Well, you could use any ground meat, really. However, this is what I do when ground beef is on sale. My big girl is all about the meat loaf and would probably eat it every night. And meat balls? Well, they are just like meatloaf to her, but little and cute.
The Ground Beef Freezer Plan uses 16 pounds of ground beef:
Meatloaf Mix – 6 lbs ground meat
Meatballs – 5 lbs ground meat
Pre-cooked ground beef – 5 lbs ground meat
- 9 slices soft GFCF bread, rubbed between hands until made into crumbs (you can tear up Noah’s rolls in a pinch) (or use 3 cups finely ground GFCF cereal such as Mesa Sunrise, moistened with a bit of GFCF milk replacement)
- 6 pounds ground beef
- 3 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely minced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 celery stalks, minced
- 6 carrots, scrubbed and grated
- 1½ cups flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ cups ketchup (I use fruit juice sweetened)
- 2 tablespoons ground dry mustard
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1½ tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- Put gluten free bread crumbs into a large bowl with ground beef. Add remainder of ingredients. (If your family has trouble with texture, you can pulse the veggies in a food processor until smoother before adding.) Using hands mix until vegies and spices are evenly incorporated.
- Divide mix into 3 heavy duty zip sealed freezer bags. Label with contents, date and baking instructions.
- Baking instructions: Preheat oven to 375. Shape loaf and put into a loaf pan. Place in the oven with a baking pan set on the rack below to catch drippings. Cook until a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 160°, about 90 minutes. If top gets too dark, cover with foil, and continue baking.
- For a more evenly crisped crust: Cover a cooling rack with foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Poke holes in the foil. Shape meat mixture into a loaf and place on foil. Bake as directed.
- To bake with glaze: Mix together ⅓ cup gluten free ketchup, 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar and 2 teaspoons mustard. After baking for 45 minutes, brush loaf with half of mixture. Bake 15 minutes more, Brush remaining mixture on meatloaf. Bake another 15 to 30 minutes until meatloaf is baked through.
- Variations: Pizza Meatloaf ~ Replace ketchup with pizza sauce. Do not add dry mustard. Add a finely minced green pepper to the veggies. Add 1 tablespoon dried oregano and 2 tablespoons dried basil.
I generally make a triple batch of meatballs as you see below, but if you need different batch amounts, here is a printable recipe card with multiple batch amounts for freezer cooking with slightly differing amounts for better division and multiplying.
Makes around 80+ meatballs (about 3 meals of 6 servings each, or 5 meals of 4 servings each)
5 pounds lean ground beef
2 1/2 cups soft GFCF bread crumbs (or crush GF cereal such as Mesa Sunrise–add 1/2 cup GFCF milk substitute if you are using dry crumbs)
10 tablespoons minced onion
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 400.
In a large bowl, mix beef, crumbs, eggs, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Shape into 1 to 1 1/2-inch meatballs. (I use a small scoop to make fast work of shaping.)
Arrange about half the meatball on two 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pans. Bake in preheated oven until meat is browned, with no trace of pink and juices run clear, 10 to 13 minutes. Cook the remainder of the meatballs the same way.
Drain, let cool to room temperature, divide into 3 heavy duty freezer bags (You will get 6-8 servings per freezer bag), removing as much air as possible and seal. Be sure to label the bag before putting in the freezer with contents of the bag and the date!
Pre-cooked ground beef:
I precook hamburger with diced onions and garlic. I generally will also add diced green pepper. After the meat is no longer pink, I drain the fat, cool in the refrigerator, then package into 4 cup heavy duty freezer zip closed bags. Be sure to label with the contents of the bag and the date you are packaging your bags. In a couple of weeks you will not remember what is in the bags and everything frozen will look the same! You can use this for anything that calls for cooked ground meat: chili, spaggetti sauce, stroganoff, tacos, etc.