Saturday, August 7, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

My kids adore meatballs, so I was challenged to create a recipe that they would love as much as my regular beef/pork combination but that wasn't going to suck my daily point allowance up.

I decided to use turkey in place of the meat.  I added some parmesan to keep some fat in the meatballs so as they wouldn't dry out.

Instead of breadcrumbs I used (don't laugh) a package of mini-tuc crackers, crushed.  I did this because it was all I had on hand and I thought the buttery flavour from the tucs might add some extra flavour to the meatballs, which it did!  It added three points to the recipe, whereas my usual amount of breadcrumbs would have added at least six, so all in all, it worked out an excellent substitution.

I served it with wholewheat spaghetti, which is something I normally do to get some more goodness into the kids.  Spaghetti is the one wholewheat pasta that is really quite unnoticeable so I use it all the time anyways.  The point value is the same whether you use wholewheat or white, but wholegrain will fill you up much longer and gives you added fibre, so it seems a no-brainer to me!

Turkey Meatballs with Zero Point Sauce
(makes 12 meatballs)

1 lb ground turkey
1 white onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp Parmesan, grated
1 egg, beaten
1 packet snack size Tucs, crushed
salt and pepper
Cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F.  Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and shape into twelve meatballs about 1.5 inches in diameter.  Place on baking sheet and mist with cooking spray.  Bake for 15 minutes until turkey is cooked through, but still moist. Remove from oven.

For the sauce:

1 small onion, finely diced
1 rib celery, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Cooking spray
4 fl oz boiling water + chicken bouillon cube
1 can tomatoes
8 fl oz passata or tomato juice
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp sugar / sugar substitute
salt and pepper, to taste

Spray a medium pot with cooking spray and bring up to a medium heat.  Toss in onions, celery, carrot and pepper.  Sauté for a few minutes until vegetables start to soften.  Add garlic and chicken stock.  Saute for about five more minutes until stock has considerably reduced and vegetables are soft.  Add tomatoes, passata and seasonings.  Simmer for ten to fifteen minutes while meatballs cook.

At this stage, I puree the sauce, because my kids are picky, but if you prefer a chunky sauce, serve as is.

Add meatballs to sauce and serve with cooked spaghetti and Parmesan Cheese!

WW Points: 3 meatballs = 5 points 

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