Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs—With Chili

RileyAdamsFoodBlogPostpic_thumb_thumb[3]In our house, we have some meals that are in heavy rotation. These meals are usually quick and easy and popular with the children.

One of these meals is spaghetti and meatballs. I think that I could probably fix that for them every day and they wouldn’t make a peep of disapproval.

But—well, the grown-ups in the house get a little tired of the same thing. Just like we can’t watch the same DVD over and over again like the kids can. So it’s nice to make a family favorite—with a twist.

This is a recipe that’s a twist on the spaghetti and meatball classic. It’s originally a Southern Living recipe and it’ll make you feel like you’re eating something different…but comfortingly the same.

Sometimes I’ll substitute ground turkey for ground beef—just to be a little healthier. I usually have most of these ingredients in my pantry and fridge, so it’s a good recipe to have in a pinch. I like the black beans in this recipe—they’re so healthy and I’ve made an effort in the past year to include them more and more in recipes.


Chili-Style Spaghetti and Meatballs
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  • 1 1/2 pounds ground round
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 (14 1/2-oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (14-oz.) can beef broth
  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chiles
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Toppings: shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped red onion


1. Combine ground round, 1 Tbsp. onion, and next 2 ingredients in a large bowl just until blended. Gently shape meat mixture into 18 (1 1/2-inch) balls.

2. Place a lightly greased rack in an aluminum foil-lined broiler pan. Arrange meatballs on rack.

3. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until browned. (Centers will be slightly pink.)

4. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Keep warm.

5. Cook chili powder in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and next 3 ingredients. Gently stir meatballs into tomato mixture. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Gently stir in beans, and cook 3 more minutes. Serve immediately with spaghetti and desired toppings.

IMG_20110405_141359Do you like new twists on old favorites? What have you tried before?

Delicious and Suspicious (July 6 2010) Riley Adams
Pretty is as Pretty Dies –Elizabeth Spann Craig


  1. I like this. Another recipe I'm definitely trying.

  2. Elizabeth, what a great twist on a "normal" meal. Yummy idea. And I like the idea of switching out the ground beef with ground turkey. Your kids must have a great time at dinner! Or all meals. What a creative mom.


  3. Elizabeth - I think Donald and I could easily live at your house. You're always cookin' up our kinda food.

    This is a fun twist!

    By the way - JUST so everyone knows - if you don't see comments from me, it doesn't mean I'm not here. I'm here practically every day keeping up with what you guys are doing and cooking.

    I'm just not always able to comment due to circumstances beyond my control. Those circumstances are called "dial-up." big sigh. The comments section seems to be a challenge for dial-up.

  4. What a nice twist! I love anything Southern and I'll be trying this to introduce some variety into our regular 'meatball routine'.

    Thanks, Riley!

  5. How fun, Elizabeth. I can see why your family loves this one!

    Kaye - *always* great to see you! We'll just keep hoping you have a strong dial up connection!

  6. Dru--Thanks! Hope you'll enjoy it. :)

    Avery--If we can reasonably eat a little leaner without sacrificing taste, I'm all for it!

    Kaye--We'd love to take you and Donald in! We'd have a lot of fun in the kitchen.

    I can only imagine dial up and comments! Living in such a gorgeous place, though--I'd put up with it (although I'm pretty addicted to my DSL!)

    Mary Jane--You're so welcome! Hope you'll enjoy it.

    Julie--It's always a success when everyone eats the same food! :)

  7. I know what's for dinner! I have a pound of ground turkey I thawed last night, which should work fine. And I have all the other 'grediments except I don't use beef broth, but no problem with chicken stock, which I have.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  8. Oh, you've brought back a wonderful memory for me. My Italian pop almost always sprinkled red pepper flakes on his plate of pasta, making his own chili-fied version of spaghetti and meatballs. This also reminds me of an Italian fra diavolo sauce (sometimes called fra diablo sauce, which may be more appropriate here with the Tex-Mex influence :-)). Great post, either way. You just can't go wrong with the comfort of a spaghetti and meatballs supper, and mixing foodie traditions makes it even more fun.

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  9. This makes me think of Cincinnati chili, which is usually served over spaghetti. Though Cinci chilli often has a "sweet" element (like a little cinnamon or chocolate).

    Intriguing ... and definitely one we'll try (subbing the appropriate soy stuff for the actual meat).

  10. Terry--Chicken stock will work well! The next time I make it I'm going to add a FEW more black beans because my husband loves them so much he asked for more. :)

    cajunlicious--Hope you'll enjoy it!

    Cleo--Your dad sounds like a great cook! A little red pepper can really bring a recipe to life! I'll have to check into the Italian fra diavolo sauces--sounds amazing. :)

    Wendy--MMM! Chocolate makes everything better!

  11. Nice twist, Elizabeth! I also love your rosy china pattern! Is it Haviland?

    I can surely empathize with Kaye, as we live in the country and some days our dial-up connection just won't cooperate with my urge to comment! But I'm always here in spirit!;)

  12. Lynn--I have some Haviland, but this isn't it! It's fun, though--belonged to my grandmother, so it's especially special.

    Dial-up is a pain! But it usually means that the person lives somewhere gorgeous. :) That makes it all worthwhile.

  13. Dial-up is horrible! I hope you can soon join the Internet in a faster method, Kaye and Lynn!

    Elizabeth, I love this recipe. Can't wait to try it!

    ~ Krista