I am so proud of this recipe. It started as a little twinkle of an idea in my head and I feel like I nurtured it and brought it up to full maturity. I came up with this idea a couple months ago when I was brainstorming ideas for new muffin tin meals and I’ve been mentally revising the recipe without actually making it ever since. Today was finally the day. I finally felt like I finally had all the ingredients and proportions perfected the way I wanted it in my head, so the only thing left to do was to see if it actually worked in reality. I am so pleased to say that these turned out exactly as I’d hoped! The spaghetti cups hold together wonderfully and form a perfect, thick pasta basket for the meatball. The cups are firm and sturdy but the pasta stays soft with the exception of a few crunchy little ends of pieces that stick out of the top of the muffin cups. I was a little nervous about the meatballs because I had never baked them before (I always slow cook my meatballs with sauce in my crock pot) but they turned out moist, meaty and delicious.
Spaghetti and meatballs is one of my all-time favorite things to eat. I really love meatballs. My mom usually calls me when she makes meatballs just in case I want to come over for dinner (and I usually do). It can be hard to control your portion size when eating your favorite foods, but I found two of these cups to be extremely filling and satisfying for dinner. Plus, the presentation of these is great. How much cuter are these than a sloppy pile of spaghetti? You can serve these for dinner or they’d also make great party food. Just don’t forget to invite me.
Spaghetti & Meatball CupsSource: Emily Bites Original
1 lb 95% lean ground beef
¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 T skim milk
8 oz wheat spaghetti (I used thin spaghetti), broken into 2-3” pieces
3 egg whites
1 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded (I used the smallest holes on a box grater to shred mine)
¼ cup 2% shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 ½ cups + 3 T marinara sauce, divided
Parsley or chopped fresh basil (optional garnish)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil then lightly mist it with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, egg and skim milk and stir until mixed. Add the ground beef and stir in until thoroughly combined. Split the meat mixture into 12 equal pieces and roll them into balls. Set the balls on the prepared baking sheet and put them in the over to bake for 25 minutes at 350.
3. While the meatballs bake, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the broken spaghetti pieces according to package directions. Drain the spaghetti and set it aside to cool (I actually stuck mine in the fridge for a few minutes. It doesn’t need to be cold, but you don’t want it to be too hot to handle when you press it into the cups).
4. When the meatballs are done, remove them from the oven and place them in a saucepot with 1 ½ cups of marinara sauce. Bring the meatballs and sauce over low heat on the stovetop, just to keep it all warm. Stir occasionally. Turn the heat on the oven up to 400 degrees.
5. When the pasta is cooled enough to handle, whisk the egg whites together in a large bowl and then add the pasta. Stir to combine and then add the Parmesan, Mozzarella, and 3 tablespoons of the marinara sauce. Mix together until thoroughly combined.
6. Lightly mist a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Place about 1/3 cup of the spaghetti mixture into each cup in the muffin tin. Using your fingers, press down on the center and up the sides of the spaghetti, forming cups. Slide the tin into the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes at 400.
7. When the spaghetti cups are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a moment before removing them from the tin. When ready to serve, pour a tablespoon of marinara sauce from the pot into the center of a spaghetti cup, top it with a meatball, and follow it with another tablespoon of marinara.
*If you are planning to have leftovers, I suggest storing the sauce & meatballs in one container and the spaghetti cups in another and assembling them right before eating.
Yields 12 spaghetti & meatball cups. Weight Watchers P+: 4 per cup, 2 cups are 9 points+ (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Nutrition Information per cup from myfitnesspal.com: 171 calories, 20 g carbs, 5 g fat, 14 g protein, 3 g fiber