Friday, February 19, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

About a year ago we decided that we needed to start cutting back on our grocery spending. We felt like we would spend all this money on buying vegetables and fruit and it would end up going bad in our refrigerator because we would forget to use it or we just couldn't eat it fast enough. So we came up with a plan to start making a menu at the beginning of each week, that way we would know exactly what we needed to buy from the grocery store and not waist anything. This has been such a great way for us to save money and we suggest it to anyone who is trying to stay on a budget. It also eliminates the question of "what are we eating tonight?" and saves us time during the week since we know exactly what we are eating everyday. Its also a great way to remember to use things for more than one meal, for instance we make a whole chicken and we can use it for at least 2 more meals. So your getting more bang for your buck!
One of our go to meals is spaghetti and meatballs, its so easy and scrumptious. We save money by not buying a jarred sauce, we make our own which is so easy. Here's how:

Marinara Sauce:
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 28oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon of dry basil

In a large saucepan on medium heat, cook the onion and carrot in the olive oil, until soft, about 10 minutes. Then you add the tomatoes, break them up as they go in the pan. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and basil. Take off the heat and pulse with a hand blender until smooth or if you don't have a hand blender then you can use a regular stand blender. Taste to make sure the seasoning is to you liking, adjust if need be. This is it, its so easy and quick and you can make a lot of it and store in the freezer and take out when you need sauce.

1 egg beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3/4 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of dry basil
1/2 teaspoon of dry oregano

In a small saute pan, on medium heat, heat olive oil and add onions, cook until soft and a little browned. Set aside.
In a large bowl beat egg. Add breadcrumbs into egg and stir until combined. Add meats and cooked onion and all spices. Mix with hands until well combined.
Put foil down onto a large baking sheet and start to form your meatballs. Place on the baking sheet as you form them, this is just a holding station until you are ready to cook the meatballs.
Then in a large cast iron skillet or large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat, then place meatballs in the pan. Cook until browned on all sides, they don't have to be cooked all the way through. As soon as they are browned on all sides place in your Marinara sauce. Have your marinara sauce on the stove on low. The meatballs will finish cooking in the sauce on low for another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Salt your water and add the spaghetti or linguine. Follow cooking instructions on the package. Drain the pasta and add your meatballs and sauce to your pasta.

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