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As a kid, anytime my parents would go to an Italian restaurant I would beg them to get me spaghetti and meatballs. It was my absolute favorite! I always picture the scene from the Disney Movie, “Lady and the Tramp” where the two dogs were sitting at a table, music playing in the background, and they both were eating spaghetti and meatballs. To this day, our kiddos love this dish too.

Over little a year ago I had the privilege of co-creating a meal prepping business in my local area that offered healthy meals that were portioned and ready to go. It was a huge success for those busy men and women who didn’t have time to prepare their own meals yet wanted to eat nutritional dishes that would help keep their diet intact. Each meal was weighed and portioned for those who were healthy conscious and even for those that were athletes.

My Italian meatballs served with a low sodium marinara sauce over whole wheat penne pasta with a side order of garlicky sauteed spinach was a customer favorite. These meatballs are hand rolled, made from ground turkey, and are packed full of flavor. Plus meatballs make portion controlling your meals so easy and fun. I use 4 meatballs per serving and if you need more protein just make sure to add 6 meatballs to your plate. I usually make a big batch of meatballs and then freeze the extras so they are ready to go when I bring this meal together.

I love the garlicky spinach that is served on the side. It’s filling because it’s high in fiber and it’s low in calories but high in nutrients. Just like in the cartoon “Popeye the Sailor Man”, spinach helps improve your vision and strengthens your bones. Do you remember that cartoon? Be careful not to overcook the spinach (just wilt it) in order to keep the spinach from becoming slimy. If you’re not a fan of spinach, just replace it with another green vegetable of your choice.

Italian Meatballs with Penne Pasta

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 3 lbs ground turkey
  • 3-eggs
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoon ground garlic (divided)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon italian seasoning (divided)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • cooking spray
  • 1-24 oz jar of Gia Russa Low Sodium Marinara Sauce
  • 1-14 oz no salt added can of diced tomatoes
  • 1-lb box of whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1-bag of fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon minched garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler on high
  2. In a large bowl add ground turkey, eggs, parmesan cheese, parsley, 1 tablespoon of garlic and italian seasoning, onion, and 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. Mix ingredients together until combined
  4. Spray cookie sheet pan with spray
  5. Roll meatballs into 1-2 inch balls (makes 48 balls)
  6. Place on pan
  7. Broil 10-15 minutes on each side until cooked and temperature reaches 165 (keep an eye on meatballs so they don't burn)
  8. While broiling meatballs, cook pasta according to instructions on box
  9. Place jar of sauce and diced tomatoes in a large saucepan and add ground garlic and italian seasoning
  10. When meatballs are completely baked, pasta is cooked, and sauce is ready then heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan
  11. Add the bag of spinach to the oil (may have to do in batches)
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
  13. Wilt lightly (don't over cook or it will be slimy)
  14. Take off heat and mix in minced garlic
  15. Serve dish immediately!

 

 

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