A BIG thank you to Ragu for sponsoring this post!
I'm sharing one of my family's favorite meals – good old Spaghetti & Meatballs.
Every family has their favorite meals. Some extravagant, others simple. We have a favorite for all occasions – from extra special meals to quick busy weeknight meals. Our everyday favorite is spaghetti & meatballs with red sauce. The red sauce is an absolute. Throw in a loaf of fresh bread and a simple salad and my family is in mealtime heaven.
My family loves my homemade sauce. Simmered for hours, it's been customized to perfection for my family's tastes. As much as we love it, there just isn't always enough time in the day for it. I often need delicious meals that are quick, nutritious and cost effective.
I suppose it's predictable, almost humorous, that spaghetti and meatballs would be an Italian family's favorite meal. We just can't help it! Would the three Italian grandmas approve / have approved? Absolutely! How about Halina, my Polish grandma? She made a mean Bolognese sauce and loved meatballs!
Let's talk about meatballs. A lot of people are in shock when they find out I used dried minced onion in my meatballs. Ohhhh….the horror. There is a reason for this. One might assume it's to get out of chopping onions. I don't love chopping onions, but I don't mind it terribly. The reality of the matter is, most people find bits of raw, uncooked onions in their meatballs a bit offensive. Not me, I actually welcome the crisp & bold contrast in the soft meatball…but…they're not all for me. Alternately, you could chop an onion and saute it until translucent, if time allows.
A meatball is not complete until it's simmered in a potful of red sauce, soaking up all that saucy goodness. There was no time for a homemade sauce on this occasion so I was excited to try a new jarred sauce – Ragu Homestyle. There are five flavors, something for every sauce connoisseur. Roasted Garlic was perfect for our tastes. Loaded with bright & bold flavor of vine-ripened tomatoes, onions and fragrant herbs, there will be no need to doctor this sauce up – just heat and serve straight from the jar. Its thick and hearty texture hugs every noodle, every meatball, every bite.
Serve those saucy meatballs over pasta, in a fresh roll topped with cheese or skip the fancy accompaniments and eat them straight from the pot 🙂
Seriously – put back that bag of frozen meatballs. Making your own is way too simple and so much more delicious. Find your perfect sauce and dinner is complete!
Thanks for stopping by!
- 2 pound ground venison
- 1 cup panko or breadcrumbs
- 3 cloves garlic minced/pressed
- 2 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- pinch black pepper
- pinch sage
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 cup hot water for baking (do not add to meat mixture)
- Remove ground venison from refrigerator about 15 - 20 minutes before starting.
- Prep a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and a spritz of cooking spray.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine panko/breadcrumbs, minced garlic, minced onion, salt, basil, parsley, oregano, pepper and sage.
- Gently mix in ground venison and eggs. This is easiest done by hand (disposable gloves are great) but also mixes well with a large fork.
- Scoop out meat mixture and roll into meatballs. I use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop - but you're looking for them to be about walnut/golfball sized. You'll have about 24 - 30 meatballs.
- Drop onto cookie sheet and repeat with remaining meatball mix.
- Pour 1 cup hot water around meatballs on cookie sheet. Tent cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Carefully remove foil off top of cookie sheet (steam). I use a slotted spoon and drop meatballs straight into pot / dutch oven of simmering tomato sauce.
- Reduce heat to low and cook for at least 20 -30 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. If time allows - I cook for an hour.
- Serve venison meatballs on top of pasta with lots of sauce or on fresh rolls topped with shredded cheese.
- These can easily be made ahead of time and thrown in sauce when needed. They freeze great too!