Grandma’s Sauce and Meatballs (with a healthier twist)

This is a stock image of spaghetti. I forgot to take a picture of the meal the last time I made it. Real pictures coming soon.

This meal has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. We had it at least once a week as well as on holidays and on birthdays. And we still do.

This is my Grandma Marilouise’s recipe for sauce and meatballs. She was my dad’s mom. Half Italian and half Irish. My Papa was 100% Sicilian. When I was 16 she passed away, but I remember her vividly. She was funny and quite the storyteller. Every time we went over there, which was usually every Sunday, she would tell us all kinds of stories about my dad and aunts and uncles as kids. We always had sauce and meatballs. Sometimes we had cavatelli or rigatoni or spaghetti noodles, but the sauce and meatballs were always the same.

I’ll be honest, mine is not the same as hers. My dad’s is closer, but still not quite the same. The major difference is that almost on all occasions I use ground turkey, hence the healthier twist. Her meatballs were equal parts beef, pork, and veal. My dad has since changed his recipe to just half beef and half pork. She always had a beef neckbone simmer in the sauce. My dad usually does this too. I do not, simply because I usually do not have one. Both my dad and grandma also simmer Italian sausage in the sauce. Browned on the stove and finished cooking in the sauce. Most of the time I like to do this as well because it really does enhance the flavor. The sauce still tastes great without it.

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Eating my sauce and meatballs by any means necessary,

It is recommended to simmer the meatballs in the sauce 1-2 hours at least. The longer and slower it cooks the better. Sometimes I am able to start it early in the day, but most of the time I get to it just in time for it to simmer at minimum time. The next day the flavor is usually even better.

If you want the sauce to be vegetarian it is still good without simmering the meatballs in it. With all that being said, the best flavor created is with beef and pork meatballs (veal isn’t an option for us), simmered with a beef neckbone, and Italian sausage for at least 6 hours.

For busy moms like myself who can never seem to get anything going any sooner than the last possible second the sauce simmering for 2 hours with the second hour having the meatballs and one Italian sausage (if you choose) will be enough for delicious sauce and meatballs and the next day will be even better.

Cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste from Aldi. (Real photo from my kitchen)

Recipe for Sauce

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

18 oz of tomato puree (3 6 oz cans)

2 28 oz cans of water

2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp hot pepper seed

1 1/2 tbsp basil (dried)

1 tbsp sugar

1 chopped onion

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 cloves garlic

mushrooms (optional)

simmer at least one hour before adding neckbone, sausage and meatballs.

I recommend doubling the recipe and freezing half ( you will need a 10-12 qt pot for this)

All the ingredients are in and the sauce is starting to simmer in this 12 quart pot my sister got me after she saw me trying to make double sauce and meatballs in a 6 quart pot.

(This is the original recipe but I always thought my dad didn’t have enough sauce for all the meatballs he made. I recommend cutting the recipe in half if you aren’t doubling the sauce or even better freeze half if you aren’t doubling the sauce. It is always great to have food you already cooked just needing to be thawed.

All the ingredients are in the bowl for the meatballs. Now I need to mix it together by hand then roll into balls.

Recipe for Meatballs

2 lbs meat (Turkey or mixture of your choice)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese (I shred it off the clock, but dried is good too)

1/4 tsp garlic salt

3 eggs

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 tsp parsley flakes

1/4 cup water

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Put all the ingredients together in a large bowl and then mix together with your hands until completely mixed. Roll into medium sized balls and place on pan (I prefer glass, but metal works too. They will be slightly more browned). I spray with cooking spray. I have also used parchment paper before.

cook 350 for 30 minutes

cook in sauce for 1 hour minimum

Turkey meatballs cooked in a glass pan (yes, I know I could use a new one).

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

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