How to Freeze Meatballs

Follow this simple method to make your own freezer meatballs! You can take out as many as you like at a time. You can use your favorite recipe, or you can use this grain-free, egg-free Italian Meatball recipe. Yum!
Having frozen meatballs on hand is very convenient. You can easily take out just as many as you need and use them in a variety of recipes. However, I don’t know if I have yet seen meatballs made with the ingredients I’d like, in the store, let alone ones that would mesh well with our allergies/intolerances.

Thankfully, making your own frozen meatballs is very easy and simple to do! I used my recipe for grain-free, egg-Free, and dairy-free Italian Meatballs, and made up a massive batch for my freezer. You can use whatever recipe you’d like though! The method is the same regardless.

I lost several weeks to being under the weather recently, and as someone who is expecting to give birth in the next 2-4 weeks, I am playing catch up on both my rest and my chores! I had grand plans for freezer meals but have had to cut back on some of them because of lack of time. However, meatballs were on the “must do” list, and I was thankful to get them done this week.

It was actually some of you who put this idea into my head! Several of you have mentioned that my recipe for meatballs froze really well, and I was always planning on trying it “sometime”. I decided there was no time like the present! There was something so satisfying about putting that bag stuffed full of frozen meatballs into the freezer too. So thank you!

A few notes on the ingredients I used

We choose to use grassfed ground beef. I was thankful to be able to buy some locally for a decent price and we love the added health benefits to grassfed beef. I quadrupled the recipe, and I replaced one of the pounds of beef for chicken liver for even more nutrition. You can read about the nutritional benefits of liver here. You can also read more about nutrient dense foods in general (including liver) here.

How to make Freezer Meatballs

Make and shape meatballs according to the recipe you’ve chosen to use. I used my recipe for Italian Meatballs. I recommend making small meatballs (I make mine about the size of a pingpong ball or even smaller), not the large fist sized ones.

Bake in the oven (my recipe cooks at 400F for 12-18 minutes) until done. If you are using lean meat, use parchment paper or oil the pan lightly.
Remove from oven and let cool.

Place on a parchment covered bake sheet, making sure the meatballs aren’t touching. They will have shrunk in size when cooking, so I put two pans worth of baked meatballs onto one pan for freezing, and place in the freezer on a flat surface. This ensures that the meatballs won’t freeze sticking together. Freeze until hard.

Remove from freezer and pop into a freezer bag or desired container, and freeze! Use within three months.

How to reheat frozen meatballs

I’m told that a favorite way to enjoy frozen meatballs is to reheat them in a slow cooker in a favorite sauce(think sweet and sour or spaghetti sauce). It only takes 1-3 hours on high, and I like that this would help keep the meatballs moist while they reheat. They can also be dropped into a soup for meatball soup, reheated in a sauce on the stovetop, or reheated in the oven (350F for 15- 20, or until hot in the middle).

Follow this simple method to make your own freezer meatballs! You can take out as many as you like at a time. You can use your favorite recipe, or you can use this grain-free, egg-free Italian Meatball recipe. Yum!

Lemony Greek Beef and Rice Lettuce Wraps (or Rice Bowl)

Greek Lemon Beef and Rice Lettuce wraps (or rice bowl)

Rich in flavor, this buttered, lemony rice and beef, peppered with parsley, is an old family favorite. I love that it only takes me about 30 minutes to make, so it’s a great easy dinner. Serve with cucumbers and lettuce for lettuce wraps, or a Greek Salad. (like the one from my cookbook, Fresh!).

My mother in law showed me how to make this recipe, and we’ve been enjoying it since! It’s based on a filling for dolmas (Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves). Sometimes we just enjoy it as a type of rice bowl, but lately we’ve been topping romaine leaves with the mixture and loving it that way as well!

In this recipe, I like to use homemade chicken broth to cook the rice in, butter from pastured cows for the rice and grassfed beef. It makes it a nourishing meal following many of the principles from Dr. Price that can be made up quickly! You will notice that I use white rice in this recipe. Some who consider themselves paleo use white rice as a “safe starch”. Personally, I switched when I learned about the arsenic issues with rice in general, and the fact that white rice was lower in arsenic.

