What’s for Dinner? One Pot Mini Meatball Pasta

October 29, 2015

One Pot Mini Meatball Penne | Sarcastic Cooking @sarcasticcook
Guys, I need your help.

I think I am doing OK at this whole motherhood thing. I mean I felt confident enough to be adding another one to the mix in less than two months, soooo yeah, I guess that says something. In one way, I think I am doing too good of a job. This kid is too smart for his own dang good.

It used to be that I was able to sneak tons of vegetables into his food and not have him notice. Remember these spinach pancakes or this pesto fake out mac and cheese? God, how I bragged. I thought I was soooooo smart. Rookie mistake. That phase lasted about six months. Sigh, the good ol’ days.  When your kid gets a little older, what’s the trick to getting them to eat veggies??

Now, Andy inspects every piece of food and, if there is any hint of green or red or orange, it gets rejected! Don’t judge me for the lack of veggies yet. He still looooves spinach… As long as it is on a pizza. This kid is literally a fruit monster. He will eat any kind of fruit. Just not veggies.

#whatsfordinner One Pot Mini Meatball Penne | Sarcastic Cooking

When I make something special for him, like let’s say a spinach quesadilla, I can almost guarantee it is going to go down something like this:

“Hey Andy, I made you this special dinner in addition to the food I made for me and your dad.”

“Nooooooo!!” (shoves plate away or removes said special meal from his plate and sets it on the table).

“Oh great. Thank you for appreciating the hard work I put into cooking this dinner for you my love!” (rips hair out).

That is what happened with this dish. I even announced on Snapchat that this was going to be a kid friendly meal. Ha! Totally jinxed it. But, I still have hope this will be kid friendly for your family. Other times I have made this recipe I have added in some chopped fresh spinach when I added the sauce for extra veggie oomph. My husband didn’t seem to mind it then. One out of two ain’t bad hahaha!

As far as Andy and his veggie aversion, HELP! If you have been there too, gimme your best recipes or tips to help kids eat veggies.

One Pot Mini Meatball Pasta

Not a lot of ingredients for a high payoff! Penne and mini meatballs cooked in one pot. Ready in under an hour!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 2 Cups Low-Sodium Beef Stock
  • 2 Cups Favorite Jarred Marinara Sauce
  • Big Pinch of Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Clove Garlic grated
  • 9 Ounces Penne Pasta
  • 12 Frozen Mini Meatballs I use the Trader Joe's brand.
  • 6-10 Mini Fresh Mozzarella Balls halved
  • Chopped Fresh Basil


  1. Add the stock, sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic to an oven safe skillet or cast iron pan. Mix to combine.
  2. Mix in the penne, making sure it is laid out in one even layer.
  3. Spread the meatballs out around the pan, half submerged in the sauce.
  4. Cover pan with lid and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer covered for 35-40 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure no pasta sticks to the pan and to flip the meatballs at least once.
  5. Once the pasta is tender, add the mozzarella balls to the top. Remove from heat. At this point you can either cover the pot and let the cheese melt from the residual heat or you can pop it under a high broiler in the oven for 7 minutes until the cheese gets caramelized and slightly golden.
  6. Top with fresh chopped basil and then serve.

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  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough
    October 30, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Andy and Avery should get together and commiserate about how their moms are trying desperately to get them to eat their vegetables. And we can devour this meatball pasta together while trying not to pull our hair out. 😉

    • Stefanie
      October 30, 2015 at 7:26 am

      Hahaha cute little jerks.

  • Terri
    October 29, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Let him eat pumpkin pie for a meal.