Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pa-sketti and Meatbulbs

Like most folks will say about their mothers, mine is a pretty great cook. I was lucky enough to be raised in a home where more often than not, we met nightly as a family at the dinner table over chicken and rice, pot roast, pork chops, tacos, and on some very special occasions - spaghetti and meatballs. 

Now that I'm older, I relish those memories and look forward to the times when my family gathers as a whole once again (now with a few more little ones around) at the dinner table. 

Living a single life means that dinner time can be, a little frustrating. You arrive home, tired from work and typically you still have a list of things to get done before calling it quits for the day (or catching up on the TV you missed because you don't have cable). Plus, cooking for one can be…kind of a bummer. 

This past week I was DONE being bummed out. Throwing together a quick and meaningless meal did not sound appealing whatsoever. Since my mother's birthday is this week (tomorrow!), I thought I'd share one of her recipes which is highly favored by my immediate family. 

Growing up. I had always watched and helped her make these meatballs, but I honestly had no idea how easy the process was! Though aren't we all amazed by what our mothers can do when we're younger? I mean my mom went to school to get her Bachelor's degree, had a full time job AND three kids to take care of! I honestly believe a huge reason I am the woman that I am today, has a lot to do with watching my mother accomplish so much with grace, patience and determination.

So, here's my mother's meatball recipe below. See what I mean by easy?!

Now, I'm the type of person who loves to just throw a bunch of spices in whatever I'm making because I love them all. Here, I threw in some garlic salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, chili powder and basil. I spiced my meat directly, but look at my mom's recipe above, I think I was supposed to put them in the sauce? Oh well, my way turned out pretty good too. That's half the fun of trying out traditional family recipes - figuring out what works for you!

Then I added the Italian style bread crumbs (more spices!) and mixed it all together with my hands, because I love to really get into it when I cook.

I thought I had a broiler pan, but I must have lost it in a move. I ended up greasing two 9x13 pans to broil the meatballs. Living in a new apartment with an electric stove means I'm still trying to figure out its kinks. My meatballs ended up cooking really fast on the high broil setting (they weren't in there for the full 6 minutes like in my mom's recipe) but since I was keeping a close eye on them, luckily none got too burnt. Turns out my lo broil setting wasn't hot enough either because my second batch of meatballs took forever to broil. Darn you electric stove/oven!

Once the meatballs are done cooking, it's time to add your sauce. Last summer, I co-hosted a bachelorette party where we served a variety of meatballs in a variety of sauces. So depending on what type of sauce you're wanting, you might want to cook your meatballs differently, i.e. for Sweedish meatballs you'll want to pan cook them, because you'll need the fat to make your sauce.

I went the "traditional" Italian route this week. My mom always just uses some jarred tomato sauce, and due to a lack of time an energy, so did I. The problem here was that I only bought one jar of Pomodoro sauce, which wasn't enough, so I mixed in half of a second jar of Trader Joe's basil marinara. Lucky for me, the mixture turned out amazing!

And here's the finished product over a plate of linguini! I must have done something right because the taste-tester I invited over that night literally licked his plate (uh, yeah, it happened).

Oh, and here's the bit where today's post title comes from. Start back at min 3:16 if it doesn't go there automatically. 

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