Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Turkey Apple Onion Spinach Meatballs in fresh Tomato sauce over Pasta

It is fall, so we have a lot of apples, onions and tomatoes.  In fact, it becomes difficult to find enough uses for them.  So, this is one way.

Festival usually sells one pound packages of ground breast (both chicken and turkey) meat that, while not labeled with nutrition info, certainly looks and cooks like no skin, defatted breast meat.  So, it is.  Ipse Dixit.  Don’t use frozen chubs.  They are almost always fatty, and have lots of bone and nasty stuff in them.  Turkey Store ground turkey works ok also.

Ingredients for meatballs (will make 15 meatballs (or so)
1 lb ground turkey or chicken.
½ onion rough chopped
1 tart apple (I like Wolf’s), peeled, cored, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 cup fresh spinach, loosely packed
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp italian seasoning

Toss all ingredients (EXCEPT CHICKEN) into food processor.  Pulse until relatively finely chopped.  
Spread ground turkey out on plate
Spread rest of ingredients over
Mix thoroughly with hands
Form into whatever size meatballs you like.  I go for just a shade under golf ball size, they cook well
Brown in non stick pan with cooking spray.  I cook them at medium on my dial (5-6 out of 10).  These are fragile meatballs - don’t be tossing them around the pan and stirring a lot.  You will break them up.  Brown on one side, turn gently, brown on other, then add sauce (see below) to finish cooking process

While browning, make the sauce

Ingredients for Sauce
5 medium garden tomatoes, diced.  You could peel and seed them, but unless I am cooking for company, I don’t bother.  If you do, you will have to add ½ cup chicken stock to replace the liquid
½ onion, diced
½ green pepper, diced (or more if you like)
A zucchini from the garden would be nice also, as would an eggplant if you had it
8 oz of mushroom would be fine also
1 tsp italian seasoning
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

After meatballs have begun browning, toss onion and pepper in with them.  Once meatballs have browned on at least two sides, toss in rest of ingredients, cook for 10 minutes, covered.  Sauce will be chunky, not smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.  You may need to sweeten the tomato sauce with a bit of splenda if the tomatoes are too tart.  If you felt like it, you could toss another cup of fresh spinach in the sauce

After you add the sauce to the meatballs, cook the pasta.  I cook one (1) dry ounce per person, of high fiber pasta

If I did not add a zucchini or eggplant or mushrooms to the sauce, I would cook some frozen veg and serve the sauce over them, along with the pasta. Basicly, figure out how much veg you need to make your meal big enough.  Don’t use more  pasta to up size the meal.

So, what is the damage….

1lb turkey breast  - 500
½ med onion - 20
1 med apple - 80
1 cup fresh spinach 7
607 calories, give or take

5 fresh tomatoes 125
½ med onion - 20
½ green pepper - 15
8 oz mushroom -40
8 oz zucchini 45
245 calories, plus or minus

3 oz high fiber pasta 225

If you needed to cut calories I would use cooked potatoes in place of the pasta.  I would peel, dice, then nuke for 10 minutes, then add them to the sauce for the 10 minute cook time.  You can figure out the calorie replacement.  Personally, I find one ounce of pasta per person sufficient to satisfy.

So, that is a total of 1,007 calories.

If you split this meal for 3, that is 359 calories.  If you split it in fours, 225 calories.

Like I said, I don’t know the fat levels of the Festival Fresh ground turkey, but it sure looks close to 99% fat free, and there is no fat in the pan while cooking.  If you don’t believe me, buy some turkey store 99% fat free.

If you needed to cut calories more, delete the pasta, cook more veg.  Personally, I find some pasta makes the meal more satisfying, less diet restrictive.  Basically, I am just happier after I have a little.

Calories calculated on www.caloriecount.about.com

Credit where credit is due - created out of thin air by me, David Carlson

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