Guest Post: Healthiest Spaghetti and Meatball Dinner Ever
I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing bloggers through Taste As You Go, some in person and some virtually via Google Reader and Twitter. In an attempt to introduce my readers to some bloggers they may not know about and to highlight the writing skills of some incredibly talented people, I will be featuring Guest Posts on Taste As You Go from time to time.
Today's Guest Post was written by Melissa Schenker, one of my newest friends on Twitter. Melissa knows how important nutrition is to me lately, especially since I've been training for the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November, and has been giving me advice and support in response to my tweets about my running. When you're finished reading Melissa's Guest Post, you should check out her blog, Nutrition By The Numbers. Thanks for writing, Melissa!
I'm so honored to be guest-blogging on Taste As You Go. Michelle's blog is one of those feel-good warm and fuzzy coffee breaks for me. I love to read about her adventures in NYC. It takes me back to 1996, a year I spent living and working in the Big Apple. Fast forward to 2009 and you now find me married, living in a great suburb south of Boston, being a mom to two funny and smart kids, and working for NuVal, the nutritional scoring system that rates foods from 1-100 (100 is best). I have several roles with NuVal (mostly I work with grocery stores that are putting our fabulous system on their shelves), including playing the part of the Mommy Blogger. That's right - I get to blog at Nutrition By The Numbers about food, recipes, parenting, grocery shopping, all with cool NuVal scores mixed in. I am so lucky.
First, I picked up this TuttoRosso Tomato Puree from Price Chopper. You can see the great NuVal score of 81 right there on the shelf tag - it's in the blue hexagon. That's a very high score for canned tomatoes. Good thing I did not buy Red Pack Tomato Puree... it gets a score of 21.
Using those super high-scoring tomatoes (you can thank the lycopene for that), I made my sauce. I keep it simple:
Two turns of extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves crushed garlic (I love my Pampered Chef garlic press and it would be one of my three items to bring if I were left on a desert island)
4 cans tomato puree
2 cans tomato paste
Basil (lots of it)
Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1 or 2 tablespoons sugar
To 2 pounds of the meat/poultry, I added:
Italian-style bread crumbs (about 1 1/2 cups)
Parsley (really shake it in there)
Oregano (really shake that in there, too)
Garlic powder (the more garlicky, the better)
Sorry... no exact measurement. That's the recipe I have in my recipe box from my mom. You just have to play around with it until you get the consistency and aroma that you like. The key to good meatballs is to mix them really, really well. So, you have to take off your rings and get your hands dirty. When you roll the balls, take time to make them smooth, so as to blend the ingredients. So, for The Great Meatball Experiment, my husband and I mixed and rolled together (there were a LOT of meatballs). Here's what the Beef Meatball Mix looked like:
And, finally, there was the pasta to cook. Since coming to work for NuVal, I've switched to Barilla Plus Spaghetti. It gets a 91 on the NuVal scale. I had tried whole wheat pastas in the past and they just didn't do it for me. But Barilla Plus tastes just like the traditional spaghetti I grew up with and it sure is better than Prince Spaghetti, which scores a 49. See - it looks just like regular pasta!
Dear Husband: The Turkey is lighter. I like it.
Six-Year-Old Son: Moooooommmmmm! I don't like meatballs! Can I have a hot dog? (Really, I don't know how we can be related.)
Four-Year-Old Daughter (with a very full mouth): I like 'em bof! Can I have more? Can I have these for lunch tomorrow? And the next day? No, Mom, I don't need a bib. I'm not getting sauce on my clothes. I'm not!
In the meantime, I think it's time to get Grandma and Papa to take the kids to see a movie so my husband and I can head to Federal Hill. I have just the movie in mind: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs!
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