Monday, November 15, 2010

Healthy and Picky Eater Friendly Spaghetti and Meatballs

I did some experimenting in the kitchen and had some success tonight.  I thought you may want to have success in the kitchen, too. So, I'm going to share!  I combined two different recipes for a 'best of both worlds' effect and it turned out great--both my picky husband and 19 month old gobbled it up!  I took the Pioneer Woman's recipe for spaghetti and meatballs and combined it with a recipe from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious  and came up with a healthier alternative to your average spaghetti and meatballs.  I will say, the meatballs come out a bit different in texture than your average meatball, but as long as you work in ALL the breadcrumbs I recommend it comes pretty close.  This recipe made enough for dinner for all three of us tonight, lunch for me and Staci tomorrow, and 2 other dinners to freeze.  In other words, it makes a LOT of meatballs!


Nonstick cooking spray
Olive Oil (1-2 Tbs depending on your pan)
20oz package Jennie-O lean ground turkey
2 cups breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 cup butternut squash puree
fresh ground pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped.  white or yellow.  I used yellow.  you choose. you're the boss.
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed in blender or food processor
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/2-3/4 cup red wine
1 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 Tbs sugar,
salt and pepper to taste

whatever pasta you choose!


Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs (excluding the cooking spray and olive oil) together in a large mixing bowl.  You can start with a spoon, but you're going to need to use your hands for this one.  Just keep mixing, eventually the breadcrumbs will get absorbed by the moisture in the turkey and butternut squash and it will become less grainy.  I usually just keep folding the mixture in on itself kind of like kneading bread.  You will think when you begin you don't need that many breadcrumbs.  But you do. Trust me. I know these things. I have tried it with less and ended up with soggy mushballs.  And you don't want that, do you?  Once your mixture is well combined, put a large skillet over medium to medium high heat (I put mine on '6' but every stove is different) and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.  Let it heat up while you form 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet or wax paper.  To do this, I used a cookie scoop and then went back and formed the scoops into rounder balls.  This method seems to be the quickest I have found and also helps keep the meatballs uniform in size. 

Add about a tsp of olive oil to your now-hot-pot, and swirl it around so the skillet is coated nicely.  Add meatballs in managable batches (probably 3-4) to the skillet, browning on all sides.  Set each batch on a paper towel lined plate before adding the next batch to the skillet.  You will probably need to add about a tsp of olive oil before each new batch to keep them from sticking to the skillet. 

Once all meatballs have been browned (but not cooked all the way through), add about 2 tsps olive oil to the skillet.  Add the onions and garlic and stir until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes.  Then add the wine.  Cook and stir and scrape all the brown on the bottom of the pan leftover from browning the meatballs.  When the wine has cooked a few minutes and turned a lovely burgundy color, add the canned tomatoes, sugar, bay leaf, garlic powder, and carrot puree.  Add a little salt and pepper here, but you can wait until the end to add the finishing touch of this as well. 

Carefully drop in the meatballs and bring the sauce to a simmer.  Turn down the stove to keep it just at a simmer, and let it sit.

Now, put a pot of water on to boil and add your favorite pasta, cooking for the recommended 'al dente' time.  By the time your pasta is done, so is your sauce! If you're feeling extra ambitious, grab some garlic toast from the freezer and pop it in the oven when you put your pasta in the water.  It will be done when your pasta is.  Perfect!

I used 'Barilla Plus' pasta for the extra protien.

OK, if you try it, let me know what you think!

Monday, November 8, 2010

family photos

Thanks to my awesome photographer friend Mandy we have some absolutely beautiful fall family photos this year!!  I didn't think we'd get that many because Staci refused to stay in one place for more than a millisecond, but somehow Mandy still managed to get many amazing shots! if you want to see the gallery, it is up on her website.  The access code is our last name.  LOVE them!  One (or a few!) will be our holiday card shot!