Staring into the gaping mouth of a meatball sub—its beady, meaty eyes dripping with red sauce and gazing into the soul—elicits one of two reactions in my household: 1) Bring it! (me) and 2) WTF?!! (Nate and Alex).
Last week, I proposed the idea of serving a weeknight-meatball-sub-meal with the enthusiasm of a budding teenage girl who has just discovered food. Nate and Alex weren’t having it.
“You wanna do what with a what what now?” they asked.
And I replied: “I’m putting meatballs on a toasted bun, and it’s amazing, you just . . . you just don’t even KNOW!”
Luckily, they’ve learned to simply shrug their shoulders and say, “so it’s food, right?”
But a meatball sub is way beyond “food.” It’s an experience that can only be described in pre-adolescent memories of playing Pac-Man in the mall, hoping that one guy from the grocery store would pack your bags and smile—just for you—and you’d wonder what he did on his days off, and then you’d dream about beach vacations and Duran Duran—and realize: Hey! I’m just hungry! I should eat something and get back to my schoolwork, and look—here’s a hearty sub bursting with flavor!
Anyhoo, I decided that an informational survey/quiz would be just the thing to convince the rest of my Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks Team to try a meatball-sub delicacy. Here’s what the quiz/survey consisted of:
Question 1: You like toasted bread with butter, right? (Yes=10 points, No=0).
Question 2: You like meatballs, right? (Yes=10 points, No=0).
Question 3: You like red sauce, right? (Yes=10 points, No=0).
Question 4: You like mozzarella cheese, right? (Yes=10, No=0).
Question 5: You like all of these things together + a few slices of Nate’s Pickled Peppers, right? (Yes=10, No=0).
My team scored a 40/50. They weren’t sure about the last question, but I would not back down. I made my meatball sub, and you can too. Here are the steps/ingredients:
–one can of tomato sauce
–two tablespoons of Italian herb spices (dried)
–1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)
–1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
–1 teaspoon of salt
–2 teaspoons of sugar
Combine everything in a small saucepan and heat on low, until warm.
–1 pound of lean, ground beef
–2 teaspoons of garlic powder
–2 tablespoons of Italian herb spices (dried)
–1 teaspoon of salt
–1 egg (or ¼ cup of egg substitute)
–1 slice of bread (soak in milk and squeeze/drain)
Add all of the ingredients together and mix with your hands. Use a cookie scoop to drop mounds onto a baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes.
–Toast the top side of a hoagie roll (under the broiler)
–Turn the bread over and spread a tablespoon of butter or margarine.
–Toast until bubbly.
Assemble: Place meatballs into the bread, top with the sauce, and mozzarella cheese (if desired). Banana peppers taste great on this sandwich as well.
Bragging rights for the chef! Not only did Alex and Nate enjoy their meal, but they also went back for seconds. Victory tastes saucy!
Your Turn: What’s a food you craved as a teenager? Discuss!