On Top Of Spaghetti

Meatballs!

Spaghetti + meatballs = one of my favorite quick dinners. And homemade meatballs are a lot easier to make than you might expect — hint hint to a certain little sister of mine :)

The Recipe: Easy Meatballs

Yield: approximately one dozen meatballs
Time: 35 minutes

1 lb. ground sirloin
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Do This
Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Combine all ingredients, and roll into meatballs. I usually get about a dozen with this recipe, but your yield may vary depending on the size of your meatballs.

Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes (or until the centers are no longer pink — this may take longer if your meatballs are on the larger side).

And…that’s it! Homemade meatballs! They’re friends with spaghetti. And garlic bread. And parmesan cheese, sometimes.

Wanna spice things up? Crushed red pepper makes a hot addition to this recipe.

Phone Pics + Pasta Salad

I still haven’t found my camera cord (le sigh!), but I took a phone pic of the pasta salad I made this weekend.

I’ve made this many times without using a consistent recipe — I usually just eyeball it and add things until everything looks and smells good. The following recipe is really just a guideline; feel free to adjust it as desired!

The Recipe: Pasta Salad With Ham and Provolone
Serves: 6-8
Time: 15-20 minutes

8 oz rotini (or your favorite pasta)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped red peppers
1/2 cup diced ham
1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
4 oz provolone cheese
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp oregano
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper

Do This

Start a pot of water boiling, and add in a pinch of salt and a few drops of oil. When the water reaches a rolling boil, add in the rotini and cook for 10 minutes (or as directed on the package).

While the pasta is cooking, start chopping up the red pepper, tomato, ham, and basil. If your provolone isn’t shredded (I bought the sliced kind), chop it up into small pieces — if you can, try to make the pieces the same size as the tomato/pepper/ham for consistency.

Drain the cooked pasta, and toss it with olive oil and red wine vinegar in a large bowl. Mix in the spices, ham, cheese, and veggies, and toss until everything is evenly distributed. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

This pasta salad was a giant hit as a side dish, and a perfect cold complement to grilled brats and burgers.

Some notes: I’m not a huge fan of creamy pasta salads, so I decided to go with a vinaigrette base instead. I also left olives out intentionally (they’re not my favorite) but if they’re a must-have, please add them in. If you’ve got something more exciting than deli ham (like prosciutto!), that’s totally worth a try, too.

Another note: Letting the pasta cool off a bit after draining is a good idea. If it’s too hot, it’ll melt the cheese and make the salad clumpy.

This Is Totally A Filler Post

Okay. So I’m doing that NaBlammo thing, right? That means I have to post something every day this month.

Today I had homework to do. And the Browns are playing Thursday Night Football. Therefore, you get to look at some spices.


Clockwise from middle left: black pepper, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, salt, garlic powder
Not shown (hidden underneath other green spices): marjoram, parsley

These are what go into my homemade seasoned breadcrumbs. I’m not making anything with those breadcrumbs tonight, but I thought I’d share.

You No Like-a Da Sauce?

Pizza Sauce!

Or…Lasagna Sauce!

Oh hell, it’s Heavy Red Sauce. Use it on anything you like.

The Recipe:
Heavy Red Sauce

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tbsp basil
1/2 tbsp oregano
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Do This

In a medium-large saucepan, stir together crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Turn the burner to medium heat, and stir the mixture occasionally until it starts to bubble.
Turn the heat down to low, and stir in olive oil, minced garlic, basil, oregano, marjoram, garlic powder (yes, more garlic…I ran out of the minced kind and felt like it just needed some more), onion salt, salt, and pepper. Continue heating the sauce (on low, so you don’t have a big saucy mess all over the stove) for about 5 more minutes.
Use as a pizza sauce, lasagna sauce, or heavy pasta sauce. Or in anything else requiring a tomato sauce. I won’t judge.

This recipe makes more than enough sauce for you to try it out on a pizza, lasagna, and pasta. It’s a basic, mild (compared to my arrabbiata sauce, that is…it’s still flavorful) tomato sauce, and it’s pretty versatile. Decide your favorite use, and tell me about it!

 

[photos coming soon…I put the container of sauce in the freezer and it’s very un-photogenic at the moment]

Linguine alla Reckless

Linguine + lemon butter + arrabbiata sauce = my favorite pasta in the whole world.

It might sound a little strange, but it’s my preferred way to eat pasta. The lemon butter makes the noodles all slippery (and probably a lot less healthy…arteries, be damned!), and the arrabbiata adds a nice, spicy kick.


