The Meal Planner


In recent months, I have not been as organized with my meal plans as I'd like to be.  I'm armed with my list of meals for the week and all the groceries for each meal, but my biggest problem is having the energy to execute what I have planned.  Sometimes I schedule things that are too labor intensive and I'm constantly putting that meal off, and other times life gets busy and my sink and counters are full of dishes and the last thing I want to do is dirty some more by cooking.  But my biggest problem has always been my Tuesdays and Thursdays that I teach preschool.  It's such a hectic busy morning corralling 18 preschoolers and then driving all over the city picking up my youngest from daycare and back home for naps, only to come home and do more preschool prep and planning.  I find that any semblance of energy is completely gone by dinner time.  If I'm somewhat prepared for those times I'll have a frozen pizza that I can throw in the oven, but more often than not I'm begging my husband to pick up fast food on his way home.  

This week I was FINALLY on the ball and thought ahead to schedule leftovers on Tuesday and a slow cooker meal for Thursday and it was so wonderful to have warm, delicious food for my family that I put very little effort into, but didn't come from a fast food window.  

It got me thinking of these meatballs that I made way back in the Fall when I was inspired by Rachael Ray's new show Week in a Day.  I liked this concept of prepping a couple extra things on a day when you do have the energy and time, so I prepared a big batch of meatballs so I could throw the extras in the freezer for a lazy day meal.  We ate a fabulous meal that night, and the following week on a tired Tuesday I pulled my meatballs from the freezer, put them in a pot of simmering tomato sauce and boiled some spaghetti.  It was so easy and I loved being so prepared.  Since I've been re-inspired this week to prepare for those days when I KNOW I'll need something quick, I thought I'd share my meatball recipe with you.  It's a nice little twist on regular meatballs and the Italian sausage provides great seasoning and flavor.

Recipe by Meal Planning 101
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Serves 8

1 lb hot Italian sausage
1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

1 batch of simple tomato sauce or 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
3/4 lb spaghetti

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix Italian sausage, ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan garlic, salt and pepper together in a bowl and roll into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until no longer pink inside.

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil, and prepare spaghetti according to package directions.  Warm the tomato sauce in a large saucepan.  When meatballs are cooked through, put half of them in the sauce.  Let simmer for a couple minutes and serve over cooked spaghetti.

This recipe is doubled so you can allow half of the meatballs to cool and place in the freezer.  I like to freeze them on the baking sheet and after a couple hours, place the frozen meatballs into a labeled ziplock bag and store in the freezer.  To thaw, place the frozen meatballs into a pot of simmering tomato sauce and simmer until heated through.


Click here for printable version of Spicy Meatballs and Spaghetti

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THE RESULTS?
We loved these meatballs the first night and I LOVED even more throwing together a quick meal with these meatballs the following week.  I need to do more of these recipes!  The other cool thing about these meatballs is that they would taste fantastic as Meatballs Subs and would be a great way to switch up your meals from one week to the next.

P.S. These really aren't that spicy, so they're kid friendly.  If you are looking for spicier, add some red pepper flakes.

Meal Ideas: 

  • Spicy Meatballs and Spaghetti + Caesar Salad and/or Garlic Bread

Leftover Ideas:

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3 Responses
  1. Kai Says:

    I absolutely could not survive without my weekend cooking routine! If I don't "pre" cook, we would eat out every night. I always have a bag of homemmade turkey bagel dogs in the freezer for my "I just can't deal" nights.


  2. Deborah Says:

    I was just craving meatballs today - now I really want some!! This sounds like a great recipe to have for those busy days!!


  3. Team AC Says:

    Thank you so much... I'll try this next week.
    ~Corinna