Tuesday, April 21, 2009
WHITE SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS
After a 10 day hiatus from the kitchen, I'm back and raring to go. After too many years of banning pasta from the daily rotation, I'm committed to trying out new and lighter versions of one of our favorite foods. I've been through the list of whole wheat and whole grain pastas and they are NOT for me. My recent experience making pasta by hand has reminded me of how satisfying even a small portion of "real" pasta can be.
Recently, I grabbed what I thought was the latest copy of Southern Living magazine in an airport kiosk only to suffer sticker shock--$10.99--when they rang up my purchase. Turned out that I had picked up a cookbook of All-time Favorite Recipes from Southern Living. While it didn't last me the plane ride, it did yield a few new ideas for week-night and company dinners. Remember, I'm looking for satisfying and more healthy. This recipe is good enough for company, but simple enough for week-nights.
The recipe for white spaghetti and meatballs seemed a good place to start. The meatballs are made from skinless, boneless chicken breast, there are sliced mushrooms in the sauce, and the sauce is made lighter with chicken broth and Neufchatel cheese (reduced cream cheese).
The verdict after dinner last night was this is a try-again recipe. Next time, however, I will need to spice up those meatballs. With just ground chicken, egg, saltines, and a teaspoon of seasoning, they were too bland. The sauce, on the other hand, is spoon licking good. At 431 calories (8.5 WW points) per serving, this is a good value, taste-wise and nutritionally.
1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 large egg
1 large garlic clove
10 saltine crackers, finely crushed
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I'm going to try 1/2 pack Good Seasons salad dressing mix next time)
vegetable cooking spray
1 (8 oz) package spaghetti
1 (8 oz) package sliced mushrooms
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tbs all purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 (8 oz) package Neufchatel (1/3 less cream cheese)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Process the chicken and garlic clove in a food processor until ground.
Stir together the chicken mixture, egg, saltines, and Italian seasoning. Cover and chill 20 minutes.
Shape the mixture into 1 inch balls. Place a rack coated with cooking spray in an aluminum-foil lined broiler pan. Arrange meatballs on rack. Lightly spray meatballs with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes, or until golden.Saute mushrooms in olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat (8-10 minutes). Add minced garlic and saute 1 minute more. Add wine, stirring up brown particles from bottom of pan. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Whisk in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cream cheese, whisking until the sauce is smooth and thickened.
Cook pasta while sauce is reducing. Follow package directions for al dente pasta.
Add meatballs and parsley to sauce and simmer 10 minutes. Serve sauce with meatballs over pasta.
Lots of leftovers for lunch. I'm guessing the meatballs would taste equally good over rice or mashed potatoes.