Friday, February 18, 2011

Cheddar cracker meatballs with tomato and sausage spaghetti sauce

Goldfish Cracker meatballs with tomato and sausage spaghetti sauce

I've missed out on blogging for a while.  I'm a shameless procrastinator, therefore I...... I'll tell you later.  Ok, I'll tell you now.  I've become a fan of a series of books by Diana Gabaldon.  They are a wonderful, intricate series of books that leave a person wanting for more.  Right now, I am eagerly awaiting the next novel in the series.  I have found a place where other people, who are addicted to this series, can go discuss them.  It's been wild to see so many different opinions of the why, how, what-just-happened, of these stories.  What's best, is the author, will actually respond to many of these posts.  There are some pretty heated discussions, but it is all in fun.  I usually don't like historical novels, I find them boring.  Hearing about how mean people are to each other, the wars, the disputes and so on, is tedious.  I can get all of that on the news channels.  What's unique about Diana's historical novels is this.  They are both fact and fiction.  She weaves an intricate web around the real history, while connecting it to her fictional story base.  It really is a fantastic series.  I encourage anyone who loves to read, to try these. 

My husband works away at times, which means he eats at restaurants more than he wants to.  When he is home, he always asks me to fix him spaghetti with meatballs.  That has to be one of my favorite dishes as well, I like it even more when someone has to fix the meatballs though.  So boring to fix, but worth it. 

We went on a family beach vacation, with my husbands side of the family.  It was a lot of fun.  We each had a night to fix dinner.  My mother-in-law, Susan, she chose spaghetti and meatballs.  The meatballs were delicious, but, they had some weird orange colored things in them.  Being a person, who, unfortunately, can get food poisoning faster than anyone else eating from the same food source, I have learned to pick through my food.  Making this obnoxious habit worse, is the fact, that I do have food allergies and found people like to put strange things in the foods they make.  Like, spinach in the lasagna.  Yes, I am allergic to spinach.  One restaurant served mango with just about everything, so I chose roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans.  What came out with my safe food choice?  Mango salsa, runny mango salsa.  You guessed it, allergic to that too.  When I noticed the orange things, many orange food choices ran through my head.  Upon noticing my complete focus on the meat balls, my husband nudges me to ask what is wrong.  I point to the orange thing in my meatball.  To which, he asks his Mom what she put in the meatballs.  Dinner conversation stopped, all eyes went to his Mom as we waited for her answer.  She gave us her list of ingredients, none of which I can remember, then explained why there were orange things in the meatballs.  She forgot to get bread crumbs so she took a bunch of the gold fish crackers, smashed them up and used them.  Genius!  So, to this day, that's the only ingredient I remember in her meat ball recipe.  They were the best I'd ever had, so I have worked to duplicate them.  The easiest thing would be, call to ask.  Well, she, like me, doesn't write down her recipes.  It's been fun, maybe not always successful, i.e., if you're going to add kale to meatballs, make sure you cut it up really really thin, and don't put too much in cause then it's just gross. 

My little boy loves to help me in the kitchen.  His question, when he sees me start to cook, "What are we fixing?"  He then opens the drawer and pulls out his Nut Cracker apron, then gets his stool to help me cook.  I had him go get his toy hammer.  He was very confused, but after promising I wouldn't start without him, he ran off to get it.  When he came in I put the gold fish crackers in a zip lock baggie and had him smash them to bits.  At first he thought it was a trick, because we aren't allowed to play with our food.  When he finally was convinced I was serious, he went to town. I believe my little boy was the magic to the secret ingredient because they were divine!  I made way too many, so I sent a bunch off to work with my husband the next day.  Cold meatballs are ok, or so he tells me.  It just sounds yuck to me, but oh well.

Imagine my surprise when I get a text message from one of his co-workers, David, asking me for the recipe.  He loved them and wanted to make some for his girlfriend.  He was lucky I had just recently made them, so I could still see what I had used, in my mind.  I was so pleased to have someone contact me for one of my recipes!! It was great. I later found out he had first contacted my husband to see if he minded if David texted me.  What a gentleman!  One of the many things I love about living in the south and in  a rural part of the states, manners.  Gentlemen will not go into a house alone, with a married (or otherwise attached) woman.  It looks bad.  He was considerate of his girlfriend as well as my husband and I. Everyone knew, so there was no chance of confusion. I find that very commendable, that there are still some men out there who do not want to give the semblance of impropriety, by contacting a married woman.  I was very impressed.  Anyway, I sent him the message with the recipe attached.  He later told me the meatballs were "amazing".  I was so happy!  So, here is the recipe.  Enjoy, and please let me know how you liked them!

Cheddar Cracker meatballs

1 jar sausage spaghetti sauce
1 lb ground round 80/20
2 shallots finely chopped or 1 small onion
1 tbsp parsley
1 1/2 tbsp oregano
2 eggs
salt & pepper
2 cups cheddar crackers (I use cheddar bunnies) smashed into crumbs ( a great job for a kid to do)

Boil water for your spaghetti noodles, fix per package instructions

heat oven to 350
Put cheddar crackers in a zip lock bag, making sure ALL the air is out (you'll not like the results of a bag blowing crackers all over your kitchen) then smash a way
Mix all the ingredients together (except the sauce)
Shape into meat balls and place in an oven proof baking dish. 
Pour sauce over the top and bake for about 45 minutes (depending upon the size of the meatball, bake for longer or shorter time)

If you make too many, you can always freeze them for later!! 

Have a wonderful time in the kitchen!

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