Frozen Assets


Meatball Mania! A Simple Mealtime Solution

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 advantage 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 with a warmed can of cream of mushroom soup poured over the top — and served with rice or 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.

If you’d prefer to use ground turkey instead of ground beef, you can find my recipe for Turkey Meatloaf (which can also be used for making meatballs) here:  The Turkey Meatloaf Twins

All recipes in this blog post have been used and adapted with permission from my book, Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month (SourceBooks).


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 broiler 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 it’s made 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.

~Debi

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Deborah Taylor-Hough is a freelance writer and author of Frugal Living For Dummies® and the popular Frozen Assets cookbook series. Visit Debi online at: www.Simplemom.com


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12 Comments so far
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[...] Ellie Nowell on Meatball Mania! A Simple Mealt… [...]

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Pingback by 2012 in review « Frozen Assets

I’d just like to say thankyou!! you have changed my life! today is the second time ive done freezer cooking and i would never go back! Thank you thank you thank you :)

Ellie from UK

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Comment by Ellie Nowell

im trying to find out how to make the large batch of meatballs in advance to store in the freezer can someone plz help me

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Comment by Ashley

Ashley, the recipe for the large batch of meatballs is in the post above under the subheading “Millions of Meatballs” … the recipe makes about 4 dozen.

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Comment by dsimple

[...] Recipes Holiday Turkey Spaghetti Pie Marinated Lime Chicken Make-Ahead Apple Pie Filling Garden Spaghetti Sauce Vegetarian Lasagna Breakfast Burritos Freezer Meat Loaf Make-Ahead Ground Beef Mix Use-It-Up Quiche Meatball Mania [...]

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Pingback by The Turkey Meatloaf Twins « Frozen Assets

I make quick swedish meatballs all the time. Just cook the meatballs then add a can or cream of mushroom and a pint of 50% less fat sour cream. My husband loves this over noodles.

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Comment by Donna

I am going to try the catalina meatballs. I had the book for a while. It got burned up in a fire. Will need to get another copy of it.

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Comment by Raylene Smith

[...] to try making your own freezer meatballs?  Debi at Frozen Assets has a great recipe here [...]

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Pingback by It’s Raining Meatballs « Frugal in Franklin

You can also make a sweet and sour meatball recipe:

14 oz can pineapple tidbits (and juice)
Family size meatball portion
1/2 cup of your favorite bbq sauce
1 green pepper cut in strips

Bring pineapple, juice, and bbq sauce to boil in large pan. Add FROZEN meatballs and green pepper, and simmer over med-low heat for 15 -20 min or until heated through. Serve over hot cooked rice… perfecto!

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Comment by Andrea

I’m going to try this with venison. I do alot of freezer cooking, but have never tried meatballs.
Donna

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Comment by Donna

my dear,what great ways you have shown to “make ahead. I am 79 years old and grew up during the depression but never to old to learn something new. Thank you so much

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Comment by virginia

Can the meatballs be made using turkey and would the cooking directions differ? thx,

Hi, Monica …

Yes, the meatballs could be made with ground turkey. I would cook them the same way, although they won’t be nearly as greasy so they could probably even be baked in a regular baking pan rather than baked on a broiler pan to catch the grease.

~Debi

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Comment by Monica Mora




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