Click on the photo to zoom in on my favorite pasta ever.

The Recipe:
Linguine alla Reckless

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium-sized white onion, chopped finely
3 tsp minced garlic
1/3 cup red wine (I used a Cabernet-Shiraz blend, substitute with what you’ve got)
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
1/3 oz fresh basil, chopped (or 1/2 of a package, if you get the pre-packed “fresh” herbs at the grocery)
2 cans peeled, diced tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 stick butter
3 tbsp lemon juice
linguine noodles (I used about half of a standard box, I’ll check the number of oz later)

Do This

I like to get all of the chopping out of the way at the beginning. Chop the onion into tiny tiny bits, and do the same with the basil.
Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a large saucepan, coating the bottom. Dump the chopped onion bits into the pan, and turn the burner to high. Cook for about three minutes, to the point where you can smell the onions cooking from another room. Add in the minced garlic. Open up the cans of diced tomatoes and the tomato paste, and add to the sauce pot. Pour in the red wine, and stir with a wooden spoon until the contents of the pan are well-blended.
Add in the red pepper, black pepper, Italian seasoning, fresh basil, and sugar, and stir. Cover the pan, and reduce heat to medium-low.
While the sauce is hanging out on a back burner, fill a pot with water, a shake of salt, and a short glug of oil, and start it boiling. Grab some linguine (I generally like to take as many noodles as will comfortably fit inside the circle made between my thumb and index finger, and count that as one serving. If you’re cooking for two people, you’ll most likely use at least half a box) and place it in the boiling water. Cook until just past al dente – you don’t want to overcook them, but you also aren’t going for too much crunch with these noodles.
Place the stick of butter in a small saucepan, and turn the burner to low. The butter will melt fairly quickly. Add lemon juice a tablespoon at a time. Three worked perfectly for me, but you may want more or less, depending on how you prefer your lemon butter.
Drain the water from the pasta. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl. Gently pour the lemon butter over the noodles – you’ll have plenty left over, so don’t pour any more than is needed to gently coat the pasta. Lightly toss the noodles in the lemon butter, then spoon into serving plates or pasta bowls.
Top the linguine with the spicy tomato sauce. You won’t need too much – again, there will be plenty of sauce left over. Garnish with fresh basil, and enjoy!

The arrabbiata sauce freezes very well, and you’ll have more than enough for several dinners/lunches. It’s also great on chicken, on other types of pasta (with or without lemon butter), or spooned over garlic bread.


Click on the picture to zoom in. Sorry, you can’t smell the sauce through your computer.

Warning: you may find that this arrabbiata sauce is a little bit hot; I’m a huge fan of crushed red pepper. If your tastebuds are a little bit more sensitive, you can cut back on the crushed red, and I won’t judge you.

A Nice, Light, Summer-y Dinner

Sometimes, it’s too hot outside for a really heavy meal.
Sometimes, I’ve just found a new (to me, at least) shape of pasta that I don’t want to drown in a meat or cream sauce.


Look how pretty summer veggies can be. They’re so nice, they get bowties!

Mini farfalles! If there’s anything better than bowtie pasta, it’s tiny bowtie pasta. Even better? Mini bowties with colorful summer veggies.

The Recipe:
Summer Veggies with Vinaigrette-Tossed Mini Bowties

1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
garlic powder
Italian seasoning mix (basil, oregano, etc)
fresh ground pepper

Do This
Start two pots of boiling water – one about halfway full and the other about an inch full. The first one is for pasta and the second is for steaming. Hooray, multitasking!
Chop the veggies into bite-sized pieces. One-inch squares for the peppers and quarter-inch thick slices of the zucchini and squash should work just fine. if you’re feeling fancy, cut stripes into the zucchini.
Toss a few handfuls (or half a box, whatever) of mini bowtie pasta into the first pot and cook until juuust past al dente. While the pasta is cooking, place the veggies in a steamer basket in the second pot of boiling water, cover with a lid, and let them have some sauna time.
When the pasta is done cooking, drain the water off and place the little floppy bowties in a large bowl. Pour in a few glugs each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar (how much is up to you – I went with about a tablespoon and a half of each). Shake a little bit of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and fresh ground pepper over the top, then toss the pasta until the spices and vinaigrette are evenly distributed.
Remove the veggies from the steamer, and spoon over a plate of the vinaigrette-tossed bowties.

You can serve the pasta warm or chilled – it’s great either way. I plan on making this in bulk and packing it into little containers for tasty at-work lunches.