I was once a school librarian. It was one of the odd jobs that found me while my girls were in grade school. I’ve mentioned before that my first born was/is an avid reader and the Catholic school the girls attended didn’t have a library. Together, with a few teachers and volunteers, we changed that, and all of the sudden, I had the title of School Librarian.
I fell in love with children’s books on the day our first daughter was born, and the library job gave me an opportunity to be exposed to many more titles and to learn so much about children’s literature. When I began thinking about writing this week’s blog, I couldn’t help but borrow the title of Judi Barrett’s beloved children’s book.
I LOVE Italian food. Like many people these days, we have cut way back on our consumption of bread, pasta, and rice. In fact, our dinners basically consist of a protein and a salad or vegetable or two. For most of my life, I thought it was pasta that I loved, but what I have learned is, a good sauce is where the flavor is, so my Italian craving can be satisfied with a rich tomato sauce. Now I’m not crazy, I still splurge when we go out, especially on bread.
There is a Fresh Market grocery store really close to us and I love to shop there. The displays are glorious, there is an amazing meat and seafood counter, bakery, and lots of delicious fresh made food. Also, they play classical music, which kinda makes me want to sip on a nice glass of wine while I stroll through the aisles.
A while back, I was drooling over the artisan meat and cheese counter and discovered a package of meatballs. They were made from veal, beef, and pork and were sitting in a pool of tomato sauce and the best part was, they were made from all natural ingredients. Heat them up, pair them with a Caesar salad and dinner is served.
After trying them, I thought the meatballs were pretty darn good and you can’t beat the convenience, especially if you’re short on time. I ended up buying them a second time to serve as an appetizer when our family was coming over.
This week, the weather has been cloudy with a chance of rain everyday but one. Yesterday morning as my husband was leaving, I asked if he had any dinner requests to which he replied, “Let’s grill something.” “Well, I said, there’s a pretty good chance of rain. To be safe, I think I’ll pickup some meatballs from the Fresh Market.” “You know, he answered, I’m not that crazy about those, the sauce is too thin and they taste just okay.” Ouch. At least I had bought them and hadn’t made them. So with my mouth still craving Italian, I decided I would look for a meatball recipe and make them from scratch. I decided on one that the ingredients alone made my mouth water.
While I hate to admit that he was right, the meatballs I made were in fact much better than the ones from the Fresh Market. Best of all, they were quick and easy and I’m happy to share the recipe.
One last note, I’m picky about my sauce, but Buitoni Marinara works for me. Again, it’s fresh and all natural and can be found in the dairy case of most grocery stores. Maybe next time, I’ll try making a sauce from scratch as well.
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 pound ground beef chuck
1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley or basil (or a mixture of both)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour the breadcrumbs in a large bowl and the milk over the top. Mix well. Add the egg yolks, Romano cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic and mix with the breadcrumb mixture. Add beef, sausage, and parsley and mix well with your hands. When fully blended, roll into balls the size of your choice. (I used around 1/3 cup because I wanted them large). Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until done throughout. Size will determine how long this is, mine took approximately 15-20 minutes and made 14 large meatballs.
Serve with a warm marinara sauce.