Some weeks I feel like eating super healthy… other week’s not so much. This week was one of those weeks.
As a die-hard salad eater, sometimes a girl just craves a little pasta…. And there’s nothin’ wrong with that.
My typical food day starts with a big bowl of oatmeal, a mid-morning snack (usually carrots and hummus), a salad in the afternoon, an afternoon snack (usually one of my homemade protein bars) and a heathy dinner.
Since I usually eat a salad for lunch, I always like to make something more filling for dinner, especially to ward off those nighttime munchies. The problem is, despite popular belief (food bloggers are people too!) I don’t always feel like cooking.
On the days when I don’t feel like cooking or don’t have anything in my fridge to make, I rely on freezer food to save the day. When I say “freezer food” I don’t mean frozen meals from TJ’s, I mean frozen dinners that I’ve made and stored in the freezer like this Baked Pasta with Turkey Meatballs.
What I love about this dish is how simple it is. Make your own turkey meatballs (shockingly simple), cook pasta, add sauce and cover with cheese. Place in the oven for 20 minutes and dinner is made.
Since we’re using a 13 x 9 inch pan for this recipe, it makes a LOT of food. Luckily, you can keep the pan in the fridge for 3-4 days and then transfer the pasta to tupperware and place in the freezer.
When you’re ready to eat the pasta from the freezer, place it in the refrigerator to defrost then add desired portion in a small baking dish with some pasta sauce and cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes and you got yourself an easy dinner at your fingertips.
BAKED PASTA WITH TURKEY MEATBALLS
Time: 1 hour
Makes 10 servings
1 package (1.3 lb) of organic ground turkey
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box (16 oz) whole wheat penne pasta
1 jar (26-28 oz) pasta sauce (I like Rao’s)
1 small (5 oz) package organic spinach
1 1/2 cups of shredded part-skim mozzarella
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, egg, Italian seasoning and salt. Shape into golf-ball sized meatballs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
3. Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes or until fully cooked.
4. As the meatballs bake, cook the pasta in a large pot by following the directions on the package. Cook pasta el dente in order to avoid overcooking later.
5. Once pasta is done, drain with a colander and place the pasta back into the pot. Add the entire jar of pasta sauce as well as the package of organic spinach. Mix on low heat until the spinach has wilted and set aside. Once the meatballs have cooked, remove from oven and transfer into the pasta.
6. Prepare a 9x13 inch rectangle pan and grease the pan lightly with olive oil. Pour the pasta into the pan evenly and top with shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
*Store in fridge for 3-4 days and/or freeze in tupperware for up to 3 months.
**To reheat: defrost in refrigerator before reheating in oven at 375 degrees F. Add additional pasta sauce or olive oil as needed and cover with foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until fully heated.
Nutritional Information (per serving)
355 calories, 13g fat, 40g carbs, 6g fiber, 4g sugar, 12g protein