Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Gym Membership and Hot Mess Meatballs!

When Hubby and I joined a gym (for the first time in our lives) February of last year we also changed our eating habits. Perhaps I should take a step back here and say prior to this I was in complete denial about the food I ate. I ate what I wanted and to be blunt, didn't think much about it. I didn't want to know. I mean, I knew that certain things I ate, lots of things, were not "healthy". But I didn't care, because I enjoyed eating the food I loved. The problem with that is obvious. Eventually it catches up with you. I was able to "get away" with it for quite some time, which is fortunate in some ways. But I had some work to do. It took a change in eating habits and my view on food. Though exercising is great and it certainly helps expedite weight loss, for me, it's really all about the food. Healthy ingredients, portion control and moderation are key to successful weight loss and maintenance.

Fast forward a year and 2 months and I'm still maintaining my goal weight. I won't lie and say it's because I go to the gym 5 days a week or that I eat all healthy all the time. I work out less than I'd like to admit, but by and large I try to make good food choices on a day to day basis and then I splurge here and there, and there. Joining Sweet Melissa Sundays baking group is going to be one of those splurges. But I digress.

Not long after we started our journey to better health and fitness we came across a new cooking show that surprisingly is NOT on the Food Network. It is on Lifetime. Cook Yourself Thin is a half hour show that features one woman each episode who wants to change her eating habits without giving up flavor and still lose a few pounds. The three hostesses of this show take favorite calorie laden dishes, including comfort foods and desserts, and make low cal versions. Low cal doesn't mean a sacrifice in flavor or satisfaction in this case. I have tried several Cook Yourself Thin recipes and have not been disappointed with one. Some favorites are Penne Alla Not-ka (the first time I made the Hot Mess Meatballs I served them with this dish--delish!), Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Oatmeal Cookies, French Onion Soup, and of course meatballs.

This meatball recipe is actually part of the Cook Yourself Thin "Scumptious Skinny Spaghetti & Meatballs". I skipped the Scrumptious Spaghetti part which took away the marinara sauce cooking mechanism. What about baking them instead? Yeah, that sounds like it might work. This is where the "Hot Mess" enters the picture.

Now I know this isn't pretty. But trust me when I say it was tasty. Baking actually worked out fabulously in my opinion (if you can look beyond the mess). The meatballs were lightly browned on top and caramelized with flavor on the bottom. The Parmesan cheese melts in the meatballs and oozes out all over the baking sheet. That oozy goodness browns up into a delicious Hot Mess packed with flavor. Serve these with your favorite marinara sauce and a side of steamed or roasted veggies and you have a healthy, tasty meal on your hands. Enjoy!

Hot Mess Meatballs adapted from Cook Yourself Thin's "Scrumptious Skinny Spaghetti & Meatballs"

I'm only including the meatball part of the recipe here:

2 slices of favorite sandwich bread (I used wheat)
3/4 cup water
1/3 pound group veal
1/3 pound ground pork
1/3 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1/2 small onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I only used a pinch)

Remove crusts from bread, place bread in medium bowl and pour water over. Let sit 10 minutes, and gently squeeze out excess liquid. Put bread in a large bowl; discard water. Tear bread into small pieces.

Add all the ground meats, cheese, egg, onion, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes to bowl with bread. Gently toss to combine, maintaining a light touch to keep air in the meatballs. Roll the meat mixture in your hands to create meatballs slightly larger than a golf ball.

Here's where the recipe takes a turn. The original recipe calls for cooking these meatballs in simmering marinara sauce and serving it with whole wheat pasta. But the first time I made these I wanted to use the meatballs in another Cook Yourself Thin recipe for "Penne ala Notka". So I baked mine instead.

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat lightly with non stick cooking spray. Place meatballs on the sheet leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each meatball. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.


  1. Yippeee for the gym membership and healthy eating! I think that is so great you and your husband are doing something good for you and doing it together. My hubs and i work out to gether and love it! Have you tried a spin class at your gym?
    This recipe looks really good. Im going to make it! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  2. Thank you! The thing that's so cool to me is eating healthy doesn't mean sacraficing flavor. Check out the Cook Yourself Thin website and they have some amazing cake recipes to sub out butter/oil with veggies (such as zucchini and beets). Hope you enjoy the meatballs!