Meatza, Meatball, and Burger Base

Meatza, Meatball, and Burger Base


I like to have pre mixed meats in the freezer for later.  This is Italian spiced and can be used for a few different things.  If I feel like making burgers, meatza, meatloaf, lasagna or meatballs all I have to do is thaw the pre-mixed meat, form it and cook.



2# Grass fed Ground Beef (13.77)

2 med Italian sausage

1 hot Italian sausage (5.19)


¼ onion (.19)

dried basil


1 egg (.23)

Tomato sauce



Dried Oregano

Ingredients Assembled


Total Cost $19.19

Servings: I divided this into 4 parts to use for different things each part is probably 2-3 servings We’ll call it 8

Cost per serving $2.40

Dice the onion and either throw it in raw or saute it in your fat of choice.  Then throw all the spices in, the egg.  I threw some of the sauce that was cooking on the stove in too.

Skin the sausage and put that and the ground beef in and mix.  If you happened to put your ground beef in the spot in your fridge that happens to be weirdly cold I wish you better luck than I had.

You can't tell from the picture but this is all nearly frozen!

Mixing this was nearly frostbite inducing.  Then I divided the whole thing into 4 and put 3 in bags for the freezer. The last 1 was made into meatza for lunch.  Yum!

Divided for freezing


Italian Tomato Basil Sauce

This is a family tradition.  Growing up on Sunday mornings a pot of sauce went on the stove. Then we all made meatballs and when they were baked they went in the sauce pot.  A few hours later a pot of salted water went on the stove for pasta and then we all sat down and ate a big old plate of pasta.  The rest of the week a lot of our lunches were made from that leftover sauce and meatballs.  Now that I eat paleo/primal sauce gets used for different things.  Meatballs are still a go.  Meatza instead of pizza.  Some paleo “lasagna” made with lots of veggies instead of pasta.  A pot of sauce is versatile and delicious.  A pot of sauce in your freezer means lots of quick meal options.


2 Red Peppers (2.58)

2 cans crushed tomatoes (2.50)

2 cans tomato paste (1.78)

1 onion (.67)


fresh basil (2.69)

dried basil



Total Cost $10.22

Servings: The number of servings is a bit hard to figure out. I’m going to call it 16

The cost per serving $.64

First throw the peppers in the oven to roast. I usually throw them in at 400.  While the peppers are doing their thing I chop up the onion, and garlic, and brown in it some butter.

Then throw the tomatoes in the pot and the dried spices.

I like to chiffonade my basil because you get big chunks of basil in your sauce.  Stack all the basil leaves up with the biggest ones on the bottom and roll them up and chop it.

I do this twice, once when you start the pot and once right before it’s done.  When the peppers are done peel them and either chop or puree them and throw them in the pot too.  Turn the pot down to simmer and let it go for an hour or more.  If you’re making meatballs throw them in the pot too.  The flavors get to be really good when they cook together.  When it’s done throw in a little more basil fore that fresh taste.

I usually freeze my sauce in different sized protions.  One big enough for a lasagna and the rest goes into smaller sizes for meatza, meatballs or braised dishes.

Sunday is cooking day!

Yesterday I went to the store and today I spent about an hour and a half cooking up some of what I got.


Today I made:

Meatza, Burger, Meatloaf Base and a meatza

Chipotle Chicken

Tomato Sauce

Brisket with mushrooms


First I started the tomato sauce and while that simmered I made the marinade for the chicken and popped it in the fridge, meatza mix and my meatza for lunch, and threw the brisket in the crockpot.


For an hour and a half of effort I’m getting a whole lot of meals! This is key for me during the week between classes and work.


For my food log for today I had the left over Brussels sprouts and bacon($1.25). Lunch was meatza($2.89), and dinner is going to be freezer chili with an avocado ($3.77)while I’m at work.  I’ll probably have a snack of brisket for late dinner when I take it out of the crockpot after work!


Total food cost for the day is  $7.91


I’m putting up two of the recipes and cost breakdowns for the dishes today the rest will go up tomorrow.  Enjoy

Grocery Shopping the day before the super bowl…

Bad idea! The stores were packed full of people getting chips and snack foods.  Whole foods had 6 different kinds of wings in their prepared foods section.  I’m a bit of a wing fan.  I grew up in western New York, where every bar had wings and they came in flavors like mild, medium, hot and holy bejeezus where’s the fire extinguisher.  In wing related news it’s my birthday and there is one place in Kent, Ohio that has really freaking good wings.  Ray’s place has some fantastic hot wings, that’s where I’ll be tonight, eating some deep fried, in what is probably soybean oil, awesomeness  with fresh cut sweet potato fries.  They’re not paleo or primal but they’re damned good.


Back to grocery shopping.  Wading through the masses at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods I ended up with about 2 weeks worth of meats.  Maybe a little more and about a week and a half worth of veggies.   I usually make a note in my phone throughout the week of things I want to make for the next week.  This week it looked something like this:


Pasta Sauce(I still call it pasta sauce even though it never ends up on pasta)



Short Ribs


Brisket with mushrooms

Chipotle chicken

Boursin and bacon stuffed chicken


Then I go through and figure out what I need for each dish and that’s how I organize my shopping list. I write all on a little white board because otherwise I use four pieces of paper to end up with one grocery list.  Some of this I have in my kitchen and so I cross that out on the whiteboard.  That’s the final list.



Pasta sauce

Crushed Tomatoes

Tomato paste


Fresh Basil


2 red peppers



2 # ground beef

2-3 italian sausage




artichoke hearts

shredded cheese







Short Ribs

Balsalmic Vinegar

Beef Broth




Canned diced tomatoes

Short Ribs


Chipotle Chicken

Chipotle Salsa

Tomato Paste


Chicken Thighs

Lime Juice


Boursin Stuffed Chicken

Chicken Breasts



Cherry Tomatoes

Boursin Cheese



Green Beans


Finished Grocery List

Then it’s off to the store with the final list. I buy most of the meats at Whole Foods so I go straight to the butcher area and look at what they have.  Today I didn’t like the way the short ribs looked so everything in that section of the list got immediately crossed out.  After I got my meats I wandered over to the cheese area to grab the boursin and that was it.  Whole Foods totals was $74.21


At Trader Joe’s I got all the veggies that I needed and some prosciutto and salame.  I forgot the limes for the chipotle chicken but I have a couple of lemons left over from last week and they will work just fine. I also grabbed some extra bacon since I’m down to one package and the fantastic but addictive dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds.  Tj’s total was $48.11

Grocery total $122.32

Here's all the groceries!

In the next two weeks I might have to grab some veggies but not much else.  Over the next 2-3 days I will cook up most of that and then freeze the majority of it.  I usually leave enough for two meals in the fridge and the rest goes in the freezer.  That way nothing gets wasted.  Thinking about ways I could have cut costs a bit would be to make a simpler chicken recipe that didn’t ask for prosciutto or boursin cheese.  Choosing non-grassfed varieties of meat.  Not wandering down the middle part of Trader Joe’s where they keep the dark chocolate covered things.

February, 2 Food log

For breakfast I had Brussels sprouts and bacon



Lunch was leftover pulled pork and sweet potatoes. I have no idea what that cost to make but it’s something I make a lot so I’m sure I’ll find out in the next month. I would guess it’s somewhere around 3 dollars.  I can get a lot of meals out of a 5 pound pork shoulder and some sweet potatoes.

Pulled pork and sweet potatoes!

For dinner I had chili with ½ an avocado 3.77


Somewhere during the day I ate a couple of dark chocolate almonds from trader joe’s. I shouldn’t keep them in the house. They’re delicious and addictive!


So for today’s total we’re going with approximately $6.00 for a days worth of food, I’m shooting for an average of $10 a day at the end of the month including meals out.

