The Week, Meatballs & Sauce

Happy Tuesday, friends!

I hope your weeks are going well. Mine is a little nuts and I actually had to check my calendar to make sure that it is indeed only Tuesday.


Anyways, a quick check-in on last week’s training:

  • Monday: 7.6 miles (2 @ MP, 2 @ MP)
  • Tuesday: 6.6 miles easy
  • Wednesday: 10.1 miles
  • Thursday: 7.2 miles, last four @ MP
  • Friday: XT: 50 mins easy spinning/elliptical, lifting
  • Saturday: 20 miles
  • Sunday: 5.75 miles very easy

Total: 57.25 miles

Woohoo! My highest mileage week to date and I’m feeling pretty good, despite a little lingering quad soreness.

After Saturday’s fantastic long run, I had a big craving for a home-cooked meal. And by that, I mean sauce, meatballs and pasta. But despite coming from an Italian background, I’ve actually never made sauce or meatballs myself.


Because my great-grandma made them better than anyone or any restaurant, and I didn’t think I could ever come close to her brilliant deliciousness. But at the same time, she also inspired me to get my ass in the kitchen and cook.

So with Nonna looking on from the big Italian kitchen/bingo hall/casino in the sky, I attempted my first batch of meatballs and sauce.

The prep:

I had all burners on my teeny stove going at once. Good thing it didn’t explode.

My apartment smelled AMAZING in no time.

The end product:

Served over whole wheat pasta and topped with a little shaved pecorino. Delicious. And I think Nonna would be proud :)

Turkey Meatballs and Tomato Sauce


Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground turkey (I used 93% lean. Super lean meat may be a little dry)
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can (~3 tbsp) tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried oregano

Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan and add onions. Sautee for about three minutes, until they are a bit translucent. Add garlic. After about a minute, add in tomatoes, tomato paste, dried herbs and salt. Let simmer and add basil after about five minutes. Continue to summer and make meatballs

Combine all ingredients for meatballs and add in ground turkey. Mix and mash together thoroughly. Form into balls and cook on a skillet (sprayed with cooking spray) until browned on all sides. Then add them to the sauce and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve over pasta of your choice and enjoy!

Question: Do you make your own sauce? Do you have any special family recipes?

19 thoughts on “The Week, Meatballs & Sauce

  1. Meggie

    Ummm, that looks amazing. If you ever need someone to take your leftovers off your hands, I can do that for you.

    Have I ever made my own sauce? Nope. Just boiling water and making pasta is a victory for me! hahaha

    My mom makes this dish called creole peas (it was my grandmother’s recipe) – its has stewed tomatoes, peas, celery, hard boiled egg, ritz cracker crumbs and some other stuff that I can’t remember. She makes it at Thanksgiving and Christmas and we all fight over each serving.

    My mom also makes a mean pound cake — and I CAN make that 😉

  2. sofia

    yummm. these look great! you know i love meatballs 😀

    i’ve learned BT’s family sauce recipe, which is similar to your grandma’s except there’s a ton of parmesan cheese added throughout the cooking process. it really adds a little somethin’ somethin’!

  3. Lizzy

    My husband is Italian so he loves making his own sauce. I don’t miss with him and his sauce! Your version looks delicious! I love turkey meatballs. Its amazing how you can make turkey meatballs have so much flavor and still be healthy : )

  4. kace

    We have lots of family recipes that I’m trying to master right now. I got my aunt’s potato salad down pat as well as a close second to her mashed potatoes (I refuse to use the amount of butter she does haha), my mom’s irish soda bread and irish potoatoes. I’m still working on my dad’s meatball recipe – no disrespect to your nonna, but I like his recipe best : ) I neeeeeed my uncle’s wing sauce recipe but he won’t budge. Apparently only his children get it. Bastard.

    I love family recipes best! Nothing comes close!

  5. Lindsay

    Yum, that looks delicious! I’ve never made my own sauce, admittedly. I tried to once and it came out way watery and figured I’d stick to the jarred stuff. The turkey meatballs look delicious, I’ll definitely have to try them. I’ve been picking up TJ’s turkey meatballs but yours look so much heartier while still being healthy.

    Great job on the weekly miles and 20 miler!

  6. Celia

    Impressive! I have never made my own sauce! Like Meggie, I consider cooking pasta an accomplishment for myself 😛 I do wish I were better at cooking but I think I just don’t have the patience.

    I don’t really cook any family recipes but my mom makes Karjalan Piirakkas, a finnish rye pie filled with rice or potatoes, that I really like. Also my stepdad is a great cook! I should learn!

  7. Leashieloo

    Food twins! I totally had that for dinner last night :) Except my sauce was totes not homemade. My grandma makes an amazing sauce that she simmers like ALL DAY, but I don’t have the recipe…yet.

  8. Kate @ NaturaStride

    Looks excellent! Good for you for treating yourself after your 20-miler (nice job!!)
    Yup, I inherited my husband’s family’s Italian sauce recipe when we got married (it was very ceremonial, haha) so I make it in big batches a couple times a year and freeze it. The only thing is – I (secretly) use organic chicken sausage instead of regular sausage. I just cant bring myself to use regular sausage for something my husband and I eat all the time! Shh, don’t tell! For holidays, I’ll make the real deal, though. :)

  9. Grace

    I think your Nonna would be proud because those are so beautiful looking meat balls:) I like making my own sauce it tastes so yummy but most of the time I use organic jarred and it is still very good! I think I’m going to have to start a vegetarian meatball tradition in my family:)

  10. Megan (The Runner's Kitchen)

    yum! i love meatballs, perhaps one of the reasons (along with burgers…) why i’m not vegetarian :)

    i recently made my own homemade sauce and it contained just 3 ingredients – 3 lbs of tomatoes (peeled and chopped), 1/2 stick of butter, halved onion. simmer for 45 minutes. salt to taste. and done. so easy!

  11. Grace @ Balancing Me

    Answer: Yes, I make my own sauce, but only if I have time. Yes, I have family recipes, but most of them are really complicated Asian recipes that take nine years to make, so I just go home to NJ to see my parents and sample mom’s cooking. Hehe.

    Now, for my own question to you: So ummmmm … when are you making your blogger friends dinner, hm? Or maybe just a meatball party of some sort. That works, too. 😉 Maybe a meatball potluck. Can you imagine? Each person could bring different kinds of meatballs (pork, beef, chicken, turkey) with different sauces (pesto, marinara, creamy alfredo, spicy) ….

    Okay, I am getting REALLY carried away here. I apologize, but not too much.

  12. Lauren

    I made sauce this weekend too!! And it was my first time trying my dad’s “secret” recipe – well, really, it’s my Great-Grandma’s recipe that he has taken and made his own, but the point is that I’ve always been nervous to make it for the same reasons you said. It definitely wasn’t my dad’s (I think things tastes better when someone else cooks them anyway), but it came out pretty good, and my apartment also smelled amazing! My next goal is to make my own pasta to go along with it.

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