Much of the time, we’ve simply eye-balled the ratio of rice to beef to lemon to butter. But I finally got the ratios worked out for more consistent results. This is a little heavy on the rice, so you could cut down on the rice, as desired.
Greek Lemon Beef and Rice Lettuce Wraps! These only take 30 minutes to throw together and are made with nutrient dense ingredients. Plus, they are delicious, and the whole family can enjoy them.

Greek Lemon Beef and Rice Lettuce Wraps (or Rice Bowl)
 
 
If you'd like to make these into lettuce wraps, romaine leaves from the heart of the romaine work well (you often see the heart sold packaged in groups of three). Butterleaf lettuce or endive is also delicious!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of long grain white rice
  • 2 ½ cups of chicken broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined salt (leave out if broth already salted)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 pound of ground beef (grassfed preferred)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced or put through a garlic press
  • 2-4 lemons
  • Half a bunch of fresh Italian parsley, rinsed and dried
Instructions
  1. Rinse the rice in a fine sieve until the water runs clear. Place in a medium sized pot with the chicken broth or water and the salt. Bring to a boil, stir to make sure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan, and turn down heat to low. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Take off of the heat, and add the butter to the pot. Let sit for five minutes, and then gently fluff up the rice and mix in the butter.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook the beef and garlic together over medium-high until the beef is cooked through and no longer pink. If there is any extra fat, drain from the pan (I push all of the beef to one side of the pan, and then tip the pan allowing the grease to pool to the other side. It can then be easily removed with a spoon). Gently salt the beef.
  3. Cut the parsley greens from the stems, and finely chop. In a large bowl, combine the rice, beef, and parsley, as well as the juice from 1 or 2 of the lemons. Taste test. Usually, I add more lemon and salt. You want a good balance between the salt and the tangy lemon juice, so experiment with it to taste. We enjoy ours quite lemony, so I serve extra lemon wedges on the side. Yum! If using Enjoy

 

Coconut Ginger Apple Cider

Coconut Ginger Apple Cider. A lovely soothing drink for a cold winter day or night!
Sweet and creamy with a lot of fresh ginger jazz, this unique apple cider is perfect for a cold day as it warms you to your toes. Or, if you are fighting off a cold, this ginger spiked apple cider is perfect for soothing away the aches and sniffles.

Yesterday, my dad, my four-year-old and I went out to a local restaurant Harlow (The same restaurant that inspired this Dirty Chai recipe). I have been fighting off a cold the last few days and so wasn’t feeling all that hungry. But I noticed they had a new item on their menu for a Coconut Ginger Apple Cider and I knew it would the perfect soother.

Freshly juiced apples and ginger were steamed with rich coconut milk, and brought out to me. Heavenly. I made it last as long as possible, nursing it through the busy streets and shops and taking my last sip after we got home.

This morning I wanted it again. It would be really easy to make with store bought juice, but since I had apples and a juicer, and no juice, I went ahead and juiced my own apples with fresh ginger, and then gently heated it with coconut milk. I had it in place of my morning coffee, and it was such a happy way to start the day! I’ll give notes on how to make it without a juicer below as well.

For those who eat a lot of Thai soups, the combination of ginger and coconut milk is no surprise. One of my favorite soups is this Simple Thai Broth from my cookbook, Ladled. In fact, for the first sip or two of this drink, my mind immediately wondered where the salt and garlic were because I am so accustomed to savory renditions of coconut and ginger. But quickly, my taste buds adjusted to this sweet version, and I was in love!

Notes on Ingredients and kitchen tools:

(Affiliate links)

  • This is my favorite coconut cream . It doesn’t contain any guar gum, and is rich and thick.
  • For those curious, this is the juicer we own, and we’ve really enjoyed it.

