Healthier homestyle pasta and meatballs - It's Simply Lindsay

For some reason in my pregnancies, I don’t like the term “pregnancy cravings,” either because it makes me feel like an uncontrollable animal or because I tend to have these “cravings” at all times in my life, so nothing about pregnancy makes them special.

Basically what happens to me is I get an idea of something I want to eat, and I pretty much cannot rest until I make it happen (and by “I” I mean my husband, who has been known to get me Captain Crunch at 10 p.m. or who makes me Gingersnap cookies from scratch after checking that 3 stores don’t carry the pre-made mix).

But I digress. I had one of these strong food preferences last night when I decided to make a lightened version of a homestyle family favorite – pasta and meatballs.

Healthier Homestyle Pasta and Meatballs

I grew up in a family of incredible female cooks and have been lucky enough to see the family secrets throughout the years from my mom and gram. While my sister continued their wonderful tradition of cooking, I’ve taken a backseat, since my husband is the primary cook in our family. But that doesn’t mean I can’t whip up a great meal when push comes to shove!

It's Simply Lindsay

All these years of watching these women cook has sunk in – even tonight I was at my gram’s, watching her cook dinner as she explained her steps and process. Watching my mom and gram cook is like an art – they rarely use recipes and know everything by effortlessly delicious eyeball measurements.

While I’m used to my family making their own sauce from scratch, what I love about one of our cooking traditions is my family’s use of Ragu Pasta Sauce – it’s already thick, hearty, and perfectly seasoned, no matter which flavor you use, so you never have to doctor up the sauce – it’s an ideal solution for a novice like me yet still perfect for the specialist cooks in my life. Which flavor is your favorite? My family always has Traditional Thick and Hearty on hand, though they’re all delicious.

Ready to try this healthier version of the spaghetti and meatball comfort dish?


  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 jar of Ragu Homestyle Pasta Sauce
  • 1 pound of lean ground meat (beef, turkey, pork, or combo)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 C Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic


For spaghetti squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Cute the squash in half, lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds.
  3. Place the squash, cut-side down, on a baking dish, and roast about 35-45 minutes. You can add a bit of water and cover with foil for a steamed effect.
  4. Remove and let cool enough to touch. With a fork, scrape out the squash in long strands, salt and pepper to taste. Voi la, there’s your “spaghetti.”

For meatballs

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with your hands until completely incorporated.


  1. Form into balls and place on a lightly oiled pan. I drizzle a bit of olive oil on the pan and spread with my clean hands.

Meatballs It's Simply Lindsay

  1. Cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked through.
  2. As meatballs are cooking, heat up the jar of Ragu on the stove.
  3. Spoon spaghetti squash on your plate and top with sauce, meatballs, and more sauce!

meatballs it's simply lindsay

What are your family’s cooking traditions? Do you have any secret sauces of your own?