There are three ways to a man's heart: a boob pillow, a car chalked full of horsepower and a meatball sub. Now don't get offended guys, I'm sure all men have much more depth than just boobs, fast cars and meaty sandwiches...
I kid. Everyone freaking likes meaty sandwiches!
Ok, so, remember when we made Meatballs with Simple Tomato Sauce? Well guess what? Same recipe, but just utilizing the meatballs and sauce in a different way. I froze the sauce in ice cube trays and stored them in individual servings in resealable plastic bags. And I took whatever leftover meat balls I had and froze those as well.
The reality of cooking at home is, well, you're not going to be cooking every day and you have to learn how to utilize your leftovers. There will be nights when you don't feel like picking up a single pan and you just want something fast and to the point.
That's why I like keeping "emergency" meals in the freezer -- something I can pop in the microwave or toaster oven, reheat and eat. Hangry pains don't play around, and this recipe lets you satiate that crazy hunger monster.
There are also plenty of other things you can freeze and reheat in a jiffy: cooked rice and pastas, grilled meats, burritos, sauces, and soups. Be creative and be prepared!
Plan ahead, and your meals will reward you.
- 6-inch baguette (pretzel bun or any soft bun could work here as well)
- 3 meatballs
- 2 TB simple tomato sauce
- shredded mozzarella cheese or any cheese you have available
- parsley for garnish
Slice the baguette half way through but making sure to leave one side attached. Hollow out both sides of the bread. This ensures your filling stays inside the sandwich opposed to it spilling out all over your hands and plate. Lightly butter both sides of the baguette and place into the toaster oven and toast until the bread is just warm and the edges are slightly crispy. About 2 minutes.
If you are using frozen meatballs and sauce, be sure to defrost separately in the microwave until fully softened. Place meatballs in the bread and top with sauce and as much cheese as desired. Place back in the toaster oven and bake at 350F or until meat and cheese are thoroughly hot and melted. About 8-10 minutes.
If you are super hangry, microwave the meatballs and sauce until hot and place onto your toasted baguette.
Garnish with parsley if desired and serve immediately.
(makes 24-26 meatballs)
- 1 pound pork
- 1 pound beef/lamb
- 1 TB toasted fennel seeds, roughly chopped
- 1/4 c Milk
- 1 cup stale bread cut into pieces or cracker crumbs
- handful parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 tsp chili flake
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 cup canola oil
In a large bowl, place stale bread and milk and soak until softened. Mix in meat, fennel, parsley, pecans, chili flake, egg, salt and pepper. Use your hands and mix thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Oil your hands before rolling the meat into balls. Roll meatballs on a lined baking sheet and set aside. Place canola oil in a large skillet or pan over medium high heat. When oil is hot, carefully place the meatballs on the pan. Do not drop the meat in as this will cause oil to splatter.
Sear 2-3 minutes on each side until a brown crust forms. Remove from heat and cook the rest of the way in the oven. About 15-20 minutes.
Serve immediately with tomato sauce and zucchini noodles or cool and freeze for later.
***** The best way to freeze these meatballs and putting them on a line baking sheet and placing them in your freezer for a couple hours or overnight. The next day, drop them in a large ziplock bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. This helps with freezer burn. Frozen meatballs can last in the freezer for up to 6 months and in the fridge for a week. Simply reheat the meatballs in the oven at 350F for 30-40 minutes or in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.
Tomato Sauce Recipe
(makes about 2 cups)
- 2 TB butter
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, small diced
- 4 roma tomatoes, large diced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- spoonful of tomato paste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. Saute garlic and onions until fragrant. Increase heat to medium high and cook until onions are caramelized, about 4-5 minutes. Remember to stir often in between.
Add paste and stock, mix. Add tomatoes and bring to a gentle boil. Add seasonings and water and simmer for 40-45 minutes, uncovered. taste with salt and pepper and add any additional herbs like basil or parsley if desired.
Serve with meatballs or cool and store as needed.
***** The best way to freeze the sauce is in small plastic containers or a mason jar if you have one handy. The sauce can be store in the fridge for up to 10 days and in the freezer for up to 8 months. Simply reheat in the pot or microwave when ready to serve.