Google+ So I have been slowly but surely working on getting some meals in the freezer, mostly for Wednesday nights since the kids have Awana that night. Awana is a program where the kids memorize Bible verses to recite at club and then they get to play games and socialize and generally have fun. For me, however, Wednesday nights are not my favorite. This is because Awana starts at 6:30 and it takes about 40 minutes to get from our house to our church which means we have to be heading out the door by about 5:45, which means we need to have already eaten by 5:30, which means we have to start eating by about 5:00, which means I have to start preparing dinner by like 4:00. This annoys me. I am robot when it comes to scheduling and I ALWAYS start dinner at 5:00. So we always find ourselves extremely rushed on Wednesdays and I don't like that feeling. It stresses me out. Then I yell at my kids. I don't like yelling at my kids. Especially on the way to church. So to counter the problem I decided freezer meals would help. I will blog about the details of that hopefully very soon, but this is one of the things I stuck in the freezer for crazy evenings when we are trying to get out the door. These are probably the best meatballs I have ever made. They have a wonderful amount of flavor, perfect texture and were easy to make. I made a sauce to go over them that is very simple as well, a couple years ago my husband spent a month in Italy on a research project (there wasn't much research done but he had a lovely time) and the bed and breakfast he stayed at had the most amazing food - he still talks about it and wants to take me there when he is done with grad school - so he asked for their sauce recipe. While I can't make it exactly because tomatoes here in the U.S. simply do not taste the same as in Italy, I can get it pretty close. The beauty of true Italian food is in the simplicity of the recipe and quality of the ingredients. I was going for simple on this one so I did cheat and used canned tomatoes (I also didn't have any fresh on hand). It still tasted great. You do want to make sure you have time to simmer the sauce and meatballs. You can rush if need be but you will sacrifice some flavor. It would be ideal to simmer for about 3 hours but you could do it an hour and still have pretty good results.
- 1 pound spaghetti noodles
- extra virgin olive oil
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
FOR THE SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 - 14oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 - 14oz cans diced tomatoes1/4 cup fresh basil, minced or 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
TO MAKE THE MEATBALLS
- Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to mix together.
- Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, scoop the meatballs out onto a tray and set aside.
TO MAKE THE SAUCE
- Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot add the onion and sauté until just starting to soften, then add the garlic and saute another minute.
- Add the crushed and diced tomatoes, basil and salt.
- Add the meatballs to the sauce so they are in a single layer and covered with sauce. Bring to a boil, once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 3 hours.
- Once you are getting close to the sauce being done, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add your spaghetti noodles, cook according to package directions.
- Place desired amount of noodles in a bowl or on a plate and top with meatballs and sauce and some parmesan cheese.
TO MAKE THIS A FREEZER MEAL
- Make the meatball mixture and scoop them out onto a baking sheet and freeze them on the sheet so they do not stick together. Then place the meatballs into a freezer bag and you can pull out what you need.
- You can also make and then freeze the sauce.
- To thaw, place the sauce and meatballs in the crock pot on low for 8 hours.