Since we had our sweet baby boy, Corey, I've been struggling to find the time to cook. I saw this recipe on The Pioneer Woman and knew it was meant for busy folks like myself!
Basically you make one giganto batch of meatballs that can be used in different recipes. The meatballs can be thrown in the freezer and pulled out based on your portion needs. You just throw the frozen meatballs in whatever sauce you choose, and voila - dinner! I chose Swedish meatballs because they're so delish and simple. Some other sauces she suggests for the meatballs are BBQ, arrabiata, and even an Asian version.
I tweaked her recipe a bit because my meatballs weren't cooked by just browning alone. I tossed them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and threw them in the oven to finish the cooking. I also didn't have egg noodles (hey, I'm lucky I showered today), so I just used rice instead.
I've never made anything of hers that I didn't absolutely love. Her recipes are perfectly seasoned, portioned, and explained.
Just. Love. Her.
Pioneer Woman’s Meatballs
5 pounds ground beef (90/10)
1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons grainy mustard (brown Dijon)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
To make the meatballs, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, cream, parsley, mustard, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Mix together well with your hands. Scoop out 1-tablespoon portions and roll them into balls with your hands. Place the meatballs onto parchment-lined baking sheets and put the baking sheets in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes for the meatballs to firm up.
To brown the meatballs, heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Cook, turning the meatballs to make sure they brown all over, 5 to 7 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels. If still not cooked, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 325 for about 8-10 minutes.
Freezer instructions: Put the cooked meatballs in a single layer on baking sheets and put into the freezer. When frozen, divide them into freezer bags, and return them to the freezer.
1/4 cup brown mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 1/4 cups beef broth
Pinch ground allspice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup heavy cream
Meatballs (see above)
Egg noodles, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley, for serving
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the mustard, Worcestershire and 2 cups of the beef broth and bring to a boil. Add the allspice.
Make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch into the remaining 1/4 cup broth, whisking to get out all the lumps. Whisk the slurry into the skillet and when the mixture starts to boil again, slowly add the cream, whisking constantly. Add the meatballs, cover and cook until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are heated through, 8 to 10 minutes.
Serve over noodles drizzled with olive oil and garnish with fresh parsley.
Recipe adapted from the one-and-only Pioneer Woman