Spaghetti and Meatballs Dinner

Here’s another fall favorite…It makes a lot, so it’s great for company and plan on leftovers! You can make everything but the noodles in advance and keep it in the fridge overnight, then plug in the crock pot the next day and all you have to do is boil the noodles before you eat!

Stuffed mushrooms make a good appetizer for this meal…here’s the recipe!

Meatballs:
1 1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage (we get ours from the meat department at our grocery store, check to see if it’s gluten free)
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup gluten free bread crumbs (I use Rice Chex cereal, pulverized in the food processor)
2 eggs

Sauce:
3 large (29 oz.) cans tomato sauce or puree (check for gluten!)
5 cloves crushed garlic
1 large onion, diced
3 tsp. crushed basil
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage

In the crockery part of a large crock pot, brown the 1/2 lb. of sausage. Add the diced onion and cook until it starts to look transparent. Add all 3 cans of tomato sauce, the garlic and the basil. Bring to a boil. Take the crock pot off the burner and put it in the base, plug it in and let it simmer all day (if you’re cooking ahead, you can put the pot in the fridge overnight and plug it in the next day).

For the meatballs, combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Form into 1 inch balls and brown the balls in a large skillet on all sides. The meatballs will be raw inside…I have found that you have to beat away family members who want to sample them at the risk of contracting salmonella! Put the browned meatballs aside until an hour before dinner (I put them in a zip lock bag in the fridge).

An hour before dinner, add the meatballs to the simmering sauce. The sausage in the sauce and meatballs will season the spaghetti sauce so that you won’t need to add much in the way of seasoning! Serve the sauce and meatballs over gluten free noodles with a little Parmesan cheese on the side.

Side Salad:

I love to serve a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette when we have spaghetti. The salad is just your usual lettuce-and-vegetables, and the dressing is quick and easy to make and will keep well in the fridge. The flax seed in the dressing sounds weird, but it gives it a creamy texture without using something like mayonnaise (plus the omega acids in the flax are great for you!)

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp. prepared brown mustard
6-10 Greek olives
2 tbsp. ground flax seed

Put all ingredients in a blender (I love my Magic Bullet for this!) and blend on high until the dressing is creamy. Toss with the salad, and store the rest in the fridge for next time!

Dessert…Pumpkin Cheese Cake! I use this recipe, (you can also find it in the Thanksgiving Menu) but instead of the graham crackers I use about 3/4 package of Mi-del gluten free ginger snaps. You could use regular gingersnaps if you don’t have to be gluten free…you’ll need around 4 ounces but I usually use slightly more than that for a thicker crust because the ginger-snaps give the cheesecake an extra little kick! Plan ahead on this one, the cheesecake will need to sit in the fridge overnight.

Enjoy!

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