What is it about meatballs that makes them so darn crowd-pleasing? Around our house, everyone dives in on meatball night. We’re usually a bit on the traditional side…. serving them up with marinara over pasta. But tonight I decided to let them fly solo with a side of risotto.

The result? Unanimous approval.

Meatball making was an event growing up. My Dad would set aside an entire day devoted to meatball rolling, manicotti stuffing and lasagna layering. As kids, we always got a kick out of diving into the ooey ground beef and mixing all of the ingredients literally by hand (truthfully, less exciting once we hit middle school). And we NEVER made meatballs without egg.

Our little guy has an egg allergy, so our family recipe had to be adapted a bit. I love how moist these turned out and the unexpected tang in the tomato sauce was definitely well-received. Best part? It all came together in about 30 minutes.

The Bug had seconds. Actions speak louder than words, right?

mini meatballs with tangy tomato sauce - (cool) progeny

mini meatballs with tangy tomato sauce


  • 1 lb of organic ground beef
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup of apricot preserves
  • 1 14.5 oz can of organic diced tomatoes (I used seasoned tomatoes with garlic and onion)


Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, combine beef, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, cheese, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Best to mash together with your hands! If the mixture looks too watery, add more breadcrumbs until you get a good rolling consistency.

Roll meatballs to your desired size. We made smallish ones so that they were easy for little hands!

mini meatballs with tangy tomato sauce - (cool) progeny

Place a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. Grease with olive oil. Place meatballs on top of rack and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.

While meatballs are cooking, combine apricot preserves and diced tomatoes (undrained) into a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce and simmer for 5 minutes. You could use the sauce as is if your family likes chunky sauces. I happen to know mine likes their sauce smooth, so I tossed it in the blender.

Remove meatballs from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Combine with tomato sauce and serve!