A New Spin On Spaghetti & Meatballs

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If you are anything like me, you are participating in the annual cliche of dreading the onset of summer bathing suit season. I’ve been working out more, running, spin class, weights, etc, all in an effort to combat the ever increasing size of my bum. Actually, one of the reasons for writing this blog is to help me catalogue what I’m eating so that I can 1. force myself to be more creative and varied with my diet and 2. find new and imrpoved recipes 3. have a history of recipes and eating habits. I guess it’s my equivalent of having a diary.

 That being said, I’ve never been one for crazy diets (if you check out the carb category on this post you’ll see that I’d never survive a low-carb diet) or really restrictive eating. Instead, I’m opting for trying to update a few favorites to be a little more diet-friendly and here is one of my experiments: Brown rice pasta with turkey meatballs in a chunky tomato sauce. I like the brown rice pasta a whole heck of a lot more than whole wheat pasta. It takes slightly longer to cook but otherwise, it’s actually not bad. I have been using the Trader Joes brand and I am so far very happy with it. The meatballs are baked, not fried, which is my preferred method for making traditional beef meatballs. Here is the recipe for the turkey meatballs and the sauce:

Turkey Meatballs

1 lb ground turkey (don’t use white meat turkey, it wll be too dry)

3 teaspoons of non-fat greek yogurt

1 egg

3 teaspoons of chopped parsley

3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated parmesan (cheese is good for you!)

1 pinch of salt

1 small clove of garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all of the above ingredients in a bowl and mix well with your hand. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray (I use olive oil spray). Roll the mix into meatballs, placing each on the cookie sheet about an inch or so apart. Once the oven is heated, place the meatballs in and cook for about 30 minutes, until the meatballs are nicely browned all over:

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While the meatballs are baking, you can start the pasta water and the sauce. The following is the recipe for chunky tomato sauce. It makes a light tomato sauce, with the leeks adding a mellow sweetness to the flavor:

1 can whole plum tomatoes

3-4 cloves of garlic

1 leek, white portion sliced thinly

1 pinch dried basil (3-4 fresh leaves)

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

salt to taste

Open the can of tomato, and carefully crush the tomato with your hands – this is messy so you may want to pour out the tomatoes and juice into a large bowl before you start to crush them. It’s easy to squirt the tomato juice all over so squeeze them slowly! Place the olive oil, garlic and leeks in a sauce pan on medium high heat and saute until the leeks are lightly browned – stir frequently. Once the leeks are lightly browned, add the tomatoes & juice, basil and a pinch of salt. Allow the tomatoes to simmer while the pasta cooks. 

Some notes:

1. The meatballs can be made in advance and frozen. If you do bake & freeze them in advance, once they are thawed out, add them to the sauce to warm through while you cook the pasta

2. I used breadcrumbs with the meatballs but you could easily use 1-2 slices of white bread. If you use the whole slices of bread, soak them in a little milk and forgo the yogurt in the recipe

3. If you prefer, you could use cilantro instead of parsley for a nice fresh flavor in the meatball recipe

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One Response

  1. […] slightly (aside from the variety of meat) in their contents from traditional meatballs and the turkey variety as I added cooked shallot and garlic which I don’t normally do. The lamb meat needs a little […]

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