Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Quick Turkey Psgetti...

I am bored...

Quite frankly, I am waiting for my job to start so I don't have to do menial "please help me"-intern-type jobs (which are tedious and of course nobody wants to do). But I am also poor (no income as of now). So I eat out less and cook more.

Last weekend, I traipsed to my local (AWESOME!) Trader Joe's, picked up spaghetti (~$1.29), ground turkey ($2.99), a can of diced tomatoes (~$1.50), and a can of tomato sauce (~$0.99). Including the oatmeal, pickles (which is VERY optional), and grill seasoning, I probably spent less than $15.00.

Here's what I did:

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs in Tomato sauce


For the meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey
1/3 c oatmeal
1/3 tbs grill seasoning (I used Weber's Chicago Steak Seasoning)
~6 pickle chips, chopped (I used Famous Dave's Devil's Spit pickles, but this is optional)

For the sauce:
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
12 oz. water
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp grill seasoning (use the same seasoning as you used for the meatballs)
Salt, pepper, sugar to taste
Crushed red pepper to taste (optional)


1. Mix turkey, grill seasoning, and oatmeal well. Add pickles too, if you are using pickles.
2. Form into about ~1 inch meatballs. Place meatballs onto 8 x 8 casserole dish or baking tray
3. Broil meatballs for about 15-20 minutes.
4. While meatballs are broiling, saute minced garlic in olive oil.
5. Lower the heat to medium. Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
6. Add water into the can of tomato paste to wash off the leftover tomato paste and add it to the pan. Add another can of water to the sauce (total water 12 oz)
7. Add grill seasoning, taste and then add salt, pepper, sugar, and crushed red pepper to taste.
8. Simmer on low while waiting for the turkey meatball to cook.
9. While waiting, boil spaghetti per instruction on the box.
10. When turkey meatballs are done, take out from the oven and add to the pasta sauce. Mix well and continue to simmer on medium, covered.
11. Drain pasta, and put in cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and portion into bowls/plate.
12. Add the sauce and meatballs onto the pasta, garnish with cheese and chopped parsley.

1. Grill seasoning is not necessary. Use whatever you have on hand. At the basic level, the seasoning is just salt and pepper. I highly recommend seasoning the meatballs because of how quick this meal is, the meat does not have time to marinate. To add more depth, you can use garlic powder, onion powder, chopped scallions, etc. Just bear in mind that whatever you put in the meatball has to be in the sauce as well, so so long as the seasoning goes well with tomato based sauce, go for it!
2. You can add vegetables to the pasta sauce. Dice some onions and saute it with the garlic, for instance, or dice some carrots, or maybe peas. "Bland" vegetables like corn, peas, carrots work well in this sauce. I don't recommend something like celery or broccoli or, obviously, leafy vegetables.
3. To add another layer of flavor, you can serve this with a side of spaghetti aglio e olio. I've also served this with simple buttered spaghetti with garlic and chopped parsley. And I have also eaten the sauce and meatballs with just plain, undressed spaghetti. Either and all works.
4. If you want to add crushed red pepper, go with finely crushed red pepper. My favorite is Thai red pepper, but beware, a little goes a long way.
5. Pickles are optional, but it does add a depth of flavor. I have only tried bread butter pickle chips, but maybe dill pickle will work too. Although I think that if you want to use dill pickle, you should reduce the amount of salt/grill seasoning you use.
6. This recipe makes thick sauce and tends to be on the "drier" side. If you want more sauc-y sauce, just add more water. But remember to adjust the salt/grill seasoning, sugar, pepper, and garlic amount accordingly.

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