Meatballs with Easy Pantry Gravy

Pure comfort and joy! Savory, caramelized meatballs (spiked with toasty crackers), basking in a simple yet satiny gravy that's made with pantry staples. As the meatballs roast, the gravy quickly comes together on the stove - and everything is ready in less than 30 minutes. You're gonna dig this one. Watch me make it HERE.
This is one of my boys' favorite meals. Hands down. The meatballs are always slightly different, but the core recipe is the same - ground beef with some sort of "bread" (crackers, bread crumbs, pretzels), egg, and dried herbs. The herbs I choose are based on either what I have handy, or what I'm in the mood for. It's typically some random combination of parsley, basil, oregano, and thyme. If the meatballs will be an Asian or Mexican sauce, I'll add dried cilantro. Sometimes I add garlic powder and onion powder - since those flavors also resonate in most of my sauces and gravies.
That means these are super versatile meatballs! You can use what you already have in your pantry and they will shine! I used parsley and basil below, but you can use parsley and oregano, or oregano and basil, or just choose one herb. And the gravy couldn't be simpler either. If you don't have tomato paste, use ketchup. If you don't have Worcestershire sauce, leave it out. Or use steak sauce. You can go wrong friends. The most important thing to remember is this: gravy makes everything better; so make the gravy.

Serving suggestions? I almost always serve my meatballs and gravy with mashed potatoes, because that's what the boys ask for! Here's a recipe for my Buttermilk Ranch Mashed Potatoes. And here's one for Skinny Garlic Mashed Potatoes. This would be equally awesome with pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa, or a nice chunk of bread. 

Meatballs with Easy Pantry Gravy

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup crushed crackers of choice (such as Ritz or saltines)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Chopped fresh parsley 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, crackers, egg, oregano, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mix well and shape the mixture into 12 to 16 meatballs. Transfer the meatballs to the prepared pan and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
Meanwhile, to make the gravy, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is bubbly, whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the broth and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the meatballs and simmer for a few minutes to heat through.
Top with parsley and serve.
Serves 4