Friday, June 10, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs

My daughter is a meatball fanatic. She loooves meatballs. She will even eat them with -heaven forbid- spaghetti sauce!

My problem with meatballs is ... well, they're just not my favorite. They can be too dry, too mushy, or just plain flavorless. Well, I think I finally figured out a meatball recipe that fixes all of those problems.

Most people have bouillon cubes or granules. My parents introduced me to beef (and chicken) base. It's essentially the same thing as bouillon but has a lot less salt. Because of this, you keep it in the fridge once you open it, but it still lasts a long time. This is the kind I get:

I know you can get it at Costco on the east coast. For some reason the Costco's in Arizona don't carry it (why is that?!) so you can order it online (never pay more than $9) or look in your local grocery.

Now why am I talking about beef base? Remember how I always found meatballs to be somewhat flavorless? I figured the best way to beef them up (pardon the pun) was too add more beef flavor. So that's what I did and I think it makes a big difference. Now, if you don't have base, you can use bouillon, but since it does have more salt, I'd leave out the dash of salt called for in the recipe.

You can use your favorite spaghetti sauce or the one I've included here.


1 lb. ground beef
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp. beef base or bouillon or 1 bouillon cube
1/4 cup dehydrated onion
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
dash of salt

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with basil and garlic (Italian style)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. fennel seed (optional)
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil

Pour 2 cans of Italian style tomatoes into a blender and puree.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute onion and garlic until onion is tender. Add pureed tomatoes, petite diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Stir in salt, sugar, pepper, fennel, thyme, oregano, and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. In a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl, heat milk for 30 seconds or until warm. Add beef base or bouillon and stir until dissolved. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, Parmesan, egg, milk mixture, dehydrated onion, garlic powder, pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, and dash of salt until thoroughly mixed (easiest to do with your hands). Roll into 2-inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until browned. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Serve with 1 (16 oz) box of spaghetti; cooked, rinsed, and drained.


Sheri said...

I'm with your daughter and LOVE meatballs. I have yet to find a homemade spaghetti sauce I like so can't wait to try this one. Thanks!

The Muries said...

So you got me thinking and I had to check out if our costco had the beef base, they did so weird that yours doesn't. I am bummed for you.