There might not be anything more comforting than cooking with your Mom and eating together with family! I really love cooking with friends and family. Especially with my Mama. On days like this I realize how genius people in the "olden days" were when they lived with their parents... I mean, can you imagine having two extra adult hands to help with kids and cooking, and most of all DISHES??? It would make life so much easier in many ways... As long as you don't like personal space (which I do). Life at home as a mother can get a little lonely every so often, so having an evening where I get to cook with another adult is pretty nice. I try to make it a point to have dinner together with family when my hubby has to travel so that I don't feel so alone.
Since I was going for a "comfort-meal" I decided on Spaghetti and Italian Meatballs with Roasted Fall Veggies. I can't express enough the love I have for roasted vegetables with some fresh rosemary on top. The smell is incredible and seems to fill your house with warm fuzzies... You know, that perfect, warm, earthy aroma that is so swoon worthy. Yes. Those are my warm fuzzies when it comes to food. :)
These meatballs are so flavorful, and when they get all cozy in the sauce and the flavors tango it is magic. I loved making these with my Mama. It was even more nostalgic because we were cooking in my Grandma Jeanne's kitchen. I loved using the vintage trays and tools. It was so awesome. The meatballs are super easy and feed a crowd. They are man pleasers for sure. My husband will be sad he missed out on this meal.
Here's how it went:
Start out in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add all meatball ingredients (except the olive oil) and mash it all together well. You can get real crazy and use your hands, or be a little daintier and use a potato masher and spatula. :) The fresh herbs really give these meatballs some umph! They have a little kick too. Me likey.
Once all the meatball ingredients are mixed well use a small ice cream scoop to evenly divide the meat into uniform sized balls. I usually get about 45 meatballs of approximately 1 1/2 inches wide.
Oh my heavens I love these vintage trays. They were my Great Great Grandmother Momo's. How awesome is that?
Next, in a large stock pot heat the olive oil to medium-high heat. Add about 10 of the meatballs to the pot and brown them on the outside, turning them often. Once they are nice and brown remove them from the pot and place them on a tray lined with paper towels to drain excess oils. Repeat until all meatballs are browned. Note: the meatballs will not be fully cooked at this time. They will finish cooking completely in the sauce, which will highly enhance the flavor of the dish. :)
Now, I know the lighting in this picture leaves something to be desired, but it was getting dark outside at this point and we were a little low on good lighting inside... You know how that goes!! Once all the meatballs are browned set the pot aside *without washing it* and get your roasted fall veggie medallions ready to go in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the butternut squash, zucchini and parsnips into medallions of the same thickness and arrange them on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and honey over veggies and season with salt and pepper. Place rosemary over the veggie medallions and you are set to go! Luckily the picture of the veggies was taken before the sun was totally down. :) Aren't these fall vegetables a sight? *Sigh* they have my heart. There really isn't much more you need to do to these pretties to make them gorgeously delicious...
Now back to our sauce. Using the same pan that browned the meatballs, add diced onion and minced garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes over medium-high heat.
Next add all the rest of the sauce ingredients. I used these lovely bottled tomatoes that my Mom bottled herself (hooray for bottling!). Use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes in the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat just to get the sauce going.
Next add the browned meatballs. Continue to simmer over medium heat for another 30 minutes to meld all the flavors nicely, and allow the meatballs to finish cooking. This sauce should be doing miraculous things right about now. I mean it when I say, this sauce rocks the house. The meatballs cooking in the sauce just blows your average meatballs right out of the park. You gotta try these.
While my lovely saucy meatballs are doing their thing I pop my veggie medallions in the preheated oven to get all roasty toasty. This will take about 15 minutes. Boy does this make your house smell goooood.
Boom baby. There they are. Ready to be devoured by man, woman and child.
On another note, I usually serve a light salad with my spaghetti. We did something super simple and just used romaine lettuce, baby heirloom tomatoes, red onions, avocado and croutons. Top that off with some shaved Parmesan cheese and you have quite a delightful side on your hands. For the dressing I merely drizzled some true balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the salad with the juice of a lemon. Season with salt and pepper and you are set! This is one of my favorite ways to dress a salad in a healthy light way. So fresh!
Boil some fine spaghetti till aldente and I'd say we are ready to eat! What fun it was to create this hearty fall meal with my Mama. She is such a great woman whom I look up to so much. Thanks for sharing this meal and your table with me! xoxo
There you have it! Quite beautiful. And delicious. Who could ask for more?
It was a good night. I love me some family time. I am so grateful to have so many supportive, loving and "food friendly" people around. I love you all so much! Also, my mom is a babe. She looks so young and she is so spunky and so talented in ways my brain just can't comprehend. For example: She teaches (happily I might add) a crazy hoard of preschoolers every day. She accompanies their songs on the piano, teaches them to read, listen and be kind to one another. She is such a fun teacher. She has been doing it for over 20 years! She is a rock star. If that isn't enough to boil the very last drops of sanity from your brain I don't know what is. She has the patience of a saint (wasn't passed on to me unfortunately) and still to this day loves her husband of 38 years. She tells me all the time how my Daddy-o is still her favorite person in the world to spend time with! She reared 6 children (one still a Junior in High School and one on an LDS mission in New York). All her kids love and respect her. That is quite the legacy to live up to. I guess we will see in time if I can. :) Love you Mom, you are one special lady.
Even if you don't make these meatballs and fab spaghetti, I hope you find ways to cook with your loved ones. Remember that this is what it's all about! Family, food and spending time together. I could never get enough of these key ingredients to my personal happiness. :)
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