Meatball Subs & Potato Chips

It wasn’t long ago that I told you about my love for sandwiches.  Sometimes, I just get a craving and nothing will satisfy it until I just go out and get the real thing – and yesterday I almost caved.  I wanted nothing more than to jump in the car and go find the closest meatball sub sandwich I could.  But, since I found myself with a little bit of free time I decided instead to whip up some dinner – although I hadn’t made my weekly trip to the grocery store so my pantry was a little bare.  Once again, thanks to my Dad and his garden, I had canned tomatoes, a crock full of potatoes and a freezer full of beef – so meatball subs and homemade potato chips happened.   

This hoagie recipe is awesome.  It’s easy, only requires about an hour for rising, and only bakes 15 minutes.  The rolls came out of the oven soft and chewy – the absolute perfect accompaniment to meatballs and lots of sauce.  I’ll be making this recipe time and time again, for sure.

A few weeks ago, I finally purchased a mandolin (I have NO idea why I waited so long – it’s awesome…) and these potato chips were my first hurrah with my new toy.  These chips took about 30 minutes from start to finish, and are SO worth the effort – store-bought chips don’t hold a candle to these babies.  Mine are lightly salted with sea salt, but you can season them however you wish – maybe some cayenne pepper, garlic, parmesan or just cracked pepper – delish.

This meatball recipe isn’t really a recipe at all – it’s just how I’ve always made them and they’re probably always a little different depending on what ingredients I have (or what mood I’m in).  I’ll do my best to get some exact measurements down for you, but this is another one of those things that I’ve picked up from years of watching my Grandma and my Mom in the kitchen. 

I kept the sauce simple, using the meatball drippings for flavor.  I tend to prefer spicy sauces with my meatball subs, so this one is heavy on pepper and oregano.  You can certainly add the meatballs back into the sauce before serving, but since I am feeding a five year old and a (very messy) two year old, I served the sauce separately to try to control and minimize the mess. 

Hope you give this one a try – enjoy!

Meatball Subs on Fresh-Baked Hoagies with Homemade Potato Chips
Yield:  8 rolls, 16 meatballs with sauce and 4 cups of potato chips

Hoagie Ingredients:
1 package active yeast
1 and 1/2 cups warm water (approx 110 degrees)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/8 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
4 to 4 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Melted butter, for brushing

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine water, yeast and sugar.  Stir until combined and let sit until foamy, approximately 5-8 minutes.  Add flour, salt, and vegetable oil and mix with dough hook until dough comes together and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 6-8 minutes.  Add more flour if needed, but dough should be just barely sticky and manageable by hand.  Form into a ball and place into a greased bowl, flipping once to grease all sides of dough.  Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free area for 45 minutes.

Once risen, punch down dough and separate into 8 equal pieces.  Form each piece into an oval and place on a sil-pat or parchment covered baking sheet, 2 inches apart.  Use scissors or a knife to cut two slices across the top of the bread, approximately 1/4 inch deep.  Cover and let rise again for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bake for 13-18 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle with garlic salt if desired.  Let cool completely before slicing with a serrated knife for serving.

Homemade Potato Chips Ingredients:
3-4 medium russet potatoes
Sea Salt
4 cups vegetable or canola oil

Preheat oil (in a safe place, out of child’s reach) to 400 degrees.  Using a mandolin, slice potatoes as thin as possible.  Place sliced potatoes in a big bowl of cold water and let sit for 15-20 minutes.  Rinse well, and place potatoes in a single layer over paper towels to dry completely.

15-20 slices at a time, carefully drop potatoes into hot oil.  Allow potatoes to cook for 3-5 minutes per batch, or until chips are completely crispy and light golden brown.  Remove from oil and place on a paper towel covered plate and allow to drain.  While draining, season the chips with your choice of seasoning.  Repeat process until all chips are cooked.

These don’t have to be served warm and can be made in advance.  They will stay crispy if stored in an airtight container once cooled.  Please be careful using hot oil with children around! 

Italian Meatballs:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped, divided (1/2 for meatballs, 1/2 for marinara)
1 cup italian style bread crumbs (or panko or white instant rice)
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons dried basil
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 4 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped)
1/4 cup of milk or half and half

In a large dutch oven, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.  In a large bowl, combine beef, 1/2 of a large onion, bread crumbs, egg, basil, pepper, salt, garlic powder and milk.  Use your hands to combine.  Form mixture into meatballs, approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.   Place meatballs into dutch oven and brown slightly on all sides, using a pair of tongs to carefully flip as needed.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and transfer par-cooked meatballs to a parchment or sil-pat lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Quick Marinara Sauce:
15 oz can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
Drippings from above meatball recipe
1/2 of a large onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon dried oregano

After removing the meatballs from the dutch oven, add the other onion half and saute until onions are becoming clear and transparent.  Add tomatoes, butter, pepper and oregano and simmer until meatballs come out of the oven, about 25 minutes.  Add meatballs back to the sauce or serve the sauce separately for topping.

To prepare sandwich:
Slice bread with a serrated knife.  Place 2-3 meatballs on each sandwich, and top with warm marinara and shredded mozzarella cheese.  Top with your favorite sandwich toppings – we use grated parmesan, black olives and pickles at our house!


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