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Meatballs with Sneaky Veggies {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 15 (1 1/2 inch) meatballs 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

These delicious meatballs are packed with sneaky nutrition. Makes a great, flavorful freezer meal!


Ingredients

  • 1 medium carrot, finely shredded or minced in food processor
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped or minced in food processor
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (by hand or in food processor)
  • ⅓ cup fresh loosely packed parsley, finely chopped or minced in food processor
  • ½ cup fresh, finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (How to make your own)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a sheet pan that has sides or a 9×13 casserole dish with parchment paper or foil for easy clean-up.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the carrot, onion, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, salt and pepper.
  3. Mix in the ground beef. Use your hands to combine well.
  4. Roll meat mixture into meatballs, using about 2 tablespoons of mixture per meatball. They will be about 1½ inches in diameter. Place on sheet pan, leaving a little room between each one.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through. Cut one open and make sure there is no pink in the middle to assure doneness. Internal temp should be 160 degrees F.

Freeze For Later:

Option 1 (Uncooked Meatballs): Follow steps 1-4. Store uncooked meatballs in a freezer bag or container in a single layer. Or, if stacking meatballs in a container, divide single layers with parchment paper. Seal and freeze.

Option 2 (Fully Cooked Meatballs): Follow Steps 1-5. Let cool. Freeze the cooked meatballs in a freezer bag or container in a single layer. Or, if stacking meatballs in a container, divide single layers with parchment paper.

Prepare From Frozen:

Option 1 (Uncooked Meatballs): Thaw the uncooked meatballs. Follow Step 1. Bake according to directions in Step 5. Or, if cooking directly from frozen, increase baking time by about 30 minutes (total baking time will be about 50 minutes); cover with foil if they are getting too brown on the outside.

Option 2 (Fully Cooked Meatballs): When ready to cook the fully-cooked meatballs, thaw in the refrigerator. Warm up over low to medium-low heat on the stove in some marinara sauce. If you warm frozen meatballs in sauce it will take longer, so stir continually so sauce doesn’t scorch. Another option, although not the preferred method, is to warm frozen meatballs by themselves in the microwave in 30 second increments until warmed through, being careful not to overcook. Lastly, you can warm up the meatballs in marinara sauce in the slow cooker over Low heat for about 2-3 hours.