Sunday, January 10, 2016

Confessions of a Carboholic

Mmmmmm, carbs.

I just can't get enough! Healthy eating is in my near future, so I decided to make a carb lover's dream for dinner last night. We had tried an amazing copy-cat recipe for Olive Garden bread sticks that I've been waiting for an excuse to make again. I gave Gavin a list of a few different pasta dinners to go with them and he chose spaghetti and meatballs. I don't have a lot of experience with meatballs, so I searched Pinterest and found a delicious but easy looking recipe.

Here is the link to the bread stick recipe I used: . The original recipe was for 12 bread sticks. Two of my nephews were going to be joining us for dinner and 2/3 apiece just did not seem like it would be enough so I doubled the recipe. The instructions and recipe below is for 24 bread sticks. We only ended up eating about 12 during dinner, but throughout the evening, quite a few of the rest ended up being eaten. They are so tasty that I will probably always make 24 at a time and serve them for a couple dinners in a row!

Here is the link to the meatball recipe I used: . Many of the recipes I found for meatballs used a mixture of ground beef and Italian sausage. Paul said that he would enjoy whatever I made, but typically his preference was to not have the sausage mixed in. This recipe is all ground beef and seemed really simple. I did make a couple changes based on ingredients that I had at home, but I followed it pretty closely. The website includes three different ways to cook the meatballs. Because I had the time to start them early, I used the most time consuming technique, but these can definitely be done much faster!

I started the bread sticks about 3 1/2 hours before we ate. To begin, I mixed 2 packets of active dry yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar into 2 cups plus 4 tablespoons of warm water, then let that sit for 10 minutes.

While that was sitting, I added 3 cups of flour, 3 teaspoons of salt and 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil to my large mixing bowl. Once the yeast mixture had been sitting for ten minutes, I poured that into the flour mixture, then mixed it on low for a few minutes. Once it was well mixed, I added 3 more cups of flour then turned the mixer on low for 7 minutes. I dumped the dough out into an oiled bowl, turning it to coat all sides. Then I left the dough to rise for an hour and a half.

While the dough was rising, I started on the meatballs. In a large bowl I added 1 lb of ground beef, 1/4 cup Kraft Parmesan cheese, 1 egg that had already been lightly beaten, a teaspoon of garlic powder and a teaspoon of black pepper. The original recipe also called for 1/2 to 3/4 cup of seasoned bread crumbs. I recently realized that I have a TON of matzo meal at my house, so I used 3/4 cup matzo meal to which I added a tablespoon of garlic powder, onion powder and oregano. After that is all together, I dug my hands in until I had all of the ingredients well incorporated. Once it looked like the mixture had a pretty even consistency I made golf ball sized meatballs out of it. I added it to a pan filled with store bought traditional spaghetti sauce, then let them cook on low heat for approximately 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Now back to the bread sticks. After about 1 1/2 hours, the dough had grown immensely!

I punched the dough down, then split it into 24 pieces. I am not the best at getting my pieces the same size, but I'm working on it :) Then I rolled each piece into a long bread stick and put it on a baking sheet covered with foil. When I was done, I had 2 very full baking sheets. I sprayed them lightly with canola oil, then covered them with plastic wrap and let them rise for another hour. I preheated my oven to 425 degrees, then baked the bread sticks for 10 minutes. While they were baking, I combined 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. As soon as the bread sticks came out of the oven I brushed the mixture over them.

I made thin spaghetti noodles to go with the meatballs, then served it all up! I think both of my nephews were glad to be included in this carbolicious dinner!

If you are looking for a smorgasbord of Italian goodness, this meal is definitely the way to go!

The recipes are included below, enjoy!

Olive Garden Copy-cat Bread Sticks


For Bread Sticks
  • 2 cups plus 4 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
For Garlic Butter Topping
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Combine warm water, yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In large mixing bowl, add additional sugar, 3 cups of flour, salt and vegetable oil. Pour in yeast mixture once it is done resting.
  3. Mix to combine, then add additional 3 cups of flour. 
  4. Mix for 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should be sticky, but pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If needed, you can add an additional 1/2 cup of flour.
  5. Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl and turn so that the dough is fully coated. 
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.
  7. Once the dough is done rising, punch it down then separate into 24 pieces.
  8. Roll each piece into a long bread stick, then put on a foil lined baking sheet.
  9. Spray bread sticks lightly with canola oil to prevent sticking, then re-cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another hour.
  10. Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes or until bread sticks are golden brown.
  11. While baking, mix together melted butter, salt and garlic powder for topping.
  12. Brush topping onto bread sticks as soon as they come out of the oven.
  13. Serve warm!

Matzo Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup matzo meal
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black powder
  1. Mix together matzo meal, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano in a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Add in all other ingredients.
  3. Mix by hand until you have an even consistency.
  4. Shape into golf ball sized meatballs.
  5. Put meatballs into a pan with spaghetti sauce.
  6. Wait for awhile to stir so you won't smash the meatballs.
  7. Cook for approximately 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  8. Serve with your favorite pasta.


  1. From one carb lover to another this looks amazing, ( we just made pizza and bread knots the other night) thanks for sharing on The Modest Mom Blog.

    1. It is definitely worth a try! My hubby is OBSESSED :)

  2. Replies
    1. It's so bad! I need to seriously cut back :)

  3. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop

  4. Love the pictures of your son!! And I too am a carbaholic....thanks for sharing at the "What's for Dinner" linky party!

    1. Thank you :) He is such a goofball!