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If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I try to spend most of the major holidays with my family in Philly. Holidays feel so real over there. Perhaps it’s the change in the weather or maybe my dramatic meltdowns because I’m usually the only girl, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. In South Philly, food is a big deal. I mean, huge. Food prep happens days before Christmas and Easter. Here’s a picture of the dessert table last spring. It took almost three hours to ice that cute bunny cake, which caused WWIII. God bless.
My point is, I learned how to throw down (from scratch!) and clean like a pro because of my family. No matter how irritated we get, creating these wonderful memories is so worth it.
A couple days ago, I was craving pasta like crazy. Spaghetti and meatballs is comforting but I wanted more. Here’s my Baked Spaghetti & Meatballs recipe. Do it when you want to eat something extra carby and cheesy.
1 lb of San Marzano Tomatoes (canned is fine if you want!)
6 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Taste the sauce, add the seasoning as the sauce simmers.
I like to saute the olive oil, garlic, a dash of red pepper flakes and a few basil leaves for about 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and the rest of the basil. Simmer for an hour or two.
I was craving the breaded meatballs that I used to get in the Italian market in South FL but I didn’t want to make it too bread-y just semi, as weird as that sounds. I’m going to share a traditional meatball recipe, the only thing I did different was double up on the bread crumbs to satisfy my craving. Before you start making the meatballs, get your spaghetti going!
Half a lb of ground beef
Half a lb of sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used 4Crumbs Gluten Free)
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 diced green onion
1/2 teaspoon of salt salt
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand. Do it lightly, don’t work it too much or you’ll have tough meatballs. Roll the meat into golf ball sized meatballs. For this method, I pan fried them over medium heat, about 3 minutes on each side. I didn’t want to cook them all the way because they were going to bake in the oven.
It’s time to start this bake!
Add a layer of marina sauce to your pan.
Another layer of sauce + meatballs
Cheese. Lots of mozzarella cheese. Go crazy.
Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.
I was so happy.
I couldn’t control myself.
I’ve scrubbed many pasta pots over the holidays and our favorite sponge brand to use is Scotch-Brite™.
I always have Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge, Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge, Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Soap Dispensing Dishwand on hand. I just want to point out that the green sponge is for heavy duty messes and the non scratch sponge is blue. 🙂
The heavy duty scrub sponge cleans 50% faster. I love the dish wand because I can control the soap with the dispensing pump. And even though the non-scratch is gentle, it’s super durable. I even used it to clean this pot that had fried meatball gunk stuck on it.
Add baking soda, warm water, a little bit of vinegar and set the pan aside for 20 minutes.
Use a Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge and POW!
Strong enough to remove debris but didn’t scratch up my pan.
All clean. No struggle. Manicure looks great.
Since we’re talking about cleaning, I found an awesome natural marble & granite cleaner on Pinterest. I’ve been using it for awhile now and want to share with you all!
All you need is a spray bottle, nontoxic dish soap, essential oil (lavender), water and rubbing alcohol.
Add 1/4 C rubbing alcohol to the spray bottle.
5-10 drops of lavender oil.
3 drops of nontoxic dish soap
Fill the rest of the bottle with filtered water. Shake well. Spray on counters.
It works great and smells so good. I have a Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge just for my counters. 🙂
I found these sponges conveniently located in Target’s cleaning supply aisle 🙂 For more cleaning inspo, tips and tricks go here.
What are your favorite cleaning tips?!