Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes err Spaghetti and Meatballs

My wife and I typically take turns cooking dinner. The other night it was my turn. We had planned on making meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but when I reached in to the basket for the potatoes we had in stock, the potatoes were sprouted and had started to turn soft. So much for the mashed potatoes.

What could I make at this point that the kids would eat without having to go to the store? I could tell we were nearing zero hour, so time was of the essence. I looked in the pantry and found a can of tomatoes and a bag of pasta and then there was half an onion left in the fridge. Fortunately, my meatloaf is just a giant Italian style meatball, so the meal was easily transitioned to spaghetti and meatballs. I threw together a quick tomato sauce and dinner was ready. We used farfalle pasta, which my 2 year old son calls "bubbaflies."

Some of the pictures didn't quite turn out, but we had already eaten before I realized it.

Sauteing onions and garlic

Quick Tomato Sauce

  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 onion - diced
  • 4 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Tsp oregano
  • Tsp parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • spinach (optional)
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

spaghetti sauce

In a sauce pan, heat olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic with salt and pepper over medium-high heat. When the onions turn translucent, reduce the heat. Add the canned tomatoes, oregano, parsley, and sugar. The sugar will help to counteract the acidity in the tomatoes. I like to add it, but it is optional. I also like to shake in some crushed red pepper, but it depends on who is eating with me. Cook for about thirty minutes. To sneak in some extra vitamins for the kids, you can throw in a handful of spinach leaves. Put the sauce in a food processor, or use an immersion blender if you have one, and blend until smooth.

Italian Style Meatballs

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs (I make my own. Look for the recipe below.)
Meatballs1/2 cup Italian cheese
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
salt and pepper

The meatballs are super easy to make. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl. Add in a few drops of water. Mix together with you hands. This is the most effective way. When the ingredients are well mixed, roll out the meatballs and place on a sheet pan. Make sure the meatballs are not any bigger than about 2 inches to make sure they will cook through. Please the sheet pan under the broiler and cook until the meatballs are browned. Flip the meatballs over and cook until brown. If you want to use this same recipe for a meatloaf, cook the meatloaf for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Italian Breadcrumbs

4 pieces of bread
1 Tbsp Basil
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Parsely
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Toast the bread until lightly brown. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Place the bread crumbs in an airtight container. I have found that this recipe will last just about forever, or at least until I run out, without going bad.

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