3 INGREDIENT FIX: MEATBALLS & SAUCE

If you follow my 60 second videos on Instagram* (and who doesn’t????) You saw this yesterday.  Here’s the complete story and what I did with the recipe.  Follow me on Instagram at askmehowiknowcb.  The story is about a past show on Food Network called “Five Ingredient Fix”.  That inspired me to make this “3 ingredient Fix”.   And, here’s how I “doctored” it up and made it even more dee-lish!

MEATBALLS/SAUCE/CHEESE LO CARB DINNER

Start with 1 package prepared, uncooked meatballs.   Or, of course you can make your own.  OR, if you are lucky enough to know my daughter in law, maybe Laurie will make them for you!

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Found these at Safeway and Bashas in the meat dept.  Several flavors and pretty good!

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1 jar Pasta Sauce.  I was almost embarrassed to show Ragu in my video, but it’s what I had on hand, and honestly, if you read any of my blogs about taste tests, you would know that our family loves to do them. When my kids ask what I’d like to do on Mother’s Day, I often say Taste Test!  We’ve done olive oils, canned tomatoes, Frozen fish sticks, and many others.  Everybody brought their favorite Jarred sauce and we did a blind test.  There were lots of favorites.  And no clear winner, although Trader Giotto’s marinara was one favorite.  I personally love when Safeway has Classico on sale 2 for $5.  If this subject is fascinating to you, google Jarred Pasta Sauces and read the Critic’s top 13. There were several I’ve never heard of.  But it’s an entertaining review.   Trader Giotto’s was in the top 6.  Rao’s was high up.  (We liked it too, but it’s $9).  San Marzano by Silver Palate another good one.  Lidia’s too.  The winner, which makes me want to find it in a store, was Guy Fieri’s sauce.  I didn’t even know he sold a jarred sauce!  I just know that taste tests are lots of fun.  And nobody has to agree!

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Here’s another good one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 roll fresh sliced mozzarella (or your choice of any good mozzarella).    I use about 1/2 of the fresh I buy at Costco.  Of course you could also grate your own from one of those drier balls of Mozzarella.  And a little extra parmesan or Asiago never hurt!!

This time I decided to make a different ‘fancy’ version of our dinner.  My neighbor gave me a little carton of heavy whipping cream and I added the whole thing to the jar of sauce.  To really upgrade it, you could add vodka.  (one of those little airport sizes is perfect.  Just be sure you simmer it long enough to get rid of the alcohol…)

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I added some sliced onion cause I had it in the fridge.  Totally optional.

Method:  First, I browned the meatballs a few minutes in a couple of Tbs. Olive oil, tossing them until they  cooked  lightly brown.  In a separate pan, I heated the sauce and added the cream.  Simmer lightly about 7 or 8 minutes.  Pour the sauce over the meatballs, cover with mozzarella, and bake at 350 about 30-35 minutes.  I like to bake it until  the cheese browns lightly.IMG_6094

SERVING:  Of course, for a lo carb meal, simple serve the meatballs and sauce together with a salad.  If you really want a decadent Pasta dinner, cook some Penne, Pappardelle, or Angel Hair — pick your favorite, and serve the sauce over.  A little crusty garlic bread or bread sticks make it a great dinner!

ONE MORE NOTE:  While writing this, I realized that I speak flippantly about changing recipes, because I’ve cooked for so long and have no fear of trying crazy additions.  But maybe you aren’t like that and you have no idea what I mean when I say you can “Doctor” up your jarred sauce.  So, if you’d like to try it, here’s a simple suggestion:

In a skillet or heavy saucepan, saute a small chopped onion and a couple of cloves of crushed garlic for about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup red wine, 1 Tbs. of sugar and a couple of Tbs. of Balsamic vinegar.   A tsp. or so of dried Italian seasoning or fresh Basil is great.   Simmer about 5 minutes, or till wine reduces slightly.  Add to the jarred sauce, stir together,  and cook 5 minutes.  Then pour over the meatballs and finish the baking as above.  Other good additions could be chopped olives, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, dried chili flake if you like spice.  Knock yourself out!!!


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