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    • Meatball Mania by Deborah Taylor-Hough


      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.

      (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).

      (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.

      (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.

      (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

      (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.

      (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

      (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"

      --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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