Weeknight dinners should be easy. In the winter it also usually has to be comforting. This recipe checks both of those requirements off the list.
Everyone has their go to weeknight meals for those nights when there just doesn't seem to be time (isn't that every night?). In my house, one of those meals is "macaroni and meat" - Bolognese sauce with whatever pasta we have. Growing up, my mom made it with macaroni shaped noodles and it was always one of my favorites. So, this lightened up version (for this mamma trying to lose her baby weight (ok, and pizza, pasta, cookie , ice cream - pregnancy indulgence weight) is a perfect compromise. Spaghetti Squash is an awesome alternative to pasta.
My Meatball recipe is easy, and contains no egg or breadcrumbs, naturally making it a bit lighter. The ground beef can be replaced with turkey or chicken, to your preference. You can use a jarred sauce, like Paesana Marinara (a great low sugar and low carb pre made sauce) or make my easy homemade sauce below. My sauce can me made and stored in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.
Lightened Up Easy Kosher Meatballs
2 lb ground beef (lean meat, turkey, or chicken)
1 yellow onion, minced extremely finely, or grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp oregano
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 C marinara sauce (jarred or my homemade- see below)
Preheat oven to 400 F
Cut up one large onion into chunks, and place into a food processor. Run until very fine, but not all the way smooth. (I use the onion as a binder, my meatballs (and burgers) never have bread crumbs or eggs. The onion provides awesome flavor, creates moisture and works to hold them together).
Combine meat, onion, marinara sauce and spices until mixed thoroughly. Roll into even sized balls (I prefer larger, mine are about 2.5 inches wide) and place onto a baking pan evenly spaced. You will want a baking pan with sides, not a cookie sheet, as there will be juice that can spill over.
Place meatballs into the oven, and allow them to cook until browned. Depending on size, about 15-20 minutes.
Broil on low for the final few minutes to brown/crisp the outsides. Remove from the oven.
Place the meatballs into a pot of marinara sauce (I reserved half of my meat and browned it before putting the marinara into the pan- for meat sauce as well).
Allow meatballs to cook in the sauce for at least 10 minutes.
Homemade Sugar Free Marinara Sauce
28 oz can Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes (no sugar added)
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Blend all ingredients together until smooth
This sauce recipe makes about 4 Cups of sauce
It keeps great in the fridge for up to two weeks and makes future meal prep quick & easy
To prepare the spaghetti squash, simply slice it lengthwise down the center, and scoop out the seeds. Place flesh side down on a greased baking sheet and cook at 375 F for about an hour. Once it is soft, you should be able to scoop the "spaghetti" out with a spoon.