CEiMB: Turkey Meatballs with Quick and Spicy Tomato Sauce and Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

Have you ever been rushing around the kitchen like a madperson, trying to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible because your tummy was growling, and accidentally omitted an ingredient, misread the directions, or otherwise goofed up a recipe? Well, I have, and I have to admit, I am pretty upset about it. I have been looking forward to this Craving Ellie in My Belly Recipe, hosted by Oddball Oven Mitt, since I first saw it posted on the CEiMB website several weeks ago. Since my last attempt at spaghetti and meatballs turned out so well, I have been anxiously awaiting another opportunity to make some.

Unfortunately I wasn’t paying enough attention to my recipe, and instead of adding the recommended 1 teaspoon of chopped chipotles in adobo sauce, I used probably closer to 2 tablespoons. Needless to say, the sauce I made was well past just spicy. I enjoy spicy food quite a lot, but this was inedible. In small doses it would have been great, but not as a pasta sauce. I had Ryan try it, and he almost choked. We both agreed the flavor was fantastic, so I’m sure with the appropriate amount of chipotle peppers, it would have been phenomenal. We ended up using a jar of Classico Spicy Tomato and Basil. Not quite the same as homemade, but still my favorite jarred sauce. (I’ve only included the recipe for the meatballs below, but you can find the sauce recipe on Food Network’s site.)

I had one other snafu regarding the meatballs, but, luckily, it wasn’t a meal-breaker. I set my kitchen timer for ten minutes, but, as it often does, it did not start ticking. I’m not really sure how long I left them in there before realizing more than ten minutes had elapsed. By the time I took them out, they were quite brown. Since I prefer all my meat well-done, I wasn’t too worried about it. In fact, the extra brownness gave the meatballs a nice crunch. Unfortunately, the over-cooking coupled with the fact that I used ground turkey breast in place of lean ground turkey left my meatballs a little dry. I didn’t let them simmer in the sauce which probably would have helped with the dryness quite a bit, and I will be sure not to skip that step in the future.

All-in-all, despite my mess-ups, this was very yummy. It did leave quite a mess in my kitchen as I somehow managed to use nearly every kitchen utensil and gadget we own in prepping this meal, but we will definitely make it again with more attention to the details. As it was, I give it three stars, but I know it would have been much better without my mistakes.

Turkey Meatballs

1 pound ground turkey breast
1 slice whole wheat bread, pulsed into crumbs
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup carrots, grated
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the broiler. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine the turkey with all other ingredients in a large work bowl. Form into 16 equal-sized balls and place on a broiler pan. Broil for 10 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

Source: “The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life” by Ellie Krieger, p. 164
8 servings | 2 POINTS


April 30, 2009. recipes.


  1. Jennifer replied:

    I did simmer the meatballs in the sauce for about 10 minutes (while the pasta cooked). I stored the meatballs and sauce in the same container, and really thought the meatballs were better the next day. I agree on crushed-fire roased tomatoes! Maybe they exist in NYC, but they do not exist in Birmingham, AL!

  2. Leslie replied:

    I know what you mean! It seems like I frequently “forget” to read the recipe and omit an important detail. My meatballs (also turkey breast, also a tad dry) also overcooked a bit but fortunately I didn’t ruin them. I imagine 2 T of chipotles would kill anyone’s desire to eat dinner! I hope you do make this one again since it was so good.

  3. Liz replied:

    I agree – I had the leftovers for lunch today, and the meatballs were better the second day. And, I’m in the Atlanta area so maybe it’s just the south that boycotts these fire roasted crushed tomatoes?

    I’ll definitely try the recipe again! I thought about saving the super spicy sauce and trying to use it for something else, but I doctored it every way I could think of to cut down on the heat and it just wasn’t salvageable.

  4. pamela replied:

    Wow…that’s a one spicy meat-a-ball! (Do you remember that commercial from way back when??) ANyway, that’s me with an italian accent there. Nice save on dinner, though!!

  5. Peggy replied:

    Now that sounds s-p-i-c-e-y!!! But those meatballs look fabulous.

  6. AJM replied:

    My toaster oven does the same thing! The timer mechanism is busted so it doesn’t turn off when it is supposed to. Good thing I like my food “crunchy” too! Your meatballs look yummy nonetheless!

  7. Sara replied:

    Glad you enjoyed them even with your snafu’s. The meatballs look perfectly browned.

  8. Kristan Anne replied:

    Looks delicious!!

    I’m in Houston and we have fire-roasted tomatoes in a can…I’ve seen them before, but I’m not sure if they’re crushed or not…

  9. Kristan Anne replied:

    Oh, I forgot to add…

    If you haven’t discarded the spicy sauce yet, maybe you can “water it down” with some plain tomato sauce and freeze it.

  10. Liz replied:

    Thanks for the suggestion KA – I tried to doctor it a little by adding 2 cans of tomato sauce, some wine, and sugar. It was still too spicy! :( I wanted to try to salvage it, but I couldn’t so we dumped it.

  11. Natalie replied:

    Wow….I bet that was spicy. It was a tad too spicy for me with just one teaspoon. As for dirtying the kitchen, this recipe did that for me as well. It was time consuming just for that fact!

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