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Spicy Tomato Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (about 1 small)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green chilies
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped tomato (about 1 medium)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

In 1 1/2-quart casserole, mix all ingredients except Tomato Sauce. Shape mixture by teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls. Arrange in baking dish, 12-by-7 1/2-by-2 inches, or on 12-inch plate. Cover loosely and microwave on high (100 percent) 3 minutes; rearrange meatballs. Cover and zap until no longer pink inside, 3 to 5 minutes longer; drain. Freeze meatballs uncovered 15 minutes so they will separate easily. Place partially frozen meatballs in 1-quart freezer container. Cover, label and return to freezer for no longer than 2 months. About 20 minutes before serving, remove meatballs from freezer. Prepare Tomato Sauce. Gently stir meatballs into sauce until coated. Cover tightly and microwave on high (100 percent), stirring every 5 minutes, until hot and bubbly, 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

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