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MeatballsBecca from Thrice The Spice here with a really tasty meal that my family loves served over noodles. The made-from-scratch white sauce is so rich and creamy, it’s a real treat. If you’ve never made a white sauce, or a cream sauce, don’t be intimidated, this is a great place to start. It’s really quite simple, and both the taste and nutrition compared to a canned “cream of” soup is markedly better. For some reason this meal seems to go with peas to me, so we usually have it with frozen peas and some sort of fruit for ‘dessert’. Don’t let the butter and half & half scare you off, remember that you’re making at least 30 good-sized servings with this dish! You could substitute milk for the half & half, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. The meal would be great for serving to company too!  The recipe is from Fix, Freeze, Feast. I hope you’ll try this recipe, I think it will become one of your family’s favorites too.

Meatballs:
6 pounds lean ground beef
3 cups dry bread crumbs (whole wheat homemade preferred, I buy them if I don’t have any made though)
2/3 cup milk
4 large eggs
1 medium/large minced onion
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon black pepper

Sauce:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
24 ounces white mushrooms, sliced (wipe with a damp paper towel first to clean, I like to leave them in large slices)
1 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
8 cups water
4 cups (1 quart) half & half (or light cream)
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons beef bouillon (look for a brand without MSG, and with ingredient names you recognize!)
2 teaspoons black pepper

Preheat oven to 500.

In a large bowl (really large, the largest one you have) combine all meatball ingredients (beef, bread crumbs, milk, eggs, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper). Start stirring to combine. I usually start with a large wooden spoon, and then use my hands to make sure everything is thoroughly blended.

Form into meatballs approximately 1 – 1 1/2 inches in size, and place onto large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 500 for 15 minutes, or until no longer pink inside (a meat thermometer inserted into the center should read 160). Allow meatballs to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pot. Add sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft (about 7 minutes).

Stir in flour. The mixture will be pasty and lumpy, don’t panic, it’s supposed to be at this point! Stir continuously for 1-2 minutes.

Gradually stir in water and half & half, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (Worcestershire sauce, bouillon, and black pepper) and stir well to combine. Cool sauce to room temperature.

Divide meatballs & sauce evenly among freezer bags (I do 6 ziploc bags, each with about 20 meatballs).

When ready to use: Defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Heat meatballs and sauce on stovetop until heated through, stirring occasionally, or bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until heated through. Do not boil. We enjoy them served over noodles!

*Note – I have added cooked noodles to the freezer bag first, topping with the meatballs and then sauce, and then heated and served with success, adding 1/2 cup of milk since the noodles soak up more of the sauce while heating. If you do it this way, just be sure not to heat too high or long, or the noodles will dry out.

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