CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Meatball Stew

There are a lot people who relish leftovers. But there probably are just as many who view them as a nuisance. You can count me among the former.

I believe there are a lot of leftovers that are better the second day. Chili, for one, comes to mind. It’s also a food that can’t really be made in small batches, especially if it contains two or three kinds of beans and a lot of peppers.

Chili, like soup, is perfect for freezing. When I was growing up, my dad used to make vegetable beef soup in a large pot and would always freeze two or three plastic containers of it for a quick meal down the road. It was the same with the chili Mom used to make.

Meatballs are another one of those foods that can be made in large batches and frozen for later use. The recipe that I like makes about three to four dozen meatballs. I freeze most of them for later use.

Sometimes, my frozen meatballs are paired with a marinara sauce and served with spaghetti. They also might be cooked in some gravy and accompany mashed or boiled potatoes.

Recently, I found another use for my frozen meatballs — in a vegetable stew. The recipe  follows. And when our hungry grandson joined us for supper, we didn’t have to worry about any leftovers.

Meatball Stew
12 meatballs (recipe follows)
3 potatoes, cubed
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cups frozen peas
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 10¾-ounce can tomato soup
1 10½-ounce can beef gravy
1 cup water
1 envelop onion soup mix
2 beef bouillon cubes
Chop vegetables and place in large pot or slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Add meatballs.
If cooking on stovetop, bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and cook for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender.
If using a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until vegetables are tender.
1½ pounds ground bison
1 pound of ground pork
2 cups bread crumbs
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup grated cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped very fine
1 onion, minced
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Let stand ½ hour. Shape into medium-size meatballs. Fry gently in olive oil until lightly browned, or place on foil on a cookie sheet and bake for ½ hour at 350 degrees.

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