Spaghetti and Meatballs

Before I get to the recipe, let me apologize for the extreme yellowness of this picture. My stove, where I usually photograph dishes, was full, so I tried getting the picture on the dining room table. Apparently the light in there is even more yellow than the light above the stove. I would love to be able to photograph things in natural light, as most food bloggers do, but, honestly, I do almost all of my cooking well after it’s dark outside. We also have no natural light in our kitchen whatsoever, and I’m not sure I could safely make it across the apartment with a full plate of food, set up for a picture, and then make it back to the kitchen with three food-obsessed furkids. Ryan is attempting to teach me Photoshop so maybe one day I can make my pictures look better. Until then, know that the food is (almost) always way yummier than it looks… and slightly less yellow :)

I think I am especially sad about this particular photograph turning out poorly because this was, by far, one of the best meals I’ve ever made! It was my first attempt at homemade meatballs and marinara sauce, and I am really pleased with the results. I had been wanting to make meatballs for quite a while now but thought they would be too labor-intensive. As much as I enjoy cooking, I really hate making a huge mess in my kitchen. Spaghetti and meatballs seemed like the kind of recipe that would use every dish in my kitchen and leave me with a huge pile full of dirty dishes in the sink. I’ll warn you, this was mostly true: there was definitely a much bigger mess in my kitchen after this particular meal than our average Tuesday night dinners, but I think even Ryan would agree, it was well worth it.

On my delicious bookmarks, I have 3 pages of recipes tagged “meatballs“, but I opted to use a Cooking Light recipe since they have yet to guide me astray. I modified the recipe slightly based on what I had on hand, and there are only a few modifications I would make in the future.

First of all, the meatballs were near perfect; they were really moist and well-seasoned. In the future, I would probably omit the salt in the meatballs as the cheese in the mixture and sauce on top add enough salty goodness. The recipe calls for 24 meatballs; I made 16 simply because it was easier to divide the meat up that way. Either way is fine, just adjust the serving size accordingly.

The sauce, on the other hand, was really good but lacking a little something. I initially tried cutting back on the salt, but ended up adding the full amount (and maybe a smidge more). I also added garlic and Italian seasoning that were not called for in the original recipe. Despite a full teaspoon of red pepper flakes and these modifications, the sauce was just missing something. I’ve heard that adding sugar can help marinara sauce so I added two packets of Splenda, but it still wasn’t quite right. I can’t figure out exactly what it was missing, but it needed a little pizzazz. (And don’t be scared by the red pepper flakes; it wasn’t spicy at all.) If anyone has suggestions for what this sauce recipe might be missing, please let me know.

Since this recipe made eight generous servings, we each have lunch for tomorrow, some meatballs stored separately for sandwiches/pizza later this week, and two cups of sauce in the freezer for another time. There are not many recipes we would be happy to revisit that many times in the span of a week, but I have a feeling these leftovers will go quickly. Cooking Light, you have once again proven yourself to be trustworthy; five sparkly stars for this recipe!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

(For the sauce)
5 14.5 oz cans whole, peeled tomatoes, no salt added
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 packets Splenda

(For the meatballs)
1 slice wheat bread, (1 ounce)
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup fat free milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 pound ground turkey breast
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg white

For the sauce: Place half of the tomatoes in a food processor, and process until smooth. Pour pureed tomatoes into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining tomatoes. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in pureed tomatoes, red pepper, salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, garlic, and Splenda; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaves. Keep warm.

For the meatballs: Preheat oven to 400. Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Combine breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup cheese, and the next 7 ingredients (cheese through egg white). Shape mixture into 16 meatballs, and place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until done. Add meatballs to sauce; cook over low heat 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Source: Cooking Light
8 servings | 3 POINTS
The sauce makes about 8 1/2-cup servings at 1 POINT each, and, if you make 16 meatballs, one serving is 2 meatballs (or 3 meatballs if you make 24) for 2 POINTS per serving.


April 8, 2009. recipes.


  1. applec replied:

    Can’t go wrong with spaghetti and meatballs. Everyone’s favorite!

  2. Louanne replied:

    I love meatballs!!! I always add fresh basil leaves to my marinara & in my meatballs. Stir into your sauce just before you’re ready to serve – about 3-4 leaves, roughly chopped.

  3. Liz replied:

    Thanks Louanne – the basil suggestion is a great idea! I love basil and will definitely have some fresh leaves on hand next time I make this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback URI

%d bloggers like this: