Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kid-Friendly - Pasta O’s With Meatballs

Lets face it, we have all had "quick" dinners at home due to all the crazy activities we balance in life - work, school, kids, sports, church, etc etc etc. How many of you have popped open a can of Spagetti O's or Soup, or made a quick sandwich for your kids bc you just didn't feel like cooking? Or how about ceareal? This is something you can make for your family, and they are sure to love it! Plus you can make it ahead of time, and heat before serving. FANTASTIC!! This is my sister Ginger's recipe and I thank her for letting me share.

Pasta O’s With Meatballs

Serves 4

6 ounces ground chicken (do not use ground chicken breast here/also labeled 99% fat-free or the meatballs will taste dry & grainy.)
3 tablespoons pesto (can use store bought/Trader Joe’s)
3 tablespoons plain dried breadcrumbs
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped coarse
1 carrot, peeled and chopped medium
1 small celery rib, chopped coarse
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomates
4 ounces (about 1 cup) ditalini (or any bite-size pasta; pasta alphabets are fun)

  1. Combine the chicken, pesto, breadcrumbs, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pinch pepper in a bowl and mix with your hands until uniform. Use a heaping teaspoon to gently form the mixture into ¾ inch round meatballs (about 28 meatballs), place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and tomatoes with their juice, scraping up any brown bits. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the carrot is softened, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Transfer the soup to a blender and process until very smooth (or use an immersion blender), 1 to 2 minutes. Return the pureed soup to a clean pot, cover, and return to a simmer over medium heat.
  4. Stir in the pasta and reserved meatballs and continue to simmer until the pasta and the meatballs are cooked through, 12-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
  5. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

An easy recipe that is healthier for your kids and yourself than canned processed Spaghetti-O’s.

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