Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Clean Eating Spaghetti and Meatball Casserole

Food prep was a lot of fun this past Sunday! I prepped 3 new recipes in hopes of trying some new things to add to my weekly arsenal of good eats.  This one I prepared ahead of time on Sunday and covered it up and stored in the fridge for dinner last night.  It was a total hit! The kids loved it, the hubs loved it and I loved it as well. We call that a win in our house :) 

You can also double this batch to use up the ground beef and an entire package of pasta. I opted to use the 6 oz of lean beef that the recipe called for and then just browned the remaining beef with some onion and garlic for easy grab and go for salads, wraps and other things this week.  

I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but you can see it there in my prep pic.  If you are following me on Instagram, you've already seen this photo. If you're not following me, please do as I post pics of my prep and other goodies throughout the week!

Clean Eating Spaghetti and Meatball Casserole 
Serves 6:  263 Calories 7g Fat 15g Protein 

cooking spray
1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti noodles (8oz)
2 cloves garlic
1 c fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 oz Parmigiano-Regiano cheese, finely grated, divided
1/3 c low fat cottage cheese
6oz extra lean ground beef
1 Tbsp wheat germ
1 Tbsp skim milk
1/4 c finely diced red onion
2.5c jarred strained and crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf

(Note: the recipe doesn't call for salt or pepper, but I recommend adding a bit to the sauce to zesty it up!)

1. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly mist an 11c casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain pasta, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Set aside.

2. In a food processor, pulse garlic until finely chopped. Add basil and pulse again. Add oil and half parmesan cheese. Pulse until well blended. Remove 1 Tbsp basil mixture and reserve in a medium bowl. Add cottage cheese to food processor and process until smooth and blended.

3. Add beef, wheat germ, and milk to bowl with reserved basil mixture and  mix gently until blended. Form mixture into rounded teaspoon size meatballs (24 in total). Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Mist skillet with cooking spray and add meatballs and onion. Cook, turning occasionally, until meatballs are browned and onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaf to skillet, reduce heat to medium and simmer until meatballs are cooked through and sauce is beginning to thicken, about 8 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

4. Spoon 3/4c tomato meatball mixture into bottom of prepared casserole dish. Toss spaghetti with remaining mixture and transfer half of it to the casserole dish. Dot top layer of noodles with half of basil mixture then cover with remaining spaghetti mixture. Dot top layer of noodles with remaining basil mixture and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven until bubbling, about 10 minutes. Then remove foil and continue to cook until top is browned, about 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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