Spaghetti and Meatballs

When the snow is blowing and it's freezing outside, what's more appealing to a household of hungry homeschoolers than a delicious plate of hot, steaming pasta? Sure to satisfy on a cold winter's night, this kid-tested, easy-to-make homemade spaghetti and meatball recipe is not only a great way to feed the crowd at your house, but also a fun way to get them involved in the cooking process.

Sauce Ingredients:
1 64 oz. can tomato juice
2 12 oz. cans tomato paste
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 28 oz. can chunky tomato sauce
1 8 oz. box of fresh, white-button mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
½ cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. parsley
5-6 whole bay leaves (remove before serving)
2 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed OR 2 tsp. of garlic flakes

Have your children measure and mix the above ingredients in the order given. Then, add browned meatballs (see below). Simmer sauce and meatballs together 40-50 minutes uncovered on low until completely heated through, gently stirring every 5-10 minutes to prevent burning. Remove from heat and allow sauce and meatballs to cool. Refrigerate and allow seasonings and meatballs to blend for at least two days. (Sauce keeps well, and the longer it ages, the better!)

Meatball Ingredients:
2 ½ - 3 lbs. of lean ground beef
1 ½ cups of crushed saltine crackers
1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
¾ tsp. garlic flakes
½ cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Thoroughly mix ingredients together and have your kids form the meat mixture into 1-1 ½″ balls. Brown meatballs in frying pan on low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes, making sure all sides are browned evenly. Add to sauce mixture.

When ready to serve, reheat sauce and meatballs slowly on low and serve hot over 2 lbs. of the best spaghetti prepared according to package directions. To complete your mouth-watering Italian meal, add a fresh Cesaer or garden salad and warmed garlic bread. Bon appétit! Serves 10-12 adult portions.

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