Meatballs and Pasta Sauce

Meatballs and Pasta Sauce

I LOVE Italian food. I think in another life, I might have been a little Italian kid. I almost always have meatballs in my freezer, and a jar of pasta sauce. This is especially helpful now that I have my toddler. If dinner is something not so kid friendly, I raid my freezer for some meatballs. I will confess that for the longest, I just bought them from the freezer section, but these are easy enough that I can make a ton of meatballs and freeze, and pull some as I need them. The sauce is also really easy to make and also freezes well in a plastic container. I find that the meatballs are also a good place to hide veggies for the picky kids (or husbands). I have over the years added cooked onions and peppers, mushrooms, spinach and grated carrots. Today I will just be doing the basic meatballs though.
This recipe makes a double batch of meatballs and sauce, so feel free to half it if you are just looking for a one dinner deal. Half the recipe is enough for dinner for the four of us and some left overs. I just figure I can do the work once, eat twice….
I start with the meatballs first, then while they bake, I make the sauce.
As a side note, if you like to cook with wine, substitute that for the broth. Most traditional Italian sauces use wine. I just prefer to use broth.
1 Cup seasoned Breadcrumbs
1 Cup Milk
1 pound Ground Beef
1 pound Ground Pork
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 large Eggs
1 Cup Parmesan or Romano Cheese
11/2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley
1 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1. Preheat the oven to broil. Mix the milk and the breadcrumbs together. Let them soak for 5 minutes (if you do not have breadcrumbs, soak bread in the milk).
2. Add the egg, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper to the breadcrumb and milk mixture. Add in the beef and pork, and then the cheese. Do not over mix. It will make the meat balls tough.
3. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Shape meatballs into balls. I used an ice cream scoop since I like big meatballs, but you can make them any size you fancy! I got 24 meatballs.
4.Broil meatballs on high for 5 minutes until they start to brown a little. Lower the heat to 350 degrees, and bake about 20 minutes. Check the inside of one of the meatballs.
I froze half the meatballs, and used 12 for dinner since they were really big. We had plenty of left overs even with just using half of them.
Pasta Sauce:
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, diced
6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 (14 oz) cans Diced Tomatoes
2 (14 oz) cans Crushed Tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans Tomato Paste
8 Tbsp fresh Parsley ( 4 Tbsp if Dried)
2 tsp Dried Oregano
2 Tbsp fresh Basil ( 1 Tbsp if Dried)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 cup Chicken broth
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1. Heat the olive oil and saute the onion until soft and translucent. Add in the garlic and stir for a minute.
2. Add the 4 tomato cans, tomato paste, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, broth and brown sugar. The brown sugar cuts some of the acidity from the tomatoes.
3. Simmer on medium heat for at least 30 minutes.
4. I like chunks in my pasta sauce, so I leave mine as is, but feel free to puree for a smooth sauce. Serve with the meatballs and spaghetti.
If you have time, simmer the sauce for a longer time. I find that the longer the flavors have to combine, the better. I usually simmer for the 30 minutes, pull out the sauce to freeze, then add the meatballs for dinner that day and simmer them in the sauce for about an hour. Today I was in a bit of a hurry, and just poured the sauce over the meatballs. Serve with spaghetti or your pasta of choice and garnish with basil or parsley leaves. Enjoy!
Devotion For The Day:
Did you just call me “Mighty Warrior?”
I find myself totally intrigued by the story of Gideon. I was reading from Judges 6 today, where God was calling Gideon to be the new judge to the Israelites. Here’s some background. Israel yet again had turned away from God after they had lived in the prosperity of Canaan a few years. For this reason, God had allowed them to be conquered by the other nations around them. This time, they were under the cruel thumb of the Midianites. They were so merciless that the Israelites were now hiding in caves, mountains and strongholds. Their crop had been destroyed, and they were on the verge of starvation. As they always did when they faced total defeat, they remembered their God and cried out for God to deliver them, and He heard them. God picked Gideon to lead them.
Now it gets interesting. God now has to let Gideon know of his new mission. God sends an angel to deliver the message to him. Judges 6:11-12 details the ordeal. 11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joashthe Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. ”  I actually caught myself visualizing this encounter. You know Gideon must have been looking around for the mighty warrior behind him. Why? First of all, he was HIDING in the winepress as he was threshing the wheat. I’m sure he was not feeling at all like Rambo right then. Taking on the Midianites was not on his agenda for the day. Gideon is pretty quick to let the angel know his thoughts. Verse 14 &15 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. ” The angel convinces Gideon that he is indeed the chosen one, and Gideon eventually agrees to lead the Israelites (after testing God a few times to make sure God really wasn’t kidding).
This is what  has been impressed on my heart from this story: God sees who I can be, not what I am today. And even better, He calls me THAT! He didn’t call Gideon “future mighty warrior, present chicken!” He sees what we do not see in ourselves,and chooses to work in us and through us regardless. He picks those people who least look deserving of a position and uses them to do great things for the Glory of His name. I am so glad for a God who sees my potential, and CALLS me that!

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