Spaghetti and Meatballs with Veggie Fortified Sauce

2 Comments

One of my favourite meals is spaghetti and since my son is a meaballaholic this dinner is a guaranteed hit in our house. This is not a super fast dinner, even with a few short cuts so I save it for a night I have lots of time or a weekend and then freeze the leftovers for a meal later on. The sauce freezes fabulously so I divide it up into dinner size portions with the meatballs in it. I find the meatballs are slightly dry if frozen on their own so a brilliant person (my mom) suggested freezing them in the sauce, Genius!

The sauce has lots of veggies in it so it can also completely stand on its own as a vegetarian spaghetti. I start with a mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions, which is the base of any good sauce and sounds extremely cooky when you can throw it into a sentence, and then add zucchini and peppers as well. I have shortcutted the long cooking time a truly spectacular sauce needs by adding pre-made jarred sauce to the mix. This gives the sauce that ‘I’ve been making this all day’ flavour in a lot less time. I haven’t included it in this recipe but if you have any leftover red wine (leftover???) it brings a little more depth to the sauce  if you add it after the veggies and cook it for a few minutes before adding the tomato sauce.

Meatballs

400-500g ground beef
400-500g ground pork
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup shredded parm
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 cloves grated or finely diced garlic
2 tsp salt

Before beginning making the meatballs let the meat sit out for at least 15 minutes so your hands don’t freeze mixing the meat

Preheat your oven to 350

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Form into balls using your hands to form the shape. These can be browned first in a saute pan over med heat and then placed in a baking dish or if you have children running around they can be placed directly into the baking dish. Cover the dish with tinfoil and bake for 30 if browned or 45 if not. I usually “test” one to make sure they are cooked through.

 

Spaghetti Sauce with Veggies

2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1 cup grated zucchini
1 diced yellow or orange bell pepper
1 large clove crushed garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1 398 mL can of tomato sauce
2 cups of your favourite pasta sauce

Warm the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium low heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and saute until the vegetables are softened and have some colour. Stir in the crushed garlic, zucchini, pepper and herbs and cook until it all smells wonderful, (about 4-5 minutes). Pour in both types of sauce and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the meatballs and warm through. Serve over your favourite pasta and top with a little parmesan cheese.

If you have a bit more time I would suggest adding one cup chicken stock and continuing to simmer until the sauce has reduced and become thicker, about 45 minutes. The flavour will be intensified and that much better.

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

 

I hope this becomes a staple in your house too. It’s not a difficult meal to make and the sauce and meatballs can be used in other dinners as well. If you would like to see how spaghetti and meatballs fits into my weekly meal plan please click here

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Italian Chicken Sausage and Pepper Pizza

1 Comment

I love the idea of sausage and peppers. I see people eating this all the time on The Food Network and it looks so amazing. But it’s not popular around here and my attempts at recreating it have been meh. So, it’s been on the back burner until the pesto I bought at Costco was about to go off.  I’m not sure what made me think that this would all work together but it does fabulously. Apparently Italian sausage, peppers and cheese would all really like to hang out with pesto, especially on a pizza.

Delicous Italian sausage and pepper pizza

The chicken sausage is a newer addition to this pizza and one I think makes it even better. It’s healthier, full of flavour and gives more room for using a little butter with the onions and the perfect amount of cheese. All together I had this on the table in just over 30 minutes and it beats the pants off any delivery pizza I’ve found.

Sausage

1 package ground chicken thighs (about 450g)
1 tsp fennel
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper

In a small pan over medium heat, toast the fennel until it begins to brown. Remove from heat and combine with the red pepper flakes in a spice grinder. Grind until broken up but not ground and add to a mixing bowl. Combine with the remaining ingredients.  I used a teaspoon to loosely form small meatballs.

In a sauté pan over medium heat warm 1 tbsp of canola oil. Add the chicken sausage and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Onions and Peppers

1 tbsp butter
1 thinly sliced onions
2 orange/yellow or red bell peppers sliced thinly
1 clove of crushed garlic
salt and pepper

Over medium heat melt the butter and then add the onions. Sauté for five minutes and then add the peppers and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Making the Pizza

5 whole wheat Naan or 2 full size pizza crusts
1 cup grated old cheddar
1 cup grated mozzarella
pesto

Preheat the oven to 425F. On each piece of Naan spread about 2 tbsp of pesto. Combine both cheeses and sprinkle a thin layer on each pizza. Top with the pepper and onions mix and cooked sausage. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cook for about 12 minutes or until the cheese is beautiful and melty. 

 

Toddler eating pizza

The house is a bit messy, but I’ve got some happy well fed kids:)

 

I hope this becomes a pizza favourite in your house too and encourages you to try to make your own sausage and skip the delivery to make something even better.