I have posted some meatball recipes before but as I was contemplating fixing today’s dinner I realized: why not put them in the crock pot with the sauce to heat everything together? It was a brilliant idea if I do say so myself. It’s always so messy heating spaghetti sauce as it can splatter about if you heat too high and a longer heat time allows the sauce to infuse with the meatballs to perfection!
I added my sauce and cooked meatballs to my slow cooker and heated on high for about 1 1/2 hours. It was most likely ready sooner but I wasn’t. Here’s my meatball recipe for today:
3 cloves garlic – minced
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 crushed red pepper
1/4 black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Form into meatballs; I made large meatballs today and go about 10 from the mixture. Bake at 375 degrees until cooked through; about 30 minutes for large size.
Add to sauce and heat as desired; serve with cooked pasta.
I know I’ve listed a lasagna before but this was so tasty I have to post another. This time we added in some spinach. I tend to over sauce and cheese my lasagna but I think this was the perfect blend of everything.
12 lasagna noodles
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup onion
8 o.z. sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno diced – if desired
2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt – more or less to taste
1 can whole tomatoes
1 to 2 jars spaghetti sauce – it just depends on how saucy you like it!
6 o.z. spinach
15 o.z. ricotta cheese
1 cup italian cheese blend
1 1/2 cups mozzarella
extra cheese for the top if desired
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside. In skillet combine ground beef, onion, garlic, mushrooms, jalapeno. Cook until meat is cooked through; drain if desired and season with oregano, thyme, marjoram, salt, pepper, and canned tomatoes. Meanwhile in separate bowl combine ricotta, egg, and italian cheese blend; set aside
In oiled casserole dish line spread a little sauce in bottom of baking dish; about 1/4 jar. Line 4 noodles across bottom of pan and spread 1/2 of the meat mixture. Top with 3 o.z. spinach, 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, and 1/2 jar of sauce. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup mozzarella and repeat with remaining ingredients. Top with last 4 noodles and a bit of remaining sauce and a sprinkle of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.
I was just thinking about this recipe a few days ago; little did I remember it was in our family cookbook that my Grandma put together many years ago. I have to admit I didn’t actually make it today but if my childhood memories of this are worth anything I know it is delicious. I am posting it as is was written but I have to admit I would probably add some garlic, italian herbs, and some parmesan if I were making it today.
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup diced onion
2 cups uncooked egg noodles
15 o.z. jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
1 cup mozzarella cheese
In skillet cook beef and onions until meat is brown and onions are tender. Butter a 2 quart casserole; spread uncooked noodles evenly in baking dish. Drain fat from beef and onions and sprinkle meat mixture evenly over top of noodles. Mix water and spaghetti sauce and pour over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes; sprinkle with cheese, return to oven and bake an additional 3 – 5 minute until cheese is melted and bubbly.
This manicotti came out so deliciously that I think the recipe speaks for itself. I did make mine a bit spicy with a spicy spaghetti sauce and crushed red pepper stirred in but I know this would be fantastic with any style sauce you choose.
Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti
8 o.z. dry manicotti noodles
8 o.z. fresh mushrooms ~ sliced or diced
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic ~ minced
1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 o.z. fresh spinach
15 o.z. ricotta
1 cup italian blend cheese (or a mozzarella and parmesan combination)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper if desired
1 jar spaghetti sauce
additional cheese for the top
Cook manicotti according to package directions. Careful not to over cook ~ they will finish cooking during the baking process.
Meanwhile cook mushrooms in olive oil over medium high heat about 8 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked as desired. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and spinach. Continue cooking about 2 more minutes until spinach is beginning to wilt. Remove from heat to cool. (I did not drain because the juices were very flavorful; it did make the cheese mix a bit wet but I think it was worth it for the flavor)
Combine ricotta, eggs, 1 cup of cheese and crushed red pepper. Stir into mushroom and spinach mixture.
Spread about 1/3 of the jar of spaghetti sauce in 9 X 13 pan. Fill manicotti with ricotta, mushrooms, and spinach mix. I used a zip lock bag with the corner cut out to fill each shell. I think this would have worked a bit better if I’d cut my mushrooms smaller and had a thicker cheese mix (perhaps chilling the mix would have firmed it up).
They were a bit sloppy but once filled I lined them up in baking dish.
I then topped with remaining sauce and some extra cheese.
Chill until ready to bake if making ahead. I was making these ahead so once ready to cook I heated the oven to 400 degrees and baked covered for 40 minutes. Then uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. I would think they may cook about 10 minutes faster if baking right away so adjust the time accordingly.
I found a couple of eggplant at the farmers market today and couldn’t wait to make some eggplant parmesan. I went with a fried then baked style dish. I only used one of the eggplant and it made just enough for the two of us. I could have eaten more of course, but I think this was ample enough to fill us up without over filling us.
Homemade Eggplant Parmesan
1 small eggplant
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/8 cup flour
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne if desired
italian cheese blend or mozzarella and parmesan
Begin by peeling eggplant; slice and sprinkle with salt ~ this will help keep it from darkening and will pull out some of the excess moisture from inside the slices.
Heat oil in large skillet. Meanwhile combine parmesan, flour, garlic, and cayenne. Place each slice in parmesan mixture. You may wish to rinse the eggplant first to remove excess salt. Pat each side to help parmesan stick; fry in hot oil for about 2 minutes each side.
Remove from skillet to paper towels to help eliminate excess oil.
Pour about 1/8 cup spaghetti sauce each into 2 buttered mini casseroles.
Place fried eggplant slices on top; add another 1/8 – 1/4 cup of sauce to each. Sprinkle each with desired amount of cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
I decided I wanted crab for dinner and couldn’t quite decide how to fix it. Once Charles go home I rattled off the ideas and stuffed shells just seamed perfect. This was a terrific combination. I considered using some cream cheese since I had some in the house but I don’t think it was necessary; I almost scrapped the idea completely since I didn’t have any ricotta. The mozzarella and goat cheese though worked perfectly. I did use real crab meat that I picked from the few legs I had in the freezer but I am sure a canned crab would work too. The fresh basil, jalapeno, and green onion added the perfect touch. Very meaty and cheese; just the way we wanted.
Stuffed Shells ~ Pasta shells with Crab and Goat Cheese
15 pasta shells
1 1/2 cups crab meat
6 o.z. goat cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 green onions ~ thinly sliced
1/2 jalapeno ~ diced
1 tsp fresh basil ~ chopped
1 jar spaghetti sauce
Cook shells according to package directions. Mix together crab meat, goat cheese, mozzarella, green onion, jalapeno and basil.
Place about 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce in large casserole dish. Stuff cooked shells with mixture and place in baking dish. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.