Healthified Meatballs over Sauteed Fennel

It breaks my heart to eat a bad meatball. I find it funny that most people consider a meatball to be exactly what its name implies. Meat rolled into a ball with minimal seasonings, parmesan and bread crumbs. If this is you, try these and you will never go back! The secret of a good meatball is the complexity of flavors you can sneak into one tasty bite! And that’s exactly what you get with these.  I could eat them everyday no joke! And paired over sliced fennel makes it feel so classy, even though I was just trying out something different for the purpose of being low carb. I grew up eating the meatballs my grandfather (pop-pop-sir) made who is full italian so I have most definitely been spoiled but these are the same ones, just healthified!!  I bake them instead of pan searing them in olive oil and have a couple extra tricks hidden up my sleeve…  I promise this will become one of your favs too!! I’ve included one variation to keep reading!

(This is what fennel bulb looks like. The best buy I have found is at Trader Joes!)

**Tip:   This makes a lot so throw extra in a freezer bag for a quick snack or meal another day!

Pop-pop-sir’s Traditional Meatballs (Healthified!)

“Pop-pop-sir is my Italian grandfather who taught me how to make REAL meatballs. The original recipe calls for lightly frying in olive oil and simmering them in homemade marinara for hours! Delizioso!”

3/4 pound ground turkey

1/3 pound ground beef 95% lean (organic if possible. Cheapest frozen!)

1/4 green pepper, finely minced

1/4 yellow onion, finely minced

1 tsp oregano

1-2 tsp rosemary crushed in your hand (this is the secret ingredient!)

1/2 TBS garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground pepper

1/4 cup wheat germ

1 TBS egg whites

sprinkle of wheat flour / whole wheat bread crumbs

1 jar of  Marinara Sauce (Don’t get crazy sauce flavors. The meatballs will flavor it! I recommend Newman’s Own/ Trader Giotto’s)

2 fennel bulbs, sliced  Julienne

Cooking Spray – vegetable oil

White Wine

(Makes 1 large pan of meatballs but 2-3  servings for dinner. Sweet Meatball Recipe BELOW)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine first 11 ingredients in a large bowl and mix with hands. Mixture should adhere to itself so that you can form balls. If mixture is too wet add a couple even sprinkles of flour or breadcrumbs to get it to hold together. You might not even need this at all! Roll into meatballs (size of a ping pong ball no bigger) and place on a sprayed and lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or 15 minutes if you will be putting them in the crock pot.

Heat the marinara sauce in a saucepan and add the amount of  meatballs you want. Put the rest in a bag and store in the fridge/freezer.  Simmer meatballs while you are cooking the fennel.

Meanwhile, slice fennel and saute for 5 or so minutes in a saute pan sprayed with cooking oil. Add a splash of white wine and put a lid on it. Lower the heat to medium and cook another 5 minutes until softened.

Top with shave parm or mozzarella. If you are using this from the meal plan be conscious of the extra calories of sprinkling cheese and choose wisely!

This meal sounds complicated but mostly it’s just preparing the meatballs that take time. The meatballs can be made hours or days ahead and make enough for more than just one meal so it is worth it!! Buon Appetito!

Sweet Meatballs

 “My kids loved these so much they ate them right up and asked for seconds! I got the inspiration from Sugo in Atlanta. Their giant meatballs were so good I asked what was in them. My server wouldn’t share the recipe but he did tell me what made them sweet…dates!” 

1 pound ground turkey

1 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 15 min and finely chopped

1/2 TBS garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground pepper

1/4 cup wheat germ

1 TBS egg whites

1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese

sprinkle of whole wheat bread crumbs

1 jar of  Marinara Sauce (Don’t get crazy sauce flavors. The meatballs will flavor it! I recommend Newman’s Own/ Trader Giotto’s)

Combine and use the same cooking directions as pervious recipe.

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