If it’s Thursday, it must be Italian – or whatever Thursday means to you. I know this is going to sound crazy, but one of the ways I’m keeping track of the days is with the use of a weekly menu planner. It’s on the refrigerator. I have a little circular magnet that is moved from one day to the next. My family knows what to expect for dinner, and I know what day of the week it is and what I need to prepare.
The truth of the matter is that moving that little magnet to mark the passing days helps me to feel some sort of forward momentum. I know it’s all in my head, the days are passing regardless of my little magnet, but it makes me feel better. Whatever gets us through, right?
In March, it was easier to stay home. Even in the beginning of April, staying home wasn’t such a terrible thing. It was overcast, and a little rainy. Sitting on the back patio with a nice cup of tea was fine. Weather permitting, we strolled through the neighborhood. I discovered that the pharmacy, the grocery store and bakery are all within easy walking distance of our home. It reminded me of the days when I lived in the city and everything was within walking distance.
Now we seem to have gone from spring to summer in the blink of an eye. Mornings are still pleasant. Our garden is doing well and tending to it each morning gives a renewed sense of purpose. The afternoons are hot. No more strolls up to the bakery unless it’s done early.
A great deal of the meals now are created from things we have on-hand. Pantry and freezer stables. Just last week, I created an entire week’s plan that didn’t require any shopping. Of course that meant canned and frozen vegetables rather than fresh. Really can’t wait for the garden to give us tomatoes and squash. I could live on tomatoes. And canned or frozen vegetables can always be spruced up with some fresh herbs from the garden. We’ve got sage, thyme, cilantro, basil and chives. This year we also planted Rosemary in the front bed. They make for a nice landscape bush as well as an herb.
Speaking of the garden, the sun is up. Time to get to watering. Let me leave you with a meal that is so simple to make. You just might have everything you need on-hand. Warm some bread, make a salad and this delicious supper is complete.
24 oz Pasta Sauce (no meat)
26 oz bag Frozen Italian Meatballs
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
6 Basil Leaves, shredded
Heat oven to 350-degrees. Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce (about 1/2 cup) in the bottom of a 3-quart casserole dish. Set prepared dish aside.
In a sauce pot over medium heat, warm about 1-1/2 cups of pasta sauce. Add frozen meatballs. Stir well to coat in the warm sauce. Heat through, stirring often, for about 15 minutes.
Arrange cooked meatballs in a casserole dish on top of the layer of sauce. Pour remaining pasta sauce over the meatballs, making sure the meatballs are completely covered in sauce.
Sprinkle shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses over the meatballs. Place in the heated oven to bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until cheeses are bubbly.
While the casserole bakes; stack the basil leaves together, roll into a cigar-shaped cylinder. Slice width-wise to create thin ribbons of basil. Set aside until ready to use.
Once the meatball casserole is heated through, remove from the oven. Garnish with basil ribbons just before serving.