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Feb 21
72

Spaghetti & Meatball Cups

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.


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Spaghetti & Meatball Cups

Yield: 12 spaghetti & meatball cups

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  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.

Weight Watchers Points Plus:
4 per cup, 9 for 2 cups (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

Nutrition Information:
171 calories, 20 g carbs, 5 g fat, 14 g protein, 3 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)

An Emily Bites Original

   

72 Responses to “Spaghetti & Meatball Cups”

  1. #
    1
    Anonymous — February 21, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

    Those are beautiful! Will definitely be doing this one day! Happy Mardi Gras from South Louisiana!! :)

    • emilybites replied: — February 21st, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

      Thank you! Happy Mardi Gras to you as well :)

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    Melanie — February 21, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    I made spaghetti and meatball cups for my daughter’s first birthday cupcake themed party. They were a huge hit!

    • emilybites replied: — February 21st, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

      Awesome :)

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    Holly — February 22, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

    I made these last night after seeing the post. I LOVED THEM! And they are adorable :)

    • emilybites replied: — February 23rd, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

      Yay, I’m so glad you tried them and loved them! I agree, they are pretty darn cute. :)

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    Tausha and baby Jorja — February 22, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

    I made these today so excited to have them! We added a tablespoon if parmesan cheese to the meatballs with a little garlic salt and pepper yummy!!!!

    • emilybites replied: — February 23rd, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

      Sounds delicious! Happy to hear they were a success! :)

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    Anonymous — February 24, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

    Is the nutrition info based on A one or two-piece servings?

    • emilybites replied: — February 25th, 2012 @ 11:23 pm

      The nutrition and points are for a single cup

  6. #
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    Kelly — February 25, 2012 @ 2:29 am

    Yummy! The kids said they were amazing!

    • emilybites replied: — February 25th, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

      Glad they loved them!

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    Anonymous — February 25, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

    Made these and they were amazing! I couldn’t get over how filling they were! The meatballs were delicious and huge! A hit with the while family!

    • emilybites replied: — February 25th, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

      So happy to hear they were a big hit! I found them to be really filling too. I love meatballs so the meatball-to-spaghetti ratio was perfect for me. :)

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    Roz @ weightingfor50 — February 25, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

    Oh Emily, this is AMAZING. I’ve bookmarked and can’t wait to try. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • emilybites replied: — February 25th, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

      Thanks, Roz! Let me know what you think – hope you love them!

  9. #
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    Samuel Cloete — February 26, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    Hi Emily, greetings from South Africa. Me and my family made this and your “Granola Cups with Yogurt” last night, and I have to say it was wonderful, they all loved it! Thank you for the delicious recipe.

    • emilybites replied: — February 26th, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

      Wow, it’s so cool to have someone so far away reading my blog and making the recipes! I’m glad the granola cups were a hit. Thanks for the comment!

  10. #
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    Jaci — February 27, 2012 @ 2:21 am

    Made these tonight for dinner and they were awesome!! Such a cute idea and restaurant style presentation! Good way to spice up the regular spaghetti routine, especially for someone like me on a budget. Thanks!!

    • emilybites replied: — March 1st, 2012 @ 1:15 am

      Thanks, Jaci! I love food that gives good presentation. Glad these were a success!

  11. #
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    organizedwithclardy — February 28, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

    My girls would love these…definitely going to have to try! Thanks for sharing!

    • emilybites replied: — March 1st, 2012 @ 1:16 am

      Hope you love them!

  12. #
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    Melissa — February 29, 2012 @ 3:03 am

    This was so gooood!!! My boys loved it. They were dinosaurs stealing eggs from nests. Sounds horrible right? Whatever gets them eating healthier things. I just discovered your website 2 weeks ago and have made 6 recipes so far. Everything has been wonderful!! Thank you so much. I feel better about being a mom and fixing healthy food for my kids that still tastes good.

    • Lisa K replied: — February 29th, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

      That…is an adorable image lol. Little boys are awesome.

    • emilybites replied: — March 1st, 2012 @ 1:17 am

      Haha, that’s so cute! I love it. I am so happy you are loving the recipes on my site! Glad the kids are loving it too :)

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    alpatti89 — March 1, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

    EB, I was going to post on the 20s board about how much I loooooooved these and how my 3YO brother was like CUPCAKES FOR DINNER throughout the house like a monster. I even convinced him to eat some kale chips with it because the kale he could crush up as sprinkles!

    By the way, next week I’m making 4/7 recipes from you site! See you on the boards!

    Amber

    • emilybites replied: — March 1st, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

      Haha, I love that story!! Your brother sounds awesome. I am so glad these were such a hit. Let me know what else you end up making next week!

      PS – I STILL haven’t tried kale chips yet but I know I need to – everyone raves about them!

