Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flip-Flop with Meatballs

Something about that title is setting off a signal on my inappropriate radar, but I like it nonetheless.
ANYwho. Let me explain what it really means, because it’s not as dirty as it sounds. You see, my mother loves the type of recipe that lets you prepare several meals at once, or get a head-start for another meal later in the week. I'm sure it’s a favorite concept of most busy parents and workaholics around the country, because it just makes life easier. I am neither a workaholic (yet!) nor a parent (let’s give it 10 years or so), but I’m a huge fan of making my life easier. Le sigh.

I’ve decided to dub these meals flip-flop recipes, because:
A. I’m silly.
B. I think everything is 10 times better with a catchy name.
C. Alliteration rocks.

So, the first flip-flop recipes I’ve come up with are based on meatballs! Begin by making the first recipe for the meatballs. It’s quick and easy to follow, so you can do this on a busy weeknight. Cook half of the meatballs for classic spaghetti and meatballs, and save and freeze the other half to make the second recipe (also weeknight-friendly) later that week or the next!

Reduced-Fat Meatballs

Recipe from Working Mother magazine

1 slice of bread, torn into very small pieces
1/3 cup low-fat milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 Tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound ground lean beef or dark meat turkey
2 cups tomato sauce
½ pound pasta
Mushrooms or other vegetables optional

Place bread, milk, egg, onion, parsley, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl, and let sit 10 minutes or until the milk is soaked into the bread. Stir gently. Add ground meat and mix well with clean hands, but do not squeeze. Form about 40 one-inch meatballs. Set half to the side, and place the other half in a medium-large saucepan with the tomato sauce. Cover and simmer on low heat 25 minutes, shaking gently every 7 minutes to rotate the meatballs. Do not stir or you’ll end up with meat sauce. Add any mushrooms or vegetables after about 15 minutes and let cook until soft. As your meatballs cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions. While you're waiting on your pasta and meatballs to finish, place the other 20 meatballs in a freezer-safe container, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Transfer to freezer. When meatballs are frozen solid, about 1½ hours, cover container or transfer them to a plastic freezer bag for easier storage. Now go back to your pasta. Drain. Serve meatball sauce over pasta, with Parmesan sprinkled on the top. Add a salad or vegetable on the side for a complete meal!

Makes about 40 meatballs including frozen ones. The 20 meatballs you cook serves 4-6.
Hearty Meatball Spinach Soup

I have a strong suspicion this recipe came from the back of a cracker box. I can’t remember, but it’s really good despite its humble beginnings (and inferior looks)!

20 pre-made meatballs, no need to thaw
Vegetable oil
¾ cup onion
2 cloves garlic
2 cans (14 oz each) reduced sodium beef broth
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Saltine crackers, optional

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat; then stir in onion and garlic and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is translucent and tender. Spread meatballs around the pan, and let cook for about 5 minutes, then carefully turn meatballs and let the other side cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes with their liquid, spinach and oregano; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Serve with saltine crackers.

Makes about 4-5 large servings.

Feel free to share your own flip-flop recipes in the comments! I’m always looking for new ones to try!

1 comment:

Little Miss Tiara said...

oh! Those foods look delicious! *yumm... I'll try the first one, seems easy and delicoso! ;)

and finally you're back to blogsphere!