The Meal Planner


One of the greatest things about having a baby this past January were the meals friends and family brought to help us transition through the chaos and sleepless nights of a brand new baby. Our church organized a week of hot meals delivered each night at 6pm by a different family. Brilliant! My exhausted body appreciated not having to get up off the couch and step foot in the kitchen, except to pick up a fork.

My Dad decided to do a freezer cooking session and brought me the fruits of his labor with packages of cabbage rolls, lasagna and meatballs. These have been amazing lifesavers. I'm still trying to use up all the freezer meals I have and I never knew how incredible having premade frozen meatballs in your freezer could be. It's been so quick and easy to whip up meals. The first meal I tried was Swedish Meatballs in a Sour Cream Dill Sauce. My whole meal start to finish was probably 15-20 minutes and it was so yummy.

I wanted another quick and delicious way to use the meatballs. Spaghetti with Meatballs is so classic yet not that creative. Take the same meatballs and sauce and throw it on a hoagie roll? It becomes possibly one of the greatest Man-Food meals you can make....with a little gourmet flair by adding fresh basil.

Recipe by Meal Planning 101

Makes 4-5 sandwiches

1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano

19 oz. can of tomato sauce
5.5 oz can of tomato paste
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 small onion, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp fresh basil, slivered
Salt and pepper

4-5 hoagie rolls (I also really like using ciabatta rolls)
1/2 cup grated mozzarella (or more depending on your tastes)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Roll into 1 1/2 inch size balls and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. You should have about 16-20 meatballs. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the grated onion and a pinch of salt and let cook for a minute or two to soften. Add the garlic and cook the onion mixture for a couple more minutes. You don't really want the onions and garlic to get color and turn brown, just to soften and release the flavors. Add can of tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Thinly slice fresh basil leaves and stir into the tomato sauce and remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasonings and when meatballs are done baking add them to the sauce.

Turn oven to Broil.

Split the hoagie or ciabatta rolls in half and place on baking sheet. Place under broiler for about 1 - 1.5 minutes just to get slightly toasted. Remove from oven and place about 4 meatballs on the bottom of each hoagie roll and spoon a little extra sauce over the meatballs. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of grated mozzarella on top of the meatballs (or more if you like them really cheesey). Place back under the broiler for 1-2 minutes just to melt the cheese.

Freezer Directions:  These meatballs freeze really well.  After baking, remove from the oven and let cool.  Place the tray of meatballs directly into the freezer for a couple of hours.  Remove and place the meatballs in a ziplock bag and label.

When you go to use the meatballs, place them directly from the freezer into the sauce and let simmer on low until heated through.

Click here for printable version of Meatball Subs with Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce

Do you know I have never actually had a Meatball Sub before? As my first encounter with the sandwich I thought it was so filling and delicious. The fresh basil really made the whole sandwich for me. And my husband? COULDN'T GET ENOUGH. I got a TON of compliments from him that night. I sure love impressing my biggest critic.

These sandwiches also taste fantastic using Spicy Meatballs.

Meal Plan Ideas:

  • Meatball Subs + Caesar Salad

Leftover Ideas:

  • Meatball Pizza - Spread the leftover sauce on a pizza crust.  Cut the meatballs in half and place them on top with your favorite veggies and lots of mozzarella and bake.

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