Ricotta Meatballs

February 15, 2013

I have mentioned before that I have worked at quite a few places throughout my life. I have worked as a lifeguard, a mosquito trapper, a health inspector, and a septic inspector all before I even decided that my true passion was food.

Currently, I blog for you here and I work for my in-laws’ business about forty minutes north of my house. It’s funny, but along the way to my in-laws’ business, I pass three places that I used to work at and aaaaabsolutely hated.

As I pass each building I have a strong urge to give them a one fingered salute. But instead, I think back about what I learned from these places and thank God that I do not work there anymore.

Who knows? Maybe you are at a crossroads in your career and my little lessons and stumbles can help you. Or maybe this is just a long rant. Hopefully it is not the latter.

As I pass building one, where I was basically a glorified paper sorter with a useless college degree, I am reminded of crappy job lesson #1: you should not make a career decision solely based on money. I did not take that job because I longed to do that kind of work. I took it because I had an in with one of my best friends the money was way more than the former job I was at, where I actually used my college degree. A few months in, a little thing called the recession hit, and I was stuck making less than where I was before. Yep, karma.

As I pass building number two, where I was a food service management intern, I am reminded of crappy job lesson #2.  I did the job of three people, which seems to be a common theme in food service. I was paid hourly, did all the tasks of a manager, but was micromanaged up the whazoo! It finally came to a breaking point when I had announced I was transferring to a full-time job within the company, just at another location.

It was basically a promotion, but it led to a hall of fame level backhanded compliment. My female boss told me that I would do fine there because I was pretty. Ummm…. What? I have a college degree, I can do the banking, ordering, work the line, and manage employees, but none of that mattered because I was pretty. Why couldn’t she just be supportive of me, another female coming up in the same business? I should have spoken up for myself, but I just moved on and up.

Oh yeah, crappy job lesson #2: Never let somebody make you feel inferior, especially when you know they are just intimidated by your brains and beauty… Just sayin.

As I pass the third building, the coup de gras, I remember my final crappy job lesson, #3: If you are promised things at a job, and don’t speak up or keep asking for them, you will never get them. Here I was a bookkeeper and manager and kind of a stand-in catering manager. I was so excited because I built a great relationship with the head chef and was really looking forward to menu planning and possibly honing my knife skills or learning a few tips here and there.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work that way. Instead of being in the big new kitchen tearing it up, I was crammed into a small office buried up to my nose with invoices and having to do HR work. Meh, not for me. So I stood up for myself and said I wanted more. Basically, there wasn’t a spot for me there, so I quit.

I quit. And luckily, I was able to take time and find my true passion which led me to all you wonderful people!

After all of that, I learned a lot and know one thing for sure. There is no greater comfort than a big bowl of noodles with some hearty meatballs thrown in for good measure. While I worked these jobs, Spaghetti and meatball night used to always be Mondays, which are bad enough before you throw in a craptastic job and you have a bad day on your hands. This is the best dish to cure any kind of bad job blues.

Cook these guys up if you are having a bad work day/week/year and then come back here and I will listen to you vent about bad bosses and terrible coworkers.

Ricotta Meatballs

Course Entree
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Sarcastic Cooking


  • 1 Pound 98% Lean Ground Beef you can also use ground turkey
  • 2/3 Cup Low-Fat Ricotta
  • 1 Small Shallot minced
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 2 Garlic Cloves grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Pinch of Smoked Paprika
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Pepper
  • Olive Oil for the pan


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, gently mix together the ingredients until they are evenly combined. Be sure not to over mix.
  3. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of a large oven-safe baking dish.
  4. Take a large pinch of the meat mixture and form it into a 1 to 2 inch ball. Place the meatballs in the baking dish. Continue that process until all the meatballs are formed.
  5. Bake the meatballs for 25-30 minutes until browned on top.
  6. Serve the meatballs with your favorite pasta and sauce. Meatballs will last stored in the refrigerator wrapped in foil for three days. Reheat in the microwave, oven, or in some sauce on the stovetop.

Recipe inspired by Liz from The Lemon Bowl

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  • Allyc
    December 8, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I wanted to report that I made your meatballs today with the “Smart Ground” meatless meat, and they turned out great! I added about 1.5 tablespoons of oil to the mix since this “meat” is zero fat. Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try it with real meat! 🙂

  • Lauren
    May 7, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Tonight I made your wonderous meatballs, which happened to be my first go at meatballs. They rocked my world! My dad who is not a cook even asked what spices were in them. 🙂 After making I decided to read your post and was struck by the irony of your job insight. Your words ring true in my life and current situation. So thank you for sharing your love of cooking and your thoughts on life! It does make a difference.

    • Stefanie
      May 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      Thanks for this amazing comment!

  • Anita at Hungry Couple
    March 1, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Yeah, I once had a job where, after I got there, I was told that I had gotten the job because I was much prettier than the other candidates. Excuse me while I throw up… Anyway, I’m always looking for a better meatball recipe and the ricotta sounds interesting. I’ll be trying this!

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog
    February 18, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    These meatballs could make anything better. I can’t wait to try them! Love all of your job lessons.

  • Wendy
    February 15, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    We, out here in web land, are the beneficiaries of your crappy jobs and your decision to devote your life to creating delicious recipes for us. Oh, and photographing them beautifully as well 🙂 Thank you. Rarely do spaghetti and meatball look this good. Couldn’t “Uncle” above use this recipe with tuna ? My daughter eats fish but is otherwise vegetarian and I often substitute fish into meat recipes.

  • Michelle
    February 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Life has a funny way of teaching you lessons! It’s so great that you figured out how to take what you want.

    Those meatballs look fabulous!

  • Uncle
    February 15, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I have a little task for you: how about a handful of dishes with no meat {Lent season}. To make things a little challenging NO cheese dishes [cheese is not my favorite]

    • Stefanie
      February 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      You got it! This first Friday of Lent caught me off guard. I have some nice fish recipes and dairy free stuff coming up soon!

  • Julia
    February 15, 2013 at 10:59 am

    These look so comforting and delicious. Nothing beats a big bowl of pasta and then topped with meatballs? Perfect.

    I agree with your comment about not taking a job for the money. I did this with my first job out of college and hated it. About 4 years ago I decided to take a pay cut to make a career change and do something more in line with my passions and interests. Money can’t buy happiness! Great post. 🙂 Have a nice weekend.

    • Stefanie
      February 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Thanks Julia! Have a great weekend!

  • Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen
    February 15, 2013 at 9:32 am

    I totally agree about not making career decisions based on money. I did the same thing once, and literally cried on the phone to my mom every night after work about how much I hated my job. Glad you enjoy what you’re doing now though! Meatball making > paper sorting.

    • Stefanie
      February 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Hhahaha I like your logic, meatball making is way better than paper sorting.

  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
    February 15, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Ick what horror stories! Michael is currently in a job he hates, not using his degree, and it is just a nightmare. It’s so hard to find something else though, so overwhelmingly to look. I’m so glad you’re happier now.

    And I want these meatballs, badly. Bookmarking em!

  • Ainhoa
    February 15, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Gosh this looks amazing. And it’s lunch hour here too. I just bought ground beef yesterday, I think this is a sign!!

  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
    February 15, 2013 at 8:04 am

    So glad you tried these and enjoyed them!!! They look gorgeous!! xoxo