Friday, August 31, 2012

Make Ahead Meals: Meatball Meals

I am starting a series of blogs for Make Ahead Meals that I am preparing before Baby 2.0 arrives. Every night when I make dinner, I am doubling the recipe and putting the second in the freezer. I am hoping that the prepared meals will help on those totally exhausted days when cooking sounds like no fun. I am hoping many of the meals I will be preparing will be somewhat healthy and low calorie, but I know there will be some meals mixed in that aren't. To prepare for the freezer meals, I purchased some slow cooker liners (for the crockpot meals), gallon freezer bags (for the freezer skillet meals), and Aluminum Foil Steam Table Pans with matching lids (for the freezer casseroles).

We had another great sale at the local store, 93% lean ground beef, and I promptly went out and purchased 4 pounds of beef.  I knew exactly what to make with all ground beef--- MEATBALLS! Growing up, I can't remember ever having meatballs, but when I met my husband he showed me his Mom's recipe and I have been making them ever since. I know they freeze well, so I thought they would make a great freezer meal!

I started off with:
4-pounds of 93% lean ground beef
4 onions, chopped small
8 slices low-calorie bread, crumbled
4 eggs, beaten
4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning 

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with hands. 
3. Form into balls and place on two cookie sheets. 

4. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

The Meals I Made:
I divided the meatballs into 4 freezer bags. Two of the bags I just stored in the freezer. It's always easy to keep spaghetti sauce on hand, heat it up, and throw the meatballs in for a quick meal.

The other two bags I used to make Sweet & Tangy Meatballs from

Here are the ingredients you will need:

Sweet & Tangy Meatballs
2 pounds of meatballs (see above for recipe)
5 cups canned pineapple chunks, juice reserved
6 cups sliced carrots
3 large chopped onion
2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups reserved pineapple juice, plus water
12 Tablespoons vinegar
12 Tablespoons brown sugar
8 Tablespoons soy sauce
4 Tablespoons cornstarch

And you can see the complete recipe here at her website: Sweet & Tangy Meatballs

I doubled her recipe and made one for dinner that night and one for the freezer.

I mixed up all the sauce ingredients as she directed in her recipe:

I then removed half of the sauce mixture and put half of the meatballs in the skillet to warm them up and served it over rice for dinner. 

The sauce I removed from the pan, I poured over the meatballs in the freezer bag and labeled them.

I can tell you, this recipe is a keeper! It was really good and my toddler loved it! Next time though I would make the meatballs out of ground turkey just to cut the calories a little! 

Meals to date:
2 x Spaghetti and Meatballs (really just frozen meatball)
1 x Sweet & Tangy Meatballs

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