Food on Friday – Mom’s Sauce and Meatballs – YUM!


I am not Italian.  My Mom is not Italian – but she always wanted to be – so she married an Italian and learned how to make Italian spaghetti sauce from her mother-in-law and passed it on to the rest of us.  She also passed on a tradition of making Lasagna for Christmas dinner that we continue in our family.  However, to make the Lasagna (next week’s Food on Friday) you first have to make the sauce and the meatballs.  I do this a day or so before I put together the lasagna.  I have to make a double batch of both because my family cannot wait a day for either.  Spaghetti and meatballs has to be the dinner the day we make the sauce.  So lets begin.

As I walk into the kitchen, this is what I see – Jesse already starting on another batch of Hungarian Butterhorn Cookies and Vash on his stool, ready to start working on the sauce.  Markus is hunting down something that fell behind the work table.  What a work crew I have!  Tucker is lying down under the table since he figured out that is the best position for fallover food.

the boys all ready to go

First we make the sauce because the meatballs cook in the sauce.  Here’s the Sauce recipe out of the family cookbook

Mom's spaghetti sauce recipe

Here are the ingredients I used.

ingredients for sauce

I do a few things different than Mom.  I use crushed tomatoes and leave out the blender part of the recipe.  I also leave out the hot sausage.  My boys are not big on spicy hot foods so we leave it out.

We start by browning the sausage in the olive oil – and yes, I use alot of olive oil.

browning sausage

I cut the sausage into quarters – first crosswise then lengthwise.  Some of the sausage comes out and is loose in the sauce but most of it holds it shape.  Next I add the onion, saute it until it is translucent and then add the garlic.

onions, garlic and sausage

At this point whoever is not in the kitchen is walking in to see what smells so good.

Next we add the cans of tomatoes – we try to always go organic with our ingredients if possible and I think with processed foods it is even more important – and then the herbs.

sauce with herbs on top

After all of the spices and herbs are mixed in, we leave the sauce to simmer while we make the meatballs.  We add the sugar to the sauce to make up for the fact that we are not leaving the sauce to simmer for hours, when the sugars in the tomatoes would develop.

On to the meatballs.  Here is Mom’s meatball recipe – which is a favorite of my son Christophers as she notes on the bottom.  😀  Vash wanted to help.

mom's meatball recipe

Now Vash has the best of intentions when it comes to helping me cook – but if I have any kid who is going to go the route of vegetarianism, it is him.  Vash is the reason that we include in our nightly dinner grace the line “and we thank the (insert animal here) who gave up its life so we could eat”.  When we had our chicken, Rainbow Storm, no one could even suggest eating chicken in our house.  So when it came time to help with the meatballs, at first he was all for it.  And then I put the 3 pounds of ground beef in a bowl with 4 eggs and told him to take his clean hands and mush it all together.  He looked up at me with an expression that said “Are you kidding me?” and I burst out laughing.  I told him that this job really did not sound like a him job and I would handle this.  He did help, however, by pouring the breadcrumbs on top for me to mix in.

meat with eggs and breadcrumbs

He also chopped the parsley. . . .

Vash chopping parsley

and rubbed the oregano into the bowl.

Vash rubbing in the oregano

Basically your meat mixture should look like this when ready to make your meatballs.

meat ready to be rolled into balls

Then we started rolling the meat into balls and browning them in the fry pan.  I fully admit that this is my weakest part of the process.  I always seem to get them too brown and have to keep adjusting the heat until I get it right.  This year I used tongs to turn the balls, which seemed to help.

browning meatballs

When they are all browned, we add the meatballs to the sauce. . . .

The meatballs in the sauce

and let it simmer until it is dinner time – at least an hour and a half – though this time it was closer to two and a half hours.

Spaghetti sauce and meatballs

And that is Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

This is great to make to keep the kitchen warm and cozy on a winter’s night.

a snowy night looking over the back gate

On the family front, we all celebrated Markus’s birthday this month.  He chose the Santa hat over the Happy Birthday hat this year.

Happy Birthday Markus

Personally, a wonderful blogger I know – Dre of Grackle & Sun -grackleandsun.wordpress.com – nominated my blog for the Illuminating Blogger Award.  That meant so much to me.  Thank you Dre.  I will be adding more deserving blogs to this list tomorrow.

I look over at my Hermit card sitting on my desk and think of how in this time of reflection family and friends are my welcoming light.

Wishing you all warm nights in the kitchen.

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About Shelly R.

I am a Mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, an attorney, a crafter and the granddaughter of an amazing woman - my Polish Grandmother. My Grandmother gave me so much, through her love and her patience, her sayings and her time teaching me how to craft and to give to others, that it seemed fitting to share some of that wisdom, to tell some of her story, and to chat about life and crafts in a way that would be a testament to what she gave me.
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7 Responses to Food on Friday – Mom’s Sauce and Meatballs – YUM!

  1. Ashling says:

    Good to see you post! Your food as always looks absolutely delicious, and you have perfect sous chefs!

    • Shelly R. says:

      I am starting to get back to my life. It just seems like August 1 through Xmas is non-stop family/kid stuff. But with the arrival of the solstice comes that wonderful time of withdrawal and hermitting and reflection and I grab onto that every year. Last year I started working with the natural dyes. This year I am re-organizing my home and how I treat myself – starting with diet and exercise and allowing myself some time to ground and center and remember who I am as a Druidic woman in this life. It feels good. Check in tomorrow. Your blog is going to be mentioned in mine (hee hee hee).

  2. Yum! My mom’s not Italian either, but also loves cooking Italian foods. So funny. Her secret ingredient (not anymore, lol) is anisette (anise flavoured liqueur). I think it does the same thing as your handful of sugar—adds some sweetness (and just a hint of anise flavor).

    I love what you said above about grabbing onto “hermitting and reflection”. Love it. It is necessary for wholeness. I always feel the pull of obligations to be social this time of year even when I want nothing more to than to hunker down in my Burrow with my family and to only poke my head out now and again. I appreciate the reminder that hermitting is ok.

    • Shelly R. says:

      That is because your spirit is following the pull of the wheel stronger than it is the pull of social obligations (yes, I think you are a fellow druidic spirit 🙂 ). This period – actually starting on October 31 but really hitting its strongest at the solstice, is all about going into the dark, going within and resting, reflecting and then slowly coming into the light and planning the coming year. It continues until February 2nd, the time of the quickening of the earth. That is when we start planting seeds inside to start growing and preparing for the spring plantings in the garden. We start planning the garden in January. I like to pull out my Hermit card from my Tarot Deck and place it on my desk just as a visual reminder that it is not only okay but necessary to pull in, to ground and center at this time and to let the noise of the world happen around me. But you already know that, don’t you. 🙂

  3. Danielle says:

    Ok, maybe I will try making mom’s sauce. You just made it look pretty easy. And delicious.

    • Shelly R. says:

      Everything is easy, except for browning those meatballs. I always get the first batch too brown until I am able to get the heat and timing down. Luckily the cooking in the sauce seems to take care of any crustiness I get in the fry pan. It all came out really really good. Chris was sooooo in his happy place with this.

  4. Mmm…looks yummy & sound yummy!

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