Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meatballs in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

I have never made my own meatballs before. I've seen lots of wonderful homemade meatballs on other blogs and considered making my own, but until now it has not happened. Over the weekend I flipped through the latest issue of food & family from Kraft Foods. After reading this recipe I knew that meatballs would be on the menu this week. This semi-homemade recipe is a winner! Not only are these so simple to make (only 4 ingredients!) but the recipe makes a big batch. The article recommended to use some now and freeze the rest for later. The magazine also provided two simple recipes for different sauces to serve with these meatballs. Love it! Next week I'll pull the rest of the meatballs from the freezer for a quick and easy Swedish-style meatball dinner. Thank you food & family!

I have to say, dinner was amazing! It is all cold and blustery and rainy outdoors here and we were warm and cozy around our dinner table enjoying this hearty and flavorful tomato basil cream sauce-meatball combination with garlic cheese bread.

The meatballs were a snap. Dump two pounds of ground beef, a box of Stove Top stuffing mix, water, and two eggs into a large bowl. I also added a little salt and pepper to amp up the flavor.

Mix until well combined. The most effective method, in my opinion, is to get in there and squish it all together with your (clean!) hands.

Scoop out the mixture by heaping tablespoonfulls and roll into balls between your hands. Place onto baking sheets lined with foil. I put a baking rack on one of the sheets so that the meatballs would not sit in their grease as they baked. Unfortunately, I only have one such rack. When the non-rack meatballs were finished baking, I drained the grease off of them by transferring em' to the rack.

Bake at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until done. I went with 17 minutes.

Once the meatballs are cool, freeze half for later. I actually froze more than half. I made my meatballs a little smaller than recommended, so I ended up with about 4 dozen meatballs. I kept out 16 for dinner tonight and froze the rest for later.

The provided Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce recipe was also very simple. Just 3 ingredients: spaghetti sauce, cream cheese, and fresh basil. Of course, I have to go and complicate things. I almost never leave canned spaghetti sauce to stand on it's own when I serve it in my kitchen. So here's what I did...

I minced 4 cloves of garlic and sliced some mushrooms. Saute in a skillet until the mushrooms are tender.

Now dump in the jar of spaghetti sauce. I just used the first one that I grabbed from my pantry. It was a store brand tomato basil sauce. After I stirred it into the mushrooms and garlic, I heated through and gave it a taste. Then I played with it a bit, adding a little salt and sugar until it was "just right".

Stir in 2 oz. of cream cheese (I used Neuchatel) and 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil.

Add in the meatballs.

Heat through.

Serve the sauce and meatballs over pasta, topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

The Best Meatballs from Kraft food & family adapted slightly by me

2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1- 1/4 cups water
2 eggs
salt and pepper

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil. Spray with cooking spray. Mix ingredients until blended; shape into balls. Each meatball= 1 heaping tablespoon of mixture.

2. Place meatballs on each prepared pan. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until done.

3. Freeze half or more of meatballs for later. Combine 16 meatballs with Tomato-Basil Cream sauce.

Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce from Kraft food & family adapted by me

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 jar spaghetti sauce
salt and sugar to taste
2 oz. Neuchatel cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Heat oil in a skillet. Saute garlic and mushrooms until mushrooms are tender. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Heat through. Salt and sugar to taste. Stir in cream cheese and basil until cheese is melted and heated through. Add in meatballs. Cover and cook until heated through. Serve over hot pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

4 servings, 4 meatballs and 1/3 cup sauce each.


Coleens Recipes said...

Congratulations on making your own meatballs! Now nothing can hold you back....meatball subs, meatball sliders, sweet & sour meatballs...so much to try. I've never thought of using stove top in my meatballs, very clever.

Krista said...

Oooh. Meatball subs! I saw some on Food for a Hungry Soul (I think). I may have to try those too! Thanks for reminding me, Colleen!

Heather S-G said...

Oh my gosh, I wanna come over for dinner. This is pure comfort...I'm so chilly right now, these would warm me right up :D

Reeni said...

My aunt used to make her meatloaf this way - with the stuffing mix. I bet these were delicious - love that creamy sauce!

Katy ~ said...

Love StopTop Stuffing. I've used it in hamburgers, meatballs, meatloaf. Just good stuff!! Tomato sounds sounds good. Just the title alone makes me yearn for it.

theUngourmet said...

Nice job! What a great idea to make extra to freeze. Your sauce looks terrific too! Yum!

Chicago Mom said...

I always browned my meatballs in a skillet before baking them (I thought they wouldn't brown nicely), but yours did! Thanks - I am gonna skip the skillet next time! I have always have to "mess" with the sauce too. :)

Megan said...

I was looking for a meatball recipe for a soup I plan on making. I like this because I want extra! I even have all the ingredients! :)And got love a Tomato Basil CREAM sauce!!!

Julie said...

Looks great! I love that those meatballs only 4 ingredients.

Donna-FFW said...

Krista.. this sounds fantastic. Love all the tips. GREAT meal!

facs1977 said...

I made these meatballs for a church pitch-in. I had a 11x17 pan full and came home with only three meatballs leftover. The sauce was so good and I think it tasted better after sitting a day. Will continue to make meatballs with this recipe...couldn't have been easier. Thanks for posting recipes for buys moms!!!

angelinthekitchen said...

I saw this recipe in the Kraft magazine, as well, and wanted to try it. I'm grateful for the test drive!

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