Thursday, March 24, 2016

Turkey Quinoa Meatballs over Zucchini Noodles

Who doesn't love spaghetti and meatballs?!! I'm Italian, and when I was growing up, every Sunday I would wake up to the smell of my mom's meat sauce cooking on the stove.  She would start early because the longer the sauce would cook, the more the flavors would meld together, the sauce would thicken and just get better and better.  Since I try my best to make healthy choices and I cook at home as much as possible, I'm always finding alternatives to the traditional that are lower in fat and calories, but still as tasty.  Anytime I can add extra nutrients to a dish without the kiddos noticing, it's an even bigger win!  So, here is my rendition of the classic spaghetti and meatballs.  21 Day Fix friendly too!

1-2 pounds of 93% lean ground turkey
1 tsp. Himalayan salt or sea salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1tsp. olive oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
12 fresh parsley sprigs, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato sauce, no sugar added
*Combine all the ingredients, rolling into 1 inch balls, and place on baking sheet, bake 15 minutes @ 400 degrees. Leftovers freeze really well.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil (or 5 leaves fresh basil, chopped)
1 tsp dried parsley (or 2 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped)
1 tsp black pepper
Hot pepper flakes to taste (optional, if you want to add some heat)
2 (15 ounce) cans of tomato sauce
1 Tbsp of honey (optional)

Saute the onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil until translucent.  Be careful not to let the onion brown.  Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes continually stirring.  Again, don't let the garlic burn or else it will get bitter.  Add in the herbs and spices, stir.  Add in the tomato sauce and continue to cook on low.  If it starts to bubble, turn it down to the lowest setting.    Add the meatballs and stir occasionally, being careful not to break up the meatballs.  The longer you cook, the better.  I would recommend at least 2 hours.  If you don't have time to babysit the pot, after you sweat the onions and garlic, you can add everything to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add 1 Tbsp of honey.

If you have a spiral veggie slicer, zucchini noodles are super easy to make and taste really good, that you'll actually forget you are eating vegetables!
If you don't have a spiral veggie slicer, you can use a vegetable peeler to create ribbons of zucchini.  Then just simply place 1 tsp of olive oil to a pan and sautee until they noodles are tender, or steam the zucchini in a steamer basket.
*If you don't want to use zucchini, spaghetti squash works just as well.  Simply cut the squash in half lengthwise, place face down on a plate and microwave for 10-12 minutes.  When you pull it out, be careful because it will be very steamy and hot.  Then use a fork to scoop out the (noodles).  They should come out easily.  If not, pop it back in the microwave for another minute or two until tender and easy to scoop.

21 Day Fix Container Count:
5 one-inch meatballs = 1 red &  1/2 yellow
1 Cup of zucchini or spaghetti squash noodles = 1 green
1 Cup of sauce = 1 green

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