• Meatball Mania by Deborah Taylor-Hough

    MEATBALL MANIA!

    by Deborah Taylor-Hough


    Cooking up a large batch of meatballs in advance to store in
    the freezer goes a long way toward establishing a supply of
    quick and easy meals. And if you take advantages of sales
    on ground beef and stock up, this can be a tremendous boon
    to your family budget, too!


    In addition to stirring meatballs into spaghetti sauce, you
    can also use them in soups, serve them on skewers (kids
    love this!), or heat in brown gravy or a warmed can of cream
    of mushroom soup served with mashed potatoes.


    The following recipes prepare a large batch of freezer meatballs
    and also include examples of ways to use frozen meatballs. The
    sauces require some preparation, but the meals go together
    quickly with your stockpile of precooked meatballs in the freezer.



    MILLIONS OF MEATBALLS
    (this makes a lot -- at least four dozen, depending on size)
    12-ounces tomato sauce
    1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
    4 eggs, lightly beaten
    1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
    1/4 cup green pepper, finely chopped
    1 teaspoons salt, optional
    1/8 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
    1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
    4 pounds ground beef


    In a large mixing bowl, combine first eight ingredients. Add
    ground beef and mix well. Shape into meatballs (use a small
    cookie scoop if available) and place on boiler pan so grease
    can drain while cooking. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven
    for 30 minutes. Divide into meal-sized portions. To prevent
    from freezing into a solid meatball-mass, freeze individually
    on cookie sheets and then place in freezer bags. Label
    and freeze.


    To serve meatballs, thaw completely and reheat with your
    choice of sauces (six sample sauce recipes follow).



    SWEET-N-SOUR MEATBALLS
    (5 servings)
    1 (14-oz) can pineapple tidbits or chunks, undrained
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 cup cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon soy sauce (or more to taste)
    1 family meal-sized portion of freezer meatballs
    1 (5-oz) can water chestnuts, drained and thinly sliced
    1 green pepper, cut in strips


    Drain pineapple tidbits, reserving syrup. In medium saucepan,
    combine brown sugar and cornstarch. Blend in reserved syrup,
    water, cider vinegar and soy sauce. Cook and stir over low
    heat until thick and bubbly. Carefully stir in meatballs, water
    chestnuts, green pepper strips and pineapple. Heat to a
    boiling. Serve over hot cooked rice.



    CHILI-DAY MEATBALLS
    (5 servings)
    This recipe sounds a little strange (chili sauce and grape jelly?),
    but it tastes like burgundy sauce (only without the wine)
    1 (12-oz) jar chili sauce
    11-oz. jar grape jelly
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 cube beef bouillon dissolved in 1/2 cup water
    1 family meal-sized portion of freezer meatballs


    Whisk together chili sauce, grape jelly, lemon juice and
    bouillon, breaking up all clumps. Simmer on low heat until
    sauce starts to thicken. Add freezer meatballs; cook in
    sauce until meatballs are fully thawed and heated through.
    Serve over hot cooked noodles or rice.



    MEATBALL SANDWICHES
    (6 servings)
    1 family meal-sized portion of freezer meatballs (approximately
    4-5 meatballs per person)
    6 hot dog buns (or hoagie rolls)
    6 thin slices mozzarella cheese
    2 cups prepared spaghetti sauce


    Thaw meatballs and spaghetti sauce (if using frozen). Place
    both in medium saucepan. Heat until hot. Place meatballs
    into warmed buns. Ladle small amount of spaghetti sauce
    onto each sandwich; place mozzarella slice onto each
    sandwich.



    TOMATO-SAUCED MEATBALLS
    (5 servings)
    1 (10 3/4-oz) can condensed tomato soup
    1/2 cup water
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 family meal-sized portion of freezer meatballs


    Mix together soup, water and Worcestershire sauce. Place
    meatballs in a medium sized saucepan; pour soup mixture
    over meatballs. Simmer until meatballs are heated through.
    Serve over hot cooked rice.



    MEATBALL STROGANOFF
    (5 servings)
    1 (10 3/4-oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
    1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
    1 cup mushrooms, sliced and cooked in butter until soft
    1 family meal-sized portion of freezer meatballs


    In medium saucepan, mix together mushroom soup and sour
    cream. Gently stir in mushrooms and meatballs. Simmer
    until meatballs are heated through. Serve over hot cooked rice
    or over egg noodles tossed with melted butter and chopped
    parsley.



    CATALINA MEATBALLS
    (5 servings)
    1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1 bottle Catalina salad dressing
    1 family meal-sized portion of freezer meatballs


    Saute' onion slices in olive oil until softened. Place frozen
    meatballs in medium skillet. Pour dressing over meatballs.
    Cover skillet and cook over low heat until dressing caramelizes
    on meatballs and onion, and the meatballs are fully thawed
    and heated through. Serve over rice.


    Recipes adapted from "Frozen Assets: How to cook for a day and eat for a month"



    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
    --Deborah Taylor-Hough (free-lance writer, wife and mother of three) is the editor of the Simple Times [join-simple-times@ds.xc.org] and Bright-Kids [join-bright-kids@ds.xc.org] email newsletters. She's also the author of the bestselling book, Frozen Assets: how to cook for a day and eat for a month, and A Simple Choice: a practical guide for saving your time, money
    and sanity. Be sure to visit Debi online at "A Frugal, Simple Life": Hometown Has Been Shutdown - People Connection Blog: AIM Community Network

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Mrsbear's Avatar
      Mrsbear -
      I'm not a know it all...just old and done it all or most of it. I like to freeze the meat balls in baggies. Make big batches of the sauces too and include the sauce with the meatballs or in their own baggies.
    1. Stinkyfeet's Avatar
      Stinkyfeet -
      I likedthe sweet and sour sauce for the meatballs. I will use the sauce recipe for other things, too!
    1. One Legged Lady's Avatar
      One Legged Lady -
      Way cool and it is portion control!
    1. AnnMC's Avatar
      AnnMC -
      Great recipe for OAMC. I think this one will become one of my favorites. Thanks.


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