My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

Saving Time and Money By Making 2 Dinners At Once!

17 Comments

One of my most favorite things to do is save time and money.  I guess that’s two things, isn’t it?  Oh well.  I find that if I double or triple recipes when I’m cooking them, then freezing the rest, saves time (because it doesn’t take much longer to cook more at one time) and money (because I can buy in bulk).

 

This method works very well with one of family’s favorite dishes, spaghetti and meatballs.  Not the store bought meatballs, but homemade meatballs.  My hubby and I have been making these since the early days of our marriage.  Not only is it delicious, but it’s a relatively fast dinner (ready in under an hour even when I’m making huge quantities).  A family friend gave me a Betty Crocker Cookbook at my bridal shower, and it was been well used and loved.  Our meatball recipe comes from that cookbook with a couple of alterations over the years, but not many.

 

Meatballs freeze really well and make a quick, hearty dinner on a busy night.  These meatballs are wonderful in so many recipes.  While we usually serve them in spaghetti sauce, you can also serve them in a cream sauce, with sweet and sour sauce, with Yoshida sauce (one of my favorite appetizers),  and many other ways.

 

Let me begin with the recipe.

 

Meatballs

Adapted from a recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook

 

1 pound ground beef or ground meat of choice

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (or Worchestershire)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon dried onion (or 1/4 cup diced fresh onion)

1 egg (or egg substitute)

 

Mix together ground beef, milk, and egg.  Add salt, pepper, soy sauce, and dried onion, and gently mix until well combined.  Add bread crumbs and mix well.

 

Roll into balls (or use a metal scoop) and place on a foil lined cookie sheet.  (The foil will make cleanup easier.)  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes until light brown and cooked through.  Serve as is or with your favorite sauce.

 

To Freeze: Let meatballs cool for 10-20 minutes.  Put into a large freezer Ziplock bag.  Label bag with contents and date.  Remove excess air and seal.  Store in the freezer for up to 1 month.

 

Here’s my photo step-by-step.

 

As always, I started by assembling my ingredients.  I decided to use powdered eggs instead of fresh eggs, because I was running low on my fresh ones, and I didn't feel like running to the grocery store.

As always, I started by assembling my ingredients. I decided to use powdered eggs instead of fresh eggs, because I was running low on my fresh ones, and I didn’t feel like running to the grocery store.

 

I added the reconstituted powdered eggs, fresh milk, salt, pepper, and soy sauce to my ground beef. Please note that I quadrupled this recipe, so this step-by-step will show a whole lot more meatballs than you will get out of one pound of ground meat.

I added the reconstituted powdered eggs, fresh milk, salt, pepper, and soy sauce to my ground beef. Please note that I quadrupled this recipe, so this step-by-step will show a whole lot more meatballs than you will get out of one pound of ground meat.

 

Next, I added my dried onion.  You may use fresh onion if you prefer.

Next, after mixing the meat, eggs, milk, soy sauce, and spices together, I added the dried onion. You may use fresh onion if you prefer.

 

Finally, I added my bread crumbs.  Some of these are store-bought bread crumbs, and some are bread crumbs I made.  (See that post here.)

Finally, I added my bread crumbs. Some of these are store-bought bread crumbs, and some are bread crumbs I made. (See that post here.)

 

I mixed the meat well, and they are ready to cook.

I mixed the meat well, and they are ready to cook.

 

I used my handy medium (2 tablespoon) scoop to form the meatballs.  My husband hates a dense meatball, so I take care not to pack it too tight.

I used my handy medium (2 tablespoon) scoop to form the meatballs. My husband hates a dense meatball, so I take care not to pack it too tight.

 

Here are the meatballs after cooking.  I take care to leave the grease and cooked meat juices on the pan and use only the meatballs by removing them one by one with tongs.

Here are the meatballs after cooking. I take care to leave the grease and cooked meat juices on the pan and use only the meatballs by removing them one by one with tongs.

 

Our favorite way to eat these meatballs is with spaghetti sauce.  I use a simple jarred sauce (like Ragu) and add stuff to it to make it to our tastes.  I added pepper, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, and balsamic vinegar.

Our favorite way to eat these meatballs is with spaghetti sauce. I use a simple jarred sauce (like Ragu) and add stuff to it to make it to our tastes. I added pepper, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, and balsamic vinegar.

