ball through the flour until coated on all sides. Heat about an inch of oil in a saucepan or skillet on med-high. 

When oil is heated drop in as many balls as you can fit. Brown on all sides ( I usually brown for a couple minutes on one side and then flip to brown the other side). Remove from oil and place directly in baking dish. Do this with all of the meatballs. 

Fit as many of the browned meatballs as you can into the dish, they can be touching sides.

* If you are making ahead, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to bake-you will cover with the sauce just before baking. If you are freezing. Cover very tightly with plastic wrap and a lid or a layer of aluminum foil. You will have to defrost and add the sauce before baking. 

While the meatballs are browning, you can make the sauce. In a sauce pan combing ketchup, tomato sauce, pepper and salt (optional). Heat to a bowl, stirring occasionally. After boiling, you can remove from heat. 

Pour sauce over meatballs ( I use a ladle). You want each meatball covered with sauce and if you have extra sauce pour in all the spaces of the pan. You cannot have too much sauce here. 

Bake 1 hour and 30 minutes at 325 degrees. For bigger meatballs, like 2 in, you will want your oven to be 350 degrees. Because each oven is different. You may want to check for doneness, pull one of the meatballs out to check for doneness. These meatballs are hard to overcook, and will always be tender, so if you want to cook a little longer just to be sure, it won't hurt them. 

recipes and photos copyright Julie Ann Luse

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