AJ and I are still on track with our clean(er/ish) eating during the weekdays. We eat tons of spinach, nuts, Greek yogurt, grilled chicken, and fruits We have cheat meals on weekends and "special days" and since we both had Thursday and Friday off for Fall Break we decided to cook up a delicious, not clean Italian meal. The inspiration came when I was watching "Counting On" (The Duggar kids spin off series) and Jinger (yes, with a "J") learned how to cook Italian food with her fiancee Jeremy's grandma. "That looks gooooood" AJ crooned at the TV. So it was decided, we'd make our own spaghetti and meatballs this week. I have never ever made homemade meatballs in my life and I had in fact sworn them off forever after an impulse Costco buy of frozen meatballs that left me tossing those bad boys in everything. I was ready for a homemade version, though! I can claim this recipe as sort of my own...I used elements of Rachael Ray's, Emeril's, and The Pioneer Woman's recipes to create the Steele version. We served it up with caesar salad and garlic bread it was such a delicious meal to create together. I can see lots of chilly weekend evenings with a heaping plate of this goodness in our future.
I prepped the meatballs the night before. Such a time saver and in my opinion a necessity if making this on a school night.
1/2 onion chopped (save the other half for your sauce)
1.5 lbs. ground beef
1 tbs. minced garlic
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 dash oregano
1 tbs. olive oil
I rolled them into balls and was surprised how many it made. Woohoo for leftovers!
For the sauce, I also mixed and matched a few recipes and here is what I came up with:
1/2 onion sauteed in 2 tbs. olive oil and 1 tsp. minced garlic until soft
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup beef stock
1 tsp. sugar
torn fresh basil to taste
salt and pepper
I put this on the stove about 2 hours before dinner time to let the flavors "marry" as AJ says. (You could totally do this in a slow cooker too!). About half way through that time, I baked the meatballs at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. I then added them to the sauce for the final 45 minutes or so before serving. I made my pasta (assuming ya'll don't need instructions for that), tossed together the caesar salad, and heated up the garlic bread.
We added a glass of yummy red wine and a few hours after dinner I baked up some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for dessert .A delicious homemade dinner on a fabulous day off with the hubby? I am thinking this might need to be a new Fall Break Tradition. Bon Appetit!