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February 8, 2013

recipes {spicy meatballs & spaghetti squash}

i am not a huge fan of eating a ton of beef, so anytime i can substitute with ground turkey i do! i think the best part of these meatballs is the depth of flavor. they are rich, moist and have a touch of heat to them. they are also made from lean ground turkey, so i don't feel as guilty indulging in these little bites. oh, and they are baked...not fried.

this recipe makes A TON of meatballs and takes a little bit of time to make. i typically half this recipe and end up freezing a large portion of the uncooked meatballs. this is a great method because whenever i want fresh meatballs i just pull them out of the freezer, let them defrost and bake them off! so easy!

>> what you'll need
3 cups (1-inch diced) bread cubes from a round rustic bread, crusts removed
2/3 cup milk
2 pounds ground turkey (i use extra lean)
1 cup freshly grated aged asiago cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the meatballs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 (24-ounce) jars good marinara sauce
freshly grated parmesan (or asiago) cheese, for serving

>> directions
1. preheat the oven to 400 degrees. line 2 sheet pans with foil and spray with pam.

2. place the bread in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. process until the bread is in medium crumbs. transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and add the milk. set aside for 5 minutes.

3. in a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, bread mixture, asiago, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. lightly combine the ingredients with your hands. add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the eggs, and stir lightly with a fork to combine.

4. with your hands, lightly roll the mixture into 2-inch-round meatballs and place them on the prepared sheet pans. brush the meatballs with olive oil. bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the tops are browned and the centers are completely cooked.

5. pour the marinara sauce in a large, low pot, add the meatballs, and bring to a simmer.

this is an ina garten original, slightly altered to make it a bit healthier. 

another great way to lighten up a big pasta dish is to replace the pasta with spaghetti squash. i'm not a huge squash person normally, but i was pleasantly surprised when i first tried this alternative a few months ago.

>> what you'll need
1 spaghetti squash
pam spray
salt & pepper to taste
2 tsp italian seasoning

>> directions
1. cut the squash down the center, length-wise. {they are pretty hard to cut so use those muscles!}

2. preheat oven to 375 degrees. line a baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with pam.

3. spoon out the seeds from the center of the squash and discard. sprinkle a generous amount of salt & pepper on the inside of the squash & then place the cut side down on the baking sheet.

4. bake for 45 minutes. then turn the squash cut side up and bake for another 15 minutes until tender.

5. allow squash to cool for 20 minutes and then use a fork to scrape cooked squash into a bowl!

6. i like to add a dash of italian seasoning to my spaghetti squash to give it some flavor! you can add as much or as little as you want.



  1. that looks delish! i love eating ground turkey and chicken.

    you changed your blog name. for a second i was confused. i like it! :)

    1. yes, i did! sorry..i should probably do a post on my name change :)

  2. Holy cow these look good - turkey meatballs are one of my absolute weaknesses!

  3. Looks yummy and my mouth is watering! Thanks for posting the recipes :)


  4. :O
    I'm going to try them out; thank you for the post.
    Life's Perceptions

  5. As a hungry student who can't cook very well...this looks pretty awesome and simple enough. Gotta try these!


    1. give it a shot, i like you will do fine with these recipes :)

  6. Wowww....these recipes looks so delicious and easy! Thanks for sharing these, I will definitely be trying them soon! You have awesome photos on your blog, you're a great photographer :)
    Thank you so much for following!!!! I’m following you back now on GFC....and I'm also following you on bloglovin (#26), and I clicked there on the "♥like button" on all your posts, to show some love ;)
    Follow me back so we can keep in touch?
    Hope you have a wonderful day<3


    "Sa├║de & Beleza - Health & Beauty"

  7. Your recipes are amazing, Jenna. Gosh, they're making me super hungry, at 2 am it's kinda dangerous;-)

  8. That looks so good! That I want to eat it! :D HEHE
    Thank you for following me, I am following you too! :)

  9. that looks really really good!

  10. This looks delcious!!! Definitely going to have to try!


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