Italian Carb Load

What you will find:

Mini Meatball Sub Sliders

Pioneer Woman does it again! I. Love. Her! I made homemade meatballs, y’all, this is a big deal because I used to buy the frozen ones when we first got married and a jar of sauce and felt quit fancy. Anyways, no comparison because these babies don’t take long at all to whip up. I still get to use a jar of marinara sauce!

Pioneer Woman calls this the 16 mins dinner, but it took me about 10 mins to chop, make the meatballs, roll ’em up then I’d say 20 mins of them simmering in the pot to get cooked all the way through. Still, impressive time!

Mini Meatball Subs by the Pioneer Woman


  • 1 pound Ground Chuck Or Ground Beef
  • 1/2 cup Panko Or Other Bread Crumbs
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 of a Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1 jar (large) Marinara Sauce
  • 12 whole Dinner Rolls (or Slider Rolls- we love Hawaiian Rolls)
  • 4 slices Provolone Cheese, Cut Into Four Wedges Each


Mix meat with bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, and milk. Knead together with hands. Roll into heaping tablespoon-sized rolls.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for one minute. Add meatballs between the onions and brown for one minute. (You might have to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your skillet.)

Pour in jar of marinara; shake pan gently to mix. Put on lid and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

When ready to serve, cut each dinner roll in half. Place a wedge of Provolone on the top and bottom of each roll. Spoon a meatball with the sauce onto the bottom bun; top with the top bun.

Serve immediately!


Lemon Spaghetti

A fresh, new way of getting your carbs for the race this weekend! Lemon spaghetti is so simple but packs a punch of flavor in every bite. Boil your spaghetti then add these ingredients together.


  • 2 lemons (zest both, squeeze the  juice of one lemon)
  • sprinkle kosher salt to taste
  • 2 handfuls of fresh basil chopped

Happy Carb Loading!


Stovetop Lasagna

We has this meal for the 4th of July and I made this for an easy dinner this weekend. I made a few changes from the recipe online but I think it is great both ways.
My changes:
  • added 1/2 cup sour cream
  • added handful of fresh basil chopped instead of italian seasoning
  • added 3 fresh mozzarella balls instead of shredded cheese
  • added 1/2 cup of pureed butternut squash

Lasagna Rolls
My friend Sam has a wonderful blog, Fitness, Food, and Faith and I love to try new ideas from her site.
The recipe made enough for dinner, leftovers, and an entire dinner to freeze! I was so excited to get an extra dinner out of this meal. It is so cheap and I love how easy it was to make. Instead of layering the ingredients, you mix the ingredients up in a bowl, top 1 lasagna noodle with the mix, and roll it up. Individual portions.
I made a few changes: I add some ground turkey, less spinach, and ricotta cheese. Check out the link and see how Sam does it.
Sweet Cherry Tomato Pasta
Sweet Cherry Tomato Pasta
*Jessica Seinfeld’s website
Watch her video here
I made this for myself for lunch because Joe would legitimately freak out if I served him cherry tomatoes because they “pop.” Ha, he’s hilarious. I knew I had to try it because it only took 12 minutes start to finish. It was so great to have a home made Italian, fragrant lunch instead of a PB&J in the workroom. I could get used to this! 🙂


  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil (break apart with your fingers so you do not bruise the leaves, instead of chopping)
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • a few turns of the pepper
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta (I only had feta, but ricotta would have given it a smoother texture)
  • Boil water and cook spaghetti to box directions
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat
  • Add garlic and basil and cook for only 15 seconds
  • Stir in tomatoes, salt, pepper, and cook covered for 8 minutes
  • After 8 mins, uncover and stir (the pasta should be ready now- drain pasta)
  • Toss pasta with the tomatoes and add ricotta cheese carefully to not break spaghetti
  • You can add more olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh basil to your pasta before you plate it


Caprese Everything: Salad, Garden Salad, Pasta Salad

Caprese anything is my ultimate favorite summer food. The combination of tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella cheese is perfection. Super easy to make and so many variations of this salad make it the perfect light and girly food to serve yourself and your friends.
If I made this for dinner, Joe would want this served with a deer backstrap or something, but I would be perfectly content with just this salad for dinner or lunch, anytime, anywhere.
Caprese needs 3 key ingredients:
  1. Tomatoes- cherry or usually large tomatoes sliced thick. The large tomatoes are best with Caprese Salad #1, and cherry tomatoes go best with #2-4.
  2. Fresh Basil- no dried stuff here, fresh from garden (from my mother-in-law’s garden because I have a Garden-FAIL and get too excited when things grow that I cut them off as soon as I see any type of life and then… the plant dies, lame)
  3. Fresh Mozzarella balls (reminds me of Cinderella, but without Guess, Guess)
Variation #1: Caprese Salad
  • Combine our 3 key ingredients: Tom/Basil/Moz
  • Add olive oil, sprinkle course salt and pepper
Variation #2: Caprese Garden Salad
  • Combine our 3 key ingredients: Tom/Basil/Moz
  • Add any salad greens, I love the organic baby mixed greens to give it a nutty flavor
  • Add the olive oil, salt/pepper… or I LOVE and must have on hand, the Zoe’s Kitchen Greek Salad dressing, $4 a bottle at their store. It is the perfect combination of olive oil blend, red wine vinegar, salt, spices. Zoe’s is located in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin, and Houston.
Variation #3: Caprese Pasta Salad
  • Combine our 3 key ingredients: Tom/Basil/Moz
  • Boil any small pasta (I’m a fan of the organic whole wheat baby penne, its super cute)
  • Add the olive oil, salt/pepper
  • Kathryn got me to eat this served both hot or cold, easy to have on hand when family comes into town. Serve hot for dinner with a side, store over night let the favors mix together, serve cold anytime for lunch or snacking the next day
  • done and done!
Variation #4: Super Caprese Combo
  • Why not add all of them together?
  • Tom/Basil/Moz
  • Small Pasta
  • Salad Greens
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper
Meatball Sub

Recipe: Jessica Seinfeld’s Spaghetti & Homemade Meatballs

Note: This recipe uses pureed butternut squash… learn how to puree veggies here


  • Hoagie buns
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced carrots or carrot puree
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (homemade is best)
  • 1 clove garlic or sprinkle granulated garlic powder
  • 1 cup butternut squash puree
  • 26 oz whole tomatoes with juice
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top


  1. In a large bowl, mix the turkey, breadcrumbs, butternut squash puree, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper until well combined. Shap the mixture into 1″ meatballs and place on a sheet of waxed paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the olive oil and then the meatballs and brown for 4 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally.
  3. Add the pureed tomatoes, water, carrot puree (if using), garlic powder, cayenne, and the remainin 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center.
  4. Split and Broil Hoogie buns in oven with out with out the meatballs inside. Sprinkle with mozz cheese.

One thought on “Italian Carb Load

  1. Pingback: Marathon Foods Meal Plan « {the} Spunky Runner

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