As much as I love making healthy food, I’d be lying if I said that all “healthified” recipes are as good as the original. Tofu is just not the same as chicken, a chocolate chip cookie CANNOT be made without butter, and fat free cheese does not hold a candle to the good full fat stuff (mmmmm, brie). But, this recipe for whole wheat pasta with Turkey meatballs is just as good as traditional spaghetti and meatballs. I would not lie to you.
The great thing about this recipe is I usually have almost all the ingredients in my pantry already, so this is one of my go to week night recipes. All you do is mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then, if you’re hardcore like me, you just stick your hands in and start forming the balls. Trick of the trade–pour a little olive oil on your hands before ball forming…it keeps the meat from sticking to your hands and moisturizes at the same time.To get the best results, I bake them in the oven for 5 minutes on each side so they get nice and brown. I then put how ever many I plan to eat that night in a pan covered in pasta sauce to cook the rest of the way. I put the extra meatballs in a baggy in the freezer as a great surprise to be found months later!
I let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. At the same time, I boil up some whole wheat pasta (I like rigatoni). Now, did you know that an appropriate “serving size” of pasta is only 1/2 of a cup!!? Now that seems kind of ridiculous. But, I make it a little easier by sauteing some vegetables to mix in with the pasta. That way you eat less pasta but you still feel like you’re eating a full bowl full of deliciousness.Nutritional highlights: Turkey, as long as you get the lean white meat kinds, is a great alternative to ground beef. It is still an incredible source of protein (one 4 oz serving…which is less than most of us will eat…gives you 60% of the protein you need in a day). It also saves a lot of fat and calories without losing much flavor. This yummy italian feast is one of the most complete meals you can find: whole grains, vegetables, meat, dairy, and uh, fruit (tomatoes??). It’s a nutritious way to satisfy your cravings for a hearty bowl o pasta. And it’s SO good.
Awesome Turkey Meatballs
– 1 pound lean ground turkey
– 1/2 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs OR 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs with 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning added
– 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
– 1 teaspoon dried parsley
– 1 clove of garlic, minced
– 1/3 cup skim milk
– 1 egg
– salt and pepper to taste
Other things you may need: pasta sauce, whole wheat pasta, and veggies of you choice, fresh basil for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients
3. Pour some olive oil on your hands and start forming the balls. The olive oil will keep them from sticking to your hands and will also help the browning process so make sure they get some oil on the outside.
4. Arrange meatballs on a baking sheet covered in tin foil. One pound of turkey should make about 12-15 meatballs depending on how big you like them.
5. Put meatballs in the oven. Wait 5 minutes. Take them out and turn over using tongs. Put them back in for another 5.
6. Store any meatballs you wont be using in the freezer. Put tonight’s meatballs in a pan and pour pasta sauce over. Heat on medium low so the sauce simmers. Continue for about 10 minutes.
7. Serve over pasta and vegetables, sprinkle with fresh basil and parmesan and enjoy!!