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    Anonymous — March 1, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

    Love your ideas! I made this the other night and while it was a big hit, my biggest problem was the pasta sticking to the tins. I made a double batch and used two 12-cup muffin pans. I had my son grease the muffin cups and yet, when it was time to take them out, I had a lot of difficulty doing so. Afterwards, I had to soak the pans for two days because I was afraid to scuff them by scrubbing the stuck-on pasta off. Btw, one pan is fairly new and a good one, and the other is a good one but has seen a lot of use. I mention this because I was wondering if it might have been my pans. Anyway, all that aside, I agree with you, two cups was plenty for me. I gave my one son and hubby three each. My teenager on the other hand, was a different story. I gave him three and it was gone in the few seconds it took me to serve myself and sit down. He had 3 more after that!

    I’d appreciate any advice you have on the pans since I’m planning on making a lot more Emily Bites!!!

    • emilybites replied: — March 1st, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

      Honestly, I’m not really sure how to help because I didn’t have a problem with that at all! I simply gave mine a little twist and they popped right out without any effort. My muffin tins were totally clean after, no sticking. Did you follow the recipe exactly? I have normal nonstick Wilton muffin tins and I misted them with cooking spray and then just used them as the recipe stated. I’ve actually even had other readers that made these email me pictures of their results and they looked exactly like mine, no evidence of any sticking. I’m sorry you had a problem but since it didn’t happen at all to me I have no idea why!

    • Anonymous replied: — March 1st, 2012 @ 11:44 pm

      I followed the recipe exactly. Like I mentioned though, I doubled it because I know how much my teenager can eat. The only thing I did differently was instead of spraying the pans, I had him brush cooking oil inside the cups. Funny thing is, I keep commenting to myself how much my baked pasta cups in the pans looked exactly like yours does in the picture. No worries, I will try again. Tonight, however, I am planning on making the cheeseburger cupcakes. Can’t wait!

    • Anonymous replied: — May 30th, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

      you could line the cups with foil muffin liners , that might work

  15. #
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    Jen — March 6, 2012 @ 12:41 am

    Made these tonight and loved them! Thanks for the recipe!

    • emilybites replied: — March 6th, 2012 @ 1:34 am

      Glad you loved them, Jen!

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    Sharri1958 — March 8, 2012 @ 4:16 am

    There are only 2 of us but I was used to cooking for a family of 13! I can’t wait to try these. I am sure 2 enough will be plenty for us but they will be perfect to send to work with my Guy that works overnight! Add a salad & he will be on cloud 9! Thanks so much!

    • emilybites replied: — March 9th, 2012 @ 3:50 am

      Hope you love them, Sharri! :)

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    Krystina @ Cup 'a Hot Chocolate — March 8, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

    These look delicious!! I just went crazy pinning a bunch of your recipes. Just started WW so I’m a little extra enthusiastic! Keep it coming!
    *Krystina

    • emilybites replied: — March 9th, 2012 @ 3:50 am

      Thanks, Krystina! Good luck on WW. I hope you love these! :)

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    Unknown — March 10, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

    Hi Emily! Planning a babyshower menu and thought these would be perfect in combo with the parm cheese cups and some salad. Any advice on making them a day in advance? Mainly reheating the spaghetti cups?

    THANKS FOR THE GREAT IDEAS!

    Dee

    • emilybites replied: — March 12th, 2012 @ 2:40 am

      I would suggest storing the meatballs & sauce in one container and the spaghetti cups in another. Then you could either nuke the spaghetti cups in the microwave or put them back in the oven on a low temp just to warm them up. The meatballs could either go back on the stovetop in the sauce until warm or you could try nuking those too (but they might heat unevenly).

      I microwaved my leftovers assembled to eat them, but since it was only one at a time it was totally different. My suggestions above are just suggestions as I have not attempted to cook the entire batch beforehand and then reheat them to serve. I hope they turn out great! Let me know.

    • Unknown replied: — March 29th, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

      Emily,

      I just wanted to let you know that I ended up making these for the baby shower after all and they were a HUGE HIT! They were so tasty and everyone loved the “individual serving” size. Everyone was really impressed and thought the baby shower was catered by a professional!!! I made the spaghetti cup the night before refrigerated over night on a cookie sheet covered with foil, then when I was ready to reheat I just popped the cookie sheet in the oven for about 15 minutes. I used frozen meatballs and just added those to the sauce and topped off the reheated nest of noodles. Thanks again so much for the idea and helping in making the shower menu a success! I also attempted the PIZZA ON A STICK, mine weren’t on a stick and didn’t come out nearly as nice as yours but they tasted good and there weren’t leftovers so I assume they were good! A MILLION THANKS!

    • emilybites replied: — March 30th, 2012 @ 11:04 pm

      I’m so glad to hear the shower was a big success! Thanks for letting me know how it turned out. :)

    • Jennifer replied: — April 29th, 2012 @ 12:59 am

      I made these about 5 hours before a “movie night” and just reheated them as we were putting the movie in, had them in the microwave two at a time for a little over a minute and they were perfect! Such a huge hit during the movie because it was a classic food with less mess! We will be trying lasagna later this week and my aunt has requested the cheeseburger ones for our next movie. Playing with doing these at my best friends baby shower in a few weeks. Also did the cheesecake filled strawberries tonight and they were perfect… I can say I am addicted to your site now!

