Meatballs on a cast iron pan
I don’t use a microwave at home so the prospect of coming home from a busy day and “thawing” out dinner is actually impossible (unless it’s 110 degrees out).
This forces me to eat fresh food just about every meal. This is good, but when you’re busy with little ones it can be a tall order.
That’s why I love to keep delicious foods in my freezer that are easy to thaw in just an hour or so. Make these foods healthy, too! Here are a few of the foods I always have on-hand to thaw when I’m looking for a quick, easy meal.
- Shrimp! Preferably peeled shrimp but I love the tails on if I’m making soup or sautéing them because they tails add so much flavor. If I’m using my indoor grill, I always fry the tails – they’re delicious and taste like popcorn when charred a bit. See my favorite chilled shrimp alfredo recipe here.
- A Fresh Loaf of Bread. Bread thaws quickly and it can quickly take a soup or snack and make it a meal.
- Soups. Every time I cook soup, I make about 8 quarts. This might sound excessive but if they’re vegetable-rich healthy soups, they don’t last more than a week in my house!
- Paleo Meatballs. These are easy to throw on a bun to make quick sandwiches for the family or added to pasta or vegetable stir-fry dishes for people who think meat makes a meal. (I’d be happy with the stir-fry sans meat, tbh!
Here’s how to make my go-to Paleo meatballs. I generally double or triple this recipe so that I have lots for the freezer.
How To Make Paleo Meatballs
- 1 lb ground meat (feel free to use pork, bison, lamb, chicken, ground turkey, or beef)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c chopped bell pepper
- 1/2 c shredded zucchini
- 1/2 c chopped onion
- 1/4 c coconut flour
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Muffin cups
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine all ingredients in a big bowl. Mix well.
- Using hands, make fist-sized balls, and place in muffin cups (makes 12-15 medium sized balls). Be sure to adjust baking time if you decide to make the meatballs larger or smaller.
- Line muffin pan or cookie sheet with muffin cups. Fill cups with rounded handfuls of the meat mixture.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
My 30-Minute Bolognese; there are never leftovers!
Easy Perfect Red Sauce
While I love making red sauces that take hours to simmer and get a depth of flavor, I have also been known to make a 30-minute red sauce that would call my Italian ancestors up from the grave. (And not merely for the copious amounts of garlic.)
- 8-16 ounces mushrooms. I prefer dicing portobellos or using baby bellos. They have an awesome texture in hearty sauces and soups!
- 1 Large Yellow Onion
- 1 bulb garlic, slivered or minced. Do NOT use pre-peeled garlic in a quick recipe without thoroughly sautéing it. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive because I’m telling you to waste time peeling when you’re in a rush. But the pre-peeled garlic that comes in a tub will leave your sauce tasting raw as it takes longer to fully cook. If you’re using garlic, take the time to sauté it. They extra five minutes spent on garlic will make or break your sauce!
- 8 Juicy Organic Tomatoes, Diced, or 1 BPA Free Can of tomatoes. (Tomatoes leach the harmful chemical BPA more than any other canned food item. Just don’t do there with the BPA-lined cans.)
- 4 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
- Salt & Pepper
- Coconut or Olive Oil
- Start by sautéing your mushrooms in coconut oil. I like to start the mushrooms in one pan and let them brown (which requires NOT TOUCHING them when you’re inclined to stir them!) a bit before stirring them around. This enhances the depth of flavor. Also, generously salt the mushrooms to help the cooking process.
- In a separate pan, sauté your onions in coconut oil. Just before onions are transluscent, add garlic.
- Once all aromatics are sautéed, add your tomatoes and stir them in while the veggies are still on the heat.
- Add chicken/vegetable stock, Oregano, and cracked pepper. Taste to add salt if necessary.