Saturday, January 10, 2015

Saturday in Anneliese's Kitchen - Five Meatball Meals

When I was in Saskatoon last year, I had the opportunity to do a cooking class with a Mom's Group that my daughter-in-law attends. They were interested in one pot kind of meals and ideas on freezer meals, so I shared with them how I've made a batch of meatballs and divided it to make quick meals in the future.
I'll share a basic recipe I got from Lovella, way back, when we were just young moms. I've made a couple of small changes and doubled it to yield about 125 meatballs, which I would then divide into five small bags to freeze. It's about one hour of work that saves a lot of time later, when in a rush to get dinner on. 

Basic Meatballs:
  • 3 lbs fresh lean ground beef
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 cup milk or water
  • 2 tsp fine dried onion flakes
  • 3 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
Mix well by hand. If you find it quite dry, you can add a bit more milk or water. Shape into 1 inch meatballs. Bake on foil or parchment paper lined cookie sheets for 20 minutes at 400 F. Cool and freeze in small bags. (20 - 25 per bag/ meal)

Meatball Soup

  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups finely chopped vegetable combination of celery, carrots, sweet pepper and/or zucchini
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 4 cups chicken or beef broth (or 4 tsp better-than-bouillon and water)
  • 20 - 25 cooked meatballs (1 bag)
  • 1 cup raw macaroni
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute onion and vegetables until soft. Add garlic, tomatoes, sauce and spices.
  2. Add broth and meatballs. Simmer half hour.
  3. Cook macaroni separately, rinse and add to soup. Add 1 - 2 cups water it too thick. You can give it a Mexican twist by adding taco seasonings and beans or a chili twist by using chili style canned tomatoes. Instead of using pasta you can add 1/2 cup barley to the simmering time and cook until done.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  • 1 small can pineapple tidbits
  • 1 cup liquid - fill measuring cup with pineapple juice and add water to make 1 cup.
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 20 - 25 cooked meatballs
  1. Combine all ingredients, except for the pineapple bits, in a container with a lid and shake until smooth.
  2. Place meatballs and pineapple tidbits in a casserole. 
  3. Pour liquid mixture over top and bake, covered, for 40 minutes at 350 F. Serve over rice.

Meatball Enchiladas

  • 20 - 25 meatballs
  • 1 can green chili pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, divided (purchased or homemade * see below)
  • 8 - 10 tortillas
  • 2 - 3 cups Mexican blend cheese, divided
  1. Mix meatballs (cut in half) with chili peppers and 1 cup enchilada sauce.
  2. Divide amongst tortillas. Roll up and place in a baking dish.
  3. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.
  4. Bake 30 minutes at 350 F. (I cover with foil) Serve with Spanish rice and raw veggies and dip. 

Enchilada Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp Mexican spices, 1/2 tsp coriander or chili powder, 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Melt butter, blending in the flour and then the broth (using whisk)
  2. Add tomato sauce and spices, stirring until bubbly
  3. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and 1 cup cheese

Meatballs and Mushroom Sauce 

  • 20 - 25 meatballs
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
  • dash of thyme
  1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter, saute onions, mushrooms and garlic until tender, stirring often.
  2. Add mushroom soup, mixed with milk. Bring to boil. Stir in the sour cream and meatballs.
  3. Simmer 10 - 15 minutes, adding thyme near the end. Serve over rice or pasta.

Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce

(This sauce is the recipe from Lovella that came with the meatball recipe, slightly altered over time . . had no idea it would become a post (what is that?) one day.)

  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 small green or sweet pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried sweet basil
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or water and bouillon)
  • 20 - 25 cooked meatballs
  1. Saute onion and pepper, adding garlic once onion and pepper is soft.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, spices and the rest of the ingredients, including meatballs.
  3. Simmer 15 - 20 minutes.
Make a larger recipe by adding a can of Italian Tomato sauce, 1 cup extra broth and more meatballs. Mix leftover sauce with spaghetti and reheat for another meal. Our family likes it stirred and reheated. Add a large salad and garlic bread to stretch the meal.


  1. Can a onion be used instead of the flakes and can the bread crumbs be substituted with crushed corn flakes or crackers? If so would the measures be the same? Been along time since I made meatballs....just might be what brings the whole family together for a Sunday dinner!!! Thanks

    1. Yes, for sure! the original recipe called for grated fresh onion. Use about 1/2 - 1 whole grated onion. You can substitute dried bread crumbs equally with crushed cornflakes or crackers.

  2. Yummy meatball recipes....the mushroom one has my mouth watering! Thanks for this great resource of meatball recipes.

  3. This is a wonderful post, Anneliese ... What a great idea to pre-make the meatballs and then have a variety of delicious recipes to use them in.

  4. Love all the great recipes! Thanks.

  5. I'm just wondering if ground turkey could be used instead of the ground beef. The meatballs and mushroom sauce looks delicious.

    1. Yes, you can for sure substitute ground turkey for all of these!

  6. I've done this before.....and our favorite meal is Meatball Subs!! I've also cooked with brown gravy over egg noodles. I really want to try your recipe for the mushroom sauce. That looks delicious!

  7. Your cooking looks so good!!!

  8. Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one!

  9. Thank you so much for another meal to add to my recipe box. Yesterday we enjoyed the Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce for supper. I accidentally used a 28-oz. can of tomatoes instead of a 14-oz. can, but I might keep making the sauce that way! What a delicious meal! And now I have two more meals' worth of meatballs in the freezer! I look forward to trying more of your ways to make them into a meal.

    Note: In the meatball recipe, I substituted the ketchup with some tomato sauce, honey and vinegar. My meatballs took only 15 minutes or less to bake. One recipe yielded me 65 meatballs.

    1. That is the great thing about these kind of recipes... you can add or take away ingredients when it comes to the sauce and it's always good. I was surprised you got only about half the number of meatballs... maybe they were larger... but you cooked them in less time. One of the mysteries of different ovens etc. Thanks for letting us know how they worked for you!

  10. I love your blog. I especially like this post Anneliese as its super versatile and I love having extra in the freezer for a quick meal.
    You gals rock! I've never had a failure recipe so keep up the great work. Blessings.