Smoked Mozarella Meatballs and Marinara Sauce (WB)

These meatballs were so easy and delicious to make. To make them “Wheat Belly friendly,” (WB), I used fresh chopped Portobello mushrooms instead of my fresh GF Italian breadcrumbs. They still turned out wonderful. If you plan on storing for future meals in the fridge, I would suggest keeping the meatballs and marinara separate until ready to put under the broiler with cheese for a single serving. It could also be frozen this way too. This recipe makes about 20 meatballs. Are you ready for some yumminess? Then here we go:

Ingredients for marinara sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 cup red wine

1 28-ounce can crushed plum tomatoes in puree (I like San Marzano tomatoes)

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Ingredients for meatballs:

1-1/2 pounds of fresh ground chuck

1 pound fresh bulk mild Italian sausage

1 cup Portobello mushrooms, chopped fine.

1/2 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1-1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 large eggs, beaten

8 ounces of fresh smoked mozzarella, shredded

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon of granulated garlic

1 tablespoon of olive oil, with an additional 1 tablespoon to sauté mushrooms in


To make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes, until a little golden. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Add in 1 cup of red wine, stirring from bottom to make sure nothing sticks. Let simmer uncovered on medium-low for about 30-45 minutes until the sauce thickens a little, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While oven is preheating, get a small pan and saute the chopped mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium high for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in dried basil, thyme, oregano. and granulated garlic. In a large bowl, place the ground chuck, Italian sausage, seasoned mushrooms, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, eggs. Mix together with your hands, being careful not to handle too much. Form the meat mixture into 1-1/2 inch sized meatballs and place on a cookie sheet in evenly spaced rows. Drizzle meatballs very lightly with olive oil. Place in oven on 375 and let bake until done, about 25-30 minutes. The meatballs should be a little firm to touch but still feel tender and juicy.

Crank the oven to broil. Transfer the meatballs to an oven proof 9 x 13 glass rectangular dish or stainless steel 12-inch skillet. Smother sauce over each individual meatball. Sprinkle each meatball with a dome of shredded smoked mozzarella. Place in oven under broiler for about 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden brown and bubbly. Remove and serve hot. Enjoy!

Any salad of your choice would go with this, but a nice cold or grilled Romaine Caesar salad would be stellar!

Courtesy of Bridget Jones, personal chef/food extraordinaire of “The Prepared Table 73”


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