When Ground Beef is On Sale...Make Meatballs!

spaghetti and meatballs, with salad and baguette

Taking advantage of grocery store sales is a great way to save a little money. Ideally it is best to look through the flyers before doing any meal planning, but if you're like me and don't always do this. All you need is either a flexible plan or a little freezer space.
I try to purchase extra-lean or lean ground beef when it's on sale. Last week club packs or family packages of ground beef were on sale, so I bought one. It was 1.78 kg which is just under 4 pounds (multiple kg by 2.2 to determine how many pounds).

That's a lot of ground beef but I really like how well it freezes. I usually just freeze it in one pound amounts in freezer bags but my friend Tara likes to pre-cook ground beef with some onion and than freeze it. She finds this easier to make tacos or to add meat to spaghetti sauce.

I decided to make our favourite spaghetti and meatballs with one pound and freeze the other three pounds raw, I like to keep my options open.

Our Favourite Meatballs
Makes about 20 small meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. black ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil (for cooking)
ground beef, eggs, onions, bread crumbs, and spices

  • Place the first seven ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl.
ground beef mixture

  • With clean hands mix everything together
raw meatballs

  • Take small amounts of meat and roll between your hands into a ball. A small scoop or a tablespoon measuring spoon can help with this.
meatballs in the frying pan

  • Heat 2 tsp. vegetable oil on medium heat in a frying pan or pot. Make sure your pan or pot is large enough to cook the meatballs in a single layers or you will have to cook them in shifts.
browned meatballs

  • Add the meatballs to the hot pan. After a few minutes, once they are browned on that side roll the meatballs around so they cook on all sides. Repeat this step until they are browned on all sides.
  • The meatballs are done when the middle reaches 74 C (165 F).
  • Drain the fat from the pan before you add your tomato sauce.
I only cooked enough meatballs for one meal and froze the others raw. You can freeze meatballs raw or cooked. To freeze raw meatballs,  I placed them in the freezer on a plate lined with parchment paper for a couple hours and then transferred them into a freezer bag. Freezing meatballs on a plate first will keep them from all freezing together. Use parchment paper or waxed paper so they don't freeze to the plate.

Other favourite ways to enjoy ground beef include:
Shannon RD
Registered Dietitian