Spicy Spaghetti and Meatballs (kid friendly)

Cooking with spice is the fabric of my cooking.  The ability to fuse a dish with fiery flare brings a joy to my heart!  So when I asked my young son if he would rather have burgers or spaghetti and meatballs, I had a brief let down when he chose the italian fare!  I have been craving Chipotle Turkey Burgers (recipe coming soon) for quite some time when my little guy vetoed my burger lust.  After thinking spaghetti over for a second, I decided there was no reason to leave the spice out, and so my version of Spicy Spaghetti and Meatballs was born.

 

 

Meatballs

  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 – 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 c chopped bell pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/8 c parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I pulsed 1 slice of wheat bread in the chopper)
  • 1/8 c chopped cilantro
  • 1 – 2 chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (save about 1-2 tbsp of the adobo sauce for spaghetti sauce)
  • Season to taste (I used a pinch or so of salt, pepper and chipotle seasoning)

Preheat oven to 350.  I’m all for making it easy for the chef, so I pulsed my bread in the chopper until they were fine crumbs and then emptied into a large bowl.  I added the garlic, bell pepper, carrot, cilantro and chipotle chiles to chopper and pulsed until chopped and mixed well.  Stir veggie mixture, breadcrumbs, parmesan and turkey together in large bowl.  Once mixed well, form small meatballs and place on a prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.

Sauce

  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce of choice (I like to use fire roasted, no particular brand)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1/2 c chopped grape tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp adobo sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Basil, parsley, salt, pepper – season to taste

While meatballs are baking, drizzle a bit of olive oil in pan, add garlic, onion and tomatoes, saute 2 – 4 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, mix well, cover and let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes.  Once meatballs are finished in the oven, add to sauce, increase heat to medium and cook for an additional 10 – 20 minutes to let flavors merry!

Serve with whatever pasta you prefer.  Normally I make whatever pasta the kiddo and hubby prefer and I substitute spaghetti squash for the starch.  Enjoy!

 A quick note, my title does say kid friendly… Canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce is not super spicy.  However, I was born and raised in the southwest, and my child was eased into spicy food.  He loves salsa, spicier guacamole, etc.  If you decide to cook this recipe for your kiddos, perhaps use half a chipotle and omit the adobo sauce altogether.

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