One of my cheap, go-to dinners is spaghetti. A box of noodles + a jar of sauce = food that everyone in the family will eat, and it all comes together in less than 20 minutes. Toss in some rolls and add a side of salad or frozen veggies, and it’s a fairly healthy meal.
Lately, though, it’s seemed a bit lacking. I made my own sauce, but that didn’t help. I tried adding Parmesan cheese. Nope – that wasn’t the issue, either. I had to be realistic – it’s spaghetti, for crying out loud. There’s not much you can do to it to improve the end result, right?
Well, except perhaps add meatballs!
I’ve generally steered well away from making meatballs for two reasons: (1) they seem complicated, and (2) I can remember making them as a child and feeling as though my hands would freeze off thanks to the barely thawed beef. I’ve only made meatballs once before as an adult and I didn’t like the end product enough to repeat the process.
I was inspired to try again when I saw a recipe in one of my new favorite cookbooks, “Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook” by Jessica Fisher. Jessica’s is a basic version that makes a bunch. I like that these meatballs can be dressed up (with BBQ sauce) or kept as is for a simple, filling add-in for pasta night. The recipe was quick. It was easy. It was tasty.
My only moment of panic came when I realized I was short by about 1/3 of a cup of breadcrumbs. Well, shoot. Then, I remembered the bag of bread heels I had stashed in the freezer. I don’t mind the heels – Chris, Joe, and Jack won’t touch them. Rather than toss them (such a waste!) I put them in a Ziploc bag, stored it in the freezer, and figured that I’d eventually find a use.
Today was that “eventually”. I followed a recipe online – et viola! – breadcrumbs.
A very yummy home, judging by the looks of the kiddos. Joe and Jack gobbled up the meatballs.. I couldn’t believe how quickly they downed them.
Even Chris, who doesn’t usually order meatballs when he gets spaghetti at a restaurant, consumed them with a rapidity that would have impressed any competitive eater.
And yes, they’re freezer-friendly and yield a bunch – 6 dozen. If you figure it as 3 meatballs = 1 serving, then a dozen meatballs = 4 servings. That means for my family of 4 (and yes, Jack ate all of his serving) then 6 dozen meatballs means 6 easy spaghetti + meatballs nights. That makes my boys happy.
Happy boys, happy pocketbook, happy mama 🙂 You’re welcome.
Here’s a link to the recipe on Jessica’s blog, Life as Mom. Click over there for the instructions on how to make these yummy meatballs. I highly recommend her book, too. I borrowed it from our local library at first (I hate buying a cookbook only to discover that I won’t use it, so I’ve started borrowing them from the library first). I was bookmarking so many of the recipes that I realized I should just go ahead and buy the thing. I’m so glad that I did – I make her drop biscuits every other week, or so it seems, and the tamales? Delicious.