Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Meatballs for the Summertime

     The other day, even though it was hot and muggy, I found myself craving meatballs.  I usually think of meatballs as a cold weather comfort type food, so I changed one of my favorite recipes up a bit to make it leaner, lighter, and more of a warm weather dish.  I used the Spanish style meatballs from an earlier blog post, grilled them, and served sauce and all on top of spaghetti squash instead of pasta. No wheat involved since the meatball mix doesn't contain bread crumbs but is held together with an egg and some Parmesan cheese.  I packed up the meatballs, sauce, and spaghetti squash and took it down to Allison's.  She is still teaching exercise classes for the university over the summer, and after being a participant in two of her classes - she and I were ready for those meatballs! They really hit the spot, her roommates loved them as well.

Ingredients for 16 Walnut Sized Meatballs and Fresh Tomato Sauce


1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 green onions, little roots cut off and thinly sliced
1 egg
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
16 green pimento stuffed olives


3 to 4 large tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 good sized spaghetti squash

A little extra fresh rosemary to garnish


Since the squash takes 45 minutes to bake, start to prepare it first. Cut one large spaghetti squash lengthwise in half. Scoop out the sides and the darker stringy stuff.  Put a couple of inches of water into a baking dish and place the squash halves skin side up into the dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven.  With a fork, remove the strands of squash from the skin by running the fork from top to bottom of the squash.

While the squash is baking, dice the tomatoes. Heat the olive oil up in a pan over medium heat. Place the tomatoes, rosemary, wine, salt and pepper in the pan.  Turn the heat up and bring it up to a boil.  Turn the heat down to low and allow the mixture to simmer while you assemble and cook the meatballs - at least 15 minutes.

Now whisk the egg up in a large bowl. Add the meat, cheese, green onion, garlic powder, and thyme.  As you are forming the meat mixture into walnut sized balls, tuck an olive into the center of each one.  

Either bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or grill on medium low heat about 5 minutes per side. I use a nice little grill sheet that is meant for small foods so that the meatballs don't fall between the slats of the grill.  

Assemble by dividing up the spaghetti squash among four plates. Put four meatballs on each plate. Evenly portion out the sauce and spoon it over the meatballs on each serving. Garnish with a bit of rosemary.