Spaghetti & Meatballs

Posted on

I’ll be honest, Spaghetti & Meatballs is not a meal that gets made often at our home.  While Caleb & I both really like Spaghetti & Meatballs {or any other carb loaded pasta dish for that matter}, the time commitment of making the meatballs is usually more than I feel like taking on at the end of my day.  And, giving in to convenience & buying pre-made, frozen meatballs at the grocery store is simply not an option for me {have you checked out the ingredient list on one of those packages?  What are all of those things?}.

However, I think I may have been over-complicating the process in my head a bit…..it happens….frequently:-).  When I spotted a few different meatball recipes recently, I immediately started craving homemade meatballs & decided to give it a whirl to see just how exhausting the process really was.  As it turned out, it’s really not that bad!  Yes, you do have to think ahead just a bit & you can’t whip out a batch of from-scratch, spaghetti & meatballs in 30 minutes. But, with a little pre-planning, this is totally a doable meal, even for easy-meal lovers like me!  I think you’ll agree, the outcome is more than worth a little extra effort!

Here’s what you’re going to need for the meatballs…

1 lb ground beef

3 cloves garlic

3/4 c. bread crumbs (making your own is super easy, see how I do it below)

1 egg

1/2 c. grated parmesan

1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley (or 3-4 tbsp fresh parsley)

1/4 tsp sea salt

dash of pepper

1-2 tbsp milk

So, to make your own bread crumbs {if you’re using pre-made, just skip pass this short tutorial}, start by grabbing 2-3 slices of bread…

Toast em…

Put em in your food processor or blender {we have a Blendtec blender, it works for almost anything, LOVE it}…

Pulse a few times, until the slices are completely ground up…

Voila`!

Alright, now for those meatballs…

Start with your very unglamorous ground beef in a medium bowl…

Use a garlic press {or peel & chop the cloves} to add the garlic…

Then, add in your breadcrumbs {be sure to measure out 3/4 of a cup of what you just ground if using homemade, don’t use all of it, there will probably be extra}, egg, parmesan, parsley, sea salt, pepper & 1 tbsp of milk…

Using a spatula or your hands {if touching raw meat is your thing}, mix it all up real good. Add in the other tbsp of milk if the mixture seems too dry.

Divvy the meat into meatballs onto a baking sheet.  You want the meatballs to be close in size so they take the same amount of time to cook.  I used a cookie scoop, you can just eyeball it if you want…

As you can see, I was able to make about 20 meatballs with this size of a batch.

Now, whether you’re of the raw-meat-touching crowd or not, I’m afraid it’s time to get your hands messy.  You want to take those divvied up meatballs & roll each in your hands real quick to make sure they’re nice & pretty & won’t fall apart….and then forget to take a picture. :-(

Stick your baking sheet in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.  This will help firm them up for the next step.

In a dutch oven or other tall sided pan {to help contain the splatters}, heat up some olive oil on medium-high heat. Use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan well…

As you can see, I just finished making my Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce & am all about not washing dishes more than I have to!

Once your meatballs have had their time in the Arctic, pull them out & start browning them in small batches in the oil, turning to brown all sides.  They do not need to be cooked through, we’ll finish cooking them later in the sauce.

Once they are completely browned, remove to a paper towel topped plate…

Continue until all the meatballs are browned.  Set meatballs aside.

Let’s make some sauce!

In the same pan you just browned the meatballs in {remember, less dishes makes me very happy!}, add 1 whole onion that has been chopped & 3 more cloves of garlic, using your garlic press or peel & chop…

Cook until the onions are translucent.

Add 4 cups of tomato sauce {I used some of my Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce but good quality store-bought tomato sauce works well too}…

Add to this, 2 tbsp dried parsley, 1 tbsp dried basil, 1 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp sucanat {if you don’t have sucanat, regular sugar works too} & fresh ground black pepper…

Add the meatballs back into the sauce & cook over medium to medium-high heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring gently 2 or 3 times during cooking, until the meatballs are cooked through {you can pull one out & cut it open to be sure}…

While the meatballs are cooking, boil a large pot of water & cook 1 lb of spaghetti noodles until al dente, following the package instructions…

Serve up the meatballs & sauce over a pile of spaghetti noodles, top with parmesan cheese & enjoy!

Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman


DIY Taco Seasoning

Posted on

Tacos are always my back-up plan around here when I’ve forgotten to plan a meal or simply run out of time or energy to make something more difficult for supper.

We end up eating tacos at least every other week. :-)

Fortunately for me, Caleb & I are big fans of mexican food so this is never really a disappointment.

I started making my own taco seasoning a few years ago by accident.  We had hamburger browning for our tacos when I realized I was out of taco seasoning & I figured surely I could throw a few spices together to get us by without making a last minute trip to the store.

Sure enough, this worked great & we loved it every bit as much as our normal pre-packaged mix.  I really don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before!

By making your own mix you can control what goes into it, adjusting according to your family’s tastes.  And, it’s much cheaper (especially when you buy your spices in bulk)!

Here’s what you’ll need…

DIY Taco Seasoning

2 T. Chili Powder

5 t. Paprika

4 1/2 t. Cumin

1 T. Onion Powder

2 1/2 t. Garlic Powder

1/8 t. Cayenne Pepper

*This makes a fairly mild seasoning, adjust spices to your liking

Measure all spices into a small jar & stir or shake to combine. Store in an air-tight container or jar.

7 t. = 1 packet of mix


Grilled Hash9

Grilled Cheesy Beef & Vegetable Hash

Posted on

We have been experiencing some unusually warm, some days even hot, weather here these past couple of weeks.  I for one, am loving it!  Although we tend to fire up the grill year-round here, these warm days get me extra excited about grilling out!

Fortunately, both Caleb & I are big fans of regular ole’ cheeseburgers, because those seem to find there way onto our menu almost weekly around here in the Summer, but sometimes it’s nice to change it up a bit.

On this particular night, I decided to throw together some of our favorite ingredients & see what happened.  The result was delicious!  Absolutely nothing fancy about it (that’s how we roll around here), just yummy, filling & simple food!

So, here’s how it went down…

Take a small roasting pan, or other grill-worthy pan & pour in approximately 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil (butter would work too).

Then, fill it with 6 medium potatoes(I used a combo of yukon golds & red potatoes because that’s what I had on hand, use what you have) that have been washed & cut into 1/2 inch chunks.

Top with 1 pound of ground beef that has been broke up.

Then top with 3 carrots that have been washed, peeled & sliced…

and 1/2 cup of frozen peas, seasoned salt, garlic salt & pepper (I generally don’t measure spices.  Just use your judgement.)

Cut 1-2 tablespoons of butter into chunks and dot on top.

Cover & place on pre-heated grill, on medium heat (use indirect heat if possible) for 45 minutes, stirring after 30.

When potatoes are fork tender & there’s no pink left in the meat, top with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, a sprinkle of parmesan & a sprinkle of parsley.

Cover & grill for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is all melted.

Serve & enjoy!

Makes 5-6 generous servings.

Note – This is an extremely versatile dish!  Use whatever veggies you have on hand or that your family likes!

A more “viewer-friendly” version:

Grilled Cheesy Beef & Vegetable Hash

1 T. melted coconut oil (or butter)

6 med. potatoes (any variety will do), washed & cut into 1/2 in. chunks

1 lb ground beef

3 carrots, washed, peeled & sliced

1/2 c. frozen peas

Seasoned salt, garlic salt & pepper, to taste

1-2 T. butter

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Parmesan

Parsley

Take a small roasting pan, or other grill-worthy pan & pour in melted coconut oil.  Then, fill with potatoes.  Top with ground beef that has been broke up, carrots, peas, seasoned salt, garlic salt & pepper.  Cut butter into chunks and dot on top.  Cover with lid or foil & place on pre-heated grill, on medium heat (use indirect heat if possible) for 45 minutes, stirring after 30.  When potatoes are fork tender & there’s no pink left in the meat, top with shredded cheddar cheese, a sprinkle of parmesan & a sprinkle of parsley.  Cover & grill for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is all melted.  Serve & enjoy!

Makes 5-6 generous servings.

Edited 7/17/12 to add: Submitted to Chef-In-Training’s Tuesday Talent Show