Thursday, August 21, 2014

Marinades and Meatballs

Over the summer I pretty much gave up on cooking.   Fortunately we weren't home much so eating the same few things didn't seem so bad.  We had lots of sausage because it requires NO prep time.  Something about fall does bring out the cook in me though.  I know we aren't quite there yet but as I think about our schedule and trying to get dinner on the table I think I have found two standards that are easy prep, have tons of variations and my family will eat - marinades and meatballs.  Since casseroles are typically better with some type of pasta or bread I don't often choose them first.


I tend to collect marinade and rub recipes but then never actually use them.  This fall that will change.  With a couple of different spices and oils/ vinegars you can easily prep the night before or morning of and then cook them right before dinner.  Seriously, why don't I do this more often.  Part of the reason I like to cook is the "research" aspect - looking for the new recipe.  We often don't eat the same thing twice (unless we really like it).  This would still allow me to search (find a new marinade) but keep it simple.  Honestly, I don't know why I think I have all this time to search out recipes.  

If you have leftovers they are easy to toss into a casserole, stick on a tostada or tortilla (if you eat them) or just eat plain.  This also works for pork and chicken (and probably some other meat I don't cook with as often) which makes it easy to vary the meat a little bit.


Now that my middle one will be going to school I was searching for some easy lunch ideas for the gluten free, mostly paleo diet.  I happened upon meatballs - a WHOLE TON of them.  This is a fabulous idea. You can hide lots of good for you things in them (if you are so inclined), they are smaller size so people who aren't so hungry or don't like that particular type can just take one.  They can go into sandwiches, wraps and on top of noodles or spaghetti squash, etc.  If you have them left over you can eat them as is, change them up with one of the previous additions or break them up and put them into a casserole, etc.

Early this week we tried a thai meatball recipe and everyone liked it!  Again, you can make them the night before or morning of and then just store them until you are ready to cook them.  I have taken to putting them on a rack that is on top of 9x13 pan so that they don't settle in their own drippings - but that is just personal choice.  You can also make meatball muffins if you are so inclined.

From my few minutes of looking at meatball recipes I found about 8 - so that's 8 weeks of the same basic prep but it feels like a different meal.  Of course there are Italian, but also Thai, Hawaiian, Mexican, etc.  The sky is the limit.

So that's my offering to you today of two easy make ahead meals that might make your day run smoother.  I realize I am REALLY behind the times on these things.  Of course you can also freeze meatballs and marinades pretty easily as well - if you are a planner.  Maybe someday I will be!

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