A few nights ago I was sitting around thinking about dinner. Yes, I do that from time to time.
I was thinking about what to have later this week when it occurred to me that my 14 year old daughter would be out of town. Not that I did not know that, it just had not figured into my meal planning until right about then.
You see there are five of us living in the house, she is the picky one. I swear sometimes she simply does not like anything. Her biggest pet complaint is that she can’t stand pasta. Unless it is mac-n-cheese but that is another story.
Kind of like my nephew that would not eat hot dogs for anything but was fine once I started cooking them and calling them frankfurters. Actually to this day he insists that there is a huge difference between the two and only buys franks when he goes shopping.
I even had my son go through a phase where he would not eat a cheeseburger, but his hamburgers had to have cheese on them. I very nearly chewed the face off of some kid that worked at Mcdoodles because of it. He just could not get it through his head that I was ordering a hamburger with cheese for this reason even when I explained it to him.
Ok, well that was an interesting tangent. Perhaps I will write more about my adventures in parenting another time. For right now I am here to put the recipe I use for turkey spaghetti and meatballs somewhere where I can’t lose it again. While I am at it I can get it off the faded sheet of paper with the red thumbprint in the corner and clean it up a bit.
So here goes nothing.
Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs
I start by grabbing a cookie sheet and giving it a light spray with some no-stick spray. I usually use an olive oil one, but for this it really does not matter since I am just using it as glue. Cut a sheet of parchment paper to size and stick it to the cookie sheet. While we are at it preheat the oven to 400 degrees. you can just use the no stick spray and skip the parchment paper, but I think it comes out better with it, Less meatball stickage.
Ok, now we can get our hands dirty.
In a good sized mixing bowl combine 1 pound of ground turkey (you can use chicken as well, try to stay with white meat if possible), 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano and dried basil (I have been known to just use the blended Italian seasoning instead), 1 tablespoon of cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon of salt (I use kosher salt, you mileage may vary) and 2 cloves of garlic – minced. Now get in there and mix it all together, remember I said we would get our hands dirty?
Once it is all mixed together form it into about palm sized balls, if you get about 18 or so you made them the right size. If not, I suppose you could always mix it back together and try again, or not, up to you. Place them on the cookie sheet about an inch or so apart. Bake at 400 degrees until cooked through. It should be about 20 minutes or so, turning after 10 minutes. Set them aside once they are done.
Note: you can make a pile of these all at once and freeze them for later. Using an ice cube tray to freeze them individually will help keep them from sticking together in the freezer bag later.
While that is going on get about 1 tablespoon (you can eyeball it) of olive oil going on medium high heat. I use a 7 out of 10 on my stove… but you can’t have my stove, I am still using it. Add one medium sized onion – diced, 2 more cloves of garlic – minced (no werewolves in my house I can tell ya) and 2 teaspoons of dried basil (once again mixed Italian seasonings work in a pinch). Cook for about two or three minutes stirring occasionally until the onions are slightly softened. Stir in a 6 oz can of tomato paste, a 28 oz can of Italian plum tomatoes along with the juice from the can (chopped if you can get it, otherwise roughly chop them yourself), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
Bring this to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer partly covered until the sauce starts to thicken up, about 13 to 15 minutes. (I use a cookie sheet to partly cover the pan. Use what you have, be creative.) Stir in the meatballs and continue to simmer until the sauce finishes thickening up and the meatballs are heated through, it should be about 10 more minutes.
Note: if making this in advance divide the sauce into ice cube trays and freeze, then divide between 4 – 6 zip top bags. If you divide it into six portions you can freeze 3 of your meatballs along with each 1/6th of the sauce in a sandwich sized bag. great for a quick 15 – 20 minute meal for one during the week. Just nuke the sauce and meatballs in a bowl while you boil up a bit of pasta to serve it on. I have had it last up to 6 months in the chest freezer.
Meanwhile Take 3/4 lb of pasta (I prefer whole wheat spaghetti, but I am a bit odd) and cook it according to the package directions. Drain it, split it between six plates, and give each one three meatballs and about a half cup of sauce. Shake on some Parmesan cheese if you are in the mood for it and dig in.
1 pound ground turkey or chicken. (White meat preferred)
1 egg (you only need the white)
4 cloves of garlic (will be minced, get preminced if you prefer)
1 tablespoon of cornmeal
1 teaspoon of dried oregano (can sub in blended Italian seasoning if you prefer)
3 teaspoons of dried basil (can sub in blended Italian seasoning if you prefer)
1 tablespoon of olive oil (I use extra virgin)
1 medium sized onion (will be diced if you want to do that in advance)
1 can of tomato paste 6 oz
1 can of Italian plum tomatoes (chopped if you can find it, do it yourself otherwise)
1 teaspoon salt (I use kosher, table salt works too)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 pound of spaghetti (I use whole wheat, and have also been known to use the whole 1 lb box… shhh don’t tell anyone)