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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spaghetti and meatballs at a calorie bargain

By Charles Stuart Platkin

Spring is coming, but for the next month or two we'll still be hungry for tummy-warming foods. The problem is that stews, soups and other hearty dishes are typically high in calories. So here's a recipe we've turned into a Calorie Bargain, and you can find more at www.DietDetective.com.



2 (25.5-ounce) bottles marinara or tomato sauce with no more than 50 calories per 1/2; cup (reserve 1/2 cup for meatballs)

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped


1 pound 100 percent, white-meat, ground chicken breast

1/4 cup 100 percent whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup seasoned whole-wheat bread crumbs

1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped white mushrooms

1/2 cup tomato or marinara sauce (reserved from the sauce)

3 egg whites

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil

— teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 pound 100 percent whole-wheat spaghetti

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the sauce ingredients in a 10-quart pot and set over low heat. Do not allow to boil.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients and knead well. Use a mini ice cream scooper or your hands to make 14 to 18 meatballs. If using your hands, you might want to have cold water nearby or spray your hands with a little cooking spray to keep the mixture from sticking. Spray a 14-inch pan with cooking spray, heat the pan and brown the meatballs on all sides. Transfer the browned meatballs to the pot with the sauce. Raise the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.

While the meatballs simmer, cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and divide among 8 plates.

Top the spaghetti with equal portions of meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan, and serve at once.

Serves 8

Per serving: 461 calories, 80 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 4 g fat, 30 g protein

Health perks: Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. High intakes of broccoli are linked to a lower risk of lung, prostate and colorectal cancer. Broccoli is also high in potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K and folic acid, all vital to heart health. Additionally, white mushrooms are a good source of three B vitamins that help convert food to energy and promote healthy skin, hair, muscles and brain function. Last, using veggies lowers overall calories without reducing portion size.

Charles Stuart Platkin is a nutrition and public-health advocate, and founder of www.DietDetective.com.