Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Night Dinner

Sundays are a day of rest right? During the Fall and Winter months they consist of a lot of football watching for some, for others a day to praise the Lord and for some a day in which you get together with your family and your friends (who have also become your family) for dinner.  For me, I remember years and years of Sundays which consisted of all of the above.

When you spend 6+ years living in North Dakota you have to have these traditions in order to survive. Because let's be honest there isn't much to do in that cold state. On these occasions a different family would host at their homes each week and everyone pitched in. There was always a great meal, lots of kids running around and more laughter than you could even think possible. I can pinpoint my love of cooking to many distinct moments in my life that have a lot to do with my mother, but I will forever hold dear those Sunday nights in my heart.

( I mean who can resist this really?)

Still today I use recipes that I learned from these families. Kerry's top secret Lemon Poppyseed bread, Christina's Chicken Tortilla Soup, Beth's Homemade Oreo's and Jenn's Italian specialties. These are just a few of my many, many favorites (and some of my top requested dishes from friends,) but along with each of these is a special woman who has taught me a lot in life, along with offering constant support of my dreams as long as I can remember.

So after a very long two weeks at work in which I have gone back to back in overtime, I was left wishing to fill my Sunday evening off with a touch of home.

I turned to an old favorite and again tweeked the recipe. Anyone who has ever had this at my house can attest that it is never the same twice and tonight was no exception. Tonight's spin on spaghetti and meatballs was exactly what I needed.

I believe this originally comes from Christina and then to my mother and then to me. We all do it differently and we all do it superbly.

Tonights version was a fast version with fresh ingredients.

Spaghetti and Meatballs (Quick) 
1 T. olive oil
3/4 of a large onion (chopped)
10 cloves of garlic (chopped) ( I LOVE GARLIC)
2 bunches of parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 c. of shredded parmesan cheese
2 15oz cans tomato sauce
5 tomatoes
1 lb ground beef (80/20)
1/2 c. italian breadcrumbs
1 egg

For the sauce:

Start with your base of onion and garlic.

Peel and chop finely.
(For the sauce use half to the onion and 8 cloves of garlic and reserve the other quarter of the onion and 2 cloves of garlic for the meatballs.)

Saute over medium heat in your olive oil. 

Add in your salt, pepper and sugar, stir and let simmer until they turn golden brown.
(Remove 1/4 c. for meatballs and set aside.)

Wash your tomatoes.

Chop to your desired chunkiness.

Add tomatoes and sauce to your garlic and onions.

Chop up one bunch of parsley.

Stir into sauce.

Add half cup of parmesan cheese and cover pan. 

For this fast version I cooked the sauce on medium high heat for about 2 hours stirring constantly. Normally I will let the sauce sit all day and simmer in my crock pot. ( That version is much better, but for the sake of a quick version I sped up the process. If you have time though do the crock pot version. I will share that recipe at a late date, it involves more spices but both are just as tasty.)

For the meatballs:

Mix together your ground beef, reserved sauteed onion and garlic mixture, your breadcrumbs, 1 cup of cheese, 1 bunch of chopped parsley, your 1/4 of an onion and 2 leftover cloves of chopped garlic. I mix with my hands to really combine the ingredients. 

For into the your desired size meatball.

Cook at 350 degrees until cooked through. (Small meatballs about 10-15 minutes larger sized meatballs (like shown here) 20-25 minutes.)

Add to sauce to simmer until you serve ( I let them sit in the sauce for about half an hour before I ate them.) 

Serve atop your favorite cooked pasta or use for meatball subs. Sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese and enjoy! 

From my family to yours I hope you enjoy.