A weeknight wonder that doesn’t include jarred sauce thank you very much. It does have packet seasonings; I never said I was perfect.

My older kid, the Biggin, loves meatballs. LOVES THEM. It’s one of the only foods he doesn’t complain about when I cook it. My husband and I could not care less about meatballs and prefer meat sauce when forced to eat spaghetti. The Puppy eats anything, so it doesn’t matter what’s on the plate, he’ll lick it clean.

Spaghetti and meatballs is uninspired, unimaginative, and for years I made it with jarred sauce and some scrambled hamburger dumped in so the Biggin would eat something, anything. Over the last year (we apparently have to eat spaghetti and meatballs at least once a week), I’ve been experimenting and have come up with a quick “homemade” alternative that actually sticks to your noodles and tastes better as well. See ya later, jarred trash.

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs, (I like the garlic and herb)
  • Splash of milk, to wet the bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder

“Homemade” Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of Spice Time (or similar) Spaghetti Sauce mix
  • 1/2 cup of Pictsweet Farms frozen seasoning blend
  • 1 – 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 18 oz water or broth

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350o. In a mixing bowl add your breadcrumbs, milk, and beaten egg. Make sure the bread crumbs are completely saturated before you add the rest of the ingredients and mix gently. Get your hands dirty and you should end up with around 12 meatballs.

Bake those beautiful balls for 30 minutes.

For your sauce, start with your butter over medium heat, defrosting and cooking your frozen seasoning blend veggies.

Listen, this is spaghetti and meatballs on a Wednesday, we’re not spending more than 30 minutes on actual cooking, and what your Italian-American grandma (I bet she’s wasn’t even born in Italy) doesn’t know can’t hurt her. Once you get your veggies softened and buttered up, add the packet mix, tomato paste, and then 3 cans of water (you know I like to use broth instead, but to each their own).

“Fresh frozen”, aka lazy people veg.

Simmer your sauce while your meatballs finish and you cook your spaghetti. If all you have available is fettuccine, your kids won’t notice. I like to scrape the meatballs off my baking sheet and let them simmer in the sauce for a few minutes before serving.

This is just a quick way to make something that tastes a little better than Ragu and doesn’t have you slaving over a stove for 3 hours on a week night. If you feel wild try some sliced and sautéed mushrooms in your sauce!

-Lin

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