Freezer Meatballs

January 7th, 2013 · 33 Comments · Dinner, Organizing, Strategizing, Planning

So how’s everyone doing with Seven Days Seven Meals? I had to go out last night after work, so I’m starting with Operation New Dinners tonight. Well, if we’re going to be technical about it, I actually started on Sunday when I made a batch of lamb meatballs for the freezer. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me knowing these are waiting for us to devour on Thursday, when soccer is going to end late, and dinner is going to have to happen fast. Like 15 minutes fast. I’m not sure what meal will be built around them, but below I have a few options.

Keep me posted on your progress, too. Please share your triumphs with us, and remember: Catastrophes are always good for a laugh.

Freezer Lamb-balls with Two Options
Makes 16 meatballs

1 pound ground lamb
1 egg, whisked
not quite 1/4 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoon chopped fresh mint or 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
zest from 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoon minced onions
1 large garlic clove, minced

What I did Sunday: Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients thoroughly but gently, and form into small balls as shown above. Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then freeze in Ziploc. Total time sacrificed for the betterment of my weeknight self? About 15 minutes hands-on, 35 minutes total.

What I’ll probably do on Thursday: Make Lamb Pita Sandwiches. Place frozen meatballs on a cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes at 400°F. While they are baking, I’ll wrap whole wheat pitas in foil and heat them in the same oven for the last 10 minutes of meatball baking. I’ll also prepare sandwich toppings: pomegranate seeds, chopped fresh mint, feta, something green (cucumbers or shredded raw kale), plain yogurt mixed with lemon and a little cumin and salt. When meatballs are cooked, I’ll throw three or four into each pita along with assorted toppings as deemed acceptable by children.

What I could also do: Make Lamb Meatballs with Yogurt Dip. Place frozen meatballs on a cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes at 400°F. While they are baking, I’ll mix plain yogurt with a squeeze of lemon, salt, a dash of cumin. I’ll serve lamb balls with yogurt dip (or ketchup if necessary) and some kind of salad with kale, feta, and pomegranate seeds — all of which I have in the fridge from my Sunday shop.

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Money in the Bank

March 29th, 2010 · 11 Comments · Baking and Sweets, Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Organizing, Strategizing, Planning, Vegetarian

Yesterday, I spent about 10 minutes making this free-form cherry pie. The cherries are jarred Morellos from Trader Joe’s but the homemade crust is Martha Stewart’s pate brisee, which had been sitting in the freezer and which, in my opinion elevates just about anything it wraps itself around to levels of unparalleled pastry brilliance. For the past few weeks every time I opened the freezer and saw the uncooked ball of pie dough waiting for me, the same happy thought popped into my head: Money in the Bank.

It was the same way I felt eight years ago when I returned to my full-time job after maternity leave. My self-worth could be directly correlated to how many ounces of breastmilk I could pump and squirrel away on any given day. Andy used to catch me in the kitchen staring at the neat little row of Medela bags along the freezer door. “Are you counting your bags of breastmilk again?” he’d ask.

In other words, no matter what phase of motherhood I’ve found myself in, I’ve always known the value of a well-stocked freezer. (Note to breastfeeding moms: I know it’s hard to fathom how you will ever get from Medela Mom to impromptu-free-form-pie Mom, but you will…trust me.) The cherry pie, of course was just a nice little weekend luxury, but that dough, which could also be used for chicken pot pie or a quick vegetable tart represents dinner-table security — as does its other ziploc’d freezer friends: homemade marinara, chicken stock, and a Jim Lahey pizza crust that has become my go-to for family entertaining. This weekend, while your kids are watching an episode of The Penguins of Madagascar, take a few minutes to make a deposit in the bank. Your next week’s self will thank you. (Click to the next page to choose.)

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