Healthy Meatballs

Do you ever just crave a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs? I did recently, so I whipped up a big batch of turkey meatballs to pair with some whole grain pasta and sauce.

I know pre-packaged meatballs in the freezer section are extremely tempting and usually pretty delicious. But do you ever look at the nutrition info? Usually they have a lot of saturated fat and sodium. So let’s stay away from that.

I used 99% lean ground turkey and put a lot of flavorings in it so you don’t really miss the fat. Now with ground turkey, you can’t just assume that it’s more healthy. You do need to look for the lean stuff!

For the pasta and sauce, I just picked up my favorite jarred sauce, and kicked it up with chopped onion, mushroom and some added red wine. Easy right? Thought so.

This meal comes together quickly, so making it on a weeknight is definitely doable!

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Turkey Meatballs with Mushroom Tomato Sauce
(Makes about 18 meatballs)

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, 1/4 grated, the rest chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 slice whole wheat bread, put in a food processor or blender to make bread crumbs
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
2 pinches each of dried basil and oregano
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped or sliced
1/2 c. red wine
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 box of your favorite pasta
Salt, pepper, red pepper flake
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Start your pasta water and cook according to package directions while you prepare the rest of the meal.

In a large bowl, mix together the turkey, bread crumbs, dried herbs, 1/2 of the minced garlic, 1/4 onion grated, parm cheese (if using) pinch of red pepper flake 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

When the mixture is combined, grab a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball the size of a golf ball. Repeat until all the turkey is used. Pop into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn on the broiler and cook meatballs until they’re browned.

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While the meatballs are cooking, in a large frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the rest of the chopped onion, mushrooms, the rest of the garlic and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and the veggies start to brown. Add in the red wine. Scrape off all the bits off the bottom of the pan. Turn heat to medium low, then add sauce.

Add the meatballs to the sauce when finished under the broiler. Allow to cook in the sauce for about 5 minutes.

Top your cooked pasta with meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese if you’d like!

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