Meatball Mania!

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

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(Recipes adapted from Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month )

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.

Related: Freezing Meat Safely

Millions of Meatballs

(This makes 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 a 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 without the wine).

1 (12-oz) jar chili sauce
11-ounce 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 to 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

You might also like: Making Fresh Freezer Meals

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

Discover the secret recipes from your favorite restaurants at

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.

Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of the bestselling Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month and A Simple Choice: a practical guide for saving your time, money and sanity. She also edits the Simple Times email newsletter. To subscribe, visit Debi online at:

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