Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thrifty is Nifty Series

Another installment in our "Thrifty is Nifty" series.

This time it's about having convenience food. We all need it every once in a while. Especially on those nights when everyone is hungry and there is nothing quick to prepare in site. Usually in these instances we go for something quick and usually it is not a healthy choice. I am not immune to these episodes where the dinner hour is looming and there is no dinner in site. Just this week Guy and I got fast food...twice!!! YIKES!!! (having a sick babe sure takes up a LOT of time.)

Here is something I have been doing over the last month or so I want to share.

Making your own precooked meatballs.

Ok Kristina what are you talking about...meat balls?

I discovered how versatile meatballs are this fall. They are an easy and inexpensive way to incorporate meat into a meal without having to take the time to cook it.

Here is what I do. Make my own meat balls, cook and freeze. (a commercial bag costs about 8 -9 bucks depending on the brand.)

This week ground turkey was on sale.

Here is the recipe I use...

20 oz of meat
1 egg
1/3c bread crumbs
seasoning of your choice
olive oil

This is a great way to use up old bread or those bread butts no one seems to eat. I also incorporated a little wheat germ and flax seed too. I like making my own because I know what is in there.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Cover your cookie sheet with aluminum foil (you'll thank me later)
drizzle olive oil on the foil and spread it all around with your hand or a paper towel.
Preheat your sheet in the oven.

Combine your ingredients. Really dig in there. Use your hands.

Make some balls. (about 10-16, to start, you'll still have meat left don't worry) I like to make mine relatively small in order to stretch the meat. Make them no bigger than ping pong balls.

Get your hot pan out of the oven and place it on trivet or hotpad so your don't burn your counter top.
Place the meat balls on the pan and bake for 15 min.
Take them out and turn and bake for an additional 5-7 min until done.

I then cool them in the fridge and then freeze them. They can keep for a while, but that won't really matter because they won't last long.

Ways to use your meatballs for those in a pinch lunches or dinners

Spaghetti and meatballs.

Mac and cheese with cut up meatballs.

Salad with cut up meatballs.

Pretty much any place you need ground meat you can use the meatballs.

I just mic them for about one minute to defrost and then cut them up and add them to our meals.

This is a great way to cut out those fast food meals which are detrimental to your wallet and your wasteline.


Jennifer said...

A couple of more ideas..

1. Always make double recipes and then freeze half. This works for banana, zuccinni, pumpkin, apple, bread, cookies, as well as lasagna, spaghetti, chili, etc. This is a great time saver.

2. When making french toast, make extra and keep them for the week. Then put them in the toaster to rewarm...much better than toaster waffles. (Recipe: 1 banana, 4 eggs .5tsp salt, .5tsp cinnamon, blend. Use sourdough bread (a must). Sprinkle with ground flaxseed while cooking in butter (or fake butter).)

Jennifer said...

Did you also know you can freeze brown bananas for later use.