This is one of those great recipes that has so many uses you might set up a regular day each month just to “stock up” your freezer with them–much like whole cooked chickens.
The concept of homemade meatballs isn’t that different from homemade meatloaf, except the seasoning and ratios are a little different, and that you can use a rather handy kitchen tip in making these little guys (see below).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Begin by combining 1 lb. spicy pork or turkey sausage with 1lb. lean ground beef in a large mixing bowl.
Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon oregano and about 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (can substitute 1 teaspoon dried parsley if necessary).
Break an egg into the mixture, add about 1 cup fine bread crumbs and about 1/4 cup steak sauce (can substitute ketchup, tomato paste, barbecue sauce, whatever…); salt/pepper to taste if desired. (Vary your salt based on which sauce you used, though–steak sauce, for example, is MUCH saltier than, say, plain tomato paste!)
Before mixing, stop to prepare any oven equipment to avoid lots of starts-and-stops and repetitive handwashing/disinfecting after you begin working with the raw meat.
Use mini- (or regular-sized) muffin tins to bake meatballs–not only will you contain any excess grease that cooks out of the meat (preventing possible oven fire!), but it’s also much easier to keep them evenly spaced when placing in the oven.
Using cookie sheets for meatball baking means you’ve got to be extra-careful loading the oven up to keep them from rolling around everywhere. That poses a very real threat to burning yourself in the process! Muffin tins make this a complete non-issue.
With hands, knead together all ingredients until evenly incorporated. Form meat into approximately 1-1/2″-wide balls and place in lightly-sprayed mini muffin tins.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until uniformly browned and test piece has no pink in its center. Beware of overcooking, particularly in the muffin tins, as grease in the bottom of the tin can cause the bottom side to harden as it browns if it goes longer than necessary. Begin checking for doneness right at 15 minutes to avoid any chances of this.
Remove finished meatballs from oven and transfer one-at-a-time to paper-towel-lined plate to soak up any excess grease. Serve immediately or freeze in a single layer on cookie sheet. Once frozen individually, transfer groups of meatballs to ziplock bags for longer-term freezer storage.
To reheat, place in single layer on paper-towel lined plate and microwave on HIGH power setting (multiply one minute per every six meatballs on the plate). Use them in sandwiches, pasta, soups, appetizers and more!