Mom cooked spaghetti often. A package of pasta, a pound of ground round, tomato paste and a packet of Schilling spaghetti seasoning fed five of us, and the taste and smell of that special sauce are deeply imprinted in my memory.
I'm not sure where I learned to appreciate meat balls, but now it can't be spaghetti with out them. One local cafe serves spaghetti with three inch diameter meat balls to die for. I rarely take time to mix up meat balls at home, and last night's turkey meat balls came from a local deli. Dinner was excellent, but reminded me of the old campfire song:
On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese,
I lost my little meat ball, 'cuz somebody sneezed.
It rolled off the table, and onto the floor,
And then my poor meat ball, rolled right out the door.
My errant meat ball, which I dropped while serving, met a far different fate. Munchkin the cat was on it even before I could invoke the 5 second rule; golf ball, meat ball, ping pong ball are all the same to him - prime kitty toys. He pounced upon, then batted the meat ball around the kitchen while the other cats assembled to watch. Pixie joined the fun and was the first to discover that their newly found toy was edible. Once they decided the meat ball was "dead", it was quickly shredded and scarfed down. Gracie watched from the sidelines as the feeding frenzy was too scary for her; I discretely slipped her a slice of meat ball after the others dispersed.
My other "comfort food" for this week was chicken enchiladas. The enchilada casserole version of the recipe goes something like this:
1 roasted chicken (being lazy, I buy one at the grocery store)
1 small onion
1 can (7 oz) salsa verde (Herdez green tomatillo sauce)
1 cup chicken broth (or water)
1 small can green enchilada sauce
6 tortillas (I used 8" flour)
sour cream, shredded cheese, spices to taste
8" square baking pan, lightly oiled
I remove the breast meat from the chicken and save for other tasty meals. Remove all other meat from the chicken, leaving it in chunks if possible.
Saute the onion in a skillet on medium heat until soft. Add chicken meat and stir to heat up. Add salsa verde and chicken broth; add spices to taste (1 tablespoon cumin, some salt and pepper, maybe some cayenne or other milder ground chili). Cook mixture uncovered on medium low heat until free liquid is absorbed.
Wrap tortillas in a damp towel and heat in microwave to soften (45 seconds). For each enchilada, place two scoops of chicken and one scoop of sour cream, then roll up and place in greased pan. Snack on any extra chicken mixture that falls out when rolling. Pour enchilada sauce over top of the enchiladas, then top with grated cheese. Bake at 425 F for 20 to 30 minutes until cheese is browning and sauce is bubbling all around.
Chicken enchiladas are all purpose food, suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Enjoy!