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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A twist on Spaghetti and Meatballs

Over the past year with my volunteer work at Olivewood Gardens, my Nutrition Specialist degree and reading materials that focus on overall health and wellness it seems that my quest to "add my two cents" to making positive, healthier choices for combating obesity has been quite a learning challenge, but well worth it. With the cooking tips I've learned too from wonderful chefs and books I've read, I've been able to create my own versions of classic dinners...like spaghetti and meatballs.

First, I start off by making the meatballs...

1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup chopped onion
2 large eggs
parsley (calculate 1-2 tbsp)
oregano (calculate 1-2 tbsp)
salt and pepper
**Instead of adding barbeque sauce, I use orange puree**

1 1/4 cup orange puree consisting of orange veggies -- check out how good these are for you! (I use carrots, yams and pumpkin puree, but if you don't have pumpkin -- use butternut squash or sweet potatoes). I boil the (about 2-3) carrots, add chopped yams (1-2) and simmer until you can see they are tender. Maybe 10-15 minutes. I remove the water and puree them in a blender or food processor, then I add liquid (vegetable broth), which will make the blending go more smoothly. When all is said and done, you should have a couple of cups or a bit more of the puree).
**You can always use the remaining puree in other casseroles or dishes -- be creative and have fun!

I mix all the ingredients and form meatballs. Once made, I place them on a baking sheet and put them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Once they are done, I set them aside to cool slightly before I add them to the sauce.

For the sauce I simply use a can of whole tomatoes and a pasta sauce like Muir Glen Organic that I purchased at Henry's Market. Make sure that there is no added sugar to the can and you really are getting the "real deal". Add good olive oil, crushed garlic and spices to it like oregano, parsley, thyme, then season with salt (not too much) and pepper. I add the meatballs and continue cooking over low-medium heat for about another 30 minutes. Taste at the end to make sure you like it before serving.

**Try to use whole wheat pasta instead of regular white as it is better for you too.

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