Frozen meatballs help shave time, reduce the stress of meal prep

Even if you love making meatballs from scratch, you’ll want to save some room in your freezer for a few bags of frozen meatballs. Start with an Italian flavor, a Swedish variety, and an herbal variety or two, and no matter what your busy fall schedule throws at you, you’ll be ready to roll with it.

Variety is the most important reason to keep those little opportunities close at hand on weeknights. Need a quick appetizer to watch on game day or an unexpected opportunity to hang out with friends? Grab that bag of Swedish meatballs and make sure your team doesn’t eat them all before the tangy, sweet dip is ready. Want to elevate that aftermarket marinara? A few quick-chopped veggies — zucchini, mushrooms, peppers — and some Italian meatballs will chase away any blandness.

And if you’ve recently added more meatless meals to your repertoire to cut costs and improve nutrition—or if you’re looking for an easy and enjoyable way to get started—take advantage of the fact that there are several varieties of vegan “meatballs.” . in the case of the freezer to choose from these days. Your new favorite is almost certainly there. Plant-based meatballs designed for vegan or vegetarian diets can also provide the balanced flavors you need to make whole-grain pasta taste the best, and many brands can help you incorporate more quinoa and other grains. in your weekly routine.

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For the No-Cook Cooking cook, of course, convenience wins. Follow the microwave directions on the bag of the variety you choose to make sure the meatballs have heated through, then let them roll in whatever sauce you’ve planned for your entree.

Simmer them in a hearty tomato sauce customized with your favorite spices and veggies and try them over angel hair pasta, which cooks about half the time of regular spaghetti and has a lighter feel. I usually slip in my favorite hot sauce, and always some kind of umami note – often a touch of low-sodium teriyaki sauce or grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. If you’re using plant-based meatballs, enjoy all kinds of meatless umami side notes, from vegan cheeses to yeast, miso, and mushrooms.

Cutting back on pasta these days? Spoon the meatballs and gravy over a soft baked potato, riced cauliflower, spiralized vegetable “noodles” or crispy grilled multigrain sub roll. If you go the sub route, be sure to buy a high-quality cheese to melt on top, and you’ll be impressed with the restaurant-worthy taste of a classic comfort food from your own kitchen.

Heat meatballs in mushroom sauce to serve over egg noodles; add a dollop of sour cream if desired. Play up the flavors with a quick side dish of wilted or sautéed spinach, kale, baby bok choy or a mix of seasonal greens with bold flavors.

Many air fryer enthusiasts also keep meatballs on hand, and not just because the flavorful spheres go so well with grilled ravioli. Whether you’re a slow cooker or an air fryer at heart, frozen meatballs can bring a touch of handmade swagger to a meal that doesn’t have to feel tossed to land on the table in a hurry. .