Easy Pantry Marinara, Plus Meatballs

The Pig asked me recently to make her some Olive Garden style meatballs and pasta, and I said okay. Today was that day. I looked up copycat recipes and thought, "nope." So I figured I'd just have a go at it. These were really, really easy to make, and everyone liked them. She asked if she could have leftovers for breakfast tomorrow, which is basically the highest compliment she gives. Outside the meat and an egg for the meatballs, all other ingredients can come from the pantry. I am not a huge fan of meatballs, so it's most likely I'll keep making this sauce without those. Hope you enjoy!

Sauce:

1 14-ounce can each: stewed tomatoes, whole tomatoes
1/2c beef stock or water (I had leftover stock in the fridge, or I'd've used water)
big, healthy shake of each: dried mint, dried basil, dried marjoram or other oregano, dried thyme, garlic and onion powders
salt and pepper to taste

add-on: meat, if desired, and/or olives, and/or mushrooms

Put all of the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 15 or 20 minutes. Blend (I used the stick blender in the pot for this, but you can use a regular blender or just press on the tomatoes with the back of your spoon), then reduce for another 10-20 minutes. Serve over pasta. Serves 4.

Meatballs:

1 pound ground beef
1/3c bread crumbs
health shake each: dried mint, parsley, basil, thyme, garlic and onion powders
salt and pepper to taste
1 large egg
olive oil

Mix together all but the oil and egg with your hands. Then add the egg and finish mixing. Shape into balls of whatever size you want and fry in the oil, remembering to turn them periodically to brown all sides. We made 4 big meatballs with this, then fried the rest of it and added it to the sauce once the sauce was blended (I also added olives to my bowl).

No picture today because we plowed through it before I remembered.

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