Spaghetti & Meatballs with Sausages

I do not claim to be Italian but this Irish/Scottish Mom makes a pretty good Sunday Gravy or Sauce, however you would like to call it. It will never be as good as my childhood neighbor, Mrs. DiScipio’s Gravy. Anything she made was amazing. Once a year she would make a homemade tomato sauce from tomatoes from her garden. On Friday nights she would make pizza with that sauce. I dream about that pizza. But the whole point of this blog is to share our family recipes with my children. Because food is love.

It has taken many years but I have finally figured out the meatballs. Adding the pork mixture from the sausages to the ground beef mixture was a game changer. Whenever I made the meatballs before, you never knew how they would come out.

My kids love this recipe and it is a good staple recipe for a great Sunday Dinner.

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.

-Julia Child

Spaghetti & Meatlballs with Sausages

Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 4 hrs
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 3 lbs. 80/20 Ground Beef Can add pork or veal too
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Bread crumbs homemade, italian style or even Gluten Free
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese or romano Or any combination of the two
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. Chopped parsley
  • 1 15 oz Can of Tomato Paste
  • 3 Cans of warm water
  • 2-3 32 oz Ground Peeled Tomatoes I use Pastene
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Wine I use white, but red is great too
  • 1 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1.2 tbsp dried parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Instructions
 

Meatballs

  • In a large bowl, break up the ground beef.
  • Take one or two of the sausages that you are planning to put in to the sauce and slice the casing off. Break apart the sausage meat and add it to the ground beef mixture.
  • Add the eggs, bread crumbs, cheese and parsley. Gently mix. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  • I use a cookie scoop so all the meatballs are the same size, but you don't have to.
  • Get a bowl of warm water to keep your hands and the scoop wet. Gently form the balls and put on a greased cookie sheet with a rack.
  • Poke holes in the remaining sausage and add them to the rack also. Cook in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, flipping after 20 minutes.
  • ALTERNATIVE: My mother just put the meatballs and sausage directly into the sauce to cook there completely. They were always very good. It will just take longer too cook. I have also cooked the meatballs and sausages in a cast iron skillet, this works well too.

Tomato Sauce

  • In a large, heavy pot, over medium heat, saute' the garlic in the olive oil.
  • When the garlic becomes translucent add the wine and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and three cans of warm water. I like to use a whisk here as it helps to mix the paste. When the mixture is smooth, bring to a boil, add the bay leaf and the cans of Ground Peeled Tomatoes. Add the rest of the spices and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce mixture to a simmer.
  • When the meatballs and sausages are done, add them to the sauce and simmer for at least two hours.
  • This is always better the next day.
  • Serve with your favorite crusty bread and a salad.

Notes

Allergy Information:  Nut Free, Tree Nut Free. This recipe is easily adaptable to suit your allergy needs. I use Gluten Free breadcrumbs. You could leave the cheese out of the meatball mixture. 
Keyword italian recipe, sunday gravy, spaghetti sauce,, sunday dinner, spaghetti and meatballs, pasta, meatballs, spaghetti and meatballs

Sunday Chefs – Holiday Edition

My dad was a Sunday Chef. He discovered a love of cooking in his 40’s after his doctor told him to find a hobby to deal with his stress. He tried model ship making but that didn’t last long. His path to a great Sunday Chef was not without its pitfalls. Our family will never stop laughing about the 18 Sundays in a row we had Fettuccine Alfredo until he got it right and then never made it again or the French apple chicken he only made for me on my birthday because he knew it was my favorite but the smell of the apples and onions cooking together always made him feel ill. And none of us will ever forget the family attempt at making Limoncello!  It was obvious we were Irish/Scottish and not Italian, but a fabulous memory all the same.

Every Sunday was an event… all day experiments of food from all over the world. Some Sundays just one course, other Sunday’s five or six. My husband jokingly tells me this is why he married me so he could keep coming to Sunday Dinner. My father passed on his love of cooking to his son-in-laws. My brother-in-law was fully entrenched at a young age and he continues to amaze us. Christmas Day is his show! This year was an amazing display of five courses and not one them disappointed.

When my husband and I got engaged my dad gifted my future husband with a cookbook and a welcome to the Sunday Chefs Club. Christmas Eve is his show! He makes a massive pot of marinara sauce. This years included 14 shelled lobsters, mussels, shrimp and little necks!  It was amazing.

I love to cook, but I love the tradition that these wonderful men have chosen to embrace and follow in the footsteps of my amazing father. My children are growing up with this wonderful tradition and the people that my daughters choose to marry will be getting cookbooks. I am sure he is smiling and toasting us with a glass of Limoncello!