 

I added the meatballs to the sauce, and let them stew for at least 10 minutes.  The longer you let them simmer together, the better, so if you have an hour or so, let them stew so the flavors combine.

I added the meatballs to the sauce, and let them stew for at least 10 minutes. The longer you let them simmer together, the better, so if you have an hour or so, let them stew so the flavors combine.

 

And here's my favorite part: I put the extra meatballs into a freezer bag, labeled it, and stuck them in the freezer for another day.  I used these a couple of weeks later on a crazy day.  Dinner was on the table in about 30 minutes (including the time to cook the pasta).  Not too bad, huh?

And here’s my favorite part: I put the extra meatballs into a freezer bag, labeled it, and stuck them in the freezer for another day. I used these a couple of weeks later on a crazy day. Dinner was on the table in about 30 minutes (including the time to cook the pasta). Not too bad, huh?

 

How do you save time and money?  Is saving time and money important to you?

 

* * * Don’t forget to enter my April giveaway today.  Click here. * * *

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Author: Laurie Nguyen

I am a happily married, stay at home mom with four sons, ages 24, 22, 18, and 14. I'm not a professional blogger, and I'm certainly not a foodie or a chef. But I like food, so I think I'm qualified to write about my own life experience with food. Want to be a little more prepared for the unexpected? Check out my Food Storage Blog, http://forayintofoodstorage.com. Have a question about Food Storage? Email me: forayintofoodstorage@gmail.com.

17 thoughts on “Saving Time and Money By Making 2 Dinners At Once!

  1. Laurie these look SO yummy and I agree with you in doubling a recipe to freeze for a quick meal at a later time. Thank you for posting this. I will definitely try this recipe for we love spaghetti and meatballs with homemade french bread which I have posted on my page and it’s so easy and good as well.

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  2. I love saving money and time. Thanks for sharing you tips.

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  3. I love making meatballs too! I got my recipe online (maybe from Allrecipes.com), I was so happy to make them for the first time, it’s not that hard and much cheaper making your own compared buying from the store

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  4. And I thought I’d invented making more and freezing. Ha ha. I believe even the wheel was invented more than once and not in the same place. ;-D
    Love your tips.

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  5. I like ur idea of putting the meatballs on a half sheet. I usually brown on the outside in a pan then let them cook in the sauce. Tho that is delish, your idea seems better for larger qualities…and I love large quantities 😉

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  6. Tonight I made dinner and froze a dinner. It was meatless Monday and I had a ton of veggies that I was turning into pasta primavera and so I chopped and tossed into a skillet and chopped and tossed into a freezer bag for an easy meal in a few weeks. It saves me so much time and money, I do it frequently! 🙂 Meatballs is one I do a lot, I’ll male spaghetti and meatballs and the left over sauce and balls becomes meatballs subs a few weeks later!

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  7. When I was single, I would make my favorite soups, then dish into soup bowls, and put the bowls in the freezer. Once the soup was frozen, I would pop it out of the bowls and store them all in a freezer bag. When I’d get home late from work, I loved pulling out a frozen bowl, already perfectly shaped to fit in my soup bowl, and heat in the microwave. Now, I freeze larger batches of leftover soup in quart containers.

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  8. I’m going to make these tonight, Laurie. Thanks for the idea! I bought a bunch of ground beef that was on sale (inspired, of course, by one of your earlier posts), but I haven’t known what to do with it. This will be perfect. Thanks!! 🙂

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  9. I should really start making two dinners at once, especially now that we have a baby! Thanks for the tips!

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  10. A great way to save time and money for sure.

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  11. I love idea of using a scoop to form them! That’s really why I don’t like to make homemade; I don’t like making the balls. Great idea and I love that dinner will be ready quickly. Thanks-I’m glad I found your blog!

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  12. These sound great! And I love to cook in quantity and freeze for “that day!” I just bought 6 pounds of ground beef that I didn’t get to use as planned, so now I have a better plan!

    Thanks, Laurel!

    (I got the Betty Crocker Cookbook 43 years ago! Love it!)

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  13. Ok, these look pretty good. Maybe you’ll make a meatball can of me.

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  14. I just love your whole food storage idea. Just genius

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  15. Pingback: Super Easy, Super YUMMY Garlic Alfredo Sauce! | My Foray Into Food Storage

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