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Meatballs and Marinara over Spaghetti

So, there SHOULD be a picture here of the completed dish on a beautiful white platter garnished with a sprig of parsley or basil.  BUT, I forgot to take a picture!!  OOPS!

I'm going to give you my meatball recipe and my marinara sauce recipe.  The meatball recipe is one I adapted from Ina Garten's recipe to make it more "mom of five kids" friendly.  Her recipe calls for ground pork, veal, and beef.  I keep ground beef on hand, but have never once bought ground veal and only bought ground pork once.  Plus, ground beef bought in bulk from Sam's club is much more within my budget!  She uses fresh grated parmesan, which I do also sometimes but today I am using Kraft Parmesan cheese which is again more budget friendly.  Ina also uses fresh parsley.  I use it if I have it on hand, but there's no way I'm making a special trip to the store for it!

So here goes:

Gather your ingredients.  I forgot to get out the milk, so pretend there is a jug of milk sitting here.  And you don't need that entire loaf of bread, just about 1/4 of it.  Also, I put in the Italian seasoning in case you don't have seasoned bread crumbs you could add some Italian seasoning to your plain bread crumbs.  I use whole nutmeg that I grate with my microplane.
Tear some chunks of bread off and put them in your food processor and whirl away till they turn into crumbs.  If you don't have a food processor I don't know how you could make fresh bread crumbs...maybe a blender in small batches??
Next, I mix up all the ingredients other than the meat in my Kitchen Aid.
Here I am mixing the meat into the other ingredients by hand because I tripled the recipe and it wouldn't all fit in my Kitchen Aid.  But normally I just throw the meat into the Kitchen Aid and let it do the dirty work for me.
I use a cookie scoop to make my balls.  No rolling in the hands for me!  Cookie scoops come in very handy so you better go get yourself one.  Be sure to get one that looks like this because the other kind like to break!  Make sure there is no plastic in the scoop or spring mechanism.
Ina browns her balls in a saute pan with some oil. I have done it that way and it is super yummy, but to make my life alot easier and to make it more healthy I put them on a baking rack on a sheet pan.
I bake my meatballs in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  I use very lean beef but even still there is some fat that drips down.  I am always happy we won't be eating that part!

Now, for the marinara.  I made up this recipe at one point.  I don't even remember what I started from.  But this recipe is easy and really good.
Gather all your ingredients.  Here I have Italian seasoning, which I used today because I was out of some of the individual herbs I usually use.
Dice your onions.  Here is a tutorial on the correct way to dice an onion.
Saute your onions in the olive oil until they are translucent, or see through.  When they are about done, add your minced garlic.  Don't let it burn or it will take on a bitter flavor!
Now, if you have kids like mine that hate chunks this next step is imperative!  Blend up your crushed tomatoes so they don't have any chunks!  I also blend up my onions AFTER they are cooked.  Just put them in the blender with some of the crushed tomatoes to help them move around.  This step, while messy and time consuming, will hopefully help ensure a more peaceful mealtime!
Put all the ingredients into the pot, cover with a lid, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes.  I recommend a nonstick pot, although in this picture I was using a giant stock pot because I doubled the recipe, which makes 2 gallons!  But then at the very end once I was letting the meatballs simmer in the sauce the bottom got burned and made me MAD!

The last step is to put the cooked meatballs in the simmering sauce and let them cook together for 15-20 minutes.  This is the point that it is more likely to burn on the bottom so be sure to stir it often and keep the heat low.  Toss with cooked spaghetti or your favorite pasta!

` 2 pounds ground beef 
`  1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (Just process white bread or french bread in your food processor)
` 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
`  2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf or 1 Tbsp dried 
`  1/2 cup parmesan cheese
` 1.5 tsps salt
`  1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
` 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
`  1 large egg, beaten
`  1/4 cup milk

Directions:  Place all ingredients other than meat in the bowl of your electric mixer.  Mix until combined.  Add meat and mix thoroughly.  Use a cookie scoop to scoop your meatballs and place on a baking rack on a sheet pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  Simmer in your marinara sauce for 15 minutes. Makes about 30 meatballs.

`1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
`2 small onions, diced
`3 Tbsp. minced garlic (refrigerated)
`1 (6 lb. 6 oz) can tomatoes (I use crushed)
`2 15 oz. can tomato sauce
`1 small can tomato paste.
`1 tsp. thyme
`2 tsps basil
`1/2 tsp. oregano
`1 c. parmesan cheese (optional)
`4 teaspoons kosher salt
`Freshly ground black pepper
`2 Tbsp. sugar

Directions:  Saute the onions in olive oil until almost translucent.  Add the garlic and cook until tender.  Place tomatos in blender and add onions and garlic mixture.  Blend until smooth.  Pour back into pot and add the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Store in individual containers in the freezer.  Makes 4 quarts


  1. I can't wait to try this. It looks delicious and my boys will love it.


  2. This looks delicious! Thanks for inviting me to your cute site!! I officially welcome you to blogland! xoxo

  3. Just had to wipe the drool off of my keyboard! :)

    (stopping in from tatortots & jello party)

  4. Where did you find your sheet pan rack? I have the half sheet pans from Sam's and really want to find racks like the one in your photo. TIA!


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