Debbie Dance Uhrig
One of the most popular sandwiches, particularly amongst young people are meatball subs. Depending upon the region in which you live these filling sammies are also referred to as grinders. As many of my readers and friends know I’m always one for making foods in advance for the deep freeze. In example two weeks ago my assistant and I canned 14 pints of this spaghetti sauce. We gaged the cost at approximately .91 or .95 per pint. (Does not include cost of jars.) If you have a garden this summer and it includes peppers, onions and tomatoes you’ll be able to achieve this for substantially less.
You will note in my recipe the tomato sauce is made with all canned tomatoes. I wrote this recipe in January or February a couple of years ago and fresh tomatoes were not an option. This doesn’t mean it cannot be modified once summer produce arrives. In fact I would consider putting in lots of additional vegetables like finely diced carrot, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, leek, chives, celery and fresh herbs. To avoid a possible watery outcome cook the softer vegetables and then drain before bringing them into the sauce.
In the years before Phillip, our son, was born my husband, Ervin and I would do no meat spaghetti and enjoy chunky vegetables in our sauces. When I first created this sauce Phillip informed me he didn’t like the chunky outcome. So I did my ‘wonder-woman-mom’ move and got out the submersible blender and made the sauce totally smooth! I served it again at a later time and he thought it was great. You will also find that if you allow the sauce to cook down it thickens more and more making it perfect for homemade pizzas. Speaking of pizzas this week I froze about six pre-made pizza crusts for quick meals this summer.
On the meatballs I have found over the years that dry onion flakes seem to stay in the ground meat better than fresh. They’re also easier to ‘disguise’ than fresh seem to be. I bake my meatballs on parchment paper in a jelly-roll pan. You can also cook meatballs in a pan of boiling water. When they rise to the top they are done. This removes a great deal more fat for those seeking a leaner outcome. The only problem is disposing of the grease/water. For those in the country it’s an easy solution, you just throw it in the woods. Those in town find it a bit more difficult to dispose of the cooking water and grease.
You can cook the meatballs, drain, cool and bag for the freezer right along with the sauce. When all the kids roll in on Friday or Saturday night just start getting them out and serving on a submarine roll. We like to toast our bread with a light coating of vegetable spray. I also make a wedge cut in the bottom side of the bread which cradles the meatballs. We would hate to have anyone out there singing ‘On top of Spaghetti’, with their meatballs rolling off the table etc., etc.
I usually plan on about 4 meatballs per person and I finish the sammies off with a light sprinkling of mozzarella cheese over the top. These are so filling you won’t need much more to feed the masses.
I hope the sun is shining and the heavy rains are behind us. Enjoy each day, Simply yours, The Covered Dish.
2 1/2 lbs. ground Boston chuck, uncooked
(1/3 pork and 2/3 ground chuck blend)
1/2 cup dry onion flakes
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dry basil leaves
2 cups Italian bread crumbs
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Line a jelly-roll pan (low sides) with parchment paper. Roll the meat into balls about the size of a half dollar. Evenly space the meatballs on the parchment paper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes for half a batch and closer to 25 minutes for an entire batch.
For a meatball sandwich toast the hoagie style bun before filling with the meatballs and sauce. Top the sandwich with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Meatballs can be submerged in the sauce or the sauce can be poured over the meatballs in the sandwich setting. Easy to bake, drain, cool and freeze for later use. Yields approximately 60 meatballs.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6-8 small sweet peppers, chopped
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cans (8 oz. ea.) tomato sauce
28 ounces crushed tomatoes, pureed
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dry basil
Determine the use of the spaghetti sauce before you start with the chopping. This is because you may want ‘chunky’ vegetables and other times very fine. You may wish to use this sauce totally smooth for a homemade pizza sauce or lasagna sauce. (This is what I did.)
In a large stockpot sauté the onion & sweet peppers in olive oil. Towards the end bring in the garlic being careful not to overbrown, making the garlic bitter. Add the dry red wine and cook over medium low heat reducing to about half. Add Worcestershire sauce, white pepper, pureed tomatoes, ketchup, paste, sugar and basil. Cook over medium low heat until the sauce comes to a boil. Lower temperature to simmer and place lid on pot. Cook for as long as you can try to settle for a minimum of one hour. Yields approximately six cups of sauce
Our son, Phillip, likes ‘smooth’ spaghetti sauce and doesn’t like to see the peppers and onions so after the mixture cooled I blended the entire recipe. The sauce was so rich and thick that it would have worked great with pizza!
This is just a simple ‘bare bones’ tomato sauce. There are so many ways to change this out. Use different vegetables like celery, zucchini, squash, leek or chives. I didn’t use many spices so grab a few of your favorites and enhance! Phillip insisted on putting ketchup in the recipe, you might want to add vinegar or a couple shots of mustard.
Get your taste buds ready because if you’re not used to tasting fresh homemade tomato sauce it can be a surprise. We used ours the first night over spaghetti and the rest with eggplant parmesan.