My husband loves Chinese food, especially the cheap, takeout kind. I understand why – it is easy, inexpensive, and ready to eat in minutes.
But…. homemade Chinese food is always better. We all know this!
What to do?
Premade meatballs to the rescue!
Why make these orange meatballs?
The best frozen meals to make are the ones that are easy to assemble, like this meatball recipe. Sweet and Sour Orange Meatballs taste like something you ordered from a gourmet Asian restaurant, too, and that is because the sauce is also made ahead and frozen right along with the meatballs.
How can it get any better than that?
Sweet and Sour Orange Meatballs make the best frozen meals for families, especially if you double the recipe. This recipe makes six yummy helpings that even the kiddos will love, double it and you’ll have enough for two nights.
How to make Sweet and Sour Orange Meatballs:
The work only takes 15 minutes.
Mix everything for the meatballs in one bowl, and the sauce in the other. Just dump and mix. Pretty easy.
To freeze these meatballs, you’ll want to spread them out on a sheet pan lined with parchment so that they are not touching, like this:
If they touch, they’ll stick together, and the parchment will keep them from sticking to the sheet pan. Don’t have parchment? No worries, just don’t use it, but don’t substitute with with foil because foil can get stuck to the meatballs and you don’t want to be wasting time trying to peel it off. It will just tear as your meatballs begin to thaw, and once they thaw, you can’t refreeze them or you risk food-borne illnesses coming onto the scene.
When you are ready to make Sweet and Sour Orange Meatballs for dinner, the prep will literally take you a few minutes. Take the bag with the sauce out first to thaw it for easier pouring, then place your meatballs in two pie dishes, like this:
Douse them with the sweet and sour glaze:
Then use a pastry brush to spread all that delicious sauce around so that each and every meatball is covered in the glaze.
Pop ‘em in a 400 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes. Check them to make sure they are done, if not, bake another 5 minutes. Don’t be surprised if some of the meat’s juices rise to the top of the meatballs.
This isn’t a bad thing, even if it makes the meatballs look a little… uhm, dull. Just give them a toss to coat them in the burgundy-colored sauce before plating.
See? Asian meatballs are super easy to make, cheaper than take-out – and they are better for you, too.
How awesome is that?
Sweet and Sour Orange Meatballs
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 egg
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 2 medium yellow onions finely chopped
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 ½ tbsp orange zest
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 ¼ cup teriyaki marinade
- ¾ cup sweet and sour sauce
- fresh chives for garnish
- Add the beef, pork, egg, milk, flour, onions, parsley, zest, salt and pepper to a bowl. Use your hands to mix until well combined, but be careful not to over-mix.
- For the glaze, combine the teriyaki marinade and sweet and sour sauce in a separate bowl and mix well.
- Form the meat mixture into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper so that they are not touching. You should have 24 meatballs. Move the sheet pan with the meatballs into a freezer so that the pan is sitting flat. Freeze the meatballs for 4 hours or until solid.
- After the meatballs are frozen, transfer them to large zip-lock bags. Pour the sweet and sour glaze into small zip-lock bags and seal. Place the small bags inside the large bags with the meatballs and seal. Return the bags to the freezer until ready to use.
- When ready to prepare the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400F. Place frozen meatballs in individual casserole dishes or divide among 2 pie dishes (you should be able to fit 12 meatballs in one pie dish). They should be in a single layer, touching but not overlapping. Pour the sweet and sour sauce mixture evenly over the meatballs. Use a pastry brush to coat the meatballs so no bare spots are showing. Bake on a rack in the center of the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the meatballs are no longer pink inside.
- To serve, you can leave the meatballs in their casserole dishes if using individual dishes, but if you do this, make sure to place them on heatproof plates - and alert your dinner guests that the dishes are very hot! If plating, lightly toss the meatballs around in the baking dish before serving to coat them evenly in the sauce. Transfer 4 meatballs to a plate and spoon more sauce over them. Garnish with fresh chives.