Crouton-Spiked Meatballs with Savory Gravy

Most amazing meatballs ever! Crunchy, seasoned croutons make all the difference, adding flavor, texture and overall awesomeness. And that silky gravy... The whole dish is beyond!

Take note, you're gonna want to serve the meatballs and gravy over something! I guess you could eat the gravy like soup (it's that good), but I think you'll relish how it soaks into pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous, mashed potatoes - even a bread bowl! You'll be licking up every drop.
You need to try this ingenious use of croutons (if I may say so myself)! Think about other meatball (and meatloaf recipes): they often contain some sort of "bread" product, like actual bread, breadcrumbs or crackers. Croutons serve the same purpose (locking in moisture), but they also add tremendous flavor to the meatballs. I used "seasoned herb" croutons, but there are many varieties out there, so choose your favorite. Also, I left some bigger pieces of crouton (instead of crushing them into a fine crumb); so you could see little specks of them in each meatball!

Crouton-Spiked Meatballs with Savory Gravy

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup crushed seasoned croutons (if desired, leave some larger, identifiable pieces)
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon onion powder, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Chopped fresh parsley for serving
Rice, pasta, quinoa, couscous, mashed potatoes, and/or bread for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
To make the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine the beef, croutons, parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, 1/2 teaspoon of the onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mix well and shape the mixture into 16 meatballs. Transfer the meatballs to the prepared pan and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is bubbly, whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the broth and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, remaining onion powder, and remaining garlic powder. Return to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes (or until the meatballs are finished). Add the meatballs to the gravy and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to heat through. Season the gravy with salt and pepper. If desired, spoon the meatballs and gravy over pasta or rice (or any grain/potato of choice), sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Serves 4