Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Meatball Sandwiches

Happy New Year!

The last few months have been filled with a hectic craft show schedule, lots of traveling up and down California's Interstate 5, holiday visitors, family parties and the flu--but now we are back to cooking!

The other day my nephew Colin came over to make Meatball Sandwiches--we took a little detour to the Antojito Taco Truck--then got back to cooking.

I'm so happy that Colin has an interest in cooking with me and made time on his break from college to make a dish and share it on FOODjimoto.com.

This recipe makes a lot, enough for 6 meatball sandwiches with plenty of leftovers for us and a good care package for Colin to take home--so if you're not feeding a crowd, you may want to cut down the recipe to fit your needs. We also made a quick marinara-type sauce.


marinara sauce
2-24 oz. cans plum tomatoes
2-24 oz. can tomato puree
3 slices bacon, thinly sliced and cooked until crisp
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup red wine
1 large sweet onion, chopped


1  lbs. each ground turkey, ground beef & sausage
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
about 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper

mozzarella or provolone slices
french rolls
sliced peppers and onions, sauteed in olive oil and 1 teaspoon minced garlic

To make the quick marinara sauce, Colin thinly sliced 3 strips of bacon. 

He then minced 2 cloves of garlic. 

And chopped the onion--I was impressed with his knife skills--he's a natural at cooking. He cooked the bacon over medium heat until crisp, removed the fat, added 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 1/2 cups chopped onion which were sauteed until soft. 1/2 cup red wine was stirred into the mixture.

Then he added the canned tomatoes and added a generous pinch of dried oregano. 

Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer the marinara while you're making the meatballs.
Colin's gotten so tall the vent for the stove acts almost like a sneeze guard!

For the meatballs, crush about 1 1/2 cups of dried bread crumbs--you could use fresh breadcrumbs instead of dried. Moisten the breadcrumbs with a little (1/4 cup or so) milk or water. The more breadcrumbs--or filler, as my mom used to say--the softer the meatballs will be without having to simmer them a long time, which you'll have to do to make them soft if they're meatier.

Chop the parsley.

Starting at the top: 1 cup chopped parsley, 1 lb. ground sausage, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 cup crushed breadcrumbs, 1 1/2 cups chopped onions, 1 lb. ground turkey, 1 lb. ground beef, 2 eggs, dried oregano and a generous drizzle of Worcestershire sauce.

Mix well.

It's easiest to use your hands to mix the meatballs.

Now for the rolling--have a  bowl of water nearby to dip your hands in. This will keep the fat from the meat from sticking to your hands and make the rolling easier.

Colin used an ice cream scoop to make the meatballs and they were all uniform size.

Next, fry the meatballs in about 2 tablespoons oil until browned, then put them into the marinara sauce to simmer and finish cooking.

The meatballs don't have to be perfectly round, they may be many-sided.

When the meatballs are simmering in the marinara sauce, preheat the oven to 350ºF, then saute the peppers, onions and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil until soft.

To build the sandwiches, slice the french rolls in half, add a little marinara sauce, then the meatballs.

Then add a scoop of the sauteed peppers and onions.

Then some cheese slices and bake about 5 minutes or until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted.

I am thoroughly impressed with Colin's cooking skills!

That looks delicious, doesn't it!


Colin only ate 1 meatball sandwich since he had eaten 4 tacos at the taco truck a couple of hours earlier!

Dipping the sandwich in some marinara sauce adds tastiness!

When we suggested he get on the road to beat the bulk of the traffic on the freeway on his 30 mile drive back to Tustin, he said,

"Just as soon as I clean up the kitchen."

Love you, CO!


This is Colin and I when he was just a few days old--Gary's sister and her family lived in Wisconsin then, and we all traveled out there to welcome Colin and help Nancy. Colin is a self-proclaimed Cheesehead. 

This is Colin and I a few years later. They had since moved back to Southern California. 
Boy, were all the Fujimotos happy!

 This photo was taken a couple of years ago at a baseball game.
I love that Colin makes his family a priority and is willing to give his Auntie a day of his vacation for cooking.
It's been a joy and a pleasure to watch this young man grow up, he makes us all proud!

 Thank you, Colin!



marinara sauce: 2-24 oz. cans plum tomatoes,  2-24 oz. can tomato puree, 3 slices bacon, thinly sliced and cooked until crisp, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1/3 cup red wine, 1 large sweet onion, chopped, oregano. 

Cook bacon and drain fat. Add garlic and onion, cook until soft. Add tomatoes and red wine, bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

meatballs: 1  lbs. each ground turkey, ground beef & sausage, 1 1/2 cups chopped onion, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 cup chopped Italian parsley, 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (moistened with about 1/4 cup milk or water),  2 eggs, beaten, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, generous pinch of dried oregano and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Mix all ingredients well and form into meatballs. Fry in about 2 tablespoons oil until browned, then transfer the meatballs to the marinara sauce. Simmer together gently for 20 to 30 minutes.

sandwiches: mozzarella or provolone slices, french rolls, and sliced peppers and onions, sauteed in olive oil with 1 teaspoon minced garlic.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Build the sandwiches by slicing the french bread, spreading a little marinara sauce on the rolls and adding meatballs. Then add a scoop of sauteed peppers and onions, and cheese slices. Bake for about 5 minutes or until bread is crusty and cheese is melted.


  1. Oohh... Jared will looooove this post. Gotta make these sammies VERY SOON!

  2. Colin, please hand me one (maybe two) of those sandwiches!

  3. Subway has a meat ball sub, but doesn't look anything like this.

  4. enough leftovers came home for Tyler and his Oregon roommate to share a sandwich as a midnight snack!!! delish!!!...

    a grateful mom

    p.s. amazing things can happen with a sharp knife:)

  5. Meatball sandwiches is wonderful. Know details about it

    Nightlife in Singapore

  6. I made this at home (in Singapore) with limited ingredients (had to season my own ground pork to make sausage) and it tasted just like the meatball subs of my college days in New York. Thanks for sharing the recipe! My whole family loved it. I halved the meatball portions but kept the marinara quantities constant yet somehow we ran out of sauce cause I followed your suggestion and gave everyone a bowl of marinara to dip their sandwiches in ;) I would probably give the marinara a whizz with the immersion blender the next time I make it!