A Halloween-inspired meal, these meaty eyeballs and breadstick bones are the perfect change-up to regular spaghetti and meatball night.

Another fun Halloween-inspired meal, these meaty eyeballs and breadstick bones were the perfect change-up to regular ol’ spaghetti and meatball night, because I know you’ve been looking to transition your spaghetti and meatball night into something just a little more gory and Halloweeny.

Three meatballs with red sauce and olive eyes lined up on a small rectangular white platter.

Although I already have a plethora of meatball recipes on this site, I got a whim to whip up another meatball especially for these eyeballs and I have to say, these might top the list as far as juicy, tender, meaty deliciousness (I know, get the thought of eating an eyeball out of your head and concentrate on the simple tastiness of the actual meatball).

Covered in a simple and delicious marinara sauce that doubles as dipping “blood” for the breadstick bones and served over a plateful of spaghetti noodles (intestines, if you really want to carry the Halloween theme a bit too far), this meal was fun, fun, fun and quite yummy.

The breadstick bones, just to let you know, make use of my favorite breadstick recipe (just like the mummy-dogs), and instead of keeping the breadsticks in lightly twisted sticks, you simply tie a little knot in each end and proceed exactly with the recipe.

Don’t forget about the grand finale of Spooky Eats week up tomorrow. Me=Gag. Boys=Giggle then Devour.

A white rectangular platter filed with breadstick-shaped bones.
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Meaty Eyeballs

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  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 ½ pounds lean ground beef, or a combination of ground beef, pork and/or turkey
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Sliced black olives

Marinara Sauce (makes 6-7 cups of sauce):

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup grated onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely minced
  • 2 cans (28-ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon sugar


  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the panko and buttermilk. Let the mixture sit for five minutes. Add in the ground beef and all the other ingredients. Mix until well combined.
  • Form golf-ball sized meatballs and place them about 1/2-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake the meatballs for 28-32 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from oven and transfer to a platter or plate. If you used a less lean form of ground meat, you may want to drain the meatballs on a layer of paper towels before transferring to a platter or plate.
  • Cover the meatballs in marinara sauce and put two sliced olives on each meatball for the eyes (they should stick just fine to the sauce). Serve immediately.
  • For the marinara sauce, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the onion is softened and translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 10-15 minutes, or let it gently simmer for upwards of 45 minutes.

Recipe Source: meatballs from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, sauce adapted from Cook’s Illustrated