Turkey-Spinach Meatballs

Two of the most common misperceptions (excuses, maybe?) of everyday healthy cooking is that it takes too much time, and it costs too much. (That, or if it is good for you it tastes like crap.)

These meatballs prove that doesn’t have to be the case. Three servings of vegetables, plus lean protein, from kitchen to table in about 30 minutes.

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First, the time. I try to cook or prep as much food as I can over the weekend. I am really good at coming up with excuses during the week, and I’m especially likely to talk myself out of cooking something that takes more than 30 minutes. My timesavers for this recipe: I roasted and shredded a spaghetti squash Sunday, and I bought  jarred spaghetti sauce. I like homemade sauce, but this saved a lot of time for not a lot of money.

Second, the cost. Here’s a breakout of what I spent (realizing that prices vary by market and brand, and season).

Ground turkey: $4.29
Frozen spinach: $.59 (1/2 box)
Egg: $.16
Onion: $.13 (1/4 of an onion)
Parmesan: $.47
Breadcrumbs $.40
Spaghetti squash: $1.99
Jarred spaghetti sauce: $2.00 (on sale)
Total: $10.03
Cost per serving: $2.52

If you’re looking to cook healthier without breaking the bank, make friends with the frozen food aisle — specifically, frozen vegetables. It’s not unusual to find any number of vegetable varieties on sale for $1 per bag. Unlike canned vegetables, frozen retain their nutritional value. A small amount of cheese adds flavor, as do inexpensive dried seasonings.

Turkey-Spinach Meatballs
Adapted from Bob Appetit

1 1/4 lb lean ground turkey
1 egg, lightly beaten
5 oz. frozen spinach,  thawed and well-drained (1/2 of a 10 oz. box)
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan, plus more for serving
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Coat a broiling pan or a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Adjust oven rack to the top one-third.

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a large bowl. Shape into 12-15 meatballs and arrange on broiling pan. Brush with olive oil. Broil 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

Serve meatballs with spaghetti squash and marinara sauce. Top with additional cheese if desired.

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