Wait, isn't this a nutrition blog? Yes! Just because it sounds outrageous, doesn't mean it has to be. Plus, sometimes you have to just splurge a little! This "recipe" was born out of convenience and necessity - one of my more common ways to cook. It's not the lightest recipe I've come up with, but it's a really reasonable version of comfort food. And, it's a treat, not the norm!
First, I took two slices of a hearty whole wheat bread and lightly toasted it. Just enough to heat it up and give it a little crisp. Not a dark toast.
Then, I sliced some fresh mozzarella and laid it on top of both slices of bread. Sprinkled with some seasoning - basil, garlic powder, freshly ground pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, whatever you like - and put it in the toaster oven to let the cheese begin to melt. Some fresh basil would have been great with this, but I had already used that up the night before.
Also, now would be a good time to mention that fresh mozzarella can get a little rubbery if it's not high quality, and if you over cook it. So be conservative in your heat.
Meanwhile, I had pulled out some frozen meatballs and threw them in a pot with some marinara sauce. I have spent some time comparing frozen meatballs, most recently at Whole Foods. When I looked at the nutrition facts, the beef meatballs had the same number of calories and fat as the turkey meatballs. Remember, turkey isn't always better - when turkey is ground, it can be just like beef - always look for LEAN. Anyway, although I enjoy the flavor of turkey, I would prefer the flavor of the beef. And for the same calories? No brainer.
I cut the meatballs in half so that they would lie nicely on the bread, and then I assembled.
Have I mentioned my deep affinity for all things green and leafy? To me, it's not a meal if it doesn't have some greenery in it. So I heated up a little frozen spinach in a bowl in the microwave, then added the sauce and meat together. The husband skipped the spinach part. You could add any chopped vegetable you want at this stage, onions would probably be nice. But the whole point of this meal was to use things I had on hand, and be quick about it.
The bread and cheese were still hot at this point. That might not be obvious because of the wordiness of my explanation. But they were still nice and toasted. I simply assembled the sandwich (as one might assume) with the cheese on the inside and the spinach-sauce-meatball mixture in the middle.
This was a really great sandwich. The exact brand of your ingredients will play a role in the nutrition information of your sandwich, but mine clocked in around 650 calories. Not too shabby for a comfort meal. But if you need to lower the calories even more, consider making your own meatballs from leaner meat and keeping them on hand in your freezer.
Also, the melted cheese protected the bread from getting too soggy. Usually a meatball sub requires a hoagie roll, or another form of "big bread", which soaks up some sauce, but also is much higher in calories. You could save even more calories by making it an open faced sandwich, but it would get very messy very quickly!
Quick and Light(er) Meatball Sandwich
- 3 frozen meatballs, thawed and cut in half (I used Colameco's Italian Style Beef Meatballs)
- 3/4 cup marinara sauce (I used 365 Organic Pasta Sauce)
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed (optional)
- 2 slices of hearty whole wheat bread (I used 365 100% Whole Wheat)
- 2 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
- Seasonings: basil, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, red pepper, etc
- Heat meatballs, sauce, and spinach (if using) in a small saucepan. The point is just to heat everything up.
- Meanwhile, lightly toast the bread. Then top each slice with 1 oz of cheese and season away.
- Sandwich the ingredients from the saucepan in between the bread. Cut in half and enjoy.
- Calories: 650
- Fat: 30g
- Carbohydrates: 62g
- Protein: 37g
- Calcium: 41%
- Iron: 27%