I’m an unbored housewife and I can’t just make a quick run to the grocery store when I forget an ingredient.  Grocery shopping with three tiny humans is much like attempting to appease a ferocious beast that grows increasingly savage the longer it is strapped into a ridiculously large shopping cart shaped like a car.  And can I just express my love/hate feelings towards said shopping carts?  I love them because they actually contain all three of my beasts…I mean children.  I loathe them because they are absurdly immense and difficult to steer.  Much like the large SUV that I drive, I’m always paranoid that someone is watching me attempt to maneuver my cart and thinking “she doesn’t know how to drive that thing.”

Today I have approximately a pound and a half of ground beef on hand and not much else in the way of fresh ingredients.  But I sure as heck don’t feel like loading said large SUV with my three beasts, driving to the grocery store and appeasing them to buy just a few ingredients.

So I’ll make my pantry meatballs!

These babies are easily made with just ingredients that you probably already have on hand.  If you don’t have these ingredients on hand, we should chat about appropriately stocking your kitchen – but we’ll save that conversation for another day.

Growing up I didn’t eat much Italian food, but my husband is a Jersey Boy.  Italian cuisine is as synonymous with New Jersey as hair gel, sweet corn and going “down the shore.”  So I learned to cook Italiano style.

For some real deal Italian cooking, I will feature some of my Italian friends’ recipes in the coming weeks.  It will be fun stuff.

But today we’re talking pantry meatballs.

Start with roughly one and a half pounds of ground beef.  This was frozen and I defrosted it in the refrigerator overnight.


In order to feed the beasts, I buy my ground beef in family-sized packs and freeze it in smaller, one to two pound increments.  It’s economical, baby.

Break up your ground beef just a bit and toss it into a mixing bowl.  Crack two eggs into the bowl.

crack egg

Next add three-quarters of a cup of seasoned dry bread crumbs.

bread crumbs

Now go to the fridge and survey your parmesan cheese situation.  I have these two.

parm cheese

I’m going to use the shredded variety because it’s higher quality and tastier.  But if you don’t have it on hand, go for the grated cheese.  It will turn out just fine.  Add one-half cup of cheese to your mixing bowl.

cheese in bowl

Measure two tablespoons of dried parsley and add it to your ingredients.

dried parsley

Next add one half tablespoon of minced garlic.  I buy this jarred stuff and keep it in the fridge.  Some folks might turn their noses up at jarred minced garlic, but I’m okay with it.

minced garlic

Add one teaspoon of dried oregano.


Add salt and black pepper according to your taste preferences.  I go fairly light on both.  The parmesan cheese is salty.

Finally, add one-half cup of water.

Now take off your rings and get ready to squish some meat.  Use your hands to squish the meat and mix the ingredients.  But don’t overwork it!  Too much squishing compacts the meat and makes it too dense.  Lead meatballs are not so yummy.


Find a nice-sized baking sheet and rub it with a little olive oil.  Now shape your meatballs.  I like mine on the medium-to-large side.  My Jersey Boy says these are a little larger than a golf ball.  I don’t golf, so I’ll take his word for it.


shaped balls

Now bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.  Cooking time of course depends on how large you shaped your meatballs.  Smaller meatballs will be done sooner.

Now pop open a jar of sauce or make your own if you’re so inclined.  Grandma will be assisting me today.

pasta sauce

Serve on crusty rolls for meatball sandwiches or with spaghetti, of course.

These meatballs also freeze well for later use.

Whew, grocery shopping avoided.  For today, at least.  I’ll appease the beasts another day.

final meatballs


1 and 1/2 lb. ground beef

2 eggs

3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. dried parsley

1/2 tbsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. dried oregano

Salt and black pepper

1/2 cup water

Drizzle of olive oil