Barilla Traditional Pasta Sauce

Jarred pasta sauce is one of those food items I like to keep in my pantry. I’m a huge fan of homemade sauce … but I admit, sometimes homemade sauce is not something I have the time to make, especially when we need to put dinner together in a pinch. Searching for pasta sauces is an interesting thing because I’m one of those people that stands there, looking at all the labels, comparing and calculating. So, typically when I find something that’s “point friendly” I try it, and if it tastes good … I just gravitate towards that and buy it.
A few weeks back Barilla pasta sauce was on sale, so I decided to pick up a jar. I was surprised when I turned the jar around and checked the nutrition facts. It was surprisingly low, especially for a name brand sauce that wasn’t advertised as a “healthy alternative”.  Due to the sale my store only had the Barilla Traditional Pasta Sauceavailable (the others were sold out) so I grabbed a few jars.
We opened a jar last night for dinner because my boyfriend doesn’t like alfredo and I have to say, this sauce is VERY good! It’s moderately thick, flavorful and a great addition to pasta. Sometimes I find with “traditional” flavored sauces they can be a little bland – but I found this one to be perfect. My boyfriend really enjoyed it and this will become a staple purchase for me and my family.
A ½ cup serving is 70 calories or 1 points plus value.
QUESTION:
What is one of your favorite jarred sauces?

Dinner: Homemade Meatballs & Sauce on fettuccine

 I ended up making a large family-style dinner a couple weeks ago.  I had originally planned to make this meal on Sunday – but my brother, sister-in-law, niece & nephew came down on Saturday so I decided to make this then.  I’ve made sauce a number of times in the past but never made my own meatballs.  I’ve always helped my mother make her meatballs when I was younger so I had a general idea of what I needed.  Because I’m a Weight Watchers member I measured my ingredients out and converted them into PointsPlus Values so I’d know how many points my dinner would be.  Overall – I’d say the meatballs came out quite well.  Next time I’d add a little more garlic and a hair more parsley.  How about my sauce? Perfect!

Here’s my recipe:

1 ¼ pound lean (93%) ground beef
1 ¼ pound lean ground pork
½ cup wheat Italian breadcrumbs
2 large eggs (beaten)
3/4 cup reduced-fat parmesan cheese (1/2 cup into the meatballs, the other half goes in the sauce)
Small handful fresh Parsley
~4 tablespoons minced garlic (2 tablespoons in sauce, the other half in the meatballs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup skim milk
3 large cans crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes (with garlic) – Drained
Large onion (cut in half)
Dried Italian seasoning
Black pepper
Sea Salt
Crushed red pepper flakes
Garlic powder

Instructions:

Mix the ground beef, pork, eggs, parsley, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, milk together in a bowl.  Season with some black pepper, salt, Italian seasoning (I added extra even though the breadcrumbs were already seasoned). Season appropriately to obtain the smell you’d want.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  Cooking time varies based on your oven – my oven cooks very quickly.  Make sure to shake the pan halfway through to turn the meatballs.

In a large sauce pan, add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat through.  Add garlic and halved onion.  Let the flavors marinate then add in cans of crushed tomatoes, can of diced tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and season with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes.  Let simmer.

When meatballs are done cooking – add to the sauce. Cover and let simmer for 1-2 hours on medium-low.

A serving of 3-meatballs with sauce was 6 PointsPlus values.  I ate this with 1 cup of whole grain fettuccine making it an 11 PointsPlus dinner.