Easy Homemade Meatballs

Easy Homemade Meatballs

Oh meatballs!  Who doesn't love them?  I think they have become a staple for busy American families.  A big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, I think we all grew up on that. I've got one who, at 4 years old, already begs me to make it for her. It's a classic melting pot thing, originally Italian, but now I'd say it's classic American food. But all too often meatballs are purchased in big bags at warehouse stores, with way too much filler and salt and who knows what other processed ingredients.  I get it, I used to buy those. But with a little bit time on a weekend afternoon, you can make something that is so much better!  They are not hard to make, and are yet another very flexible recipe, and you'll be so glad you did. 

To top it off here - I'm not only giving you a great meatball recipe, I'm going to tell you how to cook them so that you'll end up with the most amazing tasting sauce to serve them with!

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Corn Dog Muffins

I think this may officially go down as the very best kid food item I have ever made.  I have always loved corn dogs, and my kids love them too.  I love the idea of making them at home, but I don't have a deep fryer, and I have no intention of getting one.  So when I came across this idea of making corn dog muffins I just knew we had to have it.  It's super easy - basically just good homemade cornbread with a piece of hot dog.  Cooking in the oven as muffins means no mess from frying, and I loved that I could make different size options using different size muffin pans and cutting the hot dogs.  

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Pancake muffins

I love a good cooking shortcut - or I guess we call them "hacks" these days. So here is one of my favorite breakfast hacks: muffins made from pancake batter. 

Mini Pancake Muffins | WhatLisaCooks.com

Muffins made from pancake batter? Yes! It totally works.

pancake batter muffins | whatlisacooks.com
pancake batter mini muffins | WhatLisaCooks.com

When I make pancakes I always make extra batter.

If you look at my breakfast for lunch posts, you'll see that we make a lot of lunches with leftover pancakes. Pancakes refrigerate well and freeze great and they are a perfect item to have on hand for quick and easy breakfasts and lunches. 

But sometimes I get about halfway through the batter and I'm just feeling done with standing over the stove and cooking pancakes.

So I take the rest and just make muffins! 

All you do is fill greased (or paper lined) mini muffin pans with the batter and then top as you like.

These work best with mini muffin pans because pancake batter is lighter than regular muffin batter, so bigger muffins fall a little and don't look quite as pretty. But bite sized pancake muffins are perfect. You can make them plain, or you can dress them up.  I like to fill all the spots with batter, and then add stuff to the top.

In this batch you can see that I did three different flavors. I put a couple of blueberries in some, a big frozen raspberry in the middle of some, and the rest I just sprinkled with a little cinnamon sugar.  

They are so good - light and moist and just perfectly sweet enough. They are the perfect size for little hands and small enough to just pop in your mouth, and they make a great portable breakfast. 

pancake muffin bites | whatlisacooks.com

As for the pancake recipe - I make my own. Pancakes are so easy to make from scratch, it's almost silly. You can read my pancake recipe here. You'll note in my recipe that I say that the butter is optional, but I think it's necessary for muffins - it really helps to keep them from sticking. If you don't want to take the time to melt and cool butter, I've substituted vegetable oil for the butter and they still come out great. 

You can totally do this with a store bought pancake mix if you prefer, I would just gently suggest that you try to find one with no artificial ingredients. For extra tasty pancakes, I always add a little maple syrup to the batter. This makes them taste great on their own, which means that for a quick weekday breakfast or lunch you don't need to get out all that sticky syrup. 

Pancake Muffins

  • Mixed pancake batter (be sure to include the butter or oil, and add a little extra sweetener)

  • oil of choice for muffin pans, or muffin cups

  • mini muffin pan

  • toppings / fillings of choice: berries, chocolate chips, cinnamon & sugar, etc.

Preheat oven to 350, or 325 convection. Grease mini muffin pans, or line with muffin papers.

Prepare your pancake batter as usual. Be sure to include the butter or oil called for in the recipe, and add a little extra sweetener. I usually sweeten my pancake batter with maple syrup. My recipe calls for enough syrup to make the batter nicely sweet without needing to add extra syrup when you eat them. But if you're using a different recipe, or a box mix, I would recommend that you add a few tablespoons of extra syrup or sugar. 

Fill your muffin cups about half way with pancake batter. Add toppings as desired - a piece of fruit, a frozen berry, a little sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes for mini muffins (time will vary depending on your oven temperature).

Enjoy!

~ Lisa

 
Make muffins from pancake batter! www.whatlisacooks.com