Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Make-Ahead Meatballs in Slow-Cooker Sauce


One of my new endeavors for this new year is to prepare and freeze meals that can be used later, especially on busy days.  My hope is that this will save both time and money.  My family likes spaghetti and meatballs, but I don't always have time to make that on weekdays.  It's a no-brainer that meatballs would be one of the first foods I prepared for freezing.  However, make-ahead meatballs are something that I first tried months ago, and I've found it to be both convenient and delicious.

The first time I tried this was for a party.  I wanted to have fresh-tasting food without making a mess of the kitchen just before our guests arrived.  The day before the party, I made meatballs and baked them (it took about 25 minutes at 375 degrees).  I transferred them to the crock of my slow cooker and stored it in the refrigerator.

The next morning, I took out the crock and added sauce ingredients:  canned crushed tomatoes, chopped garlic, basil, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.  I didn't mix it up, but just poured everything on top of the meatballs.  After cooking for two hours on high and two or three hours on low, it was ready to go.

My spaghetti sauce tends to get bitter when it simmers too long in the slow cooker, but this was fresh-tasting.  It was easy to do, and there wasn't much cleanup on the morning of the party!

Last week I made a huge batch of meatballs.  (We'd shopped at a warehouse store and bought two 6-pound packages of ground beef.  I used one entire package to make meatballs.)  After they were baked and cooled, I divided them into meal-sized packages (without sauce) to freeze.

This is an easy freezer food, and it makes my family happy ... so it works for me!  For more Works for Me Wednesday, click the logo at the top of this post.

2 comments :

  1. I have been wanting to do the same thing lately. In fact sometime before the week is over I want to make some Sausage Balls and freeze them. I have never made them before but I really want to try them. I have other things I want to try make a head of time too. Your sauce sounds really good. By the way in a few short minutes I will have a award for you on my blog. :)

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  2. This sounds like a great idea. When I have company over even if it is only family it gets so congested in the kitchen. A meal like this would be better. Unfortunately my crock does not come out of the crock pot so I would have just one extra step. You should share your recipe for the meatballs and sauce--if you haven't already.

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