Woke up (too early for a Saturday) thinking about my grocery shopping list for the day. I’m catering for my 8-year old cousin’s birthday party tomorrow, and don’t want to forget a thing. It’s going to be quite the event. More on that later.
First, let’s talk about my first catering gig. On Tuesday nights I cater for my church’s adult education class called the School of Christian Living. It’s a six week course and they offer various topics (this term there’s a class on prayer and a class on being a welcoming community). So I have a very small budget and cook for about 22 people.
Week one I decided to serve Spaghetti and “Not Meatballs,” Salad, Garlic Rolls and Orangies & Orange Ricotta Cookies.
I found a recipe for spaghetti and vegetarian meatballs on Budget Bytes. It’s a wonderful site that breaks down the cost of meals (which was great for trying to plan on my tight budget). I was also able to find great deals on produce and a HUGE can of chickpeas (6 lbs 14oz) for about $5 at the local Asian market, H-Mart.
These veggieballs are really delicious on their own or with marinara sauce. They’ll get soggy quickly, so only sauce what you’ll eat immediately.
I love spaghetti sauce with stuff in it, so I added spinach and mushrooms. Extra texture, vitamins and deliciousness!
Here’s the recipe with the changes I made:
Adapted from Budget Bytes
- 6lbs 14oz can chickpeas (about 8 15oz cans)
- 4 small onions, roughly chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 bunches flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- pepper (probably close to a tsp)
- 4 large eggs
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Then (in batches) combine chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley and parmesan in a food processor. The mixture should be in small bits, close to paste. Whisk the cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and eggs together. Mix the eggs into the bean mixture. Preheat oven to 350°F. Begin rolling mixture into balls. I used a cookie scoop to keep the sizes similar. Bake for about 15 minutes until browned on the bottom, rotate and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Adapted from Budget Bytes
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 (6oz) cans tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp dried oregano
- 4 dried bay leaves
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 large bag frozen spinach, thawed
- 24 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 Tbsp fresh basil
In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium high heat and add diced onion, minced garlic and sliced mushrooms. Cook until very soft and beginning to brown. Add tomatoes, paste, oregano, bay leaves and brown sugar. Let simmer on medium/low heat for a half hour (partially covered to allow steam release but still protect from splatters). Add the thawed and drained spinach to the sauce. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning. Simmer for an additional half hour and then serve over pasta and top with fresh basil.