Friday, February 25, 2011

Masses of Meatballs

Making meatballs is another way I can stretch a little meat a long way.  I make giant batches of meatballs at once, freeze them, and just pull out as many meatballs as I need for a meal.  I find that about 4 meatballs makes an adult happy in a meal, when properly sauced, and children will usually be happy with less.  A pound of ground meat goes really far this way!  I generally use either ground venison from my husband's hunting, or ground turkey that can be found in the frozen food section of the grocery store for $1.59 regular price, but I generally pick it up for a $1 a pound on sale.  Any ground meat would work in this recipe though, so use what you like.
Half a batch

6 lbs ground meat
2 2/3 cups dry outs or cooked brown rice
2 cups onion, diced
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
8 eggs
2 2/3 cups ketchup or tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, using hands if necessary to thoroughly mix.  Form into small balls using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon.  Place the meatballs on a greased baking sheet (if you wish to save a lot of cleaning time, you can also line the baking sheet with aluminum foil, but that obviously would be a lot less frugal).  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned and no longer pink in the middle.  At this point, you can either use some right away, or cool them for freezing.  Freeze directly on cookie sheets then transfer to a large freezer container or freezer bags once frozen, so that you can pull out just what you need.

Here are some of my favorite sauces for these meatballs.  For all of these, I just make the sauce as directed, then add meatballs and heat through.  Ideally, the meatballs would be thawed first, but I honestly never remember, so I end up throwing them in frozen and heat them a bit longer.
  • Brown gravy
  • Salisbury sauce (1 1/2 cup white sauce plus 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce)
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce


  1. Never thought to use rice in meatballs, but I can totally see how that would be good!


  2. Yeah, using the rice or oats, instead of crackers like a lot of people use, helps keep a nicer level of moisture when they are frozen then reheated. Not to mention that it's a great way to sneak some fiber in!

  3. I've always used oatmeal in mine! I've been doing this for a long time as my oldest LOVES spaghetti and meatballs! I've also snuck in extra nutrients by using baby food that they weren't eating anymore (when they ate that)!

  4. Never would have thought to use brown rice! I always use some whole wheat bread. Thanks for the idea!

  5. I'm going to make these next time i pick up meat. They look great, and better yet, easy!