On Top of Spaghetti, All Covered with Cheese. 

81 days. We went 81 days without a working oven. I didn’t count the days in the midst of it. I just finished counting and I had no idea it had been that long.

It broke on a day when there were seven kids in the house, since the cousins were visiting. According to a local expert, bad things happen in threes and earlier that morning, #1, the dishwasher, and, #2, the sprinklers happened. In an effort to salvage the morning, I had the brilliant idea to bake something. I measured, I mashed, and I mixed. I turned the oven dial and click, a click, but no woosh. There on the counter sat two loaf pans filled with banana bread batter waiting for the heat, but there was no spark to light the fire. Kaput.

Since then it’s been a time of waiting. (That must be in the water around here.)

Folks waiting for answers. Waiting for something to begin. Waiting for something to end. Waiting for opportunities. Waiting for reunions.

And I will wait. Because it is good and in the midst of it I have learned some things along the way. One of them is how to wait well with others as they wait for answers, all the while, knowing that the God of the universe, hears and answers.

And as for this kitchen, the issue of waiting with no oven was a minor one, and yet He answered.

After 81 days, the Provider hath provided. Amen and amen.

The shiny new appliance is here. And now that the appliance box has been converted into a fort and nearly all of the burners have been initiated…it’s time to cook!

Freezer Meatballs on Spaghetti

Here is a recipe torn out of the free HyVee magazine and delivered to my mailbox; another Mom-mail recipe. The recipe focus is freezing meatballs and it offers a variety of serving methods. Besides spaghetti and meatballs, I recommend meatball sliders. All you need are small Kaiser rolls and provolone slices.


The work is minimal and it’s nice being prepared to pull out a meal for unexpected dinner guests. The last batch totaled 75 meatballs, which means we get around 3 rounds of meals out of it. They will last 90 days in the freezer. (So now when I take them out of the freezer I’ll be reminded of an oven, 81 days, and an answered prayer.)

I have modified the recipe a bit. I make the meatballs smaller and do not pre-cook them before freezing. They taste better with this method and I’d advocate for a stove top fry first to get a good brown, which deepens the flavor. To find out the official cooking-before-freezing method, click on the link below. (Disclaimer: KrausnicKitchen is not responsible for freezing debacles).

Freezer Meatballs 

Modified from HyVee
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 c. panko bread crumbs
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1/2 c. finely chopped red or green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil (I used dried)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2.5 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 jar marinara (optional)
In a large bowl, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, onion, bell pepper, garlic, basil, salt and crushed red pepper. Add ground beef and pork sausage; mix well. Combine eggs add and mix well.
Shape into meatballs using wet hands, as needed to prevent sticking.

TO FREEZE: Place on a rimmed sheet that will fit into the freezer. Place full pan into the freezer for 15 minutes, or until frozen. Divide meatballs among 4-cup freezer containers or zip top bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

TO COOK ON THE STOVE: (I recommend this method, which I added) Using a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat, place one layer of meatballs being careful not to crowd the pan. Filp over after several minutes on each side until a deep brown crust develops. Remove meatballs onto paper towels. Cook several batches until the desired amount is reached. (I recommend use 25 for one batch of spaghetti).In a pan large enough for the whole batch, place on medium heat. Return all of the meatballs and pour 1 jar of marinara sauce over the top. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through with an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

TO COOK IN THE OVEN: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange in a single layer in a 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, checking with an instant-read thermometer. Drain off fat.

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