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Baked Mini-Muffin Pan Meatballs


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2003 Golden Whisk Awards
(Our top 10 recipes of the year)

Sometimes, it's the ingredients that make a recipe special; sometimes, it's how those ingredients are put together. This recipe, from Food Network star (and local resident) Alton Brown showed us how to use mini-muffin pans to prepare perfectly round meatballs ideal for making, then freezing. Freeze them in small batches so you can take them out as needed for pasta, sandwiches or a snack.

Hands on time: 45 minutes  Total time: 1 hour  Serves: 5 dozen

Ingredients:

    1 9- or 10-ounce package frozen spinach
    1 pound ground pork
    1 pound ground lamb
    1 pound ground round (beef)
    1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
    2 large eggs
    1 tablespoon each dried basil, dried parsley and red pepper flakes
    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place spinach in a strainer and allow it to thaw, squeezing to remove any liquid. Place the spinach in a large mixing bowl and add pork, lamb, ground round, cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt and bread crumbs. Use your hands to mix everything together.
Using a No. 70 scoop (its bowl will hold just under 1/2 ounce), scoop portions of the meat mixture and shape into balls. Place some bread crumbs in the bottom of a coffee cup and roll the meatballs in the crumbs, one at a time, to coat well. Replenish the bread crumbs as needed.
Place the meatballs in mini-muffin tins --- one per cup --- and bake for 15 minutes, shaking the tins a couple of times to turn the meatballs. The meatballs should be golden and cooked through.

Nutrition:

Per meatball: 45 calories (percent of calories from fat, 67), 3 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, no fiber, 3 grams fat, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 77 milligrams sodium.

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