Hearty Italian Spaghetti Marinara and Meatballs
Wednesday is over and the weekend is almost upon us. My energy level is being tested, but what can I say? Here I am writing this post at almost midnight. Shame on me, I know.
I know I have not been posting yummy goodies since last week but my attention has been set on learning music and solos for the next couple of weeks. How did I all of a sudden find myself singing in close to 5 ensembles with my 6th ensemble invitation coming in JUST today?
I am afraid that choices have to be made for the sake of sanity and balance. Have you found that to be true? I really have never been the one who has had such a hard time saying no to something but lately I have been most obliged to agree to everything.
I know what it is. I am subjecting myself to my old schedule before getting married. After graduating from college in 2002, I started singing with Houston Grand Opera chorus and I got a new position working for a great hospital. Yes. I got 2 jobs and they almost consumed my days, but they balanced each other out. I worked 6:45am to 3:15pm and then go to opera rehearsals from 6:45pm to sometimes 11:00pm.
A friend asked me yesterday how I now deal with JUST sometimes sleeping an average of 5 hours. This woman is having a hard time! My body from 2002 to 2007 dealt with it, but after getting married and moving away, I started a whole new schedule. Now I crave my beauty sleep in order to be balanced and to be sane.
Something that has become VERY therapeutic and more than a hobby has been my joy for cooking. Even Ryan knows that it is relaxing for me to go to the kitchen and create something delicious for any meal of the day. He knows that if I take on too much that other areas of my life will suffer.
Today I recited "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." It is true. Yes, I can have a disciplined life, eat well, keep a schedule, but at the end, it is my focus on God that sustains me and gives me hope for a new day.
On that note, today I decided to take a break from recipe creations for my e-book to make a lovely and tasty recipe that I read on Kelly's blog, Vegan Thyme. Last week I saw a most scrumptious recipe for meatballs and from that day on I have had a hankering for them!
Lightlife makes a meat free ground beef style option for vegans and vegetarians alike but I had not had a chance to try it. It was $3.50 for a pound for this meat substitute for which I had no problem shelling out money for since it was a meat option for me. As you know and if you have noticed, I hardly use meat substitutes containing vital gluten, but on occasion I indulge especially when I crave a meaty texture.
This meal is SUPER quick to prepare. I added all the spices to the ground "beef" and blended it well. I then formed the meatballs and cooked them. Meanwhile I made a quick marinara and boiled pasta. C'est tout mes amies! Ryan took a bite and another and asked what the meatballs were made of. He thought the texture was almost like one of his meatball recipes. He WIPED his plate clean and claimed it was a nice and tasty meal!
Thanks Kelly for a great recipe and weekday meal. Check out her slow cooker sauce for another sauce option. Enjoy!
Hearty Italian Spaghetti Marinara and Meatballs
meatball recipe from Vegan Thyme
makes 16-18 golf-size meatballs (serves 4-6 people)
1 16-ounce package Gimme Lean Ground Beef-style
4 Tablespoons garlic minced (about 6-8 cloves)
1 Tablespoon powdered onion
1 Tablespoon powdered garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil OR 2 Tablespoons dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons of Italian bread crumbs or Panko breadcrumbs
In a large mixing bowl, add the package of Gimme Lean ground "beef." Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and using your hands, incorporate all ingredients. Mix until well blended.
Let the mixture set for about ten minutes. Next, roll the mixture into balls about the size of golf balls. Set aside.
Next, heat a medium saute' pan with 2 Tablespoons of canola or olive oil. Add the meatballs to the pan when the oil is warm. Using a wooden spoon, rotate meatballs often to prevent from sticking to pan (if you do not have a non-stick pan). Allow them to brown slowly for about 15 minutes--checking every few minutes to turn the meatballs to cook the other side. Remove from heat until ready to use.
Meanwhile, make marinara and boil water for pasta.
2 -28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes in heavy puree
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Italian seasonings
1/2 Tablespoon basil
1/2 Tablespoon agave nectar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspooon fine sea salt
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and cook until somewhat transparent for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water and seasonings. Simmer sauce for 10 minutes. Add agave and salt and set aside until meatballs cooked.
Add cooked meatballs and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
Option: If you like drier, crispier, firmer meatballs then do not place meatballs in sauce.
Cook 1 pound of thin spaghetti pasta according to packaged directions. Drain and serve pasta on each plate and spooning 4 meatballs per plate.
Leftover meatballs perfect for a meatball sandwich! Yum!