Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A POOF Dinner: Frozen Meatballs, Tomato Sauce, and Ravioli

POOF stands for Pulled Out Of Freezer! When you’re following a low sodium regimen, it’s good to have some emergency meal fixings tucked away in the freezer. Yesterday was one of those days… You know what I’m talking about. I hadn’t been feeling well for a couple of days and wasn’t up to tackling dinner. At the same time, I didn’t want another meal of scrambled eggs either. So I went rummaging in my freezer and hit the jackpot.

I found a package of meatballs I made a month ago along with a container of homemade tomato pasta sauce. Then I spied some cheese ravioli from my favorite local grocery store. Put them all together, and I’d have an easy and tasty loso meal.

I thawed the meatballs and tomato sauce in the microwave. Then I placed the still frozen ravioli in a lightly greased casserole and topped with the sauce and meatballs. Covered with foil and into a 400 degree oven for about a half hour. (I probably could also do this on the stove top.) Checked to make sure everything was hot and served. Simple and quick. Yet tasty and low sodium.

I used my favorite meatball recipe from the Cuisine at Home magazine. I’ve adapted it to fit our low sodium requirements. It calls for milk, but now I usually use Lucerne NSA cottage cheese instead. I also use a trick I learned from Cook’s Illustrated and add some dissolved gelatin to the meat mixture. This keeps the meatballs tender and moist. The Cuisine recipe calls for baking in broth. So much easier than frying individual meatballs, and nothing gets dried out. I use a cookie dough scoop to portion out the meat mixture and just plop the balls on the baking sheet. No hand rolling. They may not look perfect, but I don’t care. They taste great!

Cuisine at Home Meatballs with Fettuccine

The ravioli were Raley’s brand Six Cheese Ravioli. Only two servings per package and only 170 mg sodium/serving. Perfect!

So what did I learn from this experience? Make some more meatballs and tomato sauce to keep in the freezer! Yes, it’s important to have some easy and quick meal fixings ready to pull out of the pantry, fridge, or freezer. It’s low sodium insurance.

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