Mega Meatballs

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Browsing my favorite food blogs, I came across a lovely picture of meatballs, something I’ve not made in ages.  I decided it was high time I did some meatballs for dear hubby and I love them, too!   The dish I came up with is not classic “saucy” spaghetti and meatballs, as actually very little sauce is put on each serving.  But an adequate tomato-y edge was there and made this a delightful dinner.

I’m providing the nutritional information for the individual parts of this, as many will use this meatball recipe with other sauces, serve it over other bases than the zucchini noodles and will use this thick veggie-heavy marinara sauce for other applications.  This dish is not suitable until Phase 2 Atkins due to the ricotta.  It is OK for Ketogenic diets.  It is however not acceptable for Primal-Paleo.

I like to make large batches of meatballs and freeze the extras for quick uses later on.  This recipe makes 20 meatballs or 10 servings of two meatballs.  Adjust your recipe as your needs dictate.

I absolutely love the Lucini “Rustic Tomato Basil Sauce” (no added sugar or bad ingredients) that I found at my local Walmart.  It’s made with all natural ingredients, has a lovely taste and I buy it for quick sauces and us it for quick pizza sauce.  It’s a great flavor foundation to build on.  🙂   It costs somewhere around $3.99/jar if I remember right.

MEATBALL INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. ground beef (I used 90% lean grass-fed)

1 lb. ground pork

2 beaten eggs

½ c. ricotta cheese

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

¼ tsp. each onion powder, garlic powder, crushed fennel seed and dried basil

½ tsp. dried oregano, crushed

¼ c. Parmesan cheese

MEATBALL DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Measure out all ingredients into a large bowl and mix together with fork or hand until well blended.  Form large 1½” balls by rolling in your palms.  Place them on either a non-stick baking sheet or one with a silicone sheet liner.  Bake at 350º for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned and no longer oozing pink juices.

MARINARA SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

3 T. olive oil

½ c. celery, chopped

4 oz. onion, chopped

¼ c. bell pepper, chopped

5 large mushrooms, chopped

1  25.5 oz. jar (3c.) Lucini “Rustic Tomato Basil Sauce”, all natural ingredients with 4 NC per ½c. serving

2/3 c. parsley, chopped

3/4-1c. water, as needed

DIRECTIONS FOR SAUCE:  Heat oil in skillet or large saucepan.  Add celery, onion and bell pepper and saute until nearly tender.  Add mushroom and saute until translucent. Add Lucini sauce, parsley and bring to a simmer on very low heat.  Cook on lowest setting while meatballs are baking.  Stir often, adding water, as needed, to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan and to maintain a thin marinara sauce consistency.

ZUCCHINI NOODLES “Zoodles”:    VARIATIONS: Serve over spaghetti squash.           

3 medium zucchini (about 10 oz. each)

1 T. olive oil

DIRECTIONS FOR NOODLES:   Cut the zucchini into noodle shapes either with a hand held julienne peeler (what I use) or the more expensive tools like the counter-top Spirooli  that is designed to do this much faster. Heat olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.   Add zucchini threads to the pan and lightly saute just until they become translucent.  DO NOT OVERCOOK them or they will get mushy.

Plate about 1 cup zoodles on each person’s plate.  Top with 1/2 c. sauce.  Place 2 meatballs on top and if desired, garnish with a sprinkle of grated fresh Parmesan.

MEATBALL NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 20 very large meatballs.  Two per serving.  Each 2-meatball serving contains:  290 cals, 23 g  fat, 1.18g carbs, 0.8g fiber, 0.38g NET CARBS, 20g protein, 155mg sodium

SAUCE NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes ten 1/2 c. servings of sauce.  Each serving contains:  97 calories, 7.2 g  fat, 7.27 g  carbs, 1.93 g  fiber, 5.34 g  NET CARBS, 2.24 g  protein

ZUCCHINI NOODLES NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 10 servings of noodles.  Each 3 oz serving contains:  59 calories, 4.7 g  fat, 4.2 g  carbs, 1.4 g  fiber, 2.8 g  NET CARBS  1.5 g  protein

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