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Camp Kitchen: Meatballs

June 13, 2006
Filed under Camping Recipes, Main Dishes

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As the rice cooks and swells, the meatballs will bristle and look like little porcupines. Nestle them in a nest of potato sticks.

• 3 cans, 28 ounces each, diced tomatoes

• Small can diced jalapeno peppers, drained (optional)

• 1 tablespoon minced garlic

• Large onion, diced

• 1 tablespoon seasoned salt

• 3 pounds lean ground beef

• 2/3 cup raw rice

• 3 eggs, lightly beaten

• 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs

To serve: Sour cream, Potato sticks (French’s, Herr’s)

In a large kettle bring the tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, onion and seasoned salt to a boil. Mix the ground beef with the rice, eggs and breadcrumbs. Form into large meatballs of about 1/2 cup each (a self-releasing ice cream scoop makes the job easy) and drop into the boiling tomato mixture. Cover and simmer over low heat 30 to 40 minutes or until the meatballs are firm and done through. Carefully lift out the meatballs, place in freezer bags or containers, then divide the sauce among them. Plan one meatball per serving.

Tips for Freeze-and-Seize Meals.

• Freeze foods in teflon roasting bags or crockpot liners, then lower into boiling water to reheat. Discard the bag and you’re left with clean, hot water.

• Double-bag to protect foods in the freezer and prevent messy leaks in the ice chest.

• All of the recipes listed above will last up to two days in your ice chest after they thaw.

• Acid or salty foods can react with aluminum over time. Slip a disposable aluminum casserole into a roasting bag first, fill with food, wrap and freeze. After the bag is discarded, you still have a clean casserole.

• When freezing formless foods such as a bag of soup or chili, place it in a square container while it’s still liquid so it freezes in a block. It will store more compactly and stay frozen longer.

• Cool food before freezing, and don’t overwhelm the freezer with too much at once. When buying food for the freezer, such as large supplies of meat, have it wrapped and frozen at the market.

• When ground meat is on sale, cook big batches of it with onion, green pepper and celery. Freeze in batches for making soup, stew, chili, spaghetti sauce, taco salad and so on.

• If you have a refrigerator-freezer in your camper, don’t treat it like a home freezer. It can’t get as cold and can’t recover as fast when new foods are added.

• For safety’s sake, thaw foods in the refrigerator or ice chest, not on the countertop.

• To keep cold foods cold longer, pre-chill the ice chest with ice, drain, and add fresh ice when you add foods. Mechanical refrigerators should be lit the night before you leave.

• Freeze homemade waffles or pancakes in boilable bags and immerse to heat through. Serve with syrup for breakfast or as a base for creamed chicken.

• Freeze rolls of cookie dough and bake fresh cookies every day of your camp-out.

• Freeze a supply of sandwiches to last three or four days into your trip. Best bets are cheeses, cooked meats, peanut butter and jelly or mashed beans with well-drained salsa. Don’t make sandwiches with cream cheese, mayo, sprouts or any fresh vegetables. If you like, they can be added just before serving.

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