Meaty Eyeballs

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*Makes 18-24 meatballs, depending on how big/small you make them


1 cup panko crumbs

1 cup buttermilk

2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef, or a combination of ground beef, pork and/or turkey

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Marinara sauce, for serving (see recipe below)

Sliced black olives

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the panko and buttermilk. Let the mixture sit for five minutes. Add in the ground beef and all the other ingredients. Mix until well combined.

Form golf-ball sized meatballs and place them about 1/2-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the meatballs for 28-32 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from oven and transfer to a platter or plate. If you used a less lean form of ground meat, you may want to drain the meatballs on a layer of paper towels before transferring to a platter or plate.

Cover the meatballs in marinara sauce and put two sliced olives on each meatball for the eyes (they should stick just fine to the sauce). Serve immediately.

Quick Marinara Sauce

*Makes about 6-7 cups of sauce

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup grated onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely minced

2 (28-ounce each) cans crushed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon sugar

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the onion is softened and translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 10-15 minutes, or let it gently simmer for upwards of 45 minutes.