Spaghetti & Meatballs, The Cook Like a Dad Way…
I’m sure every parent out there has fussy eaters in their family like me. Over the years, I have learned how to change my favorite recipes into being more “kid friendly” which means taking the core ingredients and tweaking the recipe in order to have everyone eating the same meal and enjoying a healthy portion.
In this recipe, I am going to show you how I make Spaghetti & Meatballs, the kid friendly version. When you mix the right ingredients together, you really can get the fussiest eaters in your family to enjoy a great Pasta dish. I have broken down the recipe in three easy steps. Take a look and enjoy this recipe.
Ingredients: Feed a Family of 4 +
(1) – Package of Spaghetti Pasta Noodles
(1) – Package of Italian Sausage (This can be turkey or Pork Sausage)
(1) Medium Onion (Yellow, Red or White) Chopped Fine.
(1) Medium Bell Pepper (Red, Orange or Yellow) Chopped Fine
(1) Large Orange OR Lemon
(1) Clove of Garlic, Chopped fine
(1) 29oz. Can of Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
(1) 29oz. Can of Hunts Petite Diced Tomatoes
Cooking Tools: Large Sharp Knife, Olive oil, 2 Mixing Bowls, Spaghetti Pot, Fry Pan.
Seasoning: You can buy the Dry Seasoning Mixes in the Spice Section at your grocery store OR Purchase the ‘live herb’ version in your produce section for a better flavor experience:
Dry Version: Mc Cormick’s Italian Seasoning or
Live Herb Version: Basil, Italian Parsley, and Oregano
Take all Herbs, Onion, Bell Pepper and Garlic and Chop together to create about (2) cups of “special spices”.
Before you start understand:
The Prep Time with Meatballs and Sauce
Like any Cook Like a Dad Recipe, I like to tell my viewers to feel comfortable making changes to my recipe; If you are not a Pork Sausage fan, no problem. You are welcome to use any type of sausage for your meatballs, (Turkey Sausage, Beef Sausage, Tofu Sausage, etc.). The important part of the recipe is in the “prep time” with the ingredients. The same rules go for making your Spaghetti Sauce. You need the right amount of time to add your special ingredients into your sauce.
Cooking Steps: Heat LARGE Pot Of Water, Heavily Salted (Add about a 1/2Cup of Salt to pot of Water)
I like to prepare my sausage with fresh chopped Basil, Italian Parsley, Red Onion, and Bell Pepper. The combination of these ingredients makes the taste of the sausage come alive and I highly recommend taking this step in my recipe. Remove the sausage out of the casings and place all sausage broken up by hand into a large mixing bowl. Add a cup of fine chopped onion, bell pepper into the bowl and mix ingredients by hand. Now add a cup of the combined fresh herbs, (Basil, Italian Parsley and Oregano) or the dry seasoning. Add ½ Cup of Olive Oil and Chopped Garlic clove. Mix Well.
Form a small, but compact Meatball in the palm of your hand. Roll the meatball in your hand to about the size of a golf ball. You do not want to make a meatball any larger than a golf ball size because they become brittle and you are not guaranteed that they will be fully cooked if you make them any larger. Repeat rolling out meatballs in your hand until you have used up all the sausage mix in the bowl. When done, set all meatballs aside.
The best thing I like about this recipe is the sauce prep. You can adjust the flavor of the sauce according to your taste. I have offered both a Lemon and Orange in this recipe because sometimes my kids change their mind on tangy versus a sweet flavor in their sauce. Either way, you only need one or the other to add.
Take a large mixing bowl and pour the contents of both Hunt’s canned tomato products. Add the remainder of your Spice / Herb ingredients into your mixture and stir well. Now squeeze the juice of either Lemon OR Orange (But not both) into your sauce mixture and stir well. Let this sauce sit aside in the bowl.
Cooking the Meatballs…
Take a large Fry Pan with Olive oil and place on Medium heat. As the pan is heating up over the stove, place the meatballs in the fry pan, keeping them close, but separated. Keep heat on a Medium/ Low Setting. You do not want your heat on HIGH because you will have a false sense of security cooking the meatballs. Keep the heat on Medium and if you have a “LID” for the fry pan, cover the meatballs to trap some heat over your meatballs.
Use a spatula and rotate the meatballs in the pan to ensure they have an all-over cook. Cook meatballs in the pan for at least 18- 20 minutes or at least until all meatballs have been cooked from all sides. At this point, we are now ready for the perfect combination of Sauce and Meatballs to merge…
Sauce Meets Balls….
Take your bowl of Pasta Sauce and pour the contents into the Fry Pan of Meatballs. Lower the heat of the fry pan to a Medium /Low setting and slowly stir the contents together, making sure you don’t break the meatballs while stirring. Cover the pan with a lid and allow the sauce and meatballs to heat together for at least 12- 15 minutes…
Boiling Pot of Water: Add Pasta to boiling pot of Water. Stir occasionally and cook for 15 minutes or according to directions on the package.
At this point, we are ready to serve. Take Spaghetti Pasta and serve a bed of warm Spaghetti on a plate and pour the sauce and meatballs over the Spaghetti and enjoy my “take” on Spaghetti and Meatballs…