9-10: Lean Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Here’s another one of those 1980s attempts at “healthy”. 9-10: Lean Meatballs with Tomato Sauce calls for the use of veal, which doesn’t immediately resonate with me as being “healthy”. A quick and dirty Google search comes up with veal having less calories than pork but more cholesterol than beef. Calories were the enemy in the 1980s, so I suppose that’s part of their justification for deeming veal meatballs “healthy”.

I’m not a huge fan of veal, and considering there’s a whole lamb & veal section to this book that I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of, we’re going to keep these meatballs “healthy” and swap veal for turkey. My mom was (and still is) a huge proponent of ground turkey, so this is probably a swap she or I would have made if we’d made this before.

You know, maybe she did make this before–I didn’t get all these stains all over the front and back of the card. I can’t speak to the suggested swap of tomato soup/sauce that they have on the side there, but it sounds a bit strange.

Simply Delicious has dabbled in meatballs before–9-30: South American Meatballs and 9-4: Swedish Meatballs are two very different varieties from what you’ll find in this recipe.

Ingredients. I was out of crushed tomatoes and feeling especially lazy (but also wanted to clean out the pantry), so I went with a few lingering cans of pre-made tomato sauce. Hey–if you can use tomato soup, you can use tomato sauce.

As mentioned, ground turkey swapped in for ground veal, and panko for what is essentially bread crumbs because that’s what I always do. Finally, I swapped in Italian seasoning for the basil because this recipe seems like it’s going to need all the help it can get.

Ground turkey blended with bread crumbs, broth, & egg. Don’t expect a lot of pictures on this one–I think I was cooking something else simultaneously and not being as conscious of documenting this one as I should have. Not that any of this is very difficult (or interesting).

Rolled out all my balls first (as is good practice) and held them on a sheet pan for boiling.

As I boiled them in the chicken broth, I had a bowl ready on the side to catch them. With the sheet pan of prepped balls on my other side, it made a good working line.

Emptied the sauce into the emptied pan (you can see the remnants of the chicken broth around the top), added the seasoning, and started warming it up. Once it got there, I added the still-relatively-warm balls back into the sauce, coating them and integrating it all together.

Like I said, a lot of this was going to be left to your imagination.

Final plate. I had cooked a bunch of other stuff at this point and we were full, but there had to be a picture plate (which someone was going to have to eat), so I kept it simple. These were definitely not as disappointing as I had anticipated, but they are still no flavor revolution. If you’re keeping things light in the calorie/fat department, this is actually not a terrible recipe (especially if you make the swap for turkey, which is a lot easier/cheaper to acquire and less controversial).

Grade: B