Spaghetti and Meatballs (Meals Kids Should Know How to Cook Before Leaving Home)
Spaghetti and Meatballs is one of those dinners that everyone likes to eat, so it’s a great one to know how to cook it! The best part is that not only are homemade meatballs delicious, but they’re actually simple to prepare. It’s definitely one of those meals that every kid should know to cook before leaving home.
Over the last several months, I have been teaching my 11-year-old daughter Cate basic recipes that will serve her well when she leaves home one day. The last recipe we worked on was homemade tomato sauce. It only seemed natural to use our knowledge of making tomato sauce and tackle Spaghetti & Meatballs next! Cate and I got in the kitchen together and made a great spaghetti dinner that everyone in the family loved.
This was the first time Cate has ever worked with meat when cooking on her own. She was surprised that something so “slimy” and that “smelled funny” could turn into something so delicious! So, if it’s your first time, too, don’t worry. Working with raw meat might feel kind of funny the first few times, but don’t worry. You’re doing it right and the final product is worth it! Just remember to always wash your hands and any dishes that touch the raw meat very well with hot water and soap once you’re done preparing the meat!
Let’s get to the recipe – we give you Spaghetti and Meatballs!
Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe
Serves 4-6 people
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried minced onions
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 fresh garlic clove, minced or pushed through a garlic press
- 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 24-ounce jar store-bought tomato pasta sauce OR 1 batch of homemade tomato sauce
- 1-pound package spaghetti
1. Be sure to wash your hands before cooking!
2. Let the ground beef sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before preparing the meatballs. This makes it so the meat is not as cold and easier to handle with your hands. (If you forget this step, it’s okay! You can mix the meatballs right away, it just might feel a little cold on your hands.)
3. Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork.
4. In a large mixing bowl, add ground beef, bread crumbs, beaten egg, salt, basil, oregano, parsley, minced onions, black pepper and garlic. Mix together with a large spoon, pushing down with the spoon then stirring with the spoon, repeating the pushing and stirring motions until everything is very well mixed. Also, feel free to use your bare hands to mix it together, too!
6. Now it’s time to form the meatballs! Using a small (1 tablespoon) or medium (2 tablespoons) scoop, measure out the meatballs and place onto a large plate. It’s important to make sure the meatballs are the same size so they cook evenly. If you don’t have a scoop, use a tablespoon to measure out the balls. Once all the meatballs are formed, roll them between your hands to make them nice and round. We like to use our 2-tablespoon medium cookie scoop, which makes about 22 medium-sized meatballs. If you make 1-tablespoon-sized meatballs, you will end up with about 40-44 small meatballs.
7. Once you have formed all of the meatballs, heat a large, deep frying pan on the stove over medium heat, which is halfway on the stove dial (usually around number 5 on the dial). Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (you don’t need to measure precisely) to the pan. Let pan heat up for about 5 minutes.
8. Using tongs, carefully place meatballs in the pan, close to each other but not touching. Keep track of what order you place the meatballs in the pan so you can keep turning them in that order as they cook.
9. Let meatballs cook on the first side until they are starting to brown. Then rotate the meatballs to another side. Keep repeating until the meatballs are browned on all sides.
10. Once the outsides of the meatballs have been browned, pour all of the tomato sauce into the pan over the meatballs. Stir and cook on medium heat until the sauce starts to bubble. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring the meatballs every 5 minutes.
11. While the meatballs are simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add several large pinches of salt to the water as well as a few drops of oil (pro tip: the oil will keep the pot from boiling over when the pasta cooks). Once the water is boiling, add the spaghetti and cook the pasta according to the package directions, usually 10-12 minutes.
12. Drain the pasta in a colander. Serve spaghetti topped with meatballs and the tomato sauce!
Published April 15, 2016. Last updated July 19, 2017.