Tag Archives: family

Sunday Meatballs and Gravy

This is a meatball post. But it’s also a Thanksgiving post. You wouldn’t think the two go together right?

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Meatballs and Gravy

My family is celebrating Thanksgiving this year in the Outer Banks. We’ll have two big houses, about 30 adults, and a lot of food. Of course we’re looking forward to the deep-fried turkeys and the corn pudding, but that’s only for one meal, maybe two, if we’re lucky to have leftovers.

But mostly we’re lucky enough to have several amazing meals to look forward to over Thanksgiving weekend. First, let me say, it’s not really about the food. We’re a big happy bunch even eating simple ham sandwiches and potato salad from the grocery store. We’re a big Italian family, so food and family are one in the same. We also happen to be a family where everyone is a great cook and everyone appreciates good food. So the kitchen is really the best place to be during family holidays.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Meatballs and Gravy

One of my favorite dishes that my family shares over Thanksgiving weekend are meatballs. I love my Aunt Lisanne’s recipe in which the meatballs are made with white bread soaked in milk and then baked slowly. We make dozens of them and they’re in the kitchen to grab and make a plate or a sandwich whenever you arrive to the house, are hungry, or just want to keep stuffing your face. Games and reading and crafts and football are happening all around. People are weaving in and out of rooms. “Did you see the basement yet?” But the meatballs anchor us. They’re just part of the family. Part of the rhythm. Grab your plate and pull up to the table and catch up with your cousin or in-law who lives 10 hours away. Belly laugh. Go for seconds.

This is the part of Thanksgiving I’m most thankful for.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Meatballs and Gravy

I’ve talked to a few friends recently about feeling “Sunday sad.” Maybe we get it because the weekend is over and the stress of Monday lurks ahead. Maybe we’ve been running at full speed for the past six days, that when we finally slow down we succumb to feelings we’ve pushed aside. No matter the reason, we should deal with it. And my favorite way to do so, is to make the food that feels like a hug and I’m surrounded by love. That’s Thanksgiving meatballs. That’s Sunday meatballs and gravy.

I have my own more simple and quicker version of my aunt’s meatballs that I love to make early on a Sunday. (There’s almost as good!) Get them made early, leave on stove, take care of other Sunday duties, take care of myself a little, have some meatballs, watch episodes of Scandal, call home, have a little more meatballs, soak up gravy with bread. Feel the love.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Meatballs and Gravy

It goes a little something like this….

In a large bowl combine 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add 1 pound ground beef and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs. Mix gently and form into about 15 balls. In a Dutch oven, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add meatballs, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Leave on stove on low until ready to eat. Serve with crusty Italian bread and extra Parmesan.

Let’s Make Some Pasta

On Christmas Eve, my brothers and I crowd around our granite kitchen counter at home in New Jersey and make pasta. (They weren’t going to do it this year, but thank goodness I was there to make sure it happened.) My mom learned how to make pasta from my Italian Great Grandmother Alma Pinciotti and my mom taught us three. Family, food, tradition, holiday. All the right ingredients to do something great here.

Pasta from the store just isn’t the same as homemade. When you make it yourself, you can taste both the rough and delicate work you put into making it. It’s so fresh that it melts in your mouth. It’s tastes special and it’s one of my favorite things to eat. Even better with my brother’s tomato sauce that’s been simmering all day long. So, let’s make some pasta.

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Now wasn’t that fun? Now aren’t you hungry? Thanks to my brothers for indulging in my documenting of this process. Those are my older brother’s hands you see in these pictures. Kneading is a workout. I am lucky to have strong co-chefs. If you couldn’t figure it out from the photos, here’s a basic recipe.

Homemade Pasta

  • 4 cups all purpose flour + extra flour for hands and surfaces
  • 5 eggs
  • pinch of salt

Make a well in a mound of your flour on a countertop or cutting board. Crack eggs into well. Sprinkle with salt. With a fork, begin whisking the eggs and slowly incorporating the flour into the wet mixture. Form into two balls. (add a little water if you need to to help it form). Keep your hands and surfaces dusted with flour at all times. Knead balls for 5-10 mintes. Cut balls into 6 parts. Roll to the size of a pancake and bring to the pasta machine. Roll out the dough at a #2 setting. Then twice more through the machine at #4 or #5 settings. When dough is the right size for you, roll up the long pieces into logs. Slice with a knife. Unroll each piece. Boil water. Cook for 3 minutes. Toss with your favorite sauce or just butter, olive oil, and parm.

Three Thanksgiving Tables

We had Thanksgiving this year at my aunt and uncle’s house with 26 people. It was a big crowd so we needed three tables for dinner and I had the fun pleasure of decorating the tables. The first table featured velvet leaves and fruit, the second had more elegant natural elements, and the kids table had playful bright leaves and pumpkins. I loved that each one had its own unique feel but they all went together. They were the perfect warm backdrops for a plate piled high with corn pudding, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and turkey.

thanksgiving table 2012 with velvet leaves and fruitThanksgiving table 2012 natural leaves fruitthanksgiving table 2012 purple orange leaves

I also have to thank my cousins Tori and Mimi for helping and my mom for always having so many craft supplies around. I love that this is a whole family holiday from the table to the desserts!

Happy Weekend

Cupcakes for Breakfast: happy 90th birthday grandpa don

This weekend I’ll be in Ohio celebrating my Grandpa’s 90th birthday with our entire extended family. I’m looking forward to good food, cousin time, embarrassing photos, and the laughs that will surely come from putting 40 Pinciotti’s in one room together. Can’t wait!

The photo above is one of my favorites from when he played minor league baseball for the Memphis Chicks from 1949-1955. My mom is the oldest girl holding the baseball bat. Adorable, right?

Daily Inspiration

Happy Monday, friends. Are we ready to do this? I just got back from a wonderful weekend away with my family for a wedding. It’s so nice to escape (if only for two days) from stress and annoyances, to be surrounded by happiness and people who love each other. It was much needed.

Today’s inspiration comes from a poem that was read at this weekend’s wedding. I love its passion and how it is encouragement to be optimistic for this kind of love…a beautiful and positive way to start this surely exciting week. And we all need a little dose of that, right?

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

image | poem