My husband is notoriously anti-freezer foods. He is also convinced that he will be willing and able to cook our meals in the early days of baby radish. I truly admire the sentiment and hope that it is true because he is a fantastic cook. But, just to play it safe and to prepare for days where we are just too tired or overwhelmed, I am meal prepping some freezer-friendly dinners. Today kicks off a mini-series on crunchy radish where I am sharing what I am meal prepping while we wait for our little friend's arrival. First up - turkey and kale meatballs and super green pesto.
I try to avoid plastic containers as much as possible, but sometimes freezer foods are just easier in plastic. I use mason jars or freezer friendly glass pyrex containers, leaving a substantial amount of room on top for expansion. If you have any freezer-friendly tips, please let me know in the comments below!
Turkey and Kale Meatballs
I like to load up my meatballs with kale and parsley, infusing extra nutrients wherever I can. These turkey balls can work well with your favorite tomato sauce, super green pesto, or a combo of both.
Makes 28 meatballs
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, Pecorino Romano, or ricotta
- 2 cups kale leaves, ribs removed, minced
- 1/2 cup parsley, minced
- ¼ cup onion, minced
- ¼ cup chives or basil, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 pounds ground turkey, very cold
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed (if sautéing)
- In a large bowl, combine parmesan cheese, kale, parsley, onion, chives, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes, mix well. Add the turkey and egg and blend with your hands until well combined. If you’ve got time, refrigerate the meatball mixture for an hour to 24 hours. Colder balls are easier to form. Roll mixture into roughly 28 meatballs, each about 1 1/2-inches in diameter.
- Depending on your preference, you can bake the meatballs or sauté them. If I am making them for dinner, I usually opt to sauté them, immerse them in sauce, and continue cooking. For freezing, baking is my preferred option to keep them "sauce less" and easier to portion out.
- For baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet trays with parchment paper and spread out the meatballs between the two trays. Bake for 20 minutes or until meatballs are fully cooked. Let cool and transfer to preferred freezing vessel.
- To sauté, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan. When warm, add enough of the meatballs to fit in one layer without over crowding. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate, add another tablespoon of oil, and repeat until all the meatballs are browned. Once meatballs are browned, add marinara sauce to the pot, bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of the pan. Add all the meatballs and their juices back to the pot, cover the meatballs with sauce, and lower heat. Partly cover the pot and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. You can also freeze the meatballs with the sauce and divide into individual sized containers.
Super Green Pesto
This pesto is a great way to use greens on their way out or to hide tons of nutrient dense greens in a delicious sauce. This pesto can be used in eggs, soups, strews, served with pasta, or on top of a protein. Freeze in ice cube trays for a more user-friendly and smaller severing approach.
- 2 cups chopped lacinato or Russian kale leaves, center ribs removed
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoons chili flakes, more if you prefer it spicier
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- The zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Make sure that all of your greens are throughly dry. Working in batches, place kale, spinach, and arugula into a food processor. Add the pumpkin seeds, garlic, chili flakes, cumin, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest and pulse until the ingredients are well combined. Add the parmesan cheese. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil until the pesto is smooth and the desired viscosity is achieved, adding more oil as needed. Taste and adjust the lemon or chili flake content, if needed. Transfer to freezer-friendly containers.