Miss Mary

What’s for dinner? Quinoa Turkey Meatballs made by Donna Bland

2013 TMB9I’d like you to meet my neighbor and recipe rewrite princess Donna Bland.  Donna’s journey this year has been one of an amazing transition to a healthier lifestyle.  She looks great and she will tell you she has “some” to go.   One of her gifts is re-writing, testing, and delivering delicious healthy meals.2013 TMB7

We spent the afternoon cooking her re-write of a family favorite, her husbands grandfather’s recipe, from the Cardone Italian Family Recipe book.

As we change our lifestyles to “downsize” we hate to lose those family favorites that we remember.  Our memories of aromas are wrapped around Grandma’s recipe, or mom’s sugar cookies.  Subconsciously we never want to give up all those goodies, EVER!

It’s a supreme challenge to overcome those desires for what you love best.  But with real commitment to making lifestyle changes there’s no reason to give up flavor and taste because you can adjust anything.

If you were to guess what the two principal enemies are in creating a lighter fare, you would say FAT and SODIUM.  In this Turkey Meatball rewrite, Donna has arrested those bad boys.

I asked Donna why Quinoa.  She said that the original recipe for meatballs called for bread.  She needed a filler that would be healthy.  It took several passes to achieve perfection for Donna’s family to like this new favorite.

Preparation and homework are key to any weight loss program.  To make the Turkey Meatball’s you need Quinoa. Donna picks up the Nature’s Earthly Choice Quinoa from Costco.  She actually makes a lot of it and keeps it in the fridge.  She preps it way ahead of time to use in several side dishes that she makes all week.  I was grateful to understand her way to cook Quinoa as it isn’t something in our diets.

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Quinoa 

Bring to a boil, cover on simmer for 35 minutes.  The Quinoa will look like the seed opened.  Yield is 4 cups.   (You can also follow preparation directions on the package).

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Turkey Meatballs

  • 19 – 20 oz. ground turkey, Aldi Fit and Active 93% lean – Donna cautions do not go leaner else you end up with really dry meatballs.  P.S. check out the price $2.99 for 19.2 oz.
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • ¾ cup quinoa, prepared
  • 2 large eggs, using only the whites – again Aldi
  • 1 ½ t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • ½ t. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 T. dry parsley

Mix together with your hands.  Form into 15 meatballs about 1 ½ inches in size (big ones!)

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until brown.

The sauce in most Italian dishes is key.  Donna is a huntress and can find anything.  Her detective skills in finding a good tasting, low sodium pasta sauce landed her at Aldi, again.  She found Aldi Fit and Active Pasta Sauce that they sell only once a year.  Of course she has all of them in her basement.  If you check out the nutritional information on the back you’ll notice it’s only 25 mg of sodium per serving – which comes naturally from the tomatoes.  They do not add salt to the sauce.

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Sauce

  • 1 14.5 oz. Walmart Great Value no salt added Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 jar Aldi Fit and Active Pasta Sauce, there’s an upcharge from Donna’s stash.  (You could use any low sodium pasta sauce.)
  • ½ t. oregano
  • ½ t. basil or Italian seasonings.

Heat through and add the meatballs when they’re done.  You can serve immediately or let them steep.

2013 TMB12 2013 TMB18Roasted Spaghetti Squash – Donna’s easier method to roast.

1 good sized Spaghetti Squash

Line your roasting pan with foil.  Poke holes all over the squash.  Roast at 350° for 45 minutes to an hour rotating every 15 to 20 minutes.

When done, let it rest until you can easily handle it. Cut the top and bottom off.  Slice in half, take the seeds out, and then scoop the meaty part out into a serving dish or a plastic container for later use.

2013 TMB15To serve the meatballs and squash, in a pasta dish place 1 cup of roasted spaghetti squash in the bottom.  Serve 2 to 3 meatballs and sauce over the squash.  Then enjoy a wonderful meal.  Donna says you can freeze them and then throw into the sauce and they’ll defrost as you simmer it.  Great idea when you forget you have to make dinner.

Seriously, this was DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!

We’ll have more of Donna’s rewrites.  She has a bunch of them.

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