Healthy Recipe: Meatballs & Peppers

I’m back from Northern California! I finished my (extremely challenging) Olympic-distance triathlon there (more on that soon)! Now begins the long haul to Big Kahuna. And, as promised, I’m going to try to get back to the routine of this blog: healthy recipes on Mondays, progress reports on Wednesdays, and various musings/race reports/etc. on the regular. Welcome back!

This recipe is something I made recently for a weeknight dinner with the husband. It’s fairly quick and easy, but the portion size is a little skimpy. Luckily, you can have two servings with a side of instant mashed potatoes (hypothetically, of course) and the whole dinner will still clock in at under 750 calories, which isn’t too bad.


Photo credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

From Cooking Light


1 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
1 1/3 cups water
1 (14.5 oz) can beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 (1-ounce) slice whole-wheat bread
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg white
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar


Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
While the peppers are cooking, place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form to measure 1/2 cup. Combine breadcrumbs, beef, and next 6 ingredients (beef though garlic) in a bowl, shaping mixture into 28 (1-inch) meatballs. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs; cook for 10 minutes, browning on all sides.
Combine flour and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add to bell pepper mixture in saucepan. Add meatballs; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the basil and vinegar. Remove bay leaf.

Conclusion: The Two-Week Experiment

Day 12 – Thursday, April 10

  • Weight: 221.2
  • Net Calories: 1125
  • Exercise: 30 minutes of walking, a 45-minute run/walk on the treadmill, and a 1550 yard swim (it was supposed to be 1800, but I got a wicked calf cramp)

This morning’s weight was 221.2 again; my grand total weight loss for my two-week experiment was 5.8 pounds. Not earth-shattering, but some solid progress and hey – that’s nearly 6 pounds I won’t be dragging around with me on Sunday. (If you don’t think that’s a big deal, try doing your next run holding three-pound hand weights.)

Have a great weekend, everyone! The Game Plan will be back to its regularly scheduled programming on Monday.

TWE: Day 11

Day 11 – Wednesday, April 9

  • Weight: 222.2
  • Net Calories: 1971
  • Exercise: nothing except 30 minutes of walking. I had every intention of doing this day’s workout as well as making up the day before’s… but instead lay down for a “nap” at 8:30pm and slept for 10 hours. Must have needed it!

I guess tomorrow will be my last post of this two-week experiment, as I will be out of town and not able to weigh in Saturday or Sunday. Overall, I think it was pretty successful! I’m looking forward to continuing on these healthier habits but adding a bit of variety back into my blog posts.

TWE: Day 10

Day 10 – Tuesday, April 8

  • Weight: 222.6
  • Net Calories: 2408
  • Exercise: ugh! Was supposed to swim, didn’t get up early enough. Decided to switch Tuesday’s workout with Wednesday’s (a 90 min bike ride), but then got lazy, and didn’t even do that… but I still ate the extra calories I expected to burn. Whomp whomp. I did get my work-break walks in though, as well as some dancing for burlesque practice.

Triathlon in four days! It’s time to work on my race plan and packing lists. I think HITS Palm Springs will remain my Olympic distance PR – I’m carrying more weight, this course is hilly, and the water temperature is ridiculous – but that doesn’t mean I can’t kick ass!

TWE: Day 9

Day 9 - Monday, April 7

  • Weight: 222.8
  • Net Calories: 1671
  • Exercise: rest day on the training calendar, but did 30 minutes of walking and about 15 minutes of housecleaning (hey, if MyFitnessPal counts it as exercise, so can I!)

Not a bad day… not a perfect one, either. I planned to do some yoga to mitigate those extra calories (and the stiffness I’ve been feeling lately) while watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, but alas – our cable service is on the fritz and they didn’t record. So I did what any self-respecting 9-5er would do on a Monday evening – fell asleep fully clothed on top of my bed instead.

TWE: Days 6-8

Ah, weekends. I always fall behind!

Day 6: Friday, April 4

  • Weight: 221.6
  • Net Calories: 1098
  • Exercise: 1800 yard swim that I seriously had to drag myself to. But I did it!

Day 7: Saturday, April 5

  • Weight: 221.2
  • Net Calories: 1140
  • Exercise: first I walked around the old LA Zoo for about an hour, then I did a “mockathlon” – 1700 yard swim, 1 hour bike, 3.1 mile run.

Day 8, Sunday, April 6

  • Weight: 221.0
  • Net Calories: 2839
  • Exercise: biked to and from Ciclavia. I also biked during Ciclavia, but since it was mostly riding my brakes and going 3 miles per hour, I’m not really counting it at “exercise.”

The calories are super high because I caved and had a big Indian food dinner (and a microwave chocolate mug cake) because I was having all the feels. Surprising no one, it did not really cheer me up and my weight was back up this morning. Knock it off, self! Be good til Sunday. You can do it.

TWE: Day 5

Day 5: Thursday, April 2

  • Weight: 222.4
  • Net Calories: 738 (please no alarmist exclamations of “you’re starving yourself!” – trust me, I’m not. I ate 2271 calories, it was just a very active day)
  • Exercise: 30 minutes of walking, 60 minutes of biking, 60 minutes of running (with walking intervals)

As you can see, my weight was up a tiny bit yesterday, probably because I’d gone over my calories and not gotten good exercise on Wednesday. Everything has its price.

(Spoiler alert) today’s number on the scale was moving in the right direction again, but I had the shittiest swim workout this morning. It was supposed to be endurance sets (3x500m), plus warmup and cooldown. I did the warmup and two sets before having to call it quits because I was running late to work. I was also, even in the slow lane, constantly in everyone’s way. Tina Turtle.

Image But hey – no training is bad training, right?