The kids are starting school and schedules are set with sports, music lessons, and whatever else keeps us busy. No matter what’s going on in our lives I always make sure we sit down to eat dinner together. It may have to be a little early or a little late to accommodate everyone’s schedules, but dinner as a family is not negotiable for us. I mean, where else would you find out about everything that happened at school, share our latest “knock-knock” jokes, or just enjoy the quiet of one another’s company?
Sometimes the long days of school and demands of everyday life can weigh you down like a backpack full of rocks. Dinner is a time to feed your hungry tummy while also feeding your soul a little with the company, compassion, and fun of family. No electronics or other distractions at the dinner table either. We have a tradition to get the dinner conversation rolling, it’s called “BEST & WORST”:
What was the BEST thing that happened today at school/work?
What was the WORST thing that happened today?
Everyone gets a turn. Everyone gets to celebrate all the bests. Everyone gets to sympathize and help them work through some of the worsts. It’s worked out pretty well for us. Of course, having a yummy dinner ready in time for everyone to join in the food and conversation is what makes it all work.
Thank you to the inventors of meatballs and the slow cooker! You have saved dinner from a rushed and irritated mommy, who by the end of the day acts and resembles sometimes far below the Martha Stewart standard…sometimes…occasionally….okay, a lot! I can make the meatballs and marinara days before, set it in the freezer and then in the morning on a busy day I can dump it in a Crock pot and let it simmer all day.
You really can’t go wrong with Meatballs and Marinara Sauce! No gluten or grains for us, so we enjoy it over spiral cut zucchini – otherwise known as “zoodles”, or maybe some spaghetti squash (here’s how I bake the perfect spaghetti squash), or sometimes just some cooked quinoa.
In a large pot heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and let it sizzle a minute. Toss in half the onion and the sliced mushrooms. Saute for several minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and allow to simmer.
Combine the meat, onion, and garlic in a bowl. Stir in the garbanzo bean flour and remaining ingredients. Form into meatballs and brown in a skillet, turning to get all the sides. Add to the Mushroom Marinara and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes.
*If using a Crock pot you can just toss all the ingredients for the sauce into the slow cooker followed by the prepared meatballs. Cook on low heat for 4 – 6 hours. Remove the bay leaf before serving.