Healthy Good Carb Lifestyle Blogging

Make-Ahead, Savory Sage Turkey Meatballs, with Holista Low GI Spaghetti, Mushrooms and Spinach.  Healthy, make-ahead comfort food for the holiday season.

By:  Noelle DeSantis, MS, RDN

On: December 19, 2018

December is a month filled with gatherings of friends and family, exchanging gifts, sharing meals, and all types of holiday cheer. Right?  Keeping up on all of the errands, planning holiday parties, shopping, and decorating can be a challenge. For many people stress levels are elevated, and our intentions of a healthy eating pattern falls to the wayside. All of the beautifully decorated, precisely placed holiday treats make choosing healthy options even more difficult. This is why having something healthy and easy to prep on hand can be the difference between grabbing that fast food on the way home or heating up a healthy home cooked meal when you get there. 

Batch cooking, also commonly called meal prep, can be a savior during the holidays. You do not have to be an experienced cook, or have any fancy storage containers to do it. (Some containers are better than others, but I will get to that). You don’t even have to dedicate much time in the kitchen. Think of it as scaling up your dinner, and the only extra time it takes is a little prep and storage time. Keep reading for the recipe below and tips on storage, thawing and reheating.

Why can batch cooking be such a saviour? While the holiday season is a time for celebrations and joy, many people do experience elevated stress levels. When we are chronically stressed, we are more likely to make poor food choices in response to elevated levels of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline (which make us crave sweets, fatty foods and/or salty food). When we are pressed for time, which happens often during the holidays, fast food, and sugary treats in the checkout line seem like the best choice. Those fast food and sugary choices can derail our weight loss plans and actually lead to more stress! Our health can suffer as well. Many comfort foods we reach for when we are stressed are loaded with saturated fats (the fat fat we want to limit), added sugar, and sodium. This can elevate blood pressure, lead to uncontrolled blood sugar, negatively impact our mood, and lead to a vicious cycle of continued, poor food choices. Eeek!

What can you do?

Prevent or break the cycle, by making the healthy choice, the easy choice. Meal prep or batch cook to keep healthy options readily available. This Savory Sage Turkey Meatball recipe is the perfect make ahead protein to create a meal in less than 20 minutes and satisfy that craving for comfort food. To make things even better, Holista Spaghetti cooks in just 3 minutes, which can be done at the end of re-heating the meatballs. Add sautéed mushrooms and spinach and you have a healthy, savory, comfort food meal for chilly December days.

Make-Ahead Savory Sage Turkey Meatball Recipe:

Makes 10 servings, 3 meatballs per serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground turkey

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped

  • ¾  cup bread crumbs of your choice

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 2 heaping Tbsp  fresh chopped sage

  • 3/4 arge onion, chopped (save 1/3 for complete recipe)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Combine dry ingredients and mix before adding ground turkey and eggs.

3. Whisk eggs and add to dry mixture with turkey.

4. Roll 1" to 1.5" round meatballs. (Makes 30 meatballs)

5. Place on lightly oiled baking sheets

6. Bake 25 minutes, flipping half way through.

Meatballs should be lightly browned and reach an internal temperature of 165°F

Serve hot, and allow leftovers to cool before storing in the refrigerator and/or freezer.

Complete Recipe:

Savory Sage Turkey Meatballs with Holista Spaghetti, Mushrooms and Spinach

Makes 2 servings

Once the meatballs are in the oven you should prepare the rest of your meal. You can serve the meatballs with any vegetables, and sauce you want, but I think mushrooms and white wine are the perfect pairing with sage. Any dry white wine will do. I used cooking wine for this recipe.

What you Need to Complete the Recipe:

  • 4-5 oz Holista Spaghetti (about 1/3 of the package)

  • 8 oz package of mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1/4 onion, chopped

  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1 Tbsp chili flakes (optional)

  • 3 cups spinach

  • salt & pepper to taste

What You Need To Do:

 1.  Heat a large pan over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, and start a sauce pan of water for your spaghetti.
 

2.  Sautee onion, garlic, sage, salt, pepper and red chili flakes until fragrant.

3.  Add mushrooms and sautee for about 4 minutes. Mushrooms should be getting softer.

4.  Pour in the white wine and quickly cover to allow the steam to cook the mushrooms.

5.  Cook your pasta while the mushrooms steam.

6.  Add spinach to mushrooms and stir in the pasta to coat with the mushroom sauce.

 

(It is a nice, light sauce).

Serve with 2 - 3 meatballs.

Bon Appetit!

Nutrition Information

Calories 469   |    Carbs 60 g    |    Fat 12 g     |    Protein 33 g 

Cholesterol 116 mg     |    Sodium 349 mg     |    Sugars 3 g    |    Fiber 8 g

Storage tips:

  1. Cool meatballs before placing in freezer bags, or containers and freezing.

  2. Use a shallow flat container as these are best for getting everything cooled, and frozen equally. If planning to reheat in the same container you may want to use a glass container. Otherwise a freezer storage bag will work, and you can take out what you need as needed without wasting space in the freezer.

  3. Try not to use disposable containers. These are not the best, as they may retain odors of previously stored foods.

  4. Use meatballs within 3 - 4 months of being frozen for the best quality.

Thawing options:

  1. In the refrigerator:  Thaw frozen meatballs in fridge overnight. If you don’t eat them the next day, not to worry. They will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.

  2. In the microwave:  When you use the microwave to thaw, continue to heat the meatball until the internal temp. is 165. (Food Safety Tip: This is the temperature you always want to heat leftovers to.)

You can choose to reheat the meatballs on the stove top in the sauce you are serving them with for about 10 minutes. Alternatively you can reheat them in the oven at 300 for about 15 minutes. Whichever method you choose be sure they are heated through. (Remember, the center should be 165°F).  Holista Spaghetti cooks quickly, and if you are batching for lunch at work, it reheats great in the microwave.

Re-heating: