Spaghetti and Meatballs

While making the weekly menu I asked Catie for her input.  She responded with “Spaghetti and Meatballs!”  And she was just that enthusiastic.  Okay.  John and I aren’t meatball lovers (unless they come from Ikea), and I’ve never even tried to make them before, so I turned to for inspiration.  Pinned maybe 4-5 recipes to Pinterest to try, and as luck would have it, the first one I tried was the best one ever and I’ll never need to try another recipe.  It’s that good.  

Oven-Roasted Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the Sauce

1  28-oz can whole tomatoes (I didn’t have that on hand, so I used a can of organic tomato sauce and 14oz of chunky tomato and basil spaghetti sauce from a jar I’d already opened)
1  14-oz diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp crushed red pepper
a good handful of chopped fresh basil

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 lb. spaghetti
Parmesan cheese for mixing and serving

For the Meatballs
1 ½ lbs ground meat (I used a pound of ground beef and a 12oz package of mild Italian bulk sausage)
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.

Place the sauce ingredients in an 11 x 13 roasting or baking pan, breaking up the tomatoes with your hands.  Mix to combine all the ingredients.

Combine the meatballs ingredients and form into ball about the size of a golf ball and place on top of the sauce ingredients.  Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the olive oil and a sprinkling or grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese.

Place in a preheated oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes, turning the meatballs about halfway through.

While the sauce and meatballs are cooking, cook the spaghetti in lots of boiling, salted water until al dente (about a minute less than indicated on the package).  Drain, but do not rinse.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and remove the meatballs from the pan, but keep warm.  Puree the sauce ingredients using an immersion blender or a regular blender or food processor.  If using a regular blender, you will want to do this in 2 batches.  Return the pureed sauce to the roasting pan and add the spaghetti.  Stir to combine, mixing in additional parmesan cheese.

Serve with the meatballs and more grated parmesan as desired.

Published in: on April 27, 2012 at 11:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Spaghetti “Bolognese”

I’ve been making an effort to cut back on our meat consumption but sometimes I really really want a meat-based dish. It was rainy today and looked cool (even though it was still around 85), but it got me in the mood for Spag Bol. One problem: no meat in the house. No meat? No problem…. maybe. So here’s my improvised vegetarian Spaghetti “Bolognese”.

1 package extra firm tofu
1/2 an onion chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
mushrooms (I probably used 1/4 of a pound? I’ve no idea) chopped fine
jar of sauce (I always have Barilla Marinara on hand)

Slice the tofu in half horizontally and place between paper towels to drain the excess moisture. I put my cast iron Dutch Oven on top to really squeeze out the water. Takes about 30 min or so.

Sprinkle tofu with salt and pepper. Put about a tsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and put in the tofu. Fry on both sides till it’s a nice tannish brown, about 3min/side. Remove from pan.

Heat about a Tbsp of butter in the pan and saute the onions, garlic, and mushrooms till softened, about 5min or so. Chop up the tofu and then add it back in to absorb some of the flavor for another 5min or so. Add in the spaghetti sauce.

Let the sauce simmer while the pasta cooks. When the pasta’s done, just spoon the sauce on top.

Things I would do differently next time: Marinate the tofu for a few minutes in olive oil and garlic for a flavor boost, and chop it more finely than I did today.

Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 12:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

I’m getting a lot of use out of my Cooking Light magazines lately.  This one was dang tasty; so much so that I’ve now made it three times.  I plan on having some friends over for lunch soon and I just might have to make this for them.

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese


  • 1 1/4  cups  uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 3  cups  chopped grilled chicken breast strips  (I used thighs)
  • 1 1/2  cups  trimmed arugula  (I used spinach)
  • 1  cup  grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2  cup  chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4  cup  prechopped red onion
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh basil
  • 1  teaspoon  chopped fresh oregano
  • 2  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
  • 1  tablespoon  extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 6  tablespoons  (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese  (I thought I had it on hand but it turns out it was Feta.  Still tasted great though)


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

2. Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.

3. Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Nutritional Information

295 (23% from fat)
7.7g (sat 2.9g,mono 2.8g,poly 1.1g)
Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 2:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Linguine with Chicken Thighs

If you’re not already checking out recipes from The Pioneer Woman, you should get on that.  Now.  Everything I’ve made so far from that site is damn tasty.  Unhealthy and butter-laden, sure.  But nummy!!  And the pictures.  OMG.  Food porn!

This was a totally easy recipe that I’m definitely adding to our regular meal rotation.

Linguine with Chicken Thighs

Olive Oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 to 1 medium Onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 cup White Wine (or Chicken Broth)
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
Pinch of Sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped Fresh Parsley
8 large fresh Basil leaves, chiffonadededededed
1 package Linguine noodles, cooked. (Can use any pasta you’d like.)
Fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated, in abundance

Boil a pot of water for the pasta. Cook linguine noodles until al dente.
Heat olive oil in a hot skillet, then add diced chicken thighs in single layer. Don’t stir around; just let them brown on one side. Flip over with spatula, allow to brown, then remove to separate plate.

In same pan, over medium heat, add onions and garlic and stir to combine. Pour in wine (or broth) then scrape bottom of pan with whisk to loosen brown bits. Next, pour in crushed tomatoes, add salt, pepper, and pinch of sugar, then simmer for fifteen minutes.

After fifteen minutes, throw in all the cooked chicken, including its juice from the plate. Allow to simmer for fifteen more minutes.

Add chopped fresh herbs at the end, then pour over cooked linguine in large bowl or platter. Top with lots and lots of fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Eat. Faint. Then feel grateful you’ve discovered boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Vow never to be without them again.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sweet Potato Pasta Thingy

Yup, that’s what we had for dinner tonight.  A sweet potato pasta thingy.  Here’s the thing, my stomach has been working against me lately.  As in, I haven’t really been able to stray from the bathroom for an extended period of time the past couple of days.  I’ve also been traveling and eating a larger amount of meat than usual the past weekend.  And as we all know (or most of you, anyway), I’m allergic to meat.  Good times.

ANYWAY.  I haven’t made it to the store since last week, and I didn’t want to eat anything with meat tonight.  This didn’t leave me with a lot of options, so I decided to just wing it.  I surfed for some ideas on how to use what I had on hand, and this is what I came up with.

Sweet Potato Pasta Thingy

2-3 sweet potatoes
olive oil
a box of pasta (I used penne)
3-4 cloves of garlic
Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400.  Peel sweet potatoes and cut them to about 1″ pieces.  Put the pieces in a baking dish, coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stick it in the oven for about 45 minutes or until soft.

Boil water, add a few pinches of salt, and make the pasta.

While the pasta is boiling, chop, press, or mince garlic.  Heat a small saute pan over medium-lowish heat, and add some olive oil.  Add the garlic and saute till it’s golden brown but not burned.  Take off heat and add a few sprinkles of Italian seasoning.

Drain pasta, add olive oil/garlic concoction.  Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher.  Put the pasta in a bowl/on a plate/however you eat it, scoop some sweet potatoes on top, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Voila!  A tasty vegetarian dish that’s fairly good for you!

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 1:10 am  Comments (2)  
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