Spaghetti and Meatballs

Looking for an easy and delicious family meal?  Try livening up spaghetti night by making your own meatballs!

It’s very easy to make meatballs that turn out great every time.

Here’s how:

1 package Mild Italian sausages (uncooked)
2 lbs. ground beef
½ c. shredded parmasean cheese
½ c. plain bread crumbs
3 TBSP dried parsley
2 eggs
*optional: add minced onion and fresh garlic

Remove the casings from the sausages by cutting lengthwise and peeling.

Break up the meat into small pieces and put it in a large mixing bowl.  Break up ground beef and also place it in the bowl.  Add the parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley and eggs.  Mix by hand until combined.  Roll the meat into small balls, about 1½-2 inches in diameter.  Place formed balls into two 9″x13″ baking dishes.  Bake uncovered at

400° for 45-55 minutes.  At the end of cooking time take a meatball out and cut it open to check doneness.  It should be cooked through – no pink.  Makes approximately 40 meatballs.

You can cook the meatballs ahead of time and place in a covered container in the refrigerator until dinner time.  When you are ready to start dinner, place the cooked meatballs in a 12″ skillet.  Add 2 small jars of your favorite pasta sauce and simmer until meat is heated through, about 15-20 minutes.  While meatballs and sauce are heating, cook pasta according to package directions.

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Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili with Cheese & Sour Cream

Tonight I discovered I was missing an ingredient for the dish I intended to make.  So in a pinch I had to make something from what I had on hand.  It was cold tonight and I had plenty of canned items in my pantry so I made chili. 

It turned out very tasty!  Even my picky little kids ate some of it.  Of course, they mostly ate the cheese and sour cream off the top.  This is South Beach friendly as well!  Here is the recipe I used:

2 TBSP olive oil

1  small onion, chopped

1 cup chopped bell pepper (I used some red, yellow and green since that’s what I had)

1 TBSP minced garlic – I like to use the paste, so much easier

Salt & Pepper

2 cans Caribbean style black beans (black beans with chili, bell pepper and lime)

1 can cannellini (while kidney beans)

1 can diced tomatoes – do not drain

1 can vegetable broth

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

Heat the olive oil on med-high and add onions and bell pepper.  Stir and watch until they begin to soften.  Add the garlic and some salt and pepper.  When the peppers are tender, add the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer on med-low for about 15 minutes.  Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream, if you like.  If you are not doing South Beach,  some cornbread or tortilla chips would go great on the side!

Vegetable Beef Soup

I made a vegetable beef soup for dinner on a cold day.  I took a basic recipe from the South Beach Diet Cookbook, and tweaked it a little to add more flavor.  It’s still Phase One legal for all of you who are doing the South Beach Diet.  And if you’re not, it’s still a tasty and healthy recipe. 

2 TBSP olive oil

1 lb lean beef, cut into cubes

1 rib of celery, diced

1/2 large onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 lb green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 can fat-free beef broth, plus enough water to make 5 cups of liquid

1/2 small head of cabbage, shredded

1/4 bag of fresh pre-washed spinach

1 can died tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot brown the steak with 1 TBSP of the oil.  Remove the steak from the pot and set aside.  Add the other TBSP of oil to the pot and cook the celery, onion and green beans until tender.  Add the garlic and cook a minute longer.  Add the cooked steak, and the rest of the vegetables and water to the pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 1.5 hours.

Serve with one of the following:  a squeeze of fresh lemon juice; a few drops of hot sauce; or sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.