Serves 8

Per serving: 207 calories, 21.5g protein, 22.2g carbohydrate, 4.4g dietary fiber, 4.8g total fat (1.4g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 306mg sodium, Carbohydrate choices: 1.5

Sicilian-style red sauce takes more time than most of the other recipes in this collection, but it freezes well, and could be doubled for an even bigger batch. Lowfat turkey meatballs are steamed (rather than fried) before they're added to the sauce, a good trick that makes them plump, juicy, and tender. Serve over whole grain pasta, or over steamed vegetables tossed with spaghetti squash. Leftovers make great sandwiches.

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 link turkey or chicken Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Four 6-ounce cans no-salt-added tomato paste
  • ½ pound fresh mushrooms, very finely chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Splenda®
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the meatballs:

  • ¾ cup soft whole grain bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup skim milk
  • 2 links turkey or chicken Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 pound ground white-meat turkey
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten

MAKE THE SAUCE: Heat a stockpot or Dutch oven on medium-high; swirl the oil around the bottom of the hot pan. Brown and crumble the meat from the sausage link. Add the onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, fennel, oregano, and thyme; cook until the onion is tender and transparent, but not browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

ADD the tomato paste; stir until the bright red color darkens to a brick red, 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, water, and Splenda®. Season well with pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to very low; simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (Add a little water if the sauce becomes so thick that it begins to stick.)

MAKE THE MEATBALLS: Stir the bread crumbs with the milk; set aside for 5 minutes. Add the meat from the 2 Italian sausages, the ground turkey, Parmesan, and egg. Shape into 8 meatballs. (The mixture will seem very loose and sticky, but will firm up and expand into large meatballs as it steams.)

POUR about 3 inches of water into a large pot fitted with a steamer insert or metal steaming basket. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to maintain a lively simmer. Working in 2 batches, arrange 4 meatballs at a time in the steamer, without crowding. Cover and steam until the meatballs have expanded and are just firm enough to hold their shape, 5 or 6 minutes.

ADD the steamed meatballs to the sauce, arranging them so that they are well submerged. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for around 30 minutes. (Again, add a little water if the sauce becomes so thick that it begins to stick.)