Freeze or eat your choice

Sometimes I am hard pressed for time to cook a yummy meal during the week!  I also on occasion find it a pain in the butt to cook and I need a break; mostly on Friday nights.  So when I am in the cooking mood, I tend to take a few minutes before I go shopping to gather some ideas for dinners; I do ask the guys what they would like for dinners/ lunches; sometimes I regret this decision; This week they asked for Spaghetti, Chicken Divan, Beef Stew and Homemade ravioli.

Here are a few things I do in large quantities so we can eat some now and I freeze the rest for a later date. Meatballs for spaghetti or they are also great for grinders and I also make Swedish meatballs.  When I do make them I usually double the batch and freeze the leftovers on a sheet pan; once frozen I put them in a ziploc baggie and grab as needed.  While I do love meatballs; I do not like meatloaf; which also freezes very well.  Some will argue that they are basically the same thing but this is a childhood table drama and meatloaf will never be on my menu.  Though I have made it for my husband; probably only 5 or 6 times in the 29 years we have been together.  Wow that actually sounds pretty terrible now that I see it in writing.  You would think I could make it for him at least once a year.  I will consider making a couple for him next weekend; only because his birthday is coming up.

Meatballs

1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground hamburger
5 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
1 whole egg
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided
Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, lamb, beef, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs into a small bowl. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds,  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Double this and freeze what you don’t use.

I also do this with Lasagna.  It is kind of a pain to get all the ingredients out and make the sauce and assemble etc. So when I make lasagna I usually make 3 or 4 and freeze the balance.   A few blogs ago I gave out a 4 bean chili recipe that freezes very well.  My family especially loves this chili on omelets for breakfast or dinner so I tend to pack them up for the freezer in smaller serving containers.

For those who do not have a ton of freezer space I love to cook a roaster or two if I am feeding several people for Sunday dinner; one for dinner and the other for meals during the week.  The breast meat is wonderful alongside some rice and your favorite veggie later in the week.  I tend to like the dark meat in soups/stews as it will stand up to the cooking process better than breast meat which tends to get stringy and dried out; though you can get by this by adding the chicken once your are done cooking the soup/stew as all it needs is to be heated up.  I always make chicken stock from the bones and either use it immediately for soup or end up freezing it.  A super easy meal is the One Pot Pasta that I also posted in a previous blog and you could use the chicken stock you made on Sunday.

Image

One Pot Pasta

Happy Healthy New Year!

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