Beef & Lamb

Meg’s Test Kitchen

Let’s face it. We’re getting older! Almost every other month, a friend is newly wed, just engaged or announcing a pregnancy. Although neither one of us is nowhere close to those milestones, it’s exciting to watch our friends celebrate these moments of ‘grown folks’ life. We don’t know what it’s like to cook for a family, but we will one day. In the meantime, we can see how our pals navigate those waters. Take, for instance, Meg. She’s one of Chrystal’s high school friends from New Jersey. Thanks to Facebook, they’ve been able to reconnect and keep tally on a few of the things that have happened over the years. Meg is the home-owning, married mother of four cute girls and three pets, and she’s in school. If she’s not busy, who is! She’s been living the family life for a while now, and we thought it’d be fun to have her share one of her family favorites. It’s one of those dishes that you can make once and use the leftovers for a completely revamped meal a few days later. Leave it to a mom to come up with the best ways to cut corners, save time and remain sane. Here she goes!

January is around the corner, which means we will all, once again, decide that we are going to eat healthy and get in shape for summer. There is only so much grilled chicken with steamed veggies on the side that one can possibly ingest though. I found this delicious recipe for meatloaf that is actually low in calories, and the best part is you can use the leftovers to make the second recipe! I personally love “now & later” recipes.

I got these recipes from Weight Watchers, so they are healthy. My husband and 4 children went back for second and thirds, so you definitely can’t tell they are “healthy” recipes. Enjoy!!!

Baked Pasta and Meatballs (from Weight Watchers) – Serves 6
3/4 pounds farfalle
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1/3 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
24 ounce jar fat-free marinara sauce
1 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet and a shallow 2 1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Cook the farfalle according to the package directions, omitting the salt if desired.

3. Meanwhile, mix the turkey, yogurt, bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano, garlic and salt in a large bowl. Form into 48 one inch meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, 10 – 12 minutes.

4. Transfer 24 of the meatballs and 2 cups of the farfalle into a container and let cool. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 days for later use in Sicilian Meatball Soup.

5. Mix the spinach, the remaining 24 meatballs and 4 cups of farfalle, the marinara sauce, and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella in a large bowl. Transfer to a prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella. Cover loosely with foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until hot and bubbling at the edges, 10 minutes.

Sicilian Meatball Soup (from Weight Watchers) – Serves 6
1 onion, chopped
3 small carrots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
14 ounces Italian-style diced tomatoes
3 cups coarsely chopped cauliflower
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large zucchini, diced
24 reserved cooked meatballs and 2 cups reserved cooked farfalle from Baked Pasta and Meatballs
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese

1. Spray a Dutch oven with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, cauliflower, water and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the zucchini; cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 5 minutes. Stir in the meatballs and farfalle; cover and simmer until heated through 5 minutes. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and stir in the cheese until blended.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


15 thoughts on “Meg’s Test Kitchen

  1. yeah the getting older thing is also there!! sigh!! hehe newas m loving the soup!! and i should try this for the new year night may be!! 😀 happy new year 2010 for both of you and ye families!! 😀

  2. I have been wanting to do a pasta meatball bake for a month now! I was gonna wing it and make it up as a went along. But now I haves me a recipe!


  3. Your friends getting married and having kids isn’t as bad as you think. Wait until they start having their kids go to college and get married. Now THAT is a reality check:)

    Weight watchers or not these look like some great recipes!

  4. I hear ya on the getting older thing–it’s all around me. So many changes, everywhere… it’s hard to keep up with sometimes.

    In any event, this baked pasta looks outstanding. I love that is is healthy too–that makes it even better!

  5. I know what you mean about getting older. This year I’ve found out so much about old friends and classmates. It’s a scary feeling something. Eek! But enough about that. I want some of that pasta. Since it’s from Jenny Craig, I’m sure it’ll be good and healthy.

  6. Even though I’m married, I still feel so far behind my peers. I’m not quite ready to be a grown up yet!

    Both recipes looks great. The pasta is calling my name and I think the meatbal soup is interesting. It’s like Italian wedding soup but with cauliflower.

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