Mama Toni’s Meatballs

When most people were enjoying a ham or turkey dinner on Christmas Eve, my family was chowing down on homemade lasagna and meatballs.  Made with my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce, this was one of the highlights of our holiday season.  Some of my greatest family memories are of all of us sitting around the kitchen/dining room table laughing, eating, and sharing the day’s events with each other.  I miss those times and look forward to any opportunity I have to be back in my mom’s kitchen enjoying the craziness and fellowship always found there.

Since our family is attending a special Down syndrome playdate/ potluck Sunday afternoon with other families, I wanted to do something filling and easy.  I’m picky when it comes to bringing a dish to a potluck that was cooked several hours earlier and is then served cold.  Yuk!  So that means that my options are down to making something that can go into the crock pot Sunday morning or can be cooked on site in just a few minutes.

I decided to make mini meatball subs using my mom’s meatball know-how and the crescent roll recipe I experimented with a few days ago.  I baked the meatballs today, mixed with a jar of my homemade spaghetti sauce and placed inside the crockpot bowl in the frig.  Then I mixed up the crescent roll dough and finished rolling out the 32 rolls placing them on cookie sheets inside the freezer.  As soon as they are completely solid, I will transfer to a gallon-size ziplock.

Tomorrow all I will have to do is plug in my crockpot full of tasty meatballs during the morning worship service and place all the rolls on cookie sheets to thaw/ rise.  As soon as the service is over, I will be able to pop the rolls into the oven for 10 minutes (having pre-heated it during the service as well), brush with melted butter as soon as they finish baking and serve.  Yahoo!  Nice hot food for the potluck luncheon without all the stress. 🙂

Most meatball recipes say you need to fry the meatballs on top of the stove, but my mom assured me that baking them was not only easier but also healthier.  I placed all the meatballs on a wire rack which was resting in a cookie sheet lined with foil. (The foil is used simply for easier cleanup.)




Fresh out of the oven.  Oh boy!!  The smell summoned Eli and Isaac into the kitchen where they hung around my knees begging for something to eat.  Hahaha!  (Next time I won’t make these when it’s close to lunch or dinner.)

Love how all the extra fat and grease dripped off the meatballs into the pan below.  Way better than pan frying them in my opinion!



Getting my needed supplies ready to transfer the meatballs from the pan into the crockpot.  Love, love the fact that I am able to use homemade spaghetti sauce instead of the store-bought stuff.   Tastes soooo much better!!





After sauce and meatballs have been mixed together.  Placed the lid on top and put dish inside the refrigerator.






Now, as to the exact recipe for these meatballs….Not gonna happen.  No, I’m not being selfish or what I like to term a “Recipe Nazi.”  I just don’t have an exact recipe to give.  My mom has always had this terrible habit of never writing anything down while working in the kitchen.  She’s made the same dishes over and over again throughout her life that she works by feel (muscular memory – like a violinist!).  She just doesn’t think about what goes into a dish or the exact measurements.  I’ll never forget the first time I saw her making her meatballs from scratch and she tested the seasoning.  She actually placed a piece of the raw meat on her tongue for a few seconds them spit it out into the trash.  Blah!!!  Thankfully there is another way to test the seasoning – it’s called cook a small piece in a frying pan.

Anyhow, here is what I used to make these meatballs.

  • 1 pound hamburger (I used deer burger in mine)
  • 1 pound sausage (I used homemade Italian sausage)
  • Bread crumbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Romano (or) Parmesan
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Garlic salt

Yields: approx. 32 meatballs

Since I used the Italian sausage in my meatballs, I didn’t use the oregano, basil or garlic salt because the sausage was already seasoned.  I did, however, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Use as much or as little of the bread crumbs you think necessary.  Remember to start out with less and add more as needed.  The meat fat does a great job of holding the meatballs together so you don’t need to add any other moist ingredients like egg or milk.


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