Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Tag: Italian sausage

Crock Pot Italian Sausage

Growing up in our home was like survival of the fittest. Many times if you wanted to eat you had to become creative at throwing things together. My siblings and I got pretty good at creating something out of nothing. Budget Meals are really easy […]

Meat Stuffed Shells

This dish became a household favorite growing up. We all went crazy when mom made her meat stuffed shells. As for the sauce, I think each of us has made our own rendition. The key to the sauce is cooking it all day and using […]

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Growing up, if we had spaghetti sauce, it was always homemade. Through the years, my siblings and I have each put our own spin on my mom’s spaghetti sauce recipe. This is my brother Todd’s version.

This is not the easiest or fastest to prepare, but if you are looking for good restaurant quality experience, this will do. Plus, kids love spaghetti and meatballs and you will not have to worry about what’s in the sauce and whether it is healthy or not. The estimated time can be deceptive. Only about 30 minutes is actual work, the other time is letting it simmer. This makes a lot. A family of four will have plenty of leftovers. This actually does taste better as it ages, so do not rob yourself by cutting the recipe in half.

I know a lot of tomato puree is made from tomato paste, but tomato puree is easy. I like to use the tomato paste to control the thickness of the sauce. By adding less water with the paste, the sauce becomes thicker. But be careful, this still has to simmer for a few hours and some of the liquid will evaporate maker the sauce thicker.

2 (15.5 oz) Cans/Boxes Tomato Puree, with no salt or seasonings added
8 oz small can of Tomato Paste
1 tbsp Italian seasoning or 1 tbsp Oregano and 1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 cup fresh Mushrooms, chopped or 1 small can
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 /2tsp salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 lb. ground beef or 1/2 lb. ground beef and 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage (for meat sauce, optional)
Frozen or homemade Meatballs

Brown meat in pan. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are close to transparent. Pour in puree and tomato paste. Add the meat to the sauce. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Bring sauce to a soft boil.

Add meatballs.

Once everything is combined, observe the thickness of the sauce. If it is runny, simmer uncovered to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. Once the sauce begins to thicken, it will splatter, so keep an eye on it. If the sauce is of good consistency simmer covered with the lid vented. (Lay a wooden spoon across the top of the pot to hold up part of the lid). This will make sure it does not get too hot and burn. Stir occasionally. Simmer a minimum of four hours. (If you only have an hour or two to simmer, use the fruit juice to help cut down on the acid taste and help blend things together.)

The flavors really start to come together at the 4 hour mark and the acid taste of the tomatoes is greatly diminished. Fresher tomatoes could lead to less simmer time, but the longer the sauce simmers the better. We use 6 hours normally.

Alternatives:
Also great for baked pastas like baked ziti and stuffed shells.
I do not like to add sugar to my sauce, some people like it sweet. I like to add a little Cran-Grape or Grape juice or red wine.
zucchini, carrots, green peppers,

Meatballs:
1 pound Ground beef
1 pound Italian Sausage
1/2 cup bread Crumbs
1 egg.

Mix the meat, sausage, bread crumbs and egg together. For more flavor, add chopped onions, garlic, oregano, rosemary, thyme or parsley. Scoop out a small hand full of meat mixture or use an ice cream scoop, and roll into a ball. If it gets too sticky and it bothers you too much, try adding some bread crumbs on the outside. Just do not get it mixed in, or the meat balls will become too dry and fall apart.
Place some olive oil in a pan and brown the out sides of the meat balls. Finish cooking them in a 350ยบ oven or in the simmering sauce.