Our Country Kitchen
Our Country Kitchen brings you amazingly tasty recipes each week, using Goodparla’s finest Missouri pasture raised beef.
It’s time to make some good old fashioned, hearty and delicious Spaghetti and Meatballs in Goodparla’s Our Country Kitchen! This recipe is the perfect balance of delectable ground beef meatballs with a zesty Italian pasta sauce that is packed with extra seasoning and veggies. With minimal prep, and no pre-cooking of the meatballs, this Italian inspired pasta night is sure to be a hit with the entire family!
Let’s talk sauce
We love the simplicity of opening a pre-made jar of pasta sauce and being ready to go. It makes dinner time feel like a breeze, does it not? That’s why the base of our sauce is a pre-made garlic and herb pasta sauce. We suggest purchasing a higher quality sauce, as it really does matter, especially if you are going to skip our suggested sauce ad-ins and make our simplified version with just the jarred sauce and meatballs.
Other things to note with our sauce instructions:
- After emptying our jars of sauce, we put about 2 tablespoons of milk into each jar, replace the lid, and shake vigorously. We do this to get as much sauce as possible out of the jars and we think it adds a bit of creaminess to our sauce
- The bell pepper, onion, minced garlic and mushrooms are just suggestions. You can use some or none of these add-ins depending upon your taste preferences. We do note that we think it loses some of the flavor depth when they are all excluded and recommend the garlic and onion at a minimum
- We add in a bunch of extra herb and spices to our sauce, including sugar. The sugar cuts the bitterness that comes from the canning process of the tomato sauce, and we encourage you to try this and you will be pleasantly surprised! As to all of our other seasonings we add, we do this because the sauce simmers for hours and the extra spices make an over the top Italian sauce that will have your taste buds watering at the mere memory of it.
The secret to the meatballs…
We make our meatballs as basic as you can get, yet they come out deliciously beefy and bursting with savory flavors. We honestly attribute the majority of this to the quality of ingredients you use when making these delectable meatballs and Goodparla’s premium ground beef is as high-quality as you can get! Of course, we might be biased, but we do know that this dish always has everyone asking for seconds.
We take ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs and one packet of Lipton onion mushroom soup mix, and transform these simple ingredients into the most perfect, easy savory meatballs. If you aren’t a fan of mushroom, you can substitute for a regular onion soup mix depending on your taste preferences. Keep in mind that if you are doubling or tripling the recipe you always want to use 1 egg per pound of ground beef!
Once you mix your ground beef mixture thoroughly, you’ll want to form your meatballs. This recipe makes 12 to 13 individual meatballs. To form meatballs that have a diameter of 1.5 to 2 inches, you can portion your meat in several different ways:
- We like to weigh them out to make sizing easier and have found that 1.6oz of prepared meatball mixture makes a perfect sized meatball for our family!
- Use about 2.5 tablespoons to form an evenly portioned meatball
- Divide the meat mixture in 12 to 13 equal pieces by eyeballing it (works great and less work too!)
Make sure once you have your portion of meat that your form the meat into firmly packed balls. This will prevent them from falling apart as they cook. Just drop them in the sauce and a few hours later you’ll have the perfect Italian dinner night!
Want to make this recipe even easier?
We know that all of our ad-ins take a regular dish a make it extraordinary but sometimes we just don’t have the time or ingredients or energy. Sometimes we just need to get dinner done, right? We understand! So, in the spirit of getting it done, and still having a 5-star worthy dinner, here is our quick spaghetti and meatballs version.
Ingredients: You use the same ingredients for the meatballs, so you’ll still need the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs and Lipton soup mix. Next, you’ll just need 2 jars of high-quality garlic and herb pasta sauce and packaged spaghetti.
To make in the slow cooker: pour sauce into slow-cooker, form meatballs and put into slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. (If you pre-heat the sauce you can cook on low for six hours OR cook on high for 2 hours and then on low for another 2 hours)
To make on the stove-top: pour jars of sauce into large pot and heat until bubbly. Form the meatballs and add them to the pot. Cover and simmer on low, allowing the sauce to simmer for about 4 to 5 hours - stirring every 30 to 45 minutes. Stir very gently and slowly as not to break the meatballs apart.
However you end up making this recipe, we know it will have everyone saying Buon appetito!
Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 4 to 6 hours | Serves : 6
Pasta Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 4 baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 24-ounce jars of garlic and herb pasta sauce
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Salt to taste (we use about 1 teaspoon)
- Fresh cracked black pepper to taste (we use about ½ teaspoon)
- 1 pound Goodparla ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1 packet of Lipton onion mushroom soup mix
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of Italian breadcrumbs
***If you plan to transfer the sauce to a slow-cooker after step 5, go ahead and “preheat” your slow-cooker by turning it on to high heat while you prepare the sauce on the stove top first.
- Place a large pot over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Heat for about 30 to 60 seconds. Add in the minced garlic, red bell pepper, and yellow onion. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add two jars of spaghetti sauce to the large pot. Add 2 tablespoons of milk into each jar and place cap on jar before shaking vigorously. Remove cap and pour milk/tomato sauce mixture into the large pot.
- Add all seasonings to the sauce: basil, oregano, rosemary, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt, crushed red chili flakes, garlic powder, onion powder and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Heat sauce on medium until hot and bubbly.
- While sauce is heating, beat one egg in a medium bowl. Add the ground beef, the Italian breadcrumbs and the Lipton mushroom and onion mix to the bowl. Mix/blend evenly with either your hands or a wooden spoon/spatula.
- Shape the ground beef mixture into tightly pressed balls, about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter – or weighing about 1.6 ounces each.
- Either transfer the heated sauce to your preheated slow cooker or continue on stove top. If continuing on stove top, turn heat down to lowest setting. Carefully drop the shaped meatballs into the heated sauce – do not stir for at least 30 minutes, as the meatballs can fall apart until they begin to cook.
- If cooking in the slow-cooker, continue to cook for 2 hours on high heat, before turning the heat to low for another 2 to 3 hours – or cook on low heat for 6 hours - stirring every 30 to 45 minutes. Stir very gently and slowly as not to break the meatballs apart.
- If cooking on the stove top, continue to cook on low, allowing the sauce to simmer for about 4 to 5 hours - stirring every 30 to 45 minutes. Stir very gently and slowly as not to break the meatballs apart.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions and serve sauce and meatballs on top of cooked pasta.