A Thankful Belly {Recipe: Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs}

Mom's Spaghetti And Meatballs
Thanksgiving…what does it mean to you? I admit, I try to have an attitude of gratitude each day of my life, but honestly..sometimes when you are knee deep in a 4 year old having a fit about not wanting to brush her teeth, an 8 year old giving you drama that he gets treated unfairly because he’s the only boy in the house, a 6 year old who enjoys being the martyr so much that she tattles on everyone and a 1 year old who thinks that screaming is the best form of communication, my ever present attitude of thankfulness kind of goes out the window.

Many times I need to remind myself that life is good. It truly is. This Thanksgiving and this coming year, I am taking on The Happiness Project with a group of friends, and I can’t wait to begin an intense focus on the things that make me happy, which are also the things I am most thankful for. (You can start your own Happiness Project – check out Grechen Rubin’s blog for more details!)

The list of things I am thankful for is abundant, and one of the top things on the list is food and family, both brought together by this recipe for my mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs. When I am really missing my parents and wishing they didn’t live so far away, one of the easiest ways for me to feel like they are right here around the dinner table with us is to cook up a pot of Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs. I grew up with this meal and it is one of those that immediately takes me home, a place that I am extremely thankful for.

Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs

A Thankful Belly {Recipe: Mom's Spaghetti and Meatballs}
The sauce on this dish is not a thick and chunky sauce like many of you might be used to. It is a light, "soupy" sauce, which complements the seasoned meatballs and pasta perfectly, in my opinion!
  • For the meatballs:
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix (My mom only uses half a package, but I love adding all the flavor)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1½ teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 Large can (I believe it is 29oz) Hunt's Tomato Sauce
  • ½ of can of water
  • 2 Teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 pinch ground cloves (don't skip this... it is her "secret" ingredient)
  1. For the meatballs:
  2. Using your hands, combine all the ingredients until well blended. Pinch off pieces of the meat mixture and shape into meatballs. Place in a large stock pot or dutch oven, then follow remaining instructions.
  3. For the sauce:
  4. In a large bowl, stir together sauce ingredients. Add to the stock pot with the meatballs and stir. Bring sauce to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium low, place the lid on the pot, and cook until meatballs are cooked through. Depending on the size of your meatballs, this will be 30-45 minutes. (You can simmer this over low heat on your stove for a longer period of time, just remember to occasionally stir.).
  5. Serve over thick spaghetti. Make sure to reserve a small amount of your pasta water and toss with your spaghetti after draining. This will help the sauce to stick to the pasta. Now, tuck your napkin in your shirt and enjoy!



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  1. says

    I love thin soupy sauces with spaghetti and meatballs. And I’m with you, when I’m missing my family, food just brings me closer. Two Sundays ago I spent the morning making sauce and pasta and it just put a smile on my face because it reminded me of my Sundays w my family.

    Your picture is making my mouth water!

    And I can also relate to the feelings of gratitude…sometimes life kind of blurs things doesn’t it? Going to check out The Happiness Project.

  2. says

    Family recipes are the best! I love the happiness project! I am going to have to start that. It is nice to focus on the positive things in life.

    Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Pat Wogan says

    Thank you for posting this recipe, Kristen. I believe it is the first time I have really seen it written down. I began making spaghetti and meatballs following a recipe from a cookbook called, “One Hundred Ways to Fix Hamburger.” I think the cookbook was put out by the Lipton Soup Company…now Unilever. Years later, I looked at the recipe and hardly recognized it as I had changed it over the years. It is one of my favorites and very easy to make.

  4. Kathy says

    I am fixing this tonight! Yum. I didn’t know that about the water making the sauce stick better, I will try that. By the way…Mom also fixed hamburger gravy a lot, that could take you home, too…:-) On the Thanksgiving thing–one thing I do so our perpetually quiet “at home” holidays (so different from the ruckus we grew up in) is always, on the day before the dinner, have the kids tear up a loaf of bread into little pieces (for stuffing, like mom had us do, even though I’m the only one who likes it). Crazy, but that makes it feel like Thanksgiving and Christmas to me. Certainly is something we don’t do every day… Love you!

  5. says

    OMG that photo is amazing!!! I’m going to look into that happiness project. I’m thankful that we have this time of year to help us focus on what’s most important – family and friends!

  6. says

    My Mom always joked she wasn’t much of a cook, but I will tell you …no matter how good it is , no one can touch her spaghetti sauce, I think it is the memory of her that intensifies it and makes it so darn good. I can make her recipe, but since she is the missing and missed ingredient, it doesn’t ever taste the same, good but not the same.

  7. says

    That is the most enticing plate (or bowl) of meatball and spaghetti! Great site you have here! Would love to try your recipe one of these days!

  8. says

    Kristin, thanks for giving us an attitude of gratitude. Even with the nutso chaos of having little kids I could not imagine my life any other way. It is tough to drown out the noise & whining of 2 – I could not imagine 4! great recipe that I need to try :) Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. says

    I always am reminded that there are people worse off than I am, no matter how bad things can get. That seems to put everything back into perspective. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  10. says

    I just love the look of your spaghetti. Looks like my mom’s too (who is also a huge fan of lipton soup mix). This post makes me smile when i think of her (she lives far a way).
    Wishing you and your family a wonderful thanksgiving. May you always have much to be thankful for daaaahling!
    *kisses* HH

  11. says

    The happiness project sounds great. I’m headed over after this. First I have to tell you, I LOVE that picture. Wow-very eye catching. And of course it sounds fab!


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