October 16, 2018
by Natalie Dicks
Baked spaghetti and meatballs is a delicious and cheesy twist on a classic. Full of flavor and very easy to assemble. This comforting dish is a family favorite!
I recently shared a quick and easy skillet dinner
Something about fall makes me want to make casseroles and soup every night of the week. The only thing is my kids aren’t huge fans. They’re not picky, they just don’t like when everything is served together. Separate it all and they’ll devour it. Our 5 year old has almost grown out of that phase, but our three year old… that’s a story for another day.
Lately I’ve been making meals that are easy to separate (like the skillet meal I linked to above). However, they both love spaghetti and meatballs so I was pretty sure this would be a win with the two of them.
I was right! They twirled the pasta, carefully cut their meatballs and oohed and aahed over how stretchy the cheese was. No complaints! 🙌
It also helped that my 3 year old made the dish with me. I think that’s a huge part of getting kids to eat, allowing them to learn hands-on how food is made and what goes into it.
Speaking of what goes in it. Let’s talk about these meatballs. This is my go-to recipe. We make them all of the time!
What ingredients do you need to make homemade meatballs?
- Breadcrumbs (regular, Italian, or panko)
- Milk (whole or buttermilk)
- Beef or pork (or a combo)
- Dried seasonings and herbs
The key to this recipe is letting the breadcrumbs soak in the milk, then whisking the egg into it. To get soft, tender meatballs you don’t want to overwork the mixture. You’d be surprised what a difference a gentle hand makes!
Brown the meatballs on all sides in a large skillet. You want the to be fully cooked before you bake them.
Transfer them to a plate, then use the fat from the meatballs to saute the garlic. A little extra garlic adds a nice flavor to the entire dish, especially since I used a jar of marinara sauce instead of homemade (again, cutting down on time and ingredients).
Add the meatballs back into the sauce, along with the cooked noodles and cheese. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and then bake until bubbly and the cheese turns golden brown.
We served up this dish with a big salad and a side of dutch oven garlic parmesan artisan bread. This is one meal we could eat every night of the week and the entire family would be happy. I hope you’ll love it as much as we do!
Need more recipes? Subscribe to my email list! Simply enter your email in a subscription box located on the right hand side of the blog or scroll below the recipe and sign up there. You’ll receive posts, newsletters and so much more!
For the meatballs:
- 3/4 c. breadcrumbs
- 1/4 c. milk or buttermilk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 lb. ground pork
- 1/3 c. parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 24 oz. marinara sauce
- 2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
- 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk. Let sit for 4 minutes, then whisk in the egg. Add the beef, pork, cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, onion powder, and black pepper. Mix gently until combined. Do not overmix.
- In a large skillet set over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, form the mixture into meatballs and place into the skillet to cook. Brown on all sides. The meatballs should be fully cooked.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package’s directions. Drain and set aside.
- Remove the meatballs from the skillet and transfer to a lined plate. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Pour in marinara, return the meatballs to the skillet. Simmer on medium low heat for 15 minutes.
- Stir in cooked spaghetti, along with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese.
- Sprinkle remaining cheeses over top. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to set for 10 minutes before serving.