Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash

Love spaghetti and meatballs? Who doesn’t? We’re going to shake it up with a few substitutions that make your pasta meal healthier and lower in carbs!

First, we love spaghetti squash. In our opinion, it’s the best substitute for pasta.  One medium spaghetti squash will serve 2-3 adults. 1 cup of baked and shredded spaghetti squash has approx. 10 carbs. On the other hand, 1/2 cup boiled spaghetti noodles will have over 40 grams of carbs. Rhodes rarely eats pasta because he always ends up with too high blood sugar. He says it’s not worth it.

Here’s how you prepare spaghetti squash. Peel off any stickers and slice the squash long ways (use a sharp knife), scrape out and discard the seeds, drizzle the flesh with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then place the two halves flesh-side down on a baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil and bake 60min in a 350 oven. Once slightly cooled, use a fork to scrape the “spaghetti” like squash out of the shell and serve in a bowl like pasta!

Try 1/2 cup of spaghetti squash tossed with 1/2 cup regular whole wheat pasta at first. Before you know it, you’ll go all spaghetti squash and never miss the pasta.

If you are going to do pasta, look for a lower-carb or higher protein pasta, like noodles made from chickpeas or edamame. Most importantly, watch your serving size because all pastas still have carbs! The recommended 1/2 cup of pasta doesn’t feel like very much food, so how do you feel satisfied? Bring on the meat sauce or meat balls!

Here’s my recipe for low-fat turkey meatballs.  This will serve 4 people. My kids have no idea I’ve hidden an entire zucchini in their meatballs! You need a package of lean ground turkey, one small-medium zucchini, 10-12 Ritz crackers, any Italian seasoning, and a jar of low-carb marinara. I love Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce (8 grams carb per serving) and Rao’ Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce (only 4 grams carb per serving). Rao’s is a little more expensive ($6-7/jar) but it gives such great flavor to your meal!

Wash your zucchini  and chop off the stem. Shred it using a cheese grater. If you like a little kick, shred 1/4 onion also. Put the crackers in a zip lock bag and crush them into breadcrumbs. I get my kids to run over them with their toddler cars. In a small bowl, mix the turkey, zucchini (and onion if desired), crackers, and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning.

Form the meat into golf-ball sized meatballs and place them in a skillet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Brown them on 2 sides, about 4-5 minutes.

Then add the entire jar of marinara, covering the meatballs, and turn the heat down to a low simmer.

Cover and let cook through about another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When you serve, sprinkle on some red pepper flakes (if you like some heat) and parmesan cheese to taste!

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