Earlier this week we talked about freezing anything. I make these meatballs from Budget Bytes on a regular basis. In the past, I have made a double or triple batch, cooking them, and freezing the cooked meatballs in smaller portions. But honestly, cooking all those meatballs is a pain and sometimes I think they come out a bit drier that way too, so I’ve been searching for a new way to cook all those meatballs (see below) .
Most often we use them to make spaghetti and meatballs, but I’ve used them for several different dishes, including meatball subs and Salisbury steak meatballs. This recipe calls for ground beef and Italian sausage, but I have used Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, and substitute tiny diced mushrooms for some of the meat. You could also substitute ground turkey for the beef. If you cook according to the meatballs according to the recipes, there are 9 Weight Watcher Smart Points for a serving of 4 meatballs, but if you substitute ground turkey and turkey Italian sausage and skip frying the meatballs before baking,which I often do for convenience anyway, it is only 6 points per serving of 4 meatballs. (This is assuming you get 40 meatballs per recipe as called for in the recipe.) Frying the meatballs helps provide more texture, but doesn’t really change the flavor. There is literally no difference in taste when using turkey and, of course, the point count would be even lower if you substitute mushrooms for some of the meat.
The original recipe calls for tossing the meatballs in flour, searing in oil on the stove, then baking in the oven. You can cook them this way. This removes much of the grease. My personal preference is to place them on drying racks, to keep them up out of the grease.
To freeze the uncooked meatballs, follow the recipe, coat in flour and put on baking pan in the freezer. Freeze for approx 4 hours, then remove and quickly place in a freezer safe container.
To cook, you can stack in a slow-cooker with sauce and cook on low for 6-8 hours until done. Unfortunately, this results in a really greasy sauce. I cook in half or a quarter of the amount of sauce I would serve it with. Once cooked, I remove the meatballs and put in some fresh sauce.
You can also bake from frozen. Bake at the same temperature, for approximately 1.5 the normal amount of time. (I baked mine for 1hr and 15min). I cooked them on a broiler pan. They were perfect! This pan drips off all the grease, and is super easy to clean.