Meatballs in a tomato garlic sauce with rice

Remember I mentioned here that my mother was visiting? Sadly after a three week stay, she had to go back to her everyday life. Apparently other people need her. Thankfully we had fun together, spending our days shopping (a cherished mother-daughter activity) and cooking (mostly by her, I was an excellent taster). As soon as she landed here, my mother willingly took over my kitchen and treated us to many lovely meals. Most of them I probably would not have made myself, especially not on a weeknight.

We have different cooking styles, my mother and I. I opt for easy, light and filling meals for weeknight dinners such as frittata, a vegetarian stew, or even tacos. My mother, on the other hand, puts up a pot of something meaty to simmer, almost every day. She has many wonderful one-pot meal combinations. A few I'll share with you in the next few posts. All of them are made with love and taste delicious.

The nice part about our dinners was that I got to use my everyday dishes. I have to admit that they've been in the cupboard untouched for many, many meals. Paper plates are addicting in their convenience. With active toddlers running around, I've welcomed the practicality of disposable things. It keeps me sane and keeps the sink from overflowing.

But I'll admit that using dishes and flatware added a certain warmth to the meal, a level of sophistication and comfort. I took the time to set the table, with salads and bread. I enjoyed it, it was a welcomed change.

 The best part was that the meal was shared by my favorite people. I appreciate the little moments, where we spend time as a family, even if that time isn't usually storybook perfect. I guess that's what makes it perfect and real.

Chicken Meatballs and Potatoes, Zucchini and Carrots in a Tomato Garlic Sauce


1lb ground chicken breast (or any meat you prefer: beef, turkey, veal)

1 onion, grated (do not squeeze out excess liquid)

1 heaping tablespoon dried parsley

2 eggs

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

5 tablespoons breadcrumbs (or use 1-2 stale bread slices, wet and then grate)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Don’t worry if you feel like the mixture is too loose. If you have time, let it marinate in the fridge for an hour, so the flavors absorb into the meat.

for the sauce:

3 tablespoons oil 

4 cloves garlic, sliced 

1 14oz. can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons tomato paste

½ bell pepper, stripped

salt and pepper, to taste

1-2 medium red potatoes, cut in half moons

2-3 small zucchinis, cut in half moons

1-2 carrots, sliced

fresh dill, for garnish

In a wide saucepan on medium heat, heat the oil and saute the garlic until translucent. Pour the tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir well. Add the bell pepper strips, about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Pour 2 cups of boiled water to the sauce, put in the potatoes, zucchini and carrots, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the meatballs one at a time carefully, to make sure they do not fall apart. Cook for about 10 mins. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Baste the meatballs frequently, about every 15-20 minutes, until they are cooked through, at least one hour. Garnish with dill before serving. Pairs perfectly with rice.

for the rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups Jasmine rice, rinsed

4 cups boiled water


In a large saucepan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil. Pour the water, bring to a boil, and season generously with salt. Cover, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook until the rice is done. Simple and satisfying.