Any way you look at it meatball casserole screams comfort. We were in desperate need of some food love in this house. While I am leery of ever using food as comfort, there are certain foods that just fill a soul with warmth. That deep down satisfying, warm, savory food that fills every bare crack. That is what this saucy meatball casserole smothered in sheep’s milk cheese did for me. Comfort, the warming of my soul.
That is for the few minutes that I was able to actually enjoy this over that much too addicting sweet potato gnocchi. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. That stuff is amazing. Especially when you have a few hearty meatballs smothered in the tomato-less marinara all topped with that melted, stringy, gooey cheese.
Then reality smacked me in the face. While being totally in-tuned to this deliciousness, letting my mind escape the chaos I was soon awoken to reality. The reality that our 7 month old is smearing the sauce all over her hair, the two-year old dropped a meatball on the floor (lucky for the pup), and the four-year old was having yet another meltdown about not being five. Can we say #fouryearoldproblems, wow!
Three kids is a lot of work. Three girls is a lot of emotions. One puppy is insane. A husband on a work trip leaving me home to all of this, there are no words (or no nice words to describe this). I’m trying not to be bitter. I’m really focusing on the positives in this situation. I know there are quite a few. But for a split second I thought about calling his boss to explain what life is like when my husband is far from home.
The thoughts creep in that the hubs is enjoying quiet, peaceful nights, uninterrupted sleep, dinners out without the worry of prepping, cooking or cleaning and watching TV… in bed, until his eyes get heavy and he falls fast asleep.
But I’m working on positivity. Finding joy in all circumstances, even this one.
The crazy life that I live wondering if anyone else experiences the chaos that is in our home. Wondering how they get their two-year old to actually get dressed in the morning, let alone comb her hair. To get the four-year old to actually understand that being four isn’t so bad and that five will come. And that seven-month old, could you please, please, please tell her that she is perfectly fine to sleep through the night. While I do love to snuggle, momma needs some much-needed sleep.
Oh and did I mention Boomer, the 10 week old puppy. He is a whole different story. So full of life, yet so full of terror. Lucky for him he got a taste of the meatball casserole and enjoyed sleeping on the hubs pillow. [If you’re reading this babe, I’m not sorry. I’d tell you I’d change the sheets but that would mean that I would also have to do the other five loads of laundry that are needing done. Get over it and pretend like you never read this.]
And to think the comfort in it all is the fact that although this family, this very crazy, chaotic, emotional family is perfect in a very imperfect sort of way. While I’d like to tell you one day I have it all figured out, I don’t and I don’t think I ever will. It is one day at a time, one choice at a time and through it all we still manage to eat together, as a family and this night it happened to be this. The comfort my stomach needed to relax at the end of a very busy day.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground Beef
- 1 lb Italian Sausage
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 tsp garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ cup flaxmeal
- ½ cup broth
- 2 tsp dried basil or 1 Tbsp fresh basil
- freshly cracked salt & pepper
- 3-4 cups tomato-less marinara
- 1-2 cups Manchego cheese
- In a large skillet add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Heat over medium heat.
- Add chopped onion and saute until tender. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant 1-2 minutes.
- Remove and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile in a large bowl mix together the beef, sausage, oregano, garlic powder, basil, salt, pepper, and cooled onion mixture.
- In a small bowl mix broth and flaxmeal to form a slurry, add to meat mixture.
- Combine thoroughly and shape into balls the size of golf balls.
- Heat the large skillet again over medium heat. Add additional 1 Tbsp olive oil and sear meatballs on all sides. Complete in batches if needed.
- Once seared, place in casserole dish and top with tomato-less marinara.
- Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes, remove and top with shredded cheese. Continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes or until cheese has melted.
- Remove and garnish with chopped fresh basil.