I think we all have those crazy nights when it seems almost impossible to get dinner on the table. For myself, I had two boys in hockey, I was President of my childrens' PTA, one child in soccer, the other in baseball, one took guitar lessons, Mr. P coached two hockey teams and sat on the Minor Hockey board all while running a business with never-ending working hours. As you can see, life can get pretty hectic in our household!
One of my saving graces was to have a few batches of meatballs made up in advance and frozen so that they were ready in minutes. When I was too tired to fix much else or I had to get the kids fed in a hurry, quite often meatballs were our meal of choice. Mostly because they are so versatile.
A favourite in our house is Meatball Soup. I saute some celery, carrots and onions, add in some chicken stock, noodles and meatballs and we have a hearty dinner that everyone loves. Another favourite is Meatball Subs. I heat up some meatballs in some spaghetti sauce and put them on a bun, shred some mozzarella cheese on top and put them under the broiler for a minute. Sometimes I would use hot dog buns since that would be all that I had on hand. We also do Spaghetti and Meatballs. Using angel hair pasta makes this meal extremely quick to put together. Much faster than going to a fast food joint for take out! Of course, we also enjoy eating meatballs on their own with boiled potatoes, gravy and whatever vegetable I have in the freezer. There are just so many other ways that you can use up some pre-made meatballs. You could cover them in BBQ sauce and heat them in the crock pot (this is also great to take to a potluck!) or Ikea has a fabulous mustard, cream sauce mix that tastes wonderful poured over meatballs. Like I said, meatballs are very versatile!
Here is my recipe for meatballs. I love this recipe not only because there is lots of cheese in it but also because I can sneak in a serving of spinach without my family realizing it.
3 lbs of lean ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 pkg. of frozen, chopped spinach with all the water squeezed out
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all of the ingredients above.
Shape into small balls.
I found this great little ice cream scoop a couple of years ago. It makes forming meatballs so much easier and they are a uniform size so that they cook evenly. I had been looking for one of these for a while and when I finally found one I scooped it up (no pun intended)!
Place meatballs on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes.
They should be lightly browned and the cheese should be oozing out when they are done.
After letting them cool a little, I put them in large ziplock bags and placed them in the freezer.
I ended up making 2 batches and each batch made 80 meatballs. I am now ready for when one of those crazy nights hits and, best of all, I don't have to feed my family fast food.
What is your go-to meal on a hectic night?