Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday: Spaghetti with Meatballs

There's nothing like homemade meatballs. These ones are especially tasty and super easy to make. This recipe came from a special edition magazine that FamilyFun published called Dinnertime! It is AWESOME! I found it at Walmart's magazine rack, and if you have kids, I HIGHLY recommend it. 
I only made one small modification to the original recipe. It called for frying the meatballs in oil over the stove, but I decided to go the healthier route and bake them instead. You can easily make these with ground turkey or chicken...see Change It Up below for alternatives. You will most likely have leftover meatballs...either serve them in a savory sandwich the next day for a tasty lunch or freeze them individually on a baking sheet to use whenever you need them. 

Meatballs Recipe
Serves: 8 Prep: 15 minutes Bake: 25 minutes
1 cup breadcrumbs (or 2 slices of bread in the food processor)
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 lbs ground lean beef
2 eggs
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375* F. Soak bread in the water in a small bowl. Gently squeeze the bread, and discard any excess water and transfer to a large bowl. Add the ground beef through pepper to the bread. Stir mixture with a spoon until well combined. 
2. Shape into 2 inch balls. Place on to a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 15-25 minutes until meatballs have hardened and are browned. Serve with spaghetti and tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce Recipe
Serves: 4 Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 27 minutes
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, Italian style 
2 leaves fresh basil, torn into bits or 1 tsp dried basil 
1/2  lb spaghetti 

1.In a large skillet, sprayed with cooking spray, add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until tender and translucent. Add garlic. Cook 1 more minute. Stir in tomatoes and basil. Sprinkle salt to taste. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook it over low heat for 15 minutes. 
2. Pour half the sauce into a blender, and puree. Return mixture to skillet. Cook spaghetti for about 7 minutes in boiling water. Serve sauce over spaghetti and topped with a couple meatballs. YUM!


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Bake meatballs ahead of time, keep in fridge and then reheat when needed. 
~Cook tomato sauce ahead of time, and keep in fridge until ready to use.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Try ground chicken, turkey or pork instead of beef.  
~If you are trying to cut down on carbs, serve this sauce and meatballs over spaghetti squash instead.
~Use Romano or Asiago cheese instead of Parmesan.
~Add a couple shakes of chili powder to add a little punch. 
~Buy 1 14oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes and 1 14oz can of regular diced tomatoes if you like your tomato sauce spicy.


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