With Christmas just around the corner, our little house is pretty busy as we juggle school, work, extra-curricular activities and holiday preparation. All that hustle and bustle means that I need dinner ideas that are fast and simple to prepare. So what do I do to make dinnertime easy? I turn to the freezer!
There are so many great meals that can be prepared in advance and frozen for later and to find one that appealed to me, I headed to the Life Made Delicious website. I had a great time perusing different recipes with the potential to be prepared, frozen and cooked later when needed.
Eventually I found the Tomato Basil Meat Loaves recipe. I knew at once that this was a recipe that could be easily modified to suit my family so I switched the Italian flavours out for Western ones to create tasty mozzarella meat loaf that I thought my boys would prefer.
Western Mozzarella Meat Loaf
- 3 eggs
- 2 lbs 1 kg ground beef
- 1/2 cup 125 mL whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1 cup 250 mL grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/8 cup 125 mL minced dried onion
- 1/2 cup 125 mL barbeque sauce
- 1 tsp 10 mL dried dill
- 1/2 tsp 2 mL salt
Heat oven to 350ºF. In large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in all remaining ingredients except cheese until well blended.
On large sheet of waxed paper, pat 1/3 of meat mixture into a rectangle. Sprinkle 1/3 cup grated mozzarella in centre of meat. Roll meat into loaf shape and seal edges.
Repeat with remainder of meat to form three loaves. Wrap 2 meat loaves tightly in heavy-duty foil; freeze up to 2 months.
Place 1 loaf in ungreased shallow baking pan; bake 40 to 50 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and meat is thoroughly cooked in centre (meat thermometer should read 160ºF). Let meat loaf stand 5 minutes before serving.
To thaw frozen meat loaf, place in refrigerator for 24 hours, or unwrap and place on microwavable plate; microwave on Defrost about 10 minutes or until thawed. Bake meat loaf as directed above.
The boys absolutely devoured the mozzarella meat loaf and with a garden salad and mashed potatoes, it was the perfect quick and filling meal for a cold day. But the best thing about this recipe was that after making it, I had two extra dinners waiting in the freezer ready to be pulled out and cooked in a moment’s notice!
For other great meals that can be prepared, frozen and then pulled out for an easy winter meal, check out the Life Made Delicious website and find some inspiration of your own! From casseroles to stews, there are tons of great recipes that can be easily adapted for the freezer to make dinner fuss-free during the busy holiday season. How do you take the hassle out of dinner preparation on a busy day?