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Dear Laura and Emily,

It’s a chilly, blustery day here in Denver with blowing snow.  Brrrr.  I’m finding every excuse to stand in front of the oven all day, and so far I’ve made a batch of granola and a loaf of banana bread.  Before I try my hand at baking whole wheat bread (from the 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook), I’m going to whip up a batch of my Dad’s meatballs.  These are among my ultimate cold weather comfort foods.

Sage Sausage Meatballs - Dad's Recipe


My father, who has lived many lives, did some geology field work in Denver one summer in the late 1960s.  His neighbor was a family member of someone who owned an Italian restaurant, and this was their meatball recipe.  It’s now been handed down through our family – quite the heirloom!

You know those restaurant meatballs that are dry and dense?  The ones that are just a bland combination of ground beef, bread crubs and oregano?  These are NOT those meatballs.  These are incredibly flavorful and light – almost fluffy.  If a meatball can be fluffy …

The secret?  It’s hard to say, exactly, but it could be the sage sausage.  In case you’re wondering where to find sage sausage, it’s usually in the refrigerated case near the bacon and comes in 1 lb. tubes.  This recipe only calls for 1/2 lb., so I always freeze the other half for my next batch of meatballs.


Dad's meatballs

Like most meatball recipes, it’s as simple as combining all ingredients in a bowl – I mix with my hands – rolling them into balls, and sauteing.

Ken's Famous Meatballs |

I make them about 1-1.5 inches in diameter, cook over medium heat, and flip them gently with a fork to brown on all sides.

Dad's meatballs - Sage Sausage |

Once they’re browned, cover them with spaghetti sauce (homemade or from a jar) and a little water. Cover, simmer, and then devour!


Ken’s Famous Meatball Recipe
Author: Denver Mary
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 lb. ground beef (I use 93% lean)
  • 1/2 lb. pork sage sausage
  • 1 c. bread crumbs
  • 2/3 c. milk (or a little less)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. onion salt (or onion powder)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 4 Tbsp. grated parmesan (heaping tablespoons!)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with your hands or a fork.
  2. Roll into balls about 1.5 inches in diameter.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs.
  4. Brown meatballs on all sides, turning gently.
  5. When browned, cover with spaghetti sauce and 1/4 c. water.
  6. Cover and simmer 20 minutes until cooked through.



And because I can’t write an entire post about balls without thinking of this, here ya go:





Mary Sig


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