Marry someone who knows how cook. Looks go away but hunger doesn’t …. Unknown

Chicken Cacciatore

I was feeling nostalgic today and missing my late father. This dish always reminds me of him. Everyone should know how to make a good Cacciatore!

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates

  • 4 Chicken Breasts (Bone In – chicken thighs or even boneless breast could be used to)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • One red bell Pepper, chopped
  • One small onion, chopped
  • One shallot, chopped
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (No salt added)
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 cup good white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Parmesan rind – about a tablespoon equivalent (whole)
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. pasta (pasta of your choice depending on allergies – gluten free works great here)

Heat a deep, heavy pot over medium heat until very hot. Add olive oil and chicken breasts. Brown for about 4 minutes or until the chicken releases from the bottom of the pan. If it is still stuck, give it a few more minutes. Just leave it, do not mess with it. Flip the chicken and repeat on the other side.

Remove the chicken from the pot and put aside. Now add the onions, shallots, and peppers to the pot. Saute’ until onions are translucent. Now add the mushrooms and garlic and cook a few minutes more.

Add the wine, broth, tomatoes, salt, pepper, Parmesan rind and red pepper flakes.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Add the chicken back to the pot, cover and simmer for at least an hour. Some will say quicker, but I think the extra time makes all the difference. Add more wine or chicken broth if needed.

Serve over pasta (regular or gluten free) with some crusty bread.

Allergens: Dairy

The Best Beef Stew

My kids Aunt Pam is a great cook and you will see a lot of her recipes here. I wish I had her talent. She is very brave and will try anything.  I am not so brave, but I will gladly copy her tried and true recipes and allow her to have all the glory.

The people who give your their food give you their heart – Cesar Chavez

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  • 5 lbs. sirloin tips (sometimes I use leftover roast beef cut into chunks and it is great)
  • 1 10z. package white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon flour (or corn starch to make it gluten free)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large can tomato sauce (i.e. Hunt’s)
  • 1 large turnip (I prefer 1 small)
  • 5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced

In large, heavy pot, brown sirloin tips, add mushrooms and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add flour (or corn startch) and mix well. Pour water over the beef mixture.  Add the can of tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and turnips.  If you are gluten free, leave out the flour and add a little cornstarch instead. Add more water and salt and pepper to taste.  I like to simmer for a few hours.

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YOU DEFINITELY NEED SOME BREAD TO GO WITH THIS STEW!

 

Allergens: Carrots, Gluten (unless switch flour for corn starch)

Perfect Roast Chicken

I spoke before of the fact that you need to learn how to cook three things in order to survive….one good breakfast, one good lunch and one good dinner.  Well this is the dinner. Roast Chicken is something I can make and be confident of.  Everyone is always so impressed and it is really quite easy.  Plus you can also make a great chicken soup after, which I will show you later. Here is a simple version for you to try….

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces. Just good food from fresh ingredients – Julia Child

Ingredients:

  • Roaster Chicken 7-8 lbs.
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Softened butter
  • Lemon

Preheat the over to 375 degrees F. Remover the giblets (I have to admit, I did leave these in one time and the whole meal was ruined. I believe more people have done it than they care to admit). Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat dry with a paper towel. Put the chicken in a heavy duty roaster pan on a rack.

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Salt and pepper the chicken well, inside and out. Loosen the skin on the breasts and insert some lemon slices under it.

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Add the remaining lemon (cut up) into the cavity.  Rub the softened butter all over the chicken (Messy, but worth it!). Add some water to the bottom of the pan, (this helps with broth for soup later on).


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Cook for approximately 2 hours until juices run clear when the leg is cut or pulled on. (Internal temperature should be app. 165 degrees at breast and 175 degrees at thigh).

I usually shoot for 170 degrees at the breast, but that is my preference.   Let the chicken sit for a bit before cutting into it. Everyone in my family loves this and that is very hard to do with five picky eaters. Serve with rice or potatoes and some seasonal vegetables. Great for leftovers also
roast chicken

Fish Tacos – Taco Tuesday

So… Tacos? I could eat them every day. Hubby…not so much. Kiddo and I wanted Tacos today, but we need to win over the big guy. What to do? I know….. Fish Tacos.

I have never made them before, but there is a first for everything. Time to do some research. I looked at some great recipes and decided to wing it. First thing to do … head to the fish monger. Headed down to Fresh Catch to check out the selection. Captain’s Cut Cod it is.

It’s a ‘I want to fake my own death, move to Mexico & live off Tacos & Tequila’ kinda day! – Unknown

  • 1 lb. Captain’s Cut Cod
  • Two radishes sliced paper thin
  • Thinly sliced green cabbage
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Sour Cream Lime sauce
  • 8 corn tortillas

SOUR CREAM LIME SAUCE

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 4 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice, more if needed
  • zest of lime

I loved this so much, I could eat it straight.

