Another solution for busy and new moms to save some time in the kitchen. Meatballs are versatile with the kind of meat you can use and kinds of sauces you can use. Freezing meatballs can be a solution for week’s worth of different dinners.
It’s my second days in a row of talking about freezer meals and it’s because I am deep in the freezer meal prep. Every day, I’m getting closer and closer to having a baby in a house and I want to be prepared.
When I was having my son, he completely surprised us with his early arrival and we were prepared for nothing. All we had ready was the furniture. I haven’t even unpacked half of the baby shower gifts. Hubs had to go shopping for baby essentials while we were still at the hospital and my mom sweetly did all the baby laundry that I didn’t even think of doing yet.
As for food, I had nothing prepared or frozen. I don’t think that I was even thinking about freezing food ahead of time while I was pregnant. It was my first baby and I had no clue what it was going to be like after we came home from the hospital. Preparing food ahead of time didn’t even occur to me. As a result, my mommy ended up bringing me a week worth of meals every weekend for the first couple of months. Without my mom helping me, I would be living on oatmeal and cereal.
Of course, the first few months after the baby comes is different for everyone. I just happen to have a very hard time with my postpartum recovery and adjusting to having a baby. Since I was having a hard time, cooking was the last thing on my mind.
This time, even though I know what to expect after we come home with the new baby, my life is a whole lot busier. I have another child to take care of and work doesn’t exactly stand and wait for me since I don’t get maternity leave. So I have been deep in preparations for the past few weeks.
The baby room is now all set, all the baby laundry is done, we are stocked on diapers and other essentials, and my freezer is slowly but surely filling up with food. I have our favorite soups frozen, some grilled chicken, a couple of casseroles, and lots of meatballs.
Meatballs are my FAVORITE food to freeze because they can be used in such wide variety of meals. You can use chicken, turkey, beef and pork, lamb, or veal as your meat of choice. Meatballs can be frozen with or without sauce too. I prefer to freeze them without sauce because that will give me much more flexibility to make sauce that I will be in the mood for later.
HOW TO FREEZE MEATBALLS
Step 1: Find your favorite meatballs recipe. These are my favorite meatballs.
Step 2: Prepare the meat mixture and use a cookie scoop to scoop out the meat mixture into even-sized meatballs. You can choose a size of the cookie scoop according to the meatball size you prefer.
Step 3. Lay out the meatballs in a baking pan, side by side, and bake until just done.
Step 4. Cover a large cutting board with parchment paper and lay cooked meatballs out on the paper to cool to room temperature.
Step 5. Once the meatballs are at room temperature, place the cutting board with meatballs in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
Step 6. Once the meatballs are just frozen, divide them among the freezer bags, close them tight, label and place back in the freezer.
**You can freeze meatballs with sauce or without. I do not recommending freezing meatballs with cream sauce. Many dairy products tends to separate when frozen so if you want to freeze meatballs in sauce, use tomato based or non-cream sauces.
***Flour thickened sauces, like gravy, doesn’t freeze well either. It is recommended to use tapioca starch when making thickened sauced for freezing but I have not tried it.
HOW TO THAW MEATBALLS
To THAW meatballs, pull the bag with meatballs out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator to defrost. This can take a few hours or overnight, depending on size of meatballs and how many are in the bag.
You can prepare sauce and cook the meatballs in the sauce for a few minutes before serving.
If you’ve frozen meatballs with sauce already, you will just have to reheat the meatballs in sauce in the oven or in the pan on stove-top. To reheat them, bring meatballs in sauce to simmer over medium heat and cook for a few minutes to heat through. Or, place them in a baking dish and reheat at 350 until hot throughout.
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How To: Freezing Meatballs
Basic Meatball Recipe:
- 1 lb ground beef 85/15
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 2-3 garlic loves pressed
- 1/4 cup minced yellow onion
- 1 tsp coarse salt more or less to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper more or less to taset
- Step 1: Prepare the meat mixture by combining all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix well until all evenly incorporated. Step 2: Use a cookie scoop to scoop out the meat mixture into even-sized meatballs. You can choose a size of the cookie scoop according to the meatball size you prefer.
- Step 3. Lay out the meatballs on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet, side by side, and bake until just done.
- Step 4. Cover a large cutting board with parchment paper and lay cooked meatballs out on the paper to cool to room temperature.
- Step 5. Once the meatballs are at room temperature, place the cutting board with meatballs in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
- Step 6. Once the meatballs are just frozen, divide them among the freezer bags, close them tight, label and place back in the freezer.
- To THAW meatballs: pull the bag with meatballs out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator to defrost. This can take a few hours or overnight, depending on size of meatballs and how many are in the bag.
- **You can prepare sauce and cook the meatballs in the sauce for a few minutes before serving.
- ***If you've frozen meatballs with sauce already, you will just have to reheat the meatballs in sauce in the oven or in the pan on stove-top. To reheat them, bring meatballs in sauce to simmer over medium heat and cook for a few minutes to heat through. Or, place them in a baking dish and reheat at 350 until hot throughout.
Tips for Freezing Meals
Please give the directions for “cook until done”. Temp and approx time would be helpful. I have only every cooked store bought meatballs or as part of a recipe that will be cooked completely.
Hi C, It will take them about 20 minutes to cook through in the oven. You can look through my Italian meatball recipe if you would like with more details. Here is that link https://www.willcookforsmiles.com/meatballs/
Kathy martin says
To freeze cooked meatballs on a baking sheet do I cover the meatballs too
I do not cover them on the cookie sheet but do make sure after they freeze that you put them in an airtight freezer bag.
Stacy Hinz says
How long can they last in freezer? I am guessing it typically isn’t a problem but just checking.
Hi, Stacy! These will last in the freezer up to 4 months.
Hi Lyuba, I’ve just mixed up the chicken for the meatballs. What you said about finishing them off in the sauce making them extra tasty has me wondering if I should still do that and then take the meatballs out of the sauce and freeze the meatballs separately and the sauce separately or freeze them in the sauce? I’m probably over thinking this but I don’t have any experience with freezing meatballs and I want them to be fantastic. I just do not have time to do them in the last couple of days before the party. What do you think is best?
Sher, I prefer to freeze the sauce and meatballs separately. If you choose to freeze them together. make sure the sauce is not cream-based.
Charles Sonza says
Since I use cheese in my meatballs you’re saying to not freeze? Cheese is a dairy product.
Most cheeses, especially hard cheese like Parmesan, in the meatball mixture will be just fine. The dairy in the freezer applies to cream, sour cream and things like that.
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says
Me, again. I just reread the entire post and noticed that you cooked the meatballs until just done. From the gorgeous shot, they still looked uncooked. Glad I reread it.
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says
Hi, Lyuba! Your meatballs look delicious! Now we also make loads of meatballs when we decide it’s time to restock our supply. Freezing them uncooked would give the dish that you’re adding them to more flavor from the meatballs. Really, I had no idea you were expecting until recently. Congratulations — a little girl. How precious, but little boys are special too. We have 4 grandsons. All have their own personality. Great freeze ahead recipes. Have a wonderful weekend.
Thank you, Marisa! We’re very excited. Sorry for the late respond.