For an economical and easy meal prep for the busy weeks ahead make meatballs with tomato sauce. You can have leftovers for 2 more meals -- meatball parmigiano with a side of pasta one night, and meatball heros another night -- or sandwiches for the lunchbox. Now that is both economical and easy.
Make baked macaroni, Italian style, to go with the side of meatballs. I used the curly rotini macaroni - that's what I had - you can use whatever macaroni your family likes best.
This is a layered casserole style dish -- 1) add sauce, 2) a single layer macaroni, 3) a little sauce, 4) dollops of ricotta, continue from 2 through 4 until you use all the macaroni. Top with additional tomato sauce and bake it for about 20-30 minutes.
Here is an easy red sauce recipe from a Crazy Cooking Challenge a few months ago.
The meatball recipe I make is also easy. You can substitute some of the ingredients with your preferences and make the recipe your own.
FYI: This recipe, with leftovers, will serve 2 adults and 2 young children. If the children are 7 or older and there are more members in your family you should increase the amount of meat to ensure you have leftovers.
Easy Meatball Recipe
- 2 lbs. chopped meat (any kind you prefer)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup bread crumbs (or 3 slices of slightly stale bread softened with 1 TBLS. milk)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp. dried oregano (optional)
- 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
- 1 small clove garlic chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2-4 TBLS. grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil) for frying
Or you can bake the meatballs on parchment covered sheet pan at 350 degrees, turning once to brown on both sides. Bake about 10-15 min. per side. Don't over-bake since they will continue to cook in the tomato sauce.
- Place the meat and all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix all the ingredients together with your hands. You can use a wooden spoon to begin the mixing process but using your hands is the best way to blend everything together. Mix the ingredients just until everything is well blended.
- Scoop up a small handfull of meat and roll in the palm of your hand to your desired size meatball.
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick fry pan and place the rolled meat balls into the hot oil.
- Cook them until lightly browned on one side and then turn over to brown the other side.
- Place them in the tomato sauce and heat them through for about 20 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite pasta.
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