Helloooooo friends! I’m pumped about this week’s meal prep because it features some of my fav things: mini versions of food (meatballs are just mini meatloafs, and I’ll stand by that statement forever), and farmers market tomatoes! I love august because it’s peak tomato season, and while I’m not usually a huge tomato fan, ones from the farmers market at peak season are unreal. Seriously, if you think you don’t like tomatoes, go to the farmers market this week and try one. So good.
I used my tomatoes to make a tomato sauce of sorts for my meatballs! It’s not a traditional tomato sauce, it’s pretty thin comparatively, but it’s pretty quick and I just love it. I paired that with some chicken spinach meatballs which I hadn’t made before, but they came out SO well. I kept things pretty simple flavor-wise since I really wanted to make the tomatoes the star, although you can add pretty much any spices you’d like! Add some pasta to all that an you’ve got a great meal! I’m truly excited for my meal preps this week, which makes the week that much better 🙂
I rarely have pasta, either as a meal prep or in general, and I know that is rooted in some self-imposed eating restrictions from my past. Some days it still makes me pause, but I don’t want to deny myself of this, or other, delicious meals! My body needs fuel (food) to perform it’s best and keep my happy and healthy and who am I to deny it that?
I’ve included recipes for both the meatballs and sauce below – serve with whatever pasta you love, and definitely add some cheese if you want!
Chicken Spinach Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Serves: 5 or 6
Total time: 1.5 hours
for the meatballs
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 C breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
for the sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1/4 C basil, thinly sliced
- more basil
How to do it
- make the meatballs: gently combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. you want it to be well mixed but not make the meatballs tough by overhandling the mix
- heat 1 (or 2) skillets over medium high heat. while they’re heating, shape the meatballs using about 2 tbsp of the mixture of each one
- add a bit of oil to the pans and, once that’s hot, add the meatballs. let them cook on the first side until they are golden brown, then turn them to another side. once that side is golden brown, flip to a third side and turn the heat down to medium
- allow the meatballs to cook until they reach an internal temp of 160-165*. remove them from the pan and set aside
- make the sauce: over medium heat, add olive oil to the pan the meatballs cooked in. add the onion and let cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes
- add the garlic and spices other than the basil and let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes
- add the tomatoes to the pan and let them cook down, gently crushing them with the back of a spoon as they cook. they’ll release all of their juices and break down a bit. let this cook for 10-15 minutes at a gentle simmer. taste the sauce and adjust as needed
- nestle the meatballs back into the pan with the sauce and add the basil on top. let it all simmer for 15-30 minutes.
- let cool and serve, or save for future meals!