[More photos follow at bottom of post.]
This was my favorite meal when I was growing up. Mom always made it for my birthday or any other special meal. We spent our Thanksgiving apart with Jen and our infant daughter, Nellie at home and our one-year-old, Jake and me at the hospital. Jake’s getting over his pneumonia and we’re making up for lost time. This is what we had for our belated Thanksgiving dinner. We had planned to have it on Thanksgiving day, but Jake and I ended up spending the holiday in the hospital while he was treated for pneumonia and Jenny and Nellie celebrated at home. (Note: My mom died this spring and she is on our minds this holiday season. The following recipe is written in her words for a family recipe book that was compiled several years ago. She added some of her personality to the recipe for sure!)
Meatballs and Spaghetti (Wingler Style) by Jerry Wingler
1 pound ground chuck, 1 quart home-canned tomato juice, 2 slices white bread, 1/2 medium onion-chopped, garlic powder to taste, parmesan cheese, bay leaves, 1 egg, 1/2 pound spaghetti, 1 can kidney beans, salt and pepper to taste, Velveeta cheese (Wade adds 2 Tablespoons of Splenda)
Mix ground chuck, egg, bread, onion, and approximately 1 teaspoon of garlic powder (never garlic salt). Make golfball-sized meatballs. Fry in a skillet (covered) over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Cook spaghetti in Dutch oven (or a big pot, because Winglers eat a lot and you’ll have a big dish when you finish). (Adding a teaspoon of oil to the spaghetti will help keep it from sticking.) Drain off water. Pour the quart of tomato juice on top of the spaghetti and place on burner over low heat. As the juice begins to heat, add the Velveeta cheese. It’s hard to say just how much, because I’ve never measured it. Just add cheese until the tomato juice is pink and the spaghetti is coated. I estimate the amount to be approximately 1 cup of cheese. At this point, add some more garlic and a couple of bay leaves. When the cheese is melted, add the meatballs. Stir and let simmer approximately 10 minutes. CAUTION! Dish is easily scorched. Watch your simmer time. While simmering, heat the can of kidney beans in a small saucepan (or in the microwave).
Serve the spaghetti and meatballs from the pot. True Winglers will spoon the beans over the spaghetti and cover with Parmesan cheese. I usually accompany the dish with garlic bread and a salad or cottage cheese. It will serve 4 Winglers comfortably (or 6 regular people). Mandy and I preferred mostly spaghetti when the kids were home, and Wade and Phil ate most of the meatballs!
Editorial notes: Mandy is my sister and Phil was my father. I estimate the amount of Velveeta at 2-3 cups. Mom was being modest! <grin> I also add about 2 Tablespoons of Splenda sweetener.
Want other great recipes? Check out my friend Sara’s awesome food blog: Sold Gold Eats