This dual purpose meat mixture is the perfect recipe to add to your freezer cooking repertoire! Whether you make meatballs or meatloaf, your budget can benefit from bulk pricing and you can take a load off, knowing dinner is done.
As you probably already know, stashing a few meals away in the freezer can be a godsend for future busy nights. By prepping ahead you become your future self’s very best friend.
One of the tricks of freezer cooking is to choose recipes that build around similar ingredients. For instance, when you see chicken on sale, cook it up and make chicken pot pie, chicken soup, and shredded chicken to use in chicken salad.
Likewise, when you see a great deal on ground beef or turkey, mix up a big bowl of this versatile meat mixture to use in meatballs and meatloaves.
Versatile Meat Mixture
For as long as I’ve been freezer cooking, I’ve been regularly making up a big batch of meat mixture. I’ll buy the big flats of ground beef from Costco, dig my biggest bowl out of the cupboards, and mix up the meat with egg, seasonings, and either bread crumbs or minced mushrooms.
The resulting mixture is super flavorful and can be divided into both meatballs and meatloaves.
How do you make meat mix for meatloaf or meatballs?
The basic ingredients for meat mix include:
- ground meat, such as beef, pork, or turkey
- chopped onions
- beaten eggs
- herbs and spices
- breadcrumbs, rolled oats, or minced mushrooms
The process for making the meat mix is simple:
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the meat, onions, herbs, spices, and breadcrumbs (or oats or mushrooms).
- Mix just enough to distribute the ingredients throughout. Over mixing can make the mixture tough.
- Divide the mix into meatballs or meatloaves according to your preferences.
What can I use as a binder for meatloaf?
Beaten egg helps hold the meat together as do bread crumbs, oats, or minced mushrooms. I prefer to use mushrooms as they add a delicious umami touch.
How much meat mixture does this make?
This recipe makes 4 meatloaves, about 40 meatballs, or some combination of the two.
It’s a great recipe to use when you find ground meats on sale and want to fill your freezer with some ready to go meals.
How to make this good and cheap:
Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When I find regular kitchen staples on sale, I buy a lot. I’m currently using a price book to track prices and that’s saving me money.
- Cook in bulk. When you cook in bulk, you are maximizing your time investment as well as the energy you use to heat the oven. It doesn’t take that much longer to make a bulk batch of something, and you reap the time savings in weeks to come.
How I make this recipe easy:
This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:
- plastic cutting boards – I have blue boards for veggies and white boards for meat.
- Ergo Chef chef’s knife – I’ve had my set for several years and they work well.
- Pyrex snapware – I love these glass dishes with easy, snap-on lids.
- freezer ziptop bags – These are a mainstay in my kitchen for freezer cooking!
Versatile Meatball / Meatloaf Mixture
- 4 lb ground beef
- 3 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 6 egg beaten
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp dry parsley flakes
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Don’t mix too much, just enough to distribute ingredients throughout mixture.
- Form into meatballs or divide into four parts and form four meatloaves. These are not very salty meatballs, since you will serve them with sauce or gravy.
- For meatballs, bake in 350° oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through for meatballs. Cool, label, and freeze.
- For meatloaves, wrap, label and freeze. When ready to serve, thaw and bake 45-60 minutes or until cooked through.