Meatballs from Heaven (Guest Recipe from Chris)

It has been a little over a year since I started this blog. When I started it, I didn’t know if I would keep it going for a month, a few months or forever. I have commitment issues. However, both Nathan and I have enjoyed posting recipes for our families and friends. We’ve even made a few new friends through this site.

If you know us very well, you know that we often work long hours during the week and sometimes we work on the weekends too.  To spend an afternoon writing, making the recipe and then taking photos of the final result can be challenging when we barely have time to buy groceries or take care of basic things in life like … say … laundry. I hate laundry.

We started out posting a recipe each week. Now, that has become more sporadic and you are more likely to see me waxing philosophical about homegrown tomatoes than developing a recipe for tamales. I mean, c’mon, tamales take all day! I don’t have all day! I don’t have ten minutes!

So, Nathan and I started talking about who cooks great food that we know. Whose arm could we twist to share a few of their best recipes? With that in mind, we asked one of our culinary-skilled friends to help us out. Enter, Chris. He’s got skills. He’s one heck-uv-a drummer and an amazing cook in the kitchen. The best thing about having Chris bring a recipe to this site is that we get to hangout with great friends, laugh and then eat great food! We spent Sunday with Chris and his wife Elesha laughing, chopping onions and listening to music. We hope this is the first of many Chris recipes on dirtshoe.

Here are a few random things about Chris and Elesha that I thought everyone might find interesting.

  • Chris makes the best chicken enchiladas in the whole wide world.
  • Elesha and I feel very blessed to have husbands who love to cook.
  • Nathan and Chris were in a band about ten years ago called Honeywagon. I was a devoted fan. I mean seriously, I thought I might die when this band broke up. It like totally killed my social life.
  • Chris and Nathan currently both play with Camille Harp. Poor girl has to put up with both of them picking on her.
  • Chris taught me to love beer. We used to have beer history lessons every weekend. We approached beer like it was fine wine. Those were good times.
  • Chris and Elesha like to attend the Bigfoot Festival in Southeastern Oklahoma every year.
  • I broke my foot one time and had to wear a huge air cast. Chris constructed and wore a sympathy cast to make me feel better. This all happened a few days before we went Bigfoot hunting in Fouke, Arkansas. We didn’t find Bigfoot, in case you were wondering, but my mom did make us a Bigfoot cake that was delicious.
  • Nathan and Chris can talk about Carp fishing for hours and hours and hours.
  • I believe that Chris has more shoes (boots) than I do.
  • Elesha collects cats the way Chris and I collect shoes.
  • Nathan used to live with Chris and Elesha. He’s allergic to cats. The very cats that used to sleep on his head when he lived with them.

I hope you enjoy this meatball recipe from Chris. It’s almost as good as hanging out with great friends.



1 pound ground chuck

1 pound ground Spicy Italian Sausage

10 ounces dried bread crumbs

8 large eggs

8 ounces whole milk

12 ounces grated Romano

6 ounces grated Spanish onion finely chopped

5 ounces finely diced fresh garlic

4 ounces finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

4 ounces finely chopped fresh basil leaves

1 finely chopped bell pepper

Red pepper flake to taste

Marinara Sauce

1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste

2 — 8 ounce cans tomato sauce

2 – 28 ounce cans of whole tomatoes crushed with hands

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 cup of medium dry red wine

½ cup finely minced red onion

2 teaspoons minced basil

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon white sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil


Meatballs: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. I suggest wrapping the pan with aluminum foil, but that’s because I hate dishes.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in large bowl with your hands – it’s imperative you use your hands. If mixture seems a little loose add more breadcrumbs.

Roll meatballs loosely (with your hands – this is an order!) about the size of a golf ball and place on baking sheet. Place into preheated oven for approximately 35 to 40 minutes or until cooked through.

Sauce: Sauté onion in olive oil until softened. Add the garlic, basil, salt, tomato paste, red wine, tomato sauce, and whole tomatoes along with all the other spices (except the sugar). Bring sauce to a low boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Allow sauce to cook for at least an hour and finish with a tablespoon of white sugar.

Serve this as a sandwich with your favorite cheese and toasted bread. Or, serve over pasta. Either way, it rocks.

Here’s a naughty Foreman secret.  Pour the pan drippings from the meatballs into the sauce. We won’t tell anyone and it’s just darn good.


  1. Gail Woolsey

    Wow! That makes me hungry just reading the story much less seeing the pictures. You are the best writer Misti.

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