The Meatball: 5 Quick Recipes for This American Classic

By: Bambi Turner

You can do so much more with meatballs than mix them into a plate of pasta! See more international tomato dishes pictures.
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You're used to dining on meatballs sitting on top of a heaping plate of pasta, but this protein-packed food actually has a surprisingly diverse history. Despite its association with Italian cuisine, the history of the meatball can be traced back through the cultures of ancient Rome, northern Africa, Asia and even Scandinavia. This rich tradition means that you'll find no shortage of innovative and delicious ways to use meatballs in your own kitchen. Need some ideas? Try these five quick recipes that can help you put a new twist on the classic meatball.

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5: Meatball Soup

Meatballs go just as well in soup as they do in pasta.
Meatballs go just as well in soup as they do in pasta.
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Did you know meatballs could be used in light, non-pasta fare? Adding meatballs to a pot of soup gives them a whole new texture -- they seem to melt in your mouth. Combine sausage and beef to give Italian-style soup a tasty twist, or try this kid friendly pizza meatball and noodle soup. If you're short on time, this quick and easy meatball soup recipe is packed with veggies and orzo pasta to help you create a complete and balanced meal in a hurry. No matter which of these recipes you choose, serve your meaty soup with thick slices of fresh bread on the side to soak up all the juicy flavors.

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4: Meatball Skewers

Enjoy meat and potatoes on a stick with meatball skewers. Start by preparing a batch of meatballs that are flavored to perfection. Go for a blend of sweet and spicy with this recipe, or try this barbeque-cranberry dish. These meatballs made with spinach and cheese offer a more grownup appeal, or stick to simple recipes that allow the natural flavor of the meat to stand out. Spear them with a wooden or metal skewer, alternating with chunks of roasted veggies, potatoes, onions or peppers. Allow your skewers to simmer on the grill, or place them on the broiler to preserve moisture while allowing the various flavors to intermingle.

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3: Swedish Meatballs

Meatballs are the centerpiece of this dish.
Meatballs are the centerpiece of this dish.
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Sometimes the simplest meals are the most delicious, so why not let the meatballs be the focus of your meal? This Swedish-style meatballs recipe calls for a combination of beef, pork and veal with a creamy sauce or gravy. Breadcrumbs and minced onions help create the perfect flavor and texture, while a side of cranberry or lignonberry jam makes the ideal accompaniment. Serve with mashed potatoes, cooked egg noodles or rice, and start with a salad to create a balanced, nutritious meal.

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2: Subs, Grinders and Sandwiches

The meatball sandwich just might be the perfect meal to fill up your family on a cold day. Start with large meatballs, then smother them in your favorite sauce. Go with the classic Italian-style sub made with garlic, peppers and onions, or add a zesty twist with a sandwich made with salsa and chili powder. Add chopped veggies for extra flavor and texture, or top with your favorite cheese. Serve the entire concoction in your favorite sub roll, or stuff the filling between two slices of classic sandwich bread and chow down.

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1: Classic Pasta and Meatballs

There's a reason spaghetti and meatballs is such a popular dish: It's delicious!
There's a reason spaghetti and meatballs is such a popular dish: It's delicious!
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Why mess with an American classic? When you need a healthy dose of traditional comfort food, you can't go wrong with a handful of protein-packed meatballs atop a bed of al dente pasta. Start with spaghetti or choose your favorite pasta, from ziti to rotini, then pour on the marinara sauce and mix in the meatballs. Add chopped veggies, or outsmart picky eaters by pureeing vegetables right into the sauce. Need inspiration? Try this recipe, which incorporates broccoli, carrots and spinach. If you're in a hurry, this recipe for Mama's Best Ever Spaghetti and Meatballs can help you transform five simple ingredients into a delicious dinner in minutes. Serve with bread and salad for a quick and complete meal.

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Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Kummer, Corby. "Pasta." The Atlantic. July 1986. (Dec. 3, 2011) http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1986/07/pasta/6226/
  • Yost, Dennis. "World's Largest Meatball Crowned in Columbus." NBC News. Nov. 18, 2011. (Dec. 3, 2011) http://www2.nbc4i.com/news/2011/nov/18/worlds-largest-meatball-crowned-columbus-ar-833734/

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