Coconut Ginger Apple Cider
 
 
You can either juice the ginger fresh, or you can steep it in the apple cider for about 10-15 minutes. Both ways work well. If you are steeping, consider adding a stick of cinnamon and/or 5-6 whole cloves for a spiced version!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of apple cider or juice (use the best tasting brand you can find, or make your own. I made my own out of Pink Lady Apples), plus ½ cup more if steeping.
  • ½ inch of ginger (or more, to taste)
  • ¼ -1/2 cup coconut cream or full fat coconut milk
Instructions
  1. If juicing: Juice the apples and ginger together, and taste test for ginger strength (the coconut milk will mute the ginger flavor a bit, so I recommend going slightly stronger than perfect). Add to a small saucepan and heat with the coconut milk over medium heat. If desired, you can pulse (carefully!) in a blender to make it foamier and light.
  2. For steeping: Add the apple juice and 2 or 3 thin slices of ginger to a small pot. Because you will lose some liquid during the steeping process, I recommend adding an extra ½ cup of apple juice/cider. Bring to a low simmer, and simmer very gently for around 10-15 minutes, taking spoonfuls out here and there to taste test until you have achieved the desired strength of ginger. Add the coconut milk/cream, and reheat. I If desired, you can pulse (carefully!) in a blender to make it foamier and light.

 

Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cups (Refined Sugar-free)

Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cups- www.thenourishinggourmet.com

By Katie Mae Stanley, Contributing Writer

Bittersweet chocolate surrounds delicious gooey caramel with a touch of salt in this homemade candy recipe. This is a healthier treat without the use of refined sugars, and the use of dark, antioxidant rich chocolate! It is a perfect treat this time of year. Plus, if you don’t eat it all yourself, it can be easily boxed up for a lovely sweet gift this Christmas. Why not pair it with this Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge recipe for gift giving!

It’s no secret that I love chocolate and that I have a fondness for chocolate when paired with salted caramel. Last year I shared a Salted Caramel Mocha Fauxccino here at The Nourishing Gourmet. Recently I have enjoyed a few cups of steaming Salted Caramel Mocha.

These salted dark chocolate caramel cups are not nearly as hard to make as it would seem. All you need is some high quality dark chocolate, a batch of caramel sauce (or try this one from Kimi) that can be pre-made and a 1/2 teaspoon of course unrefined salt such a Real Salt or Celtic Salt. I prefer using baker’s chocolate because it pairs beautifully with the caramel, balancing out the intense sweetness. It can be made with the chocolate of your choice if you prefer a sweeter chocolate.

I have made candy cups with coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey before, but when giving gifts I prefer to use pre-made chocolate to make this treat shelf-stable. This makes it more suitable for serving at a holiday party or to give as a gift. You can wrap them in parchment paper and place them in a cute box. Or you might even want to pair them with other homemade candies!

Other homemade chocolates to give as gifts:

Ingredient and tool list:

(Affiliate links.) 

Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cups
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces. Place in a double boiler.You can also use a sauce pot with a larger heat safe bowl placed on top of the pot. (The bottom of the bowl should not be touching the bottom of the sauce pot, or the simmering water.)
  2. Bring the water to a simmer. Allow ½ of the chocolate to melt.
  3. Remove from the heat and continue to stir until the all the chocolate melts.
  4. Place the mini cupcake liners inside a mini cupcake pan.
  5. Fill each liner with ½ of a teaspoon of melted chocolate.
  6. Place the pan in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to firm up. Once firm, place back on your working space.
  7. Add ½ teaspoon of caramel sauce in the middle of each cake liner. Flatten so that the caramel almost goes to the sides of the cup.
  8. Gently pour 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate over the candies, completely covering the caramel.
  9. Place in the refrigerator for 5 minutes, allowing it to firm slightly.
  10. Sprinkle each cup with a bit of coarse unrefined sea salt.
  11. Return the pan to the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until the candies are completely firm.
  12. The can be stored on the counter for up to 2 weeks or in the refrigerator for two months.