Spaghetti & Meatballs


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.

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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.)

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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
3 eggs
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!

See these recipes at Farm Bell Recipes for the handy print pages and to save them to your recipe box:
Italian-Style Tomato Sauce
Baked or Fried Meatballs

See All My Recipes
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  1. Carolyn A. says:

    Wow! I must have slept right through breakfast and lunch because I see dinner on the table already. Mmmm! I love some spaghetti and meatballs. Georgia and Suzanne you sure know how to wet our appetites. Thanks! xxoo

  2. Heidi says:

    That looks so dang good – I think I know what to have for supper!!! LOL

  3. happyathome says:

    There are a lot of meatballs there! Looks so good…..You can’t beat Italian and so easy to freeze for later! Last week I tried meatballs with ground beef and seasoned turkey sausage whcih was really good! Convenient that you don’t have to add the seasonings since it was in the sausage.

  4. Blaze says:

    Ooooo looks tastey!

  5. Fannie M Wiggins says:

    That does look delicious alright. :hungry: But since I was given a pizza party for my birthday yesterday, I think I’ wait a few days. I have a really good meatball recipe that an Italian friend gave me that I use . Mine calls for the meatballs to be rolled in seasoned bread crumbs before frying. Yummy I haven’t tried baking them. Georgia’s look a lot easier to make than mine. I will definitely give her’s a try. :yes: Have a great day and :hug: to all.

  6. Beckynsc says:

    I have been looking for a good sauce recipe, I think I found one.
    Now if I could just find the time to try it! :yes:

  7. Crystal B. says:

    Yum! I am craving spaghetti and meatballs now. 🙂

  8. Missy in Hurricane West Virginia` says:

    Can you “can” this sauce? I am raising a garden (not as big as yours) and you know how all the tomatoes come in close together.

    I just wanted to tell you, I really love Chickens in the Road, and I have even got my friends reading it.I read these bloggs and they remind me of my childhood. That was such a happy time. You are a great writer ….and thanks for the memories

  9. Diane says:

    YUM_O!! Those meatballs and sauce would also make some killer Calzones made with some of your bread dough and a little mozzarella cheese! Great. Now I’m starving.

  10. Sharon Elkins says:

    Darn, I said I wasn’t going to read your site until AFTER lunch, and here I am once again starved reading and looking at Spaghetti and Meatballs. YUM!!!

  11. Susan says:

    I think I know what we are having for supper tonight! :shimmy:

  12. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Hi, Missy! I don’t know any reason you couldn’t can it, you’d just have to follow instructions for canning similar type sauces!

  13. Karen B says:

    :hungry: Looks soooooooo good!

  14. Employee No. 3699 says:

    I make meatballs ahead (about 80 large ones) and freeze them too. I also do meatloaves and stuffed peppers/cabbage.

    When I make the “balls” I bake them in the oven. I never heard of rolling them in flour or bread crumbs before frying them. Is that so they’ll keep their shape?

    Hope you have a wonderful day!

  15. Amy Addison says:

    Freezing marinara is the BEST. Just pop it in freezer baggies or can/freeze jars in serving sizes (a quart bag for a meal, a pint for a single serving) press flat and lay in freezer. Perfect for a quick dinner. I tried canning it one year, but it just took too long. For the time I spent, I could have just made it from scratch each meal.

    BTW, love the picture of the garden. How is YOUR garden looking?

  16. Suzanne McMinn says:

    I figure coating them, whether with flour or bread crumbs, is to add the typical fried coating and texture. I’ve fried them without any coating and that works out fine, too!

  17. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Amy, maybe I’ll post another picture of my garden soon so everyone can laugh, LOL.

  18. Donna says:

    OMG! Georgia has my late mother’s meatball recipe! It looks just the same..but my mother’s said to dampen bread and sqeeze or something..easier than soaking each slice – I am not that patient. LOL
    Also mother just fried her – and they were good and crunchy – – in a regular skillet on the stove. I have also baked them, when not in the mood to fry. I LOVE those meatballs..I will not eat any other. Well, have not FOUND any other that is that good. She used the regular Kraft powdered Parmesan, not grated. I have done it that way AND with fresh Parmesan, grated (it is authentic if the rind is stamped – other wise it is not)…but I prefer the powdered Parmesan – meaning it SAYS grated, but LOOKS like powder. But, that is just my preference. I think the meatballs and sauce taste BETTER the next day…after the meatballs sit in the sauce overnight. Again, that is me. How I LOVE those meatballs! You can even do meatball subs on your FRENCH BREAD!!!! Slap on some Provolone cheese or something and melt it…hot and melty!

  19. Donna says:

    P.S. – when my mother used to fry her meatballs (again, not floured first), my sister sometimes stood there and picked the crunchy parts off a few meatballs and that irked me. LOL
    I forgot to mention she also said remove the crusts on the bread…but I just dampen them and sort of sqeeze it and then break it all up and yes, I get all my stuff in the bowl first, before I mix in the meat…and I don’t mix too much, as I learned it makes them tough.

  20. Darlene says:

    I’m going to love this recipe…I’ve never baked my meatballs before, it looks easier than frying them. I’m all for making large batches then freezng them for those days you don’t feel like cooking 🙂

  21. Brandy says:

    Hm. I never heard of frying the meatballs. I’ve been making my families recipe (handed down) for all my married years, but this looks good too. May have to try it. *G*

  22. catslady says:

    You finally have a recipe for something I know how to make lol. I come from a family of Sicilians on both side. They always made it from fresh tomatoes that they canned for all year. I made it for the first 20 years until the kids didn’t care if I used Ragu which I would doctor up. I do miss it but then I ate too much when I made my own lol. The chili powder was a new ingredient but sounds interesting. Frying tastes better but baking is better for you 🙂

  23. Estella says:

    Everything looks yummy!

  24. IowaCowgirl says:

    This looks wonderful. I think I’ll make it tonight. My guys are either working for the power companies or sandbagging the floods here near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and I bet they will appreciate the meatballs if they get home tonight!

  25. TeresaH says:

    mmmm….spaghetti sounds good…and yours looks yummy! I love homemade spaghetti sauce. :hungry:

  26. Annette says:

    YUM, Another varation you may like is using ground italian sasuage in place of hamburger!

  27. FidLdd says:

    Spaghetti & Meatball Recipe
    When reading your instuctions “Be one with the meatball.Be the meatball.” I laughed so hard it scared my cat sleeping in my lap.He ran down the hall lickity split with his legs going cartoon fashion( legs going faster than body!!)He then managed a turn and slid right into my bedroom door.
    Ouchin Meow!!.Suzanne,I’m new here this afternoon and extremely happy to find you through Webby and Thrify Fun.So much youve done and expertly.So Much I still need to see. Thank You.

  28. Gen says:

    This is great, I’ve always heard (and wondered)how Chicago style pizza is different. You’re description is incredibly helpful. I just made my first pizza dough last week and might try this now!

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