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Childhood Throwback: Spaghetti O’s with Meatballs

AS AN AMAZON ASSOCIATE I EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES

Oh, to be a kid again. It’s one of the most carefree years in your life. You really have no clue what’s ahead for you. You just live for the moment. I sometimes wish I could think like a kid and not be so overly worried and concerned! Speaking of being a kid again, I technically am going to go relive my childhood this weekend by going to Disney World! Yup, I absolutely cannot wait. I went to the Food Blog Forum at Disney last year, and going again this year! It’s going to be a magical weekend ;)

I love when babies/toddlers are old enough to talk and they just have the cutest isms. They’re so literal and so matter-of-fact. Here are some Natalie-isms I wanted to share with you. Natalie is Jason’s 2 year old niece. I guess she’s technically mine now too since we’re married.

“What would you like for breakfast, Natalie? Hmmmm a big cookie!”
“Nat, who are you talking to on the phone? A boy.”
“Nat, do you want more bread? For Natnie’s belly.”

She’s so cute. She also calls me Jujee because she can’t say Julie yet :)

Anyway, I’m sure all of us as children have had the canned version of Spaghetti O’s. Honestly, even as bad as they are for you, I thought it tasted really good (haha what kinda food blogger am I?!), but today I bring you a healthier homemade version! I picked up this book, Comfort Foods Makeovers by America’s Test Kitchen a few months ago and I literally went through a stuck a little post-it on each page. There’s so many dishes in there I want to cook and best of all, they’re LIGHTER and HEALTHIER. They have a little picture at the bottom where it shows you before calories and after. It’s a really great book. It’s got all your classics and then some. Definitely makes you feel a little better about eating all your comfort foods. They also give you reasons as to why they did what they did and how it works to make the dish lighter. Neat, huh? :)

Childhood Throwback: Spaghetti O's with Meatballs

Remember spaghetti o's from when you were a kid? Here's a healthier and lighter adult version!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 6
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Ingredients 

  • 6 ounces ground chicken
  • 2 ½ tbsp reduced-fat pesto
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped coarse
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped coarse
  • 1 small celery rib, chopped coarse
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1: 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup ditalini

Instructions

  • Combine chicken, pesto, pank, 1/8 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a bowl and mix with hands until uniform. Using a heaping teaspoon, lightly shape mixture into 3/4 inch round meatballs (about 28 meatballs); place on plate, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  • Combine oil, onion, carrot, and celery in a large saucepan, cover, and cook over medium heat until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes with their juice and broth, cover and simmer gently until carrot is softened, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Working in batches, process mixture in blender* until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Return pureed mixture to clean pot, cover, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in pasta and meatballs, cover, and simmer gently until pasta is tender and meatballs are cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Notes

I used an immersion blender for step 3. I didn't feel like getting the blender out and making a mess with it so the immersion blender is a great alternative.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 bowl | Calories: 234 kcal | Carbohydrates: 33 g | Protein: 12 g | Fat: 6 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 25 mg | Sodium: 324 mg | Potassium: 592 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 6 g | Vitamin A: 1988 IU | Vitamin C: 15 mg | Calcium: 79 mg | Iron: 2 mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: childhood recipes, easy pasta recipe

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