Cheesy meatballs trump grape jelly

RECIPE: Cheesy meatballs and spaghetti

I’m a pretty lazy cook. Most days I’ll come home after work and gym and say, “Ryan, what do you feel like for dinner?”. His response is usually a dismissive hand wave and a “whatever”. So I’ll counter with, “OK, how about some choices? Something ricey? Something veggie? A sandwich? Something casseroley? Give me some help here.” And then Ryan usually responds, “I just don’t know… it all sounds good.” Diplomatic, yet oh so unhelpful.

Which is why on a night some weeks ago when I asked the question, I was surprised when he immediately answered, “You know, I don’t think you’ve ever made me spaghetti and meatballs.” Well, let me tell you. If the boy wants spaghetti and meatballs, the boy gets spaghetti and meatballs. But that wasn’t the end of it. He had a further request: “I hear the best meatballs have grape jelly in them. Ok?” Right…

Oh good, I took a picture of one of the ingredients I used. Where's that recipe????

Well, I did my usual Googling that always goes like this: “fast easy (insert food here) recipe”. One of the first I stumbled across (at least I assume this is how this went that night, because for the life of me I CAN’T FIND THE DAMN RECIPE THAT WAY TODAY. I think it was something like this one. actually, it probably is that one.) had cheese IN the meatball. So, given the choice of grape jelly vs. cheese in my meatball… of course I went with the cheese. No brainer.

This whole entire process takes as long as your pasta takes to cook. I started by getting water going for a boil. Then I assembled the sauce so it could cook in its own juices for a while. Then I threw together and cooked the meatballs. The meatballs and the pasta ended up finishing at almost the same time. Look, here’s all three things cooking at once:

Look how amazingly cheesy these meatballs were!

This recipe was only further enhanced by my uber fancy (ha!) garlic bread that I always throw together. It consists of toaster ovening one side of your bread. Flip it. Put on butter, garlic salt, parm and drizzle with olive oil. Toast some more. Delicious.

This recipe is one of our favorites from the last few months of cooking. It was completely delicious and didn’t make me lose my mind in the kitchen. One thing to note: I froze a lot of this, spaghetti and all. With the spaghetti frozen in the sauce, it actually defrosted and reheated really well. We loved it for leftovers a few weeks after.

So, take this recipe for what it is. My brain trying to remember how to cook it. I know the meatball part will work great because I did some looking around and this is a pretty common way to do it, plus the mozzarella cheese of course. Yum.

Cheesy meatballs and spaghetti
Recipe type: Dinner
Author: Amanda N
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 4
May be from Rachel Ray… then again it may not be. I can’t remember. It’s because I just turned 34 and I’m already losing my mind.
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 C. beef stock
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • Flat leaf parsley, 1 handful chopped
  • 10 leaves fresh basil leaves
  • 1 pound of spaghetti, cooked al dente
  • 1 1/4 lb ground beef
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 C. Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated cheese
  • Garlic bread
  1. Heat a deep skillet or medium pot over moderate heat. Add oil, crushed pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic and finely chopped onion. Saute 5 to 7 minutes, until onion bits are soft. Add beef stock, crushed tomatoes, and herbs. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer until all other parts of the dinner are done.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Place a large pot of water on to boil for spaghetti. When it boils, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente.
  4. Mix beef and Worcestershire, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Roll meat into 1 1/2 inch medium-sized meatballs and place on nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet greased with extra-virgin olive oil. Bake balls 10 to 12 minutes, until no longer pink. You’ll probably have to taste one yourself to make sure they’re delicious. Or two.
  5. Toss hot, drained pasta with a few ladles of the sauce and grated cheese. Turn meatballs in remaining sauce. Place pasta on dinner plates and top with meatballs and sauce and extra grated cheese. Serve with bread or garlic bread. And wine. And a spoon. Obviously.


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