Thursday, February 17, 2011

Meatloaf, meatballs, or hamburger patties

Having a few meals in the freezer is always nice.  I love having a night off every now and then.  This is one of our favorite meals to make ahead.  

I froze the meatloaves in individual size portions this time.  They cook faster and the kids have fun getting their very own.

Squirt a little ketchup on them just before serving.

We served canned green beans and wild rice pilaf along side.  I'll post the easy mix for the rice pilaf here soon.  It was my daughter's requested birthday night meal.  So easy and so delicious!

Meatloaf, Meatballs, or Hamburgers

3 lbs hamburger, thawed
½ cup dehydrated carrots, rehydrated
1 ½–2 cups quick oats
3 eggs
3 Tbsp dried, minced onion, rehydrated
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp dried, minced garlic, rehydrated

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. You can use 2 carrots, grated to replace the dehydrated carrots. You can also use bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, or pretzel crumbs to replace the oatmeal. Choose hamburger with 15% fat for the best tasting option.
For meatloaf: Shape into large loaf and cook in loaf pan at 350° F for 40–50 minutes or until cooked through. Make individual size meatloaves for a quicker dinner. Place side by side in rectangular baking dish and cook at 350° F for 20–25 minutes or until cooked through. In the crockpot, cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours. The meatloaf is done when a thermometer reads 160°. We always top our meatloaf with a thin layer of tomato sauce just before serving. You can freeze before cooking for later use. To use frozen meatloaf, thaw and then bake as above.
For meatballs: Shape into balls and place side by side on baking sheet. Bake at 350° F for 15–20 minutes or until cooked through. Cool, package in ziplock bags and freeze for later use.
For hamburger patties: Shape into patties and freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. When frozen transfer to a ziplock bag and freeze for later use. When ready to cook, thaw slightly and then grill or cook as usual. You can cook before freezing if you need to be able to heat and eat quickly.

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