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    Jen — March 10, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

    I tried these last night and used ground turkey instead of beef. They turned out AMAZING! Thank you for the recipe! I’m going to try other recipes now as well. I love that they help solving portion sizing problems!

    • emilybites replied: — March 12th, 2012 @ 2:40 am

      Thanks Jen, I’m so happy they were a hit! Let me know what else you try :)

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    Unknown — March 14, 2012 @ 3:08 am

    Just made these for the first time tonight! So yummy and so easy. The entire fam loved them! Thank you. Next I am going to try the banana pancake bites. Thanks Emily : )

    • emilybites replied: — March 18th, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

      So happy to hear these were a success! Let me know how the banana pancakes turn out too :)

  21. #
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    Anonymous — March 15, 2012 @ 2:47 am

    Amazing! These are simply delicious and very filling. Made them for the second time last night :D

    • emilybites replied: — March 18th, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

      I am so glad you loved them!:)

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    Anonymous — March 28, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

    This is so creative! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

    • emilybites replied: — March 30th, 2012 @ 11:01 pm

      Thanks! i hope you love it. :)

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    JustForKicks — March 31, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

    Any tips on freezing these for later?

    • emilybites replied: — April 7th, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

      I would freeze the sauce/meatballs separately from the pasta cups and then reheat each of them and assemble. Hope they turn out great!

  24. #
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    Anonymous — April 4, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

    My kids will love this. I was thinking about using the jumbo muffin tin instead – is there anything you would do differently? Thanks!

    • emilybites replied: — April 7th, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

      I don’t own a jumbo muffin tin so I’m not sure. I guess you’ll probably want to use more of the spaghetti mixture per cup. Hope they turn out great!

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    Anonymous — April 26, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

    Hi
    My daughter would like these at her 18th birthday party, how would it work making them the day before or earlier on the day and re-heating them? Have you done that! If I did them I would need to about 60 so it would mean re-heating them not in the muffin tin!
    They sound yummy though
    Thanks Gill

    • emilybites replied: — April 27th, 2012 @ 12:08 am

      I have never done that before, but if you scroll up through the comments another reader did it for a baby shower and she described exactly how she got it to work. I hope they turn out great! :)

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    SammieLynnsMom — May 2, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

    I made these for dinner last night and they were amazing. We’re not on WW so I used regular white pasta, but while in the store I totally forgot the breadcrumbs. So, instead, I took out one of the new Kraft Fresh Takes with the Italian Parm seasoning and cheese and used that. They turned out AMAZING!

    Gonna try the cheeseburger cupcakes on Friday and the lasagna ones Sunday, maybe? I’m thinking Taco cupcakes again on Saturday even though I just made them, but they’re very Cinco de Mayo!

  27. #
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    Sara Thompson — June 15, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that your recipe was featured on my Cupcake Main Dishes list at my blog seekingsanctuaryatworldsend.wordpress.com – we loved your idea and can’t wait to try more.

  28. #
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    KristaD — August 6, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

    I am making these for dinner tonight. Cannot wait to try them!!! I made your slow cooker buffalo chicken last night, big hit with the family!

  29. #
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    Anonymous — September 25, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

    Ohhhh soooo excited about this recipe! My family LOVES spaghetti! They actually call it “skagbetti”!
    A family, of 7, & this should go a long long way!

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    Anonymous — October 7, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

    I like to make one recipe a week and take the leftovers for lunches at work. This looks delicious but how is it reheated? Thank you!

  31. #
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    Anonymous — October 24, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

    When you say 3T does that mean Tablespoon or Teaspoon?

  32. #
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    Kayna — October 29, 2012 @ 5:26 am

    Emily, I cannot tell you how excited I am to try this!! I just recently got banded and I trying to find things that arent high fat etc and I LOVE your recipes! Or at least I am sure I will love them!! Can’t wait! and thank you!

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    Kayna — October 29, 2012 @ 5:27 am

    Emily, I cannot tell you how excited I am to try this!! I just recently got banded and I trying to find things that arent high fat etc and I LOVE your recipes! Or at least I am sure I will love them!! Can’t wait! and thank you!

  34. #
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    Elizabeth — November 12, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

    I made this last night and it was delicious!!! This was the first time I’ve ever baked meatballs before, but they came out perfectly. I will never cook them another way again, these were amazing! Thank you Emily!

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    Diana D — December 24, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

    These are amazing!! Always a crowd pleaser! I also do a version with turkey meatballs and pesto sauce- delish!

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    Anonymous — December 29, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

    Yum, looks great.

  37. #
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    exalya — January 6, 2013 @ 2:46 am

    I made these earlier this week – everyone in my household absolutely loved it. I was very surprised at how awesome they turned out.

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    Anonymous — March 2, 2013 @ 5:13 am

    Hi! Just recently found your site and love your ideas. I am planning an appetizer grad party. Do you think these will dry out too much in a mini muff tin?

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    Jenny Haggerty — August 25, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

    I loved these! So did my family , great WW recipe. I think I liked it more than just plain old spaghetti. Plus was nervous about putting the meatballs in the oven I usually cook them on the cast iron but felt they were way more juicy and full of flavor , can’t wait to try more of your dishes.

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