Newsflash: Being a mom is hard. Being a working mom is really hard. The transition from spending 24 hours a day with Hannah to only getting a few precious hours of awake time with her every day has been a big adjustment, to say the least. I'm thankful that we are over the witching hour hump and that when Alex and I come home in the evenings she's in a good mood and full of gummy smiles and giggles for us. The hard part is that she's usually ready for bed by 7:30 which doesn't give us a ton of time to spend with her before it's time for her to go to sleep. So I've been trying to find a balance between making sure that Alex and I have a healthy homemade dinner most nights and that we're also able to spend those precious post-work hours playing with Hannah instead of cooking in the kitchen.
With that in mind, I've made a conscious effort in our weekly meal planning to incorporate as many shortcut, slow cooker, make ahead, and freezer-friendly meals as possible. And it has brought a little bit of peace and sanity back to my weeknights. Sunday food prep has become a big part of this strategy and I try to spend a little time after our weekly grocery store trip getting things in place for the week to come: making a big salad that I pack for lunch all week, prepping the slow cooker for Monday night dinner, or making a double batch of anything (one for this week and another for the freezer) like these meatballs, for instance.
This meatball recipe is super simple and really easy to double or even triple if you're feeding a crowd or looking to stock your freezer. The seasoning is pretty basic, so you're not tied to serving them alongside a pile of spaghetti-- although they taste amazing after being simmered in marinara sauce for a while! Most of the additional ingredients are staples you likely have in your fridge and pantry already, so just add some good ground beef-- I like to use an all natural 85% lean ground beef. I prefer the flavor and that fat content keeps the meatballs nice and moist, but if you like them on the leaner side that works too. They are simply seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, and fresh parsley which is a versatile flavor combination. If you have a more definite flavor profile in mind, adding basil, oregano, or rosemary would be delicious too.
Looking for some alternatives to pasta dinners, I served these in hoagie rolls with marinara sauce, basil leaves, and melted provolone. Another night, I sautéed sliced zucchini and then added the meatballs and some marinara sauce, simmered for a few minutes, topped with diced mozzarella and broiled until the cheese was brown and bubbly. Both dinners are delicious and simple-- and made even easier using these precooked meatballs!
- Cooking or olive oil spray
- 1 lb. ground beef (85% lean is my preference)
- 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 Tbs. milk
- 2 Tbs. ketchup
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 3 Tbs. fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Using your hands, mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until just combined. Roll mixture into golf ball-sized balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced out.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Serve in desired recipe or cool and then freeze in airtight container.