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Easy Cheap Spaghetti Dinner with Stuffed Meatballs

Okay so here’s a buget friendly receipe anyone can make.

This feeds my family of 4 with extras.
1 to 1/2 pounds of at least 90/10 ground meat (if you use regular 80/20 you are wasting your money and you will no leftovers and lots of grease to drain)
Italian Seasoning or Greek Seasoning
Good Parmigano Reggiano cheese (this can be optional but I’ll tell you how to buy and make it last at the end)
Minced garlic
Mozzarella cheese cubes or the cheese of your choice (the pre-packed string cheese they sell for children works great)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea salt & pepper
Italian bread crumbs
1 egg
Red sauce of your choice
Spaghetti or linguine or pasta of your choice 

For the meatballs you take either good ground meat about a pound or so (or gound turkey works well too and taste great!) and you add and palm full of either Italian seasoning or Greek Seasoning (found at any market) and before you add it take your other hand and grind it into the seasonings a bit then dump it in. A handfull of italian bread crumbs and if you have it good parmeseano regiano cheese (I give a few shopping tips on these items at the bottom for budgets). Also you will need about 1 egg and some sea salt a good three fingered pinch will do and then a little pepper and then some fresh minched garlic. Put all ingredients together and mix will with your hands until full mixed very well. Take some mozzerella or provolone cheese and cut into small cubes. Wrap a mall amount of the meat mixture around the cheese cube. Make sure you use plenty of the meat mixture and cover the cheese completely.

Now don’t forget to get plenty of water ready to boil for your noodles. I have used thin spaghetti and linguine for this and they both work well but use whatever you like.

Make all the meatballs before you start your pan, it works better. Now get the pan good and hot and then put in about 2 or 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and add the meatballs. Cook on medium heat until done. This takes about 15 to 20 minutes and if you time the meatballs with the spaghetti correctly they’ll both be done at the same time.

When your meatballs are almost done pour in whatever red sauce you’re going to use, the meat and the olive oil used to cook it in makes the sauce even better. If your sauce is too thick for your liking don’t dump out all the pasta water and add just a small ladelfull at a time to thin the red sauce to your preference. It works and it doesn’t taste watered down because of the pasta starch.

Now some budget and shopping tips:
If you buy cheap beef you not only are paying for FAT but you are wasting your money and you will only get one meal per package. I feed my hungry family of 4 on a 2lb package of 90/10 good ground meat AND we get 2 dinners out of that package and everyone is full and happy for less in the end. I might pay $7.50 for that package but when splitting it into two meals it comes to $3.75 per meal for the meat and I don’t have to drain the fat. As a matter of fact I add extra virgin olive oil or it’s too dry and the 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil are heart healthy and you can’t beat the flavor.

Cheese: Good parmeasn cheese is only found at the fresh deli case. It’s pricey BUT I buy it by the wedge, now I might pay $8 to $10 for that wedge (like I said, it’s pricey) BUT that wedge when used properly will last my family for approximately 3 to 4 weeks and we cut down on our salt intake and get more flavor and when you take that figure let’s say the high one $10 and divide it by 3 days a week times 3 weeks that wedge of cheese comes to $1.11 per meal and you can’t buy cheap cheddar for that price. You are also getting all the flavor and I use it over salads, a quick bread snack oven baked, over pasta dishes, chicken, steak and just about everything. Oh I almost forgot a household favorite, scrambled eggs with parmesean. You won’t need any salt and your kids will clean their plates and it’s all healthy. I hate the cost but when we stretch it out I don’t complain, but I do hide it to make it last.

Now the string cheese I use to stuff the meatballs you can use what you want but mozzerella or provolone (soft cheeses are the only ones that work best) are what I use and since I don’t want waste I buy the pre-packed cheese sticks they sell for kiddos and I only open and use what I need and the rest the kids get for snack time. So that’s double duty out of one package and those are cheap.

If you are like me and don’t like messing with garlic but love to cook with it, just buy it in the produce secion pre-minced in a jar and it will last you a good while. I buy a very small short jar and even as much as I use it it still lasts me a good while. Last one I bought was about 2 months ago and I’m still using it and it goes into 3 out of 7 nights of food or more so it’s worth my non-aggravation to buy it pre-shopped.

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September 13, 2010 - Posted by | Beginners Getting Started, Health and Wellness, How To Shop and Save Lots of Money, Life

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