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon!

Breakfast of champions right? I love Brussels sprouts. They’re delicious and really low maintenance as far as cooking goes.

All the yummy stuff


1 lb bag of sprouts                $2.99

1 piece of thick bacon           $.75

Cajun seasoning                    this is a staple in my pantry it lasts about 6 months

Pepper                                   pantry

Garlic                                      pantry


Total $3.74

Servings 3

Cost per serving $1.25


First chop up the bacon and throw it in the pan to render. I love the bacon odds and ends from trader joe’s, they’re a lot cheaper than their regular bacon and its thicker and tends to be a little bit fattier. All of which are good things.

MMMM bacon

While the bacon is doing its thing I quarter the sprouts. I don’t think you really need to quarter them but I was in a little bit of a hurry and they cook quicker that way. Plus all the bacony goodness gets over more of the sprouts.  When the bacon is starting to render I throw the garlic in and give it a stir and then throw the sprouts in and get them good and coated with the rendered fat. Sprinkle some cajun, salt and pepper with them and let them cook for awhile. I just stir them every once in a while and nibble on the leaves to see if they have enough seasoning on them.

Look at all that caramelized goodness!


Freezer Chili

I’m calling this recipe freezer chili because today I opened my freezer to take out something for dinner at work tomorrow night.  Much to my chagrin when I opened the door things started to shift a bit, it would be more accurate to call it a barely contained avalanche.  My stepdad usually says “a full freezer is a happy freezer,” well this freezer is not happy and is making itself known.

What does this have to do with chili you ask? Well in the freezer I had not quite a pound of ground beef, a grass-fed round roast, 2 chicken chorizo and 2 andouille sausage.  The chicken chorizo was an accident from making stuffed chicken a few weeks ago.  I thought it was weird to stuff chicken with more chicken so I put it in the freezer and went back to the store to get a couple pork chorizo.   I almost always have chili in the fridge and freezer because when nothing else sounds good chili is always tasty.

A quick disclaimer on my idea of a recipe: I tend to just throw things in a pot and add a little of whatever I think will sound good in the end.  It turns out great 92% percent of the time.  That 8% failure rate tends to fail horribly.  The freezer chili did not fail!

Ingredients:                                                                          Price

2 red peppers                                                                        $3.43

1 serrano pepper                                                                   $  .20

1 onion                                                                                 $  .67

garlic                                                                                    pantry item

2 chicken chorizo                                                                 $3.17

Grass fed round roast cut into 1 inch pieces                         $10.28

1 lb ground beef                                                                    $3.71

1 can of diced tomatoes                                                         $1.50

1 can chipotle salsa                                                                $1.25

salt                                                                                         pantry item

pepper                                                                                  pantry item

chocolate(I used a Mexican drinking chocolate)                 pantry item

Penzey’s chili powder medium hot                                  pantry item

Penzey’s chicken taco seasoning                                   pantry item

Servings 8

Total  $24.21

Cost per serving $3.02 $3.77 if you add half an avocado

The non meat ingredients

First I roasted the red peppers in the oven, I do this for a few reasons; I like the way it makes them sweet to balance out the heat of the chipotles and the chili powder, and they make the whole apartment smell good, but mostly I don’t the way the little bits of skin get stuck to the roof of my mouth.  When they get down I either chop them up or throw them in the blender. While the peppers roasted I diced up the onion and let it caramelize in the bottom of the cast iron pot with some garlic.  When that’s kinda golden brown I threw in the meat and let it brown a bit.  Then I threw everything else in the pot.  Add as much chili powder and taco seasoning as tastes good, and about a spoonful of the drinking chocolate.  Then let it simmer on low for an hour or two and enjoy.  I usually throw half an avocado on top when I eat. I made this while studying so every time I needed a break I gave it a stir and a taste test.

Right after I added all the spices and roasted peppers

The finished product