15 Years of Food & Dining & Wine, Oh My!

Sep 26, 2013

09/26/13 - Thursday’s Topical Currents is with chef, author and syndicated columnist Linda Gassenheimer and wine columnist Fred Tasker.  Linda’s “Food & Dining” segments have been broadcast weekly now for some 15 years, and she discusses some of her favorite programs . . . and what new challenges are presented.  Many internationally renowned chefs, authors, Food Network stars and others have appeared.  That’s Topical Currents . . .Thursday at 1pm on WLRN.

~~~Dinner in Minutes~~~

Tasty, light meatballs in a rich pasta sauce are an American favorite.   In a recent interview with Danny DeVito, he told me his meatballs were the best.   He insisted they be part of the menu at the new restaurant, Devito’s South 

Danny DeVito inspired this quick Spaghetti and Meatballs dinner.
Credit www.dinnerinminutes.com

  Beach.   My mouth watering for them, I created this easy dinner.

The meatballs in this recipe are made with bread soaked in water and squeezed dry.   This makes them very light and fluffy.   For this quick dinner, I’ve used a bottled pasta sauce.  

The meatballs taste even better the second day.   If you have time, make extra and serve them for another quick dinner.   Complete the meal with a washed ready-to-eat Italian style salad.  

Helpful Hints:

  • Use a flat spatula to turn the meatballs. A spoon might break the meatballs.
  • A food processor can be used to combine the ingredients. Try not to over process them. The meat will become too compact.
  • A quick way to chop sage is to snip the leaves with a scissors.



  • Make the meatballs.
  • Place large pot of water for pasta on to boil.
  • Cook the spaghetti.
  • Complete the dish.




2 slices whole wheat bread
1/2 pound lean ground sirloin 
2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
8 fresh sage leaves, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried sage)
1/2 cup onion, frozen chopped onion
2 tablespoons raisins
1 large egg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup pasta sauce
3/4 cup water
1/4 pound spaghetti

Soak the bread in 1 cup water until soft.   Combine ground sirloin, garlic, sage, onion, raisins and egg in a bowl or food processor.   Remove bread from water and squeeze out excess water.   Blend into meat mixture.   Add salt and pepper to taste.   Form into balls about 2 1/2-inches in diameter.   It should make 4 meatballs.

Heat olive oil in a small nonstick skillet.   Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 5 minutes. Mix the pasta sauce and water together. Lower the heat and add the sauce.   Simmer gently 10 minutes, carefully turning the meatballs once.   Serve over a bed of spaghetti.   
While meatballs simmer, add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook 9 minutes or according to package instructions.   Drain and divide between 2 dinner plates.   Serve meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti.   Makes 2 servings. 

Here are the ingredients you'll need for tonight's Dinner in Minutes:

To buy:

  • 1 small bottle pasta sauce
  • 1 small bunch fresh sage (or dried sage)
  • 1/2 pound lean ground sirloin
  • 1 package spaghetti



  • olive oil
  • egg
  • raisins
  • frozen chopped onion
  • garlic
  • whole wheat bread
  • salt
  • black peppercorns

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of sixteen cookbooks including her newest, The Portion Plan: How to Eat the Foods You Love and Still Lose Weight and Good-Carb Meals in Minutes. Visit Linda on her web page at www.miamiherald.com or send her an email.