Sunday Special: Meatballs and Spaghetti

Now that the snow has FINALLY melted, we’ll soon be in full swing working outside for the growing season. I’m trying to take opportunities to cook some more time-consuming meals now, before we hit the growing season (a.k.a. grilled cheese season).
I didn’t plan on a little trouble with the chickens last Sunday, so although we ate the time-consuming meal, it was just a little bit late.
The spaghetti and meatball recipe is from Simply Recipes. I don’t follow it exactly, because I usually have to adjust for the ingredients we have on hand.

First, I started some of our favorite French bread- which we mix in the bread machine, but bake in the oven.French Bread Baguettes
The second step was dealing with our canned tomatoes- sauce, dice, and paste. We’ve finally figured out how to make them less acidic (since I used citric acid instead of lemon juice when I canned last year). For 3 pints of tomatoes and a 1/2 pint of paste, I added 1/4 tsp baking soda, stirred them up, and let them sit for an hour or so. THEN, they were the perfect for the sauce. (I did add a tiny bit of brown sugar to the sauce, but I often do that when using tomatoes, anyway.)

Next, I mixed up the meatballs. Realizing that the recipe calls for sausage after I bought ground pork, I added a mix of extra herbs with an Italian bent. Our bread crumbs are a little large because I make them from leftover bits of bread and store them in the freezer. They work very well, though. I didn’t grind them any smaller, and the meatballs had a lovely texture.

Then, I got the sauce going.  Again, I used slightly different ingredients (e.g. button mushrooms instead of cremini, white wine instead of red), and added 1 bay leaf.simmering sauce

Once the sauce was simmering, I seared the meatballs in my favorite pan.searing meatballs

By the time the meatballs were cooking, I realized that dinner would be VERY late and we were already VERY hungry.  So I pulled out the cute dipping dishes that Mark’s parents gave us for Christmas, and the seasoning mixes.  I added olive oil, and set them aside for the flavors to meld.dipping seasonings

Then, the meatballs went into the sauce to cook for 45 minutes.meatballs in sauce

And we sat down for our fancy appetizers- one of the French bread baguettes and 4 cute dipping bowls with flavorful oils.  These particular seasonings were very salty, so next time we can use less, or mix up our own seasonings without salt.  This was very fun, and we enjoyed “dipping” at home.dipping sauces with French Bread

Then, we had our “salad course”- a little bit of iceburg- to hold us over a tad bit longer.salad course

While the meatballs finished cooking, I fixed some whole wheat pasta (yes- the Magical Brand that actually tastes good- RONZONI!).  So glad to have a whole wheat pasta that we like.awesome spaghetti with meatballs, green beans, and break

The results:  AMAZING.  We had lots of green beans and the 2nd baguette along with the o-so-delicous spaghetti and meatballs.  I liked this meal better than anyone else, but everyone liked it.

I hadn’t planned a dessert, but our parents stopped by to drop off our order of Girl Scout cookies from our niece.  So we had dessert 🙂Girl Scout Cookie Dessert

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