Bulk Cooking — Part 3

Good afternoon everyone! We have arrived at the last installment of bulk cooking with ground beef. Today has been insane, first I overslept by two hours, instead of my child waking me up(like he usually does) he just closed my bedroom door and left me. Never heard the alarm on my iPod because the sound wasn’t turned up, that’s my fault. So this post is a tad late in getting out. But it’s here and not forgotten!

The recipe we use to make our meatballs is one that can be found on Food Network called Grandma Maronis Meatballs, it’s a 100 year old recipe, very yummy and makes the best meatballs, in my humble opinion 🙂 Normally when we make these meatballs we do a bunch(as in 5-6 pounds of them), enough for at least four to five meals. These meatballs are tender and juicy and affordable! Now I want to apologize for yesterday’s post, I had my math wrong and it was brought to my attention. This taught me to not type when I’m three sheets to the wind! Thankfully it was pointed out to me by my Mother so there wasn’t too much embarrassment to have to deal with 🙂 I just wanted to apologize for my mistake and let everyone know it’s been corrected. 

The recipe is simple, we didn’t double it this go around and it still made enough meatballs for two meals, adding to our inventory that’s already in the freezer.

Grandma Maronis Meatballs

1 pound ground chuck
4 ounces dried bread crumbs
4 large eggs
4 ounces whole milk
6 ounces grated Romano
3 ounces grated Spanish onion
2 ounces finely diced fresh garlic
2 ounces finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 ounces finely chopped fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in large bowl. If mixture seems a little loose add more bread crumbs. Roll meatballs loosely about the size of a golf ball and place on baking sheet. Place into preheated oven for approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Enjoy!
We don’t make golf ball sized meatballs. That’s just a lot of meat per ball and would take too long to bake, we like to use a melon baller scoop. It’s much smaller but we get more meatballs that way which helps to drive down the cost per meal.
 
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Here you can see the meat after it’s been mixed together. Again, we only add soft breadcrumbs and mix very gently to help make a more tender meatball. You might be wondering why we would use a recipe that includes milk. Sounds odd but actually it helps to tenderize the meat even further. Any time we make any meat sauce, during the cooking process we add a little milk to help soften up the meat. It works perfectly and once everything is absorbed and evaporated we add in the rest of the ingredients to our sauce. Can’t tell that milk was ever added! The end product is tender and mouthwatering. Try it if you’ve never done it before 🙂
 
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The loading of the melon baller. You can do this one of two ways: After scooping up the meat you can level it off or mound it up. We like to mound it up slightly, balls are still small enough to pop into your mouth but still big enough if you want to cut them in half.
 
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Mounded. Now when I make my sausage spinach balls I level off the scoop to make them a bit smaller, more appetizer size. They are always a hit at the Christmas party I go to every year!!
 
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There was enough to make a full pan and then half a pan, about 52 meatballs…but then Dad ate one so it we had 51…anyway. It’s going to be enough for two meals.
 
 
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Bake according to the recipe and voila! I wish there were a way for everyone out there to smell these through your computer screens…guess you’ll just have to make them to find out! The aroma in the house that Monday night was out of this world, felt like we were in a Sicilian’s kitchen 🙂
 
Divide these up into two meals, placing them into food saver bags, seal them shut with a food saving machine and freeze! In a month I’ll use them in my family’s favorite meatball casserole (a post for another day), serve it up with pasta, salad and garlic bread! Instant meal that I didn’t have to slave over all day!
 
 
If you haven’t tried bulk cooking, are a little apprehensive in trying it, or don’t know where to start, it’s easy. You start small. I haven’t been posting all these things to make anyone feel overwhelmed, on the contrary, I am trying to encourage you to save even more! Depending on what the meal is will determine how much time and effort it will take to get a finished product. Instead of making one meatloaf buy enough meat to make two. That’s what we did in the beginning. Wrap up the second meatloaf and save it for the following month. We didn’t start out using 10 pounds of beef and magically end up with seven to ten meals in the freezer, Mom eased us into it and once I was fully on board with bulk cooking she and I started plotting and planning what to do with five pounds of meat and finally ten pounds of meat. It’s been a slow progression that’s allowed us to see the endless possibilities with not just ground beef but also pork, chicken, roasts, vegetables, fruits, and even non-food items. If you need more information, encouragement or ideas please email me at nightowlkitchen@yahoo.com I will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have and be willing to share any extra tips I can think of. I’m not going to let these three posts just sit here and confuse people. I don’t want anyone to be stumped, lost, or feel like it’s an impossible thing to do. We’re a one income family, while we don’t coupon like many folks (because we cook mostly from scratch) we have been able to save a lot of money the last few years. I just want to encourage you all, don’t be shy in asking me anything and if I don’t know something I will find someone who does 🙂
 
If you don’t want to shell out $30 for 10 pounds of meat at first, don’t. Start with 3 pounds of meat, cook it up into three meals and freeze them. That’s at least three meals that you won’t have to worry about making later! Think of the time and headache that is saved when you can easily go to your freezer, pull out a frozen meal, let it thaw and bake it up for dinner! I did this just last night and all I had to cook up was a meat side to go with our vegetable casserole. I saved about 20 minutes on my cooking time, which is so worth it! Graduate yourself up to making five meals, then ten, and who knows someone out there might get bold enough to do twenty…more power to you friend! Start small, make an extra meal to freeze, and watch the savings as the months go by 🙂
 
Have a blessed day!
 
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