Homemade Garlic Bread & Meatballs

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I’ll never forget the first time I made meatballs for Dave (my then boyfriend).  I hadn’t cooked too much for him and well, to be honest, I just hadn’t cooked too much.  I was in college & living in the suburbs and he lived right outside the city.  I’d make dinner sometimes at his apartment and well, the night I made meatballs will be a night I NEVER forget.

I asked him while we were eating what he thought.  His response?  “I’ve had better.”  I’m pretty sure my heart broke.  I was so offended.  I mean, he was being honest but honesty isn’t ALWAYS the best, especially when you’re in a new relationship and your girlfriend is TRYING to cook for you. Hahaha

He apologized, trust me.  We now joke about it ALL of the time & guess what?  I don’t make meatballs anymore.  Ever.  I refuse to & haven’t since that last time.  He ALWAYS makes the meatballs in our house and I hate to admit this, but they’re the best friggin’ meatballs I’ve ever had.

((Ok, I may have made them once or twice since then & he loves them now. BUT, I know the trick – LOTS of seasoning, breadcrumbs, onion & garlic!!! THAT’S the trick!))

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Usually we follow one of Giada’s recipes for her turkey meatballs and we just don’t use turkey (sometimes we do but I’m just not as big of a fan of ground turkey as I am ground beef).  My husband made her meatballs one time and they were my absolute favorite.  Recipe here.  For these meatballs he sort of did his own thing without following a recipe.

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For the meatballs he mixed everything together in a large bowl & then used his hands to form them into balls.  The beef we used was 80/20 which is why you see all of the grease on the bottom of the pan.  They were super tasty though!!!  For the meatballs he used this recipe:

Meatballs:

1 ½ lbs ground beef (80/20)

2 tablespoons fresh basil (chopped)

2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)

3 tablespoons ketchup

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

Mix it all up in a large bowl & use your hands to shape into meatballs!  Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

*This recipe is estimates.  My husband did not measure out each of his ingredients but I eyeballed him doing it & that’s my best guess.  If it’s too runny, add more breadcrumbs.  Not wet enough add more Worcestershire sauce/ketchup.

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I decided to try & make my own italian bread.  Guys, this is sad but every time I try to make my own bread (and there have been many attempts) it turns out to be very dense.  Ok, maybe more like VERY dense.  Seriously – It’s like a brick.  Then I realized it was most likely because the yeast and/or baking powder I was using was expired.  Yep, hate to admit it.  You live & you learn, right?

So if you continue to fail like I used to, remember to check ALL of your ingredients to make sure they’re not expired.  It’s easy to have expired baking ingredients when you don’t bake frequently.

Anyway, the italian bread recipe I used is here: Girl Versus Dough – Italian Bread and I must say it turned out PERFECTLY. Ok, mine may not be as pretty as hers is but this is the first time making it and I was a little skeptical.  I’ll DEFINITELY make this again though! It was perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Italian Bread

AUTHOR: GIRL VERSUS DOUGH

PREP TIME:  1 HOUR 15 MINS

COOK TIME:  20 MINS

TOTAL TIME:  1 HOUR 35 MINS

YIELDS: 1 LARGE LOAF INGREDIENTS

  • 2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) Red Star active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 2½ cups bread or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, sugar and warm water. Let stand 5 minutes until yeast is foamy.
  2. Add 2 cups flour, olive oil and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand 10 minutes, adding just enough of the remaining flour until a soft, smooth and elastic dough forms; OR, increase dough hook speed to medium and knead dough in stand mixer 5 minutes, adding just enough of the remaining flour until a soft, smooth and elastic dough forms.
  3. Shape dough into a ball; place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise 1 hour until doubled.
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or lightly grease the surface with oil or cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, punch down dough, then carefully shape into a batard/torpedo about 12 inches long. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let rise another 20 minutes until puffy.
  5. Use a serrated knife to make a few ¼-inch deep slits in the surface of the loaf. Bake loaf 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.
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I sliced it down the middle & turned it into garlic bread.  I softened 1 stick of butter and mixed in 1 tablespoon garlic powder, a dash of crushed red pepper, and 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley.  I mixed it all up & spread it on both sides of the bread.

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Then I coated ½ of it with cheddar cheese.

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Bake it in the oven for approximately 8 minutes to melt the butter and cheese into the bread.  I wish I could share how yummy my house smelled.  Every time I cook with garlic I always say “MMMMM it smells so good, just like my Mimoms!”  I swear every time we would go to my Mimoms growing up it always smelled like a yummy freshly baked garlic dish.  I think everything she cooks has garlic in it and well, garlic is pretty much my favorite smell in the whole world!!! Wonderful childhood memories!! 🙂

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I sliced my bread into little garlic slices.

Cook your spaghetti according to package directions & drain.

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Viola!  We have leftovers for the entire week as well.  My spaghetti sauce was store bought (c’mon… I made the garlic bread & my husband made the meatballs so that was enough “homemade” items for the night!)

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What’s your favorite meatball recipe??

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