It’s a special treat when I make spaghetti and meatballs. They take time so I normally just make spaghetti with a meat sauce so everyone gets a little excited when they see me making meatballs. Now if you are counting calories or watching that carb intake, this would definitely be a splurge meal. It’s a great one for a big Sunday dinner with the family or if you have company coming over for dinner. Save up your points, do an extra workout at the gym, run an extra mile, or schedule your “cheat day” as my brother calls it, because this splurge is soooo worth it! Now, I’ll be honest, this meal is a little time-consuming and messy to make. It took me around 2 1/2 hours to make the meal start to finish. I may have had a couple of homework help, dog getting into trouble, 3-year-old wanting to “help” distractions, but that’s how long it took me. The nice thing about the meatballs, is that I make a large batch of around 55-60 meatballs and I freeze half of them. So the next time I want spaghetti and meatballs, the hard work is already done and the meal is ready super fast. You could also use those frozen meatballs for other dishes like meatball sandwiches, pasta with broccoli and meatballs in a garlic cream sauce, a little stroganoff with meatballs . . . the possibilities are endless.
Pulsing Jimmy John’s bread in food processor
My cheeses of choice in my meatballs and sauce – Romano and Parmesan
The meat of the meatball
Getting it all mixed together
I try to go for Golf ball size
Spices (forgot to include oregano), garlic and onion
Tomatoes and sauce base
Sauce is ready
Meatballs going for a little swim
The Bread– you need to have cheesy garlic bread to go with your spaghetti and meatballs. It’s a requirement.
Mayo, garlic butter, cheese and a little parsley all on Jimmy John’s day old bread
Spaghetti and meatballs – Serves 10-12
Ingredients for meatballs:
2 lbs lean ground beef. I usually use 80/20
1 lb ground sausage. I use regular flavor
2- 2 1/2 C breadcrumbs. I use about a half a loaf of Jimmy John’s day old bread and pulse it in food processor.
1/3 C dried parsley
1/2 C grated parmesan or romano cheese. I use 1/4 C of each.
4 large eggs slightly beaten
1 TBS salt
1 TBS pepper
Directions for meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
Roll up those sleeves and wash those hands – you’re going to need them.
Line 2 large baking sheets with foil or parchment paper
Prepare Breadcrumbs in food processor and set aside.
Grate cheese, measure out parsley and salt and pepper and set aside
Slightly beat eggs in small bowl and set aside
In a large bowl, combine ground beef and sausage. Gently work until combined.
Add in breadcrumbs, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper and mix until combined, but do not over work.
Form into golf ball size balls (a little over 1 1/2 inch diameter)
Place evenly spaced on baking sheet and bake at 350 Degrees for 20 minutes.
Once the meatballs are cooked, remove from oven, but keep the meatballs on the baking sheets. Keep the oven on 350 if you will be making the cheesy garlic bread shown below.
This will make around 55-60 golf ball sized meatballs. Take half of them and set aside until your sauce is ready. Keep the other remaining half of the meatballs on the baking sheet and place in deep freezer for an hour or so and then transfer to a large freezer bag and return to the freezer. When you are ready to use the frozen meatballs, just take them straight from the freezer and put them in hot sauce until heated through. Or let them defrost a bit if you need to cut them in half. You can also heat in crock pot but I would try to avoid heating in oven since this may cause them to over cook and dry out.
Ingredients for sauce:
1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
56 oz tomato sauce (a few oz more or less is fine)
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1 medium onion diced
4 garlic cloves minced
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS dried basil
1 TBS dried Italian Seasoning blend
1/2 TBS dried oregano (not in picture)
1 TBS dried parsley
1 teas garlic powder
1 TBS fresh basil chopped or Gourmet Gardens in the tube is what I use.
Kosher Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 ladles of pasta water
3-4 TBS fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 lb thin spaghetti
Directions for marinara sauce and spaghetti:
In a large pot, heat up olive oil and sauté’ diced onion until soft
Add in minced garlic and lower heat. After a few minutes, add in all the cans of tomatoes and sauce and paste.
Add in all the spices and salt and pepper and cheese. Adjust seasoning as needed.
Gently lower the cooked meatballs into the sauce. Use your spoon to submerge them, but don’t stir the pot too much to disturb the meatballs.
Bring another large pot of water to boil.
Once boiling, add in a TBS of salt to the water and then add in the pasta. Make sure the pasta is all covered with water and give a little stir. Boil pasta 8-9 minutes or per package directions. (perfect time to make your bread)
Just before your pasta is done, ladle one or two ladles of pasta water into your sauce and gently mix it in.
Drain the pasta once it’s done. You want to be waiting on the pasta. Everything else, the sauce, the bread can sit and wait. You don’t want your pasta sitting there getting cold or sticky so make sure you have everything done and ready by the time the pasta is done.
Serve pasta with sauce and 3-4 meatballs per person. Grate more parmesan cheese over top and twirl those forks!
Ingredients for Cheesy Garlic Bread:
1 1/2 loaves of Jimmy John’s day old bread. (Half of one loaf was used in the meatballs).
1/4 C mayonnaise
1/2 C butter
1 TBS garlic powder. I was out so I used Gourmet Gardens Garlic in the tube.
Shredded cheese. I used a mexican blend with Monterey jack and cheddar 3/4-1 C
Grated Parmesan and/or Romano Cheese. I use both of course.
Directions for Cheesy Garlic Bread:
Preheat oven to 350 if not already there.
Cut the loaves of bread in half lengthwise
Soften the butter in microwave
Mix garlic powder to tube stuff into the butter
Spread the mayonnaise on the bread. I just use the squeezable bottle and squeeze a ribbon of mayo down the bread and then spread out with a knife.
Spread butter/garlic mixture on the bread on top of mayonnaise.
Top with shredded cheese.
Grate fresh parmesan and or Romano cheese over bread.
Bake 350 Degrees for 8-10 minutes. I do this while my pasta is cooking.
Be sure to refrigerate leftover bread (if there is any) since it has mayonnaise in it.
There is is! I know it’s kind of lot, but the meatballs are a great weekend or special occasion type meal for when you have time to be in the kitchen for that long. Making a big batch is great because you can just toss frozen meatballs into hot marinara sauce and your meal is almost all ready for you. The sauce in the recipe is basically my go to sauce when I make spaghetti or lasagna. I just add a pound or so of ground beef and brown it before adding in the onion, garlic. When I make marinara, I also spoon a couple ladles of the sauce out of the pot and put it in a freezer bag, let it cool a little and then toss in the freezer. This is saved for when I make homemade pizza. It’s so handy to just take the sauce out of the freezer and let it thaw and then quickly assemble your pizza, rather than having to make sauce from scratch, or buy sauce.
Have I convinced you to make them yet? This sunday would be a perfect time to try it out!! Your family will thank you! I can’t wait to hear about it!
I have to take a minute and give some props to my oldest daughter who assisted with the camera when my hands were occupied or covered in a meatball mess. She was so excited because I used my good camera, not just quick shots from my iPhone like I normally do. She’s excited about learning photography like me and is so eager to jump right in and help me out!