Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Meatballs in bulk, for the freezer

Last week, I sat down and made some lists of things I want to do before our new baby is born. I survived the first several months of pregnancy with just doing the minimum, and while I still wouldn't say that I usually feel the greatest, I have been pushing myself to tackle some larger projects which were so helpful to have done before the birth of our last child! :)

Ground beef was on sale at a local grocery store, so I bought enough to make meatballs for the freezer. I'm down to just one or two packages of meatballs from the last time I made them, and it really is so handy to have them already done and in the freezer! I cook some pasta and use my home-canned spaghetti sauce for a quick meal of spaghetti and meatballs. :)Â

Get things ready...

First, I got my ingredients ready. I had 9 pounds of meat, and was using this recipe. I actually used the food processor for all the onions and garlic, since it's easier to make meatballs when the onion is chopped very finely. And, when making such a large amount of something, it's more worth the time to wash the food processor afterwards. :)

Start mixing!

Next, I started mixing. I used a spoon as long as I could, but I did use my hands at the end. The meat wasn't too cold, thankfully! ;)

Make lots of meatballs

Now, for the rolling. I rolled lots of meatballs. Let's just say that after about the 200th meatball, I was pretty glad I had decided to "only" do 9 pounds of meat!

I put my meatballs on lightly-greased cookie sheets, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. They turn out great, and it's so much easier than trying to cook them on the stovetop.

Baked meatballs

I drain the baked meatballs on cooling racks and/or on paper towels. I was limited on counter space that day (lots of canned pumpkin still sitting around!) so I just stacked up the meatballs.

Package them up...

When the meatballs were cool enough, I started filling my Food Saver bags for the freezer. Here you can see the difference in size between an open bag and a vacuum-sealed bag! :) The amount shown in the bags above is enough for two full meals for us. I did a few bags with smaller amounts, as well.

Meatballs, all ready for the freezer! :)

Last step: labeling and dating each package. These all stacked neatly into my freezer, and I'm guessing I now have about a year's supply of meatballs. That might sound like a long time, but the vacuum-sealed bags keep the food really well, and we've actually found that certain foods (meatballs and pepperoni, for example) taste even better when they've been frozen for a few months! :)

To participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Post a kitchen tip in your blog, with a link to this post. Then come here and add your name, tip subject, and URL to this post! Links must be family friendly, as always. If you don't have a blog but would still like to share a tip, just leave a comment here with your tip! Everyone's ideas are appreciated. :) Note: Please link to your individual post, not your blog's main/front page! Thanks for participating! :)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays Participants

2. Hope Is the Word
4. Debbie J. (Be Prepared)
6. LeeAnn (Do-ahead Cinnamon Rolls
10. Rachel (baking rice)
11. Joanne peeling onions
12. Mrs Pear (Cleaning Dough Bowls)
14. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home (bakign with honey)
15. Our Red House (homemade scented spray cleaner)
16. Erika (butternut squash)


Comments

WOW
Submitted by mama
You have such GREAT ideas!! I am definately trying this if i get pregnant again! In fact you inspired me so much lately that I put up some pumplin!! Come check it out on my blog:)
I love love your positive attitude...your blog is definately a favorite of mine!


Submitted by Tammy
Awww, thank you. :) Your pumpkin looks great!! You should put a link to that post in the Kitchen Tips link box. ;)


Homemade Scented Spray Cleaner
Submitted by Anonymous
I have just posted a recipe for homemade multi-purpose cleaner scented with essential oils. It is much more economical than similar products that you can buy. It also smells delicious.


My first Kitchen Tip Tuesday and a brand new blog!
Submitted by Anonymous
Hi Tammy!

I found your blog through Crystal's Money Saving Mom blog (I think), and I've been hooked ever since. I love to cook, too. Last night I made your oven roasted chicken (thank you so much for this recipe!) and your cheesy potatoes, and both were hits. I just started a blog yesterday, and I participated in Kitchen Tip Tuesday today. Thanks for all the inspiration!


good idea
Submitted by Anonymous
I've never made meatballs for the freezer. Do you freeze them cooked? Sounds like a great idea.


Frozen meatballs
Submitted by Tammy
Yes, they're fully cooked before I freeze them. :)


Kitchen Tip
Submitted by Anonymous
This is my first Kitchen Tip Tuesday. I usually can't think of anything. Maybe this one will be helpful. Thanks.


meatballs
Submitted by ShannonLynn
I just did this same thing a few days ago. I only made 5 pounds of meatballs though. Great minds think a like I guess. :) We just moved so I've been restocking my freezer and pantry with all the mixes from Make-a-Mix. I love this book. Today I'm going to be making a supply of spaghetti seasoning mix and taco seasoning mix.