Prepare the sauce and let it sit for 15 minutes or so in the fridge to stay cold.

Meanwhile, on med/high heat, warm up the tortillas in a cast iron skillet. A few minutes on each side and then layer between dish towels to stay warm.

Cut the fish into 1 inch pieces.

Now, warm up another cast iron skillet on med/high heat. Sprinkle a pinch of chili powder and cumin on each piece and add to hot skillet. Heat 2-3 minutes on each side. I found that a small spatula was the best way to flip the fish to prevent it from falling apart. Put the skillet in the oven at 350 to finish cooking.

Now it is time to eat. One corn tortilla, some fish, radishes, cabbage and the lime sauce!

They came out fantastic! My husband now loves Taco Tuesdays!

 

Allergy Information: Seafood, Dairy, Gluten Free, Nut Free

 

 

 

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage is that once a year meal I think I don’t like and then I make it and it’s great! I think the problem is, it’s not the prettiest meal to make. But it wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day in this Irish House without it.

 

May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows your dead – Irish Blessing

 

Ingredients: 

  • Corned Beef- 3-4 lbs in Brine with spices included
  • 4 potatoes, quartered
  • 5 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • One large onion
  • 1 medium size green cabbage
  • Mustard (optional)

Put the corned beef in a large heavy pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Drain off the water and cover it again with cold water. My friend Kristen gave me this tip and I don’t know what I did before. It takes a lot of the salt out. Add the seasoning packet. Bring to a boil again and then lower temperature and simmer for about 2 hours.

Add potatoes, carrots and onions. Bring to a boil again, then lower to simmer for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add the cabbage and cook for about another 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve warm. Enjoy!

Just remember….everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

Additions: Mustard for Corned Beef

Allergens: Gluten Free, Nut free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Peanut Free, Soy free

Spinach, Lemon and Bacon Risotto

My first attempt at Risotto! Do you believe it? I have always been a big fan, but very intimidated to make it. It was so worth it.

No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing – Julia Child

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
  • 4 cups of low-salt chicken broth (plus 1/4 to 1/2 cup for the end)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • Zest of the lemon
  • 1 cup of cooked chicken (chopped)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 3-4 cups of fresh spinach
  • 1 roasted shallot (chopped)
  • 1/2 -3/4 cups of freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large, heavy, oven-safe pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.

Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lemon juice and 4 cups of the chicken broth. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil. Cover the pot and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and return to stove top over medium-low heat. Now add the spinach, chicken and roasted shallots and remaining chicken broth. Stir for about 2 minutes (until spinach is wilted). Add more broth if needed. Add the bacon, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese and stir until creamy.

Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

 

Allergens: Dairy

 

Carbonara

When the recipe card is as old and worn as this one, you know it’s good. Not even sure where I got the recipe, but it is a staple in this house. At my bridal shower, oh so many years ago, the guests all brought me a recipe, it might be from there. This is the ultimate pantry meal.

I split this recipe in two and make half with regular pasta and half with gluten free to accommodate my whole family. It is great both ways!

Life is a combination of Magic and Pasta – Federico Fellini

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. spaghetti, cooked (regular or gluten free)
  • 1/3 lb. bacon
  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper (I like it spicy, so I add a little more)
  • 1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup boiling pasta water
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Coarse salt and pepper

Cook pasta Al Dente.

In large skillet over medium high heat. Saute bacon until it browns. Remove bacon and put aside. Drain the bacon oil and then add two tbsp. olive oil, garlic and red pepper. Saute two minutes. Add wine and reduce by half.

Beat eggs vigorously and stir in a ladle of pasta water. Drain the pasta and to bacon pan and remove from heat. Add egg mixture, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper and toss until well combined and cheese has melted. Serve with extra cheese.

Allergens: Dairy, Egg, Wheat (can make gluten free)

Sharing the Sunday Fun

 

I just love that my family is embracing all this. My sister and her husband have always made Sunday Dinners a priority and I have been so jealous. With the loss of our father, who was such a fabulous cook, I feel that my children have been missing out on this wonderful tradition. My brother-in-law made this very impressive Ginger Swordfish on Sunday and he got the recipe from the fabulous website Yummly. I will need to make this soon. Pair it with a great wine and you are good to go!

My hope is for family and friends to share their stories of fun Sunday Dinners …the good, the bad and the ugly! Thank you Kathy and Ron, Hopefully this is the first of many….

Swordfish courtesy of Snug Harbor Fish Company. Wine courtesy of Snug Harbor Wine Company. 

A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal – Pat Conroy