Aldi have a special offer on with their Fresh Offers of 24 beef meatballs at £3.49 (£4.85/Kg) – so what can you do with meatballs? It’s always good to have some ideas of how to use them up easily and quickly, rather than stockpiling them in the freezer. For me, 24 meatballs is a LOT of meatballs. I’d typically serve, say, 4 meatballs in a portion, so I’d need to think about what I could make with them as well as wondering if I were likely to cook those recipes. Meatballs can be frozen though, so you could simply split the pack into portions and freeze them in portions…. but how many you need in a portion will often depend on how you plan to use them, so it’s not as easy as it seems 🙂
Here are some ideas on cooking beef meatballs to get you thinking:
- Microwave Meatballs: You can simply microwave meatballs and serve in a baguette, or mix with a tomato sauce and some spaghetti. You can cook spaghetti in the microwave too. To microwave meatballs, simply place them in a microwave safe dish, with a gap between them, cover the dish with a lid or clingfilm with a small vent hole and microwave on full power (800 watts) for 1½ minutes, then give them a jiggle around, or turn them over, and microwave for a further 1½ minutes. Rest for 1-2 minutes and serve.
- Add Flavours: You can add your own flavours to the meatballs, by adding in some cayenne, or chilli powder. See what you’ve got – simply squash each meatball out flat, sprinkle with the flavour of your choice, then roll them back into balls.
- Meatballs & Chilli: I sometimes knock up a quick bowl of Chilli Noodle Bowl Meatballs With Red Peppers and Onions (photo above). which, this week, is a good plan as Aldi’s offers also include a bag of mixed peppers at 65p and white onions at 45p for 1Kg.
Pan Fried Version: If you’re going to cook this with a frying pan, then slice your onions and peppers and fry the onions in some oil in the frying pan on a medium-hot heat, after 2-3 minutes add the peppers and fry for another 1-2 minutes, then add the meatballs and fry for 10-12 minutes. At this point, throw in a splash of any sauces you’ve got – a splash of soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce, or sweet chilli sauce goes down a treat.
- Meatball Casserole: Using a slow cooker, you can just add the meatballs to your slow cooker and cook them in a gravy/sauce with an assortment of root vegetables to make a simple meatball casserole. Using a sachet packet mix, such as Colman’s Sausage Casserole is an option if you’re the sort of person that uses sachet mixes – or maybe you’ve got a jar of sauce you can use up. Do you have to brown meatballs before putting them in the slow cooker? Here’s the answer: Do You Have to Brown Meatballs Before Putting them in a Slow Cooker?. If you want to speed this recipe up, then why not cook the meatballs in the microwave for 3 minutes first? Just add your sauce and vegetables (cut up small) and cook on high power for 2 hours.
- Meatball Subs: Hot or cold, a meatball sub is a great meal. Cold it makes a great packed lunch. Cook your meatballs by frying them for 10-12 minutes in a shallow pan, or in an air fryer if that’s what you have – or microwave your meatballs as above. Slice the meatballs in half, or just squash them down and use them to fill a baguette, along with optional onions, cheese, or your favourite relish or chutney. I keep part baked baguettes in the house for this handy snack, they have a long shelf life, so are handy to keep in the bread bin.
- Meatballs & Dips: You can just cook the meatballs and serve them with a dip if you’re watching a film and want nibble food. These are probably best fried, for that crusty outside. If it’s just you, load them up in a bowl with the dip …. if you’re having to share, then cocktail sticks are the easiest way to serve them. Easy dips for meatballs would include a melted cheese dip, cheese & chilli dip, or a total cheat would be to pick up a nice jar of a chilli chutney or chilli relish.
- Quick Meatball Curry on Basmati Rice: I cook basmati rice in my microwave steamer with and without peas (which are a cheery colour addition) – you could then microwave some meatballs to (see above) go on top and either make a quick curry sauce, or open a jar and microwave the sauce in a mug to pour over.
- Spaghetti Meatball Bolognese: Chop a little onion up small (I chop a whole onion, then freeze onions that are leftover) and microwave those in a little oil for 1-2 minutes. Halve some meatballs and roll them into smaller balls, then add these to the onions and microwave the onions and tiny meatballs for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring half way. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a small squirt of tomato ketchup, then microwave for 30 seconds, then set aside the dish, covered, while you cook the spaghetti in the microwave. Drain the spaghetti and mix the two dishes together.
What you don’t want is for a whole package of meatballs to weld together in the freezer, so spread them out on a tray and freeze them separately, then, after an hour or so, package them up in sets of 4-6 so you can defrost just how many you need. You can defrost meatballs overnight in the fridge, or, you can cook them from frozen, even in the slow cooker.