Friday, January 15, 2010

Penne Pasta and Meatballs

This was a simple and easy dish to make.  For the past few years, I've been making my own sauce out of crushed tomatoes and spices.  After reading the ingredients in the spaghetti sauces (lots of preservatives and unnecessary calories), and seeing Rachael Ray make her own in 30 minutes, I figured how tough could it be?  I found a recipe for sauce that I liked in Taste of Home magazine.  If you have a different recipe, please share it with me, as I'm always looking for something new and improved!

Here's what I did for this dish:

First, I made the sauce so it could simmer a while.
I chopped an onion in my food processor (it makes it very fine), and minced 2 cloves of garlic.  I sauteed them in olive oil, then added:
1 large can crushed tomatoes (or you could use diced, but we don't like the chunks)
1-15 oz. can tomato sauce (or 2 small cans)
1-12 oz. can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. basil (using dried right now)
2 T. oregano  (adjust these spices to your taste)
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. thyme
You may want to double this if you like a lot of sauce.

While it is simmering, sautee some more garlic and onion for your meatballs.  Mix 1 lb. lean ground meat with your onion/garlic, Worcestershire sauce, a couple handfuls of bread crumbs, an egg, some oregano, salt and pepper (or whatever meatball stuff you like).  I used my measuring Tablespoon to make the meatballs -that way they are all exact.  I brown them in my skillet.

Cook your penne pasta - I use whole wheat.  We've really gotten to like the taste of it, plus I don't feel as guilty eating it.

Throw your pasta and sauce into a 9x13 pan and mix it up.  Fish out your bay leaf, or someone may find a surprise when you serve it up :-).
Distribute your meatballs throughout, then throw some mozzarella cheese on top.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes in a 350 oven.

I served it with green beans and a side salad with Italian dressing.  I wanted to make homemade bread, but forgot until it was too late - my bad!  So, I found a box of the Texas garlic toast in the freezer and warmed those up.  I think they literally soak those pieces of toast in butter. 

I am still diligently trying to stick to the WW plan, so I had 3/4 cup pasta with sauce and 2 meatballs and I figured it was 6 points (I use venison meat so it is very lean) oh, and I dug in the dish so I did not get any of the cheese (cheese is bad for WW).  I only had 1/2 pc. of the toast, which would be 1 1/2 pts.  The green beans are 0 points (love it), and the salad was 2 pts. because of the dressing.  For me, I have to have a good evening meal, so I save my points all day so I don't feel cheated.  I was stuffed after this meal and it was only 9.5 points!  Next time, I'll do w/o the toast - it was not worth it.  Plus, I had 2-3 servings of vegetables and a lean meat.  Healthy, healthy, healthy!


  1. Sounds yummy!! I am trying to watch but I am not doing very well. I do good for breakfast and lunch and when dinner comes, look out. I feel so deprived, even though I have had decent meals for breakfast and lunch. I even have tried drinking some tomato juice to help a little before the meal. I get so frustrated. I don't know if it's just a learned thing and I am having trouble unlearning this behavior or what but I have to try harder.

  2. I love that you list the ww points. I started back to ww tonight after not going since before Thanksgiving. I have now lost 56lbs...39 to go! Last night I went through your blog and copied/pasted many of your recipes into a "Rhonda's Recipes" folder. Keep them coming!

  3. Oh Val, I am sooooo proud of you - you are my inspiration to keep going on this thing!