Who doesn’t love meatballs?
Whether you enjoy them nestled in a bed of whole wheat pasta, covered with marinara sauce, and sprinkled with some fresh Parmesan cheese or stuffed in a whole wheat roll with melted part-skim mozzarella and eaten Parmesan-hero-style; most people love meatballs.
Meatballs are also very versatile. The most creative recipe that I have enjoyed was for an Asian inspired meatball dish with a soy dipping sauce (I will post that recipe soon…I promise). Another appealing trait is they make great entrees and if made “mini” they serve as an impressive appetizer when entertaining friends and family.
I have been making my own meatballs for years using this adapted Weight Watchers recipe I created because, quite frankly, I haven’t been impressed by the meatballs I have seen in the grocery stores. They have a strange taste or texture and are too high in calories to enjoy as an EVERYDAY FOOD.
Even the turkey and chicken meatballs in the supermarkets are unnecessarily high in calories and fat (and many other things). I understand that people think turkey and chicken products are healthier but that is not always the case. This is why I prefer to make them myself. My family prefers it this way too.
Finding the Right Meat Mix
My meatballs can be made with any percent of ground meat but for the leanest meatballs stick with 96% extra lean ground beef or 99% extra lean ground turkey. Go ahead and use 90% or 93% lean meat if you aren’t accustomed to extra lean. Those are just fine.
Another option, double the recipe, freeze half of it, and mix the meats. Mix one pound of 99% extra lean ground turkey with a 93% lean ground beef. These can be easily stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make extra so that you can enjoy them when you are short on time or energy. Making these yourself and using the lean variety is still healthier, leaner and better tasting (says my husband) than any other meatball you will find in the grocery store.
Cooking the Meatballs
Another awesome thing about this recipe is that you can use a variety of cooking methods and a number of pantry substitutions to save you time in the kitchen and a trip to the supermarket.
Some of my favorite cooking methods are sautéing them in broth and white wine, when I am short on time and need to multi-task I prefer to bake them in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes, and my girls’ favorite is simmering them in a big pot of marinara sauce until they are no longer pink in the center and cooked to perfection.
Whichever technique used they all have been a hit in my house.
I especially love these meatballs on a bed of spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese on top.
For a MEAL TRIFECTA these meatballs would be your protein, and I combine whole wheat pasta for my starch with tomato sauce and some broccoli as my vegetables. Bon Appétit.
Serves: 4 servings
- Nonstick cooking spray
- ½ cup uncooked raw yellow onion, minced
- 1 pound uncooked raw 96% extra lean ground beef
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup + ½ cup reduced sodium broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)
- ¼ cup white wine
- Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and set over medium-heat. Add onions and ¼ cup of the broth to the pan and saute the onions until they are transparent.
- Remove onions to a large bowl. Add beef, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and red pepper flakes to the onions and mix well.
- With damp hands or hands sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, roll meat mixture into 8 meatballs.
- Place skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray over medium-low heat. Add broth, wine, and meatballs.
- Simmer until cooked through gently turning meatballs once during cooking about 15-20 minutes.