Wednesday Meatball Love

After my weekly trip to the market on Sunday, I decided rather than freeze all of my meat and have to thaw it daily. I would prepare it all in one shot while it was fresh. My goal was to free up my time during the week when everyone is busy with work and school. You can read more about how I prepared for the week on my blog post The Weeknight Meal Game Plan: Goal Save Time and Money.

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

My plan for Wednesday was to make my daughter’s favorite Spaghetti and Meatballs. The oohs and aahs I receive from her when she is greeted by this dish are priceless to me. I had made my meatballs and sauce on Sunday evening and frozen them to keep them fresh. In the morning I transferred the meatballs and sauce to the fridge. With the bulk of the work already done, I put the meatballs and sauce in a pot and allowed them to warm up. The rest of the meal was as easy as boiling water, grating parmesan cheese and making a salad. Within 20 minutes my family had a lovely inexpensive home cooked meal with plenty of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. Now if only the dishes would wash themselves….

My Meatball Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Lean Ground Beef (allow meat to come to room temperature)
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves of Garlic
  • 1/2 cup of good fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tsp. dried Basil
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Roll into balls. Brown in olive oil on medium-high heat on stove top. Cover with your favorite tomato sauce and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

My favorite tomato sauce recipe is one that I found on 101cookbooks.com. It is called Five Minute Tomato Sauce and it is exactly that. (Link below)

It is SO fast, fresh, and delicious. I was leery at first as it calls for the zest of one lemon. I had never tried a lemon/tomato flavor combination  but I was so pleasantly surprised. This sauce is simple and delicious. I hope you try it.

Five Minute Tomato Sauce from 101cookbooks.com

“I’m very particular about the tomatoes I use in this sauce. Look for canned crushed tomatoes, some cans you will come across will say “with added puree” – this is also fine. I avoid diced tomatoes, pass on pureed, and skip whole tomatoes as well. Avoid the crushed tomatoes with added herbs, seasonings, etc. You want pure crushed tomatoes if possible. I also look for organic crushed tomatoes which can be tricky, I often come across the Muir Glen brand, it has added basil in it – that one is actually fine. The San Marzano crushed tomatoes are great as well. Any leftover sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for three or four days.”

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
zest of one lemon

Combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat, saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant – you don’t want the garlic to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer, this takes just a couple minutes. Remove from heat and carefully take a taste (you don’t want to burn your tongue)…If the sauce needs more salt add it now. Stir in the lemon zest reserving a bit to sprinkle on top of your pasta. Makes about one quart of sauce.

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