I love make-ahead recipes so that on busy evenings when dinner gets the short stick on time, it doesn’t have to get the short stick on homemade goodness, and this sauce is one of my favorites because it works as a flavorful base sauce for many Italian-style recipes, including, of course, spaghetti and meatballs!
You can cut this recipe in half if you’re just making enough for a meal with a bit of leftovers, but why would you do that? Make this doubled recipe, or even double it again! This sauce freezes well and can be pulled out weeks and months later to shortcut many recipes requiring a tomato-based sauce, which is why I recommend making the sauce without any meat first, storing away the extra then adding meat as it’s called for in your recipes.
How to make Basic Italian-Style Tomato Sauce:
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
6 cans tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried or 2 tablespoons fresh basil
2 teaspoons dried or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, chopped (optional)
2 cups water
Simmer, covered, one hour, stirring occasionally. Simmer another hour uncovered. (Discard bay leaf when sauce is finished.)
For spaghetti sauce: Add cooked ground beef (and meatballs!) along with other vegetables, sauteed with the beef, as desired–peppers, mushrooms, etc. (Amounts depending on how much sauce you’re using for spaghetti.)
Also use for pizza sauce, and for a base sauce to shortcut lasagna. In Pepperoni Lasagna, use 3 cups Basic Italian-style Tomato Sauce to shortcut the recipe. Simply add the cooked sausage and ground beef!
To store: Use a ladle or large scoop (a measuring cup works good) and place in freezer bags.
And now for Georgia’s meatballs–yes, these are Georgia’s meatballs! (You know they’re good already.)
How to make Georgia’s Meatballs:
sliced bread (8 slices if using regular storebought sandwich bread–or if using Grandmother Bread, slices may be slightly larger, use 6)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons salt (or to taste)
1/2 cup dried or 1 cup fresh parsley
2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 cup fresh-grated or Kraft shredded Parmesan cheese
3 pounds ground beef
Soak slices of bread one at a time in a bowl of water, dipping each side of the slices then tearing in pieces and placing in another bowl. Add remaining ingredients to bowl with bread. I like to get all the other ingredients together then add the meat. Now get ready for your hands to be a mess. Prepare your pans in advance and get your hands in there. No sissies allowed when you’re making meatballs. Mix ingredients together well with your hands then shape into balls. Be one with the meatball. Be the meatball. I’d have pictures of this but I’m a one-woman operation here and I would never touch my camera when my hands are that messy.
Meatballs as far as the eye can see.
I’m fixing a double batch here–make twice the meatballs and delay the next time you need to make meatballs and get your hands this messy. Did I say need to make meatballs? Yes, meatballs are like water or oxygen, a necessity of life. What is life without meatballs?
Georgia’s Meatballs can be baked or fried.
To bake meatballs:
Place meatballs in greased pans and bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes, depending on the size of your meatballs. Test for doneness.
To fry meatballs:
Roll meatballs lightly in flour and fry in hot olive oil–approximately 5 minutes uncovered then another 3-5 minutes covered (depending on size of meatballs), turning frequently to brown on all sides. Test for doneness.
Makes approximately 50 meatballs. For spaghetti, add to simmering sauce. Also great for meatball sandwiches or as appetizers (stick a toothpick in them to serve on an appetizer plate). These freeze well–store extras in freezer baggies for later use!
Want a meatball? They’re soooo good! And don’t forget the French bread!