Shannon


Submitted by Anonymous

You make me really want a Foodmaster! The meatballs look good!


me too!
Submitted by Kristy
I do the same thing! I never make just one pound of hamburger patties or one pound of meatballs, I make a bunch and put them in the freezer!

I had never thought of using the food processor for the onions and garlic though, that is great!

And I would LOVE a food saver! It saves an incredible amount of space in the freezer, and probably keeps freezer frost and burn away too!

Kristy
Col 3:23-24
http://mrspear.blogspot.com/


Question
Submitted by Jules
Is there a food saver you would suggest? I see them all the time on tv, but never knew if they *really* worked or not. Or they work, but food still gets frost burned etc.

Kristy, I notice if I use glad's press n seal, I don't get the frost burn look. Along w/the freezer bags from Glad or Ziploc. (non zipper tho)


Vacuum sealing devices
Submitted by Tammy
Jules, We have a Food Saver (brand) vacuum sealer and it does work really well. The bags are thick and keep food well. The bags aren't cheap, so I don't use them for "just anything", but more for things like my bulk cooking foods that I plan to keep frozen for many months. :)

I don't know about the other brands, though! I think Joshua bought ours at Wal-Mart before we were married. I wonder if they've come down in price in recent years...? :)

Good reminder
Submitted by Anonymous
I haven't been doing that enough lately (making large batches of food to freeze). It saves so much time, hassle, clean up, etc. Thanks for the post and for hosting.

Stephanie


must do
Submitted by Lilyofthevalley
I must make up some meat ball, now that we ahve some beef in the freezer! :) Having food handy after the baby is born is a big blessing. I didn't get anything frozen ahead of time this time around. ~Tanya

 

I'll have to check!
Submitted by Jules
Thanks Tammy!

Has anyone used them to keep foods in the refrigerator longer? (like cheese or lettuce)


Food saver uses
Submitted by Tammy
I'm sure food savers would be great for keeping cheese... lettuce, I'm not as sure, since it might get bruised during the suctioning...?? The sides of the Food Saver box list TONS of uses, but I don't bother using it for everything. :)


Submitted by simplbrandy
Wow! I'm going to have to do this next time we have meatballs. I'm always concerned about cooking them through and then all that grease they soak up in the skillet. Thanks for this excellent tutorial. :-)


Leftovers, leftovers, LEFTOVERS!
Submitted by Anonymous
love your blog :o) we made your caramel the other day, too. it was fabulous!


Microwave
Submitted by Jules
I always made my meatballs in the microwave, w/some water in the bottom. I might have to try this way!

You mentioned serving these meatballs with spaghetti sauce. How else do you serve them?

I am not Tammy, but there are lots of ways to serve meatballs! Spaghetti and meaballs of course, meatball sandwiches- you can make Italian subs or BBQ meatballs for a sandwich or for a appetizer as well. My aunt made them recently and served them with just BBQ sauce poured over them and heated. Swedish meatballs in a white gravy with mashed potatoes or noodles, Sweet and sour meatballs with green pepper and pineapple.....

I add meatballs to vegetable soup, sometimes I cut them in half and use them as the groundbeef layer in a casserole, I make up a large batch and after they have cooled, place them in gallon freezer bags and freeze until needed. If unexpected company drops in, it is so nice to have these on hand. I always like to be prepared to feed people! LOL
Ruth, PA

Yummy! I am pregnant like you and you just made me crave for meatballs. LOL. Well, I am going to try this. I know how to make meatballs and I think I can incorporate some of your methods to mine. Thanks!

Miriam Sky
http://wellpregnant.com

Have you considered using a cookie scoop to make your meatballs? That's what I do? While they don't look quite as spherical, they taste just as good. Also, since I bake my meatballs in homemade tomato sauce (which flavors the sauce and makes it taste delicious!), it's harder to tell that they don't look perfectly round.

That's a great idea! I have an ice cream scoop... I'll have to try that next time! Joshua loves meatballs. :D

When you cook in bulk, like this recipe with 9 lbs of meat, what size bowls do you use? I am trying to find large bowls for bulk recipes and cannot find them. If I knew where you recommend buying them - or what size to search for - that would be great. Does Costco carry them?

I have two large stainless steel bowls and a large strainer (for draining large amounts of pasta, cooked meat, washing fresh veggies, etc.) I'm not sure how big the bowls are, actually, and they were a wedding gift. Very useful!! :)

I would suggest checking at a restaurant supply store (Business Costco [different from a "regular" Costco] might carry them), a kitchen specialty store, or maybe even Wal-Mart (haven't been there in a while but I think they may have at least one larger size bowl).

Sorry I can't give you a size on the bowls... but if you were shopping in-person (rather than online) you could just look at the sizes and see what size you think would suit your kitchen and needs! :)

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