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Matt’s Meatballs

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

I love to cook, so I tend to work scenes about cooking, grilling, or smoking meat into my stories. In The Air I Breathe (Steadfast Love Book 1), Matt Dixon is a great cook—something he learned from working as a line cook back in high school and college. In this scene, Kelly Sutton just arrives home with her daughter, Alana, after her first day at her new job, which Matt helped her get.

Enjoy the scene and the recipe!


Kelly’s phone pinged as she pulled into her parking space. She turned off the car and read the message from Matt.

Home yet?

Kelly smiled, wondering about the unexpected question.

Just pulled in.

Be over in 10 with dinner.

Matt Dixon had to be the most thoughtful man in the city. Maybe even the state. It sure was nice not to worry about what to fix for dinner after they had crammed her brain full of new information on her first day.

By the time Matt showed up, Kelly changed into yoga pants, a t-shirt, and fuzzy slippers. It felt good.

She held the door open for him as he brought in two bags of food.

“You know, it’s just me and Alana, right?” she teased.

“Don’t underestimate how hungry I am.” He winked at her. “I hope you like spaghetti and meatballs.”

“Sounds wonderful. Thank you for this treat. I rarely get a break from cooking.”

When he glanced at her, the warmth in his eyes sent electricity up her back. Something about him drew her in and she tried to remind herself of all the reasons she should not fall for him.

“I will confess that I use sauce from a jar,” he said as he set it on the counter. “The meatballs are my secret recipe.”

“Mmm. Can I help?”

“Nope. Take a seat and tell me about your first day.”

Alana asked for juice, so Kelly gave her some before she settled in the living room playing a game on her tablet. Kelly sat on a bar stool and watched Matt mix up the meatballs.

“I see garlic, onions. Is that parsley?” she asked.

“I mentioned it’s a secret recipe.”

“Fine. I’ll figure it out. I’m good at that.”

He laughed. “Tell me about your day.”

She did, and before she knew it, he announced dinner was ready.

“You don’t mind if we serve from the pans?”

“Please do. Fewer dishes to wash.”

Kelly grabbed some pasta bowls and plates for the garlic bread, along with silverware. She set them on the table. Then she offered Matt a beverage. He opted for unsweetened iced tea. She poured herself iced water.

Once the three of them sat around the table, Matt offered a blessing over the meal. When he finished, Kelly thought how wonderful it was to have a friend like Matt. He asked Alana about her day, and those thoughts of friendship rooted deeper. Anticipation spread through her.

Kelly brushed it away. She had only been single again for a few weeks after a heart-wrenching breakup. She shouldn’t be thinking about the future. Not yet.

“This is delicious,” she said. “I’m positive you put parsley in those meatballs. And oregano, basil, and a touch of Worcestershire sauce.”

Matt’s handsome hazel eyes rounded. “No way you tasted that.”

Kelly shrugged. “I cheated. I saw you put the Worcestershire in there. The rest I tasted.”

“Glad you like it. And that I could make your evening a little easier.”

As they finished the meal, Matt glanced at his watch. “I should go. I still have to turn in some homework due tomorrow.”

“How do you do it all?”

“Late nights, sometimes. I try to stay ahead, but this week…”

“I didn’t ask about you.”

“No worries. I’m fine, and tonight was about giving you a break.”

Kelly walked beside him to the door. “I really appreciate it.”


Matt’s gaze lingered on hers as he made no move to leave. Kelly leaned forward, wondering for a moment if he might kiss her. He cleared his throat and tore his eyes away from her.

“Good night, Kelly.”

Yeah, there was definitely something between them. She heard it in the husky timbre of his voice.

“Good night, Matt. Thanks again.”

Matt’s Secret Meatballs

(Really, this is my secret meatball recipe adapted from my eighth-grade home economics teacher’s recipe).


1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork or mild Italian sausage

¼ cup onions (minced)

½ cup dried breadcrumbs (for gluten free, substitute crushed corn flakes)

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 large eggs

¼ cup milk


1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Mix all ingredients together. Shape into 1" balls and place on lightly greased cookie pan. (Don’t use a flat cookie sheet. Use one with a lip so the grease from the meat doesn’t wreck your oven.)

2. Bake for 15 - 20 min.

3. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 min. Pack in quart freezer bag and place in freezer.

4. When ready to use them, you can warm them up in the spaghetti sauce at the same time you start water for the spaghetti noodles.


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