Cloudy with a Chance of a Freezer Friendly Dinner
Who loves a weeknight meal that they can pull directly from the freezer that’s quick, delicious, and makes everyone happy? Enter - the meatball. I started developing this recipe when Tyler and I were trying to kick the cheese and lower the amount of carbs in our life. I love making meatballs because they’re the perfect make-ahead dinner that can be reheated, in the microwave no-less, and still taste great!
Traditionally, most meatball recipes have cheese and breadcrumbs in the mix. While I love me some dairy-filled, carb-based meatballs, they’re not a great go-to, every other night kind of meal. I decided, there has to be a better way. So, I created this dairy free, carb free, still oh so delicious meatball. I use a mix of pork and bison. Sometimes, if we have it on hand, I’ll throw in some venison. You could always add some turkey to the mix or a leaner meat to the mix. I’ve done turkey - it’s fine. I’m not a huge ground turkey fan in general, so I’ll never say “Oh it’s great!” #sorrynotsorry.
Side Note: If you’re a camping family… this recipe is a great make ahead campfire meal. During our month-long Colorado adventure we had this two or three times. I made a huge batch ahead of time, par-cooked them, and froze them, knowing they’d be perfect! Once we were at the campsite, I threw the par-cooked balls in to some pre-made marinara and boiled them for 15 to 20 minutes, threw in some zoodles and boiled until the zoodles were tender.
Enough chit-chat! Who’s ready for the recipe? I’d love to know if you give these a try! If you make them - tag me in your insta stories, slide in to my DMs, let me know! There’s nothing better than sharing a meal with someone.
Freezer Friendly Meatballs
Dairy-free, Carb-free Living
1 lb. bison or venison
1 lb. pork
8 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 heaping teaspoons salt
fresh ground lemon pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon herbs de provence
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
3 tablespoons olive oil + more for searing
2 to 3 shallots (optional)
In a large bowl mix together the bison (venison) and pork.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the mixture and mix well.
Combine the balsamic vinegar with the 2 scrambled eggs and fresh garlic. Add this mixture to the meat and mix well to combine. You should see chunks of garlic throughout.
In a small bowl, combine all seasonings and herbs. In batches, will mixing, add the seasonings and herbs to the meat mixture.
Make sure the meat mixture is well combined, and chill in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once the mixture has cooled, form the meatballs. I like to form balls slightly larger than a golfball. I use a scale to make sure all my balls are about the same size.
You can freeze half of the balls at this point or you can freeze them after you sear them. If you freeze raw, you’ll have to let them thaw in the fridge before you cook them. If you sear then freeze you can dump them straight in to the marinara sauce for a quick dinner.
Slice 2 to 3 shallots or 1 small sweet onion and 1 clove of garlic.
In a heavy-bottom pan or cast iron skillet, caramelize the shallots.
Once the shallots are caramelized, add a good amount of olive oil to your pan. Turn the heat to medium high.
Let the oil come to temperature then start to sear all sides of the meatballs. It shouldn’t take more than a minute or so for each side. I normally do top, to side, to bottom, to side. That helps the ball keep shape.
After all the sides have hit the pan, add your pasta/marinara sauce, bring it to a boil and then you can go one of two route. You can cover and cook on the stove at a low simmer or you can pop them in a 350 oven. I’m an oven fan. Either way, turn the balls occasionally so they cook evenly.
Once the internal temperature is 160 degrees you can turn off he heat or remove from the oven and serve!
I love serving over roasted broccoli. I also like to sometimes add mushrooms to the mix. I normally par-cook them with the shallots, remove them, then add them back when I add the pasta sauce.