This is my kind of comfort food – a good meatball with sauce and pasta. I know my kids are going to eat it and unknowingly get a few good veggies in there too!
Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2012
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. Panko
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp. olive oil
1 large jar tomato basil sauce
1/2 c. finely chopped spinach (see hint below for spinach)
1/2 c. finely chopped carrot
16 oz. spinach linguine
Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/3 c. pasta water when draining.
Combine beef and next 6 ingredients (through egg) and shape into 1 inch meatballs. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook 5-7 minutes browning on all sides.
Reduce heat to medium low, add tomato basil sauce, chopped spinach, chopped carrot, and reserved pasta water. Cover and cook additional 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
Serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese.
Food for Thought: This is an easy freezer meal. Simply assemble the meatballs and brown them. Let them cool before freezing them. When you are ready to eat, place meatballs in a skillet and add the sauce ingredients and cooked until hot all the way through.
For the spinach, a good friend recently told me that she buys the large containers of fresh organic spinach at a store like Costco and finely chop it in her food processor. Then, she freezes the chopped spinach in ice cube trays and pops the spinach cubes out into freezer bags so that she can easily add spinach to any of her meals. I did this and it was so easy! I like to toss spinach in just about anything but don’t always need the large 10 oz. package worth. This way I can pick and choose how much I add and I know that it is something the boys will unknowingly consume! Yay! I plan to keep up my stock of chopped spinach in the freezer now that I know this trick. (I haven’t tried this for carrot yet but may do so. It seems like it should work the same way and again, carrot is an easy veggie to add to many meals without impacting flavor greatly.)