Meatballs and Sauce

This is my mother-in-law’s recipe. Like many family recipes, this one had no written instructions. Fortunately, she was able to explain it well enough that I could write it down. This has been a regular meal in our family for nearly 40 years.

Meatball Ingredients:

2 lbs hamburger
1/2 cup bread crumbs (gluten free)*
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon dry onion flakes (or 1 teaspoon onion powder)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce**

* Panko has Gluten Free bread crumbs
** Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is Gluten Free

Sauce Ingredients:

2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Oregano



  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl.
  3. Form 1 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs and place on baking sheet. (I often put a
  4. Cook in oven until center of meatballs is no longer pink. This can be 25 minutes to 40 minutes depending on the size of the meatballs.
  5. Drain off the fat. (Not down the sink because it will harden in your pipes. I keep one of the tomato cans to pour the extra fat in.)


  1. In a large sauce pan, add the olive oil. Turn the heat to med/high.
  2. Saute the garlic and onion for a few minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. When the meatballs are done, add them into the sauce (after draining the fat). Let cook for another few minutes.

Serving options:
Serve as meatball sandwiches with submarine rolls or over cooked pasta.
Has cheese (shredded sharp Cheddar, Parmesan, shredded mozzarella) on hand as a topping.



This recipe can be doubled. Also, I usually add another can of tomato sauce to the recipe. When the meatballs are gone, the leftover sauce can be used for another spaghetti meal.

Ones and Twos:

This recipe can be halved. Also, leftover meatballs and sauce can be frozen. Place one or two servings in a freezer bag or storage container and freeze. Good for 2 months.

Health Needs:
Gluten Free: Use Gluten Free pasta or bread.
Vegan: Substitute sauteed vegetables for meatballs. Along with the garlic and onion, saute mushrooms, zucchini, grape tomatoes, etc. For the sauce.

Time Crunch:

This meal takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete. You can save time in two ways:

  1. It can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for 2 months. If you are going to freeze it, break it into smaller amounts so that it freezes faster.
  2. Another option to save time is to make a meat sauce instead of the meatballs and serve it over pasta. Use half of the hamburger and brown it at the time you are adding the garlic and onion to the sauce recipe (Step 2). Drain off the fat and then add the tomato sauce and spices. Simmer for 20 minutes. You can use the rest of the hamburger in another meal or freeze it. This saves you some money as well as well as cutting 15 to 20 minutes off the preparation and cooking time.

Complete Meals:

I consider this a complete meal, but a green salad is always a welcome addition.

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