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
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. :)
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! ;)
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.
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.
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.
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! :)
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