$3 Italian Meatballs in Butternut Squash Marinara (in a Red Potato)


This recipe is all kinds of amazing. It’s easy, delicious and budget friendly! For 5 days’ worth, it costs about $15, including the ingredients for the butternut squash marinara, so it averages about $3 per meal. Total win for your diet and your budget! Oh yeah, it’s pure muscle food as well.

Ingredients for 5 servings (10 meatballs & 5 red potatoes):

1.25 cup homemade butternut squash marinara (click here for recipe)

20 oz lean ground chicken breast (or turkey breast)
3/4 cup feta crumble
1 cup finely chopped spinach
5 medium sized red potatoes

Seasonings for meatballs:
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 tablespoon fennel
1 teaspoon sage
sea salt & pepper to taste
spray coconut oil
fresh cilantro

Video tutorial:


1. Set the oven to 400F.
2. After washing the red potatoes, place them on a baking sheet. Poke a few holes in them using a fork, then bake them in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until soft.
3. In a bowl, mix together the ingredients for the meatballs.
4. Form about 10 meatballs about the size of a golf ball.
5. Spray a nonstick skillet with coconut oil and set on medium heat. Add the meatballs one by one. Allow the outer parts of the meatball to cook; remember to roll the meatballs around the pan so that all sides are cooked. Do not keep the heat too high because they may stick to the pan and some sides/parts will burn.
TIP: Sear the meatballs on top and bottom and then place the entire skillet in the oven at broil temperature and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Before doing this ensure your skillet can withstand high heat.
6. When the meatballs have nearly finished cooking, reduce the heat to low and pour in the homemade butternut squash marinara. Stir slowly with a spatula and ensure all the meatballs are covered in the sauce. You can cover the meatballs but it is not required. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, ensure the meatballs have finished cooking, then remove the skillet from the heat.
7. Slice open a baked red potato and flake out part of the flesh using fork.
8. Top each potato with two meatballs and drizzle a little butternut squash marinara on top.
9. Garnish with cilantro (or green onions or chives).

Approximate macros for 1 of 5 servings:

395 calories, 40g protein, 43g carbs, 8g fat, 6g fiber, 5g sugar

About the Author

photo 1 (1)Kevin is a fitness enthusiast out of Dallas, TX. When he saw himself in his friend’s Facebook photo he knew it was time to make a change. He was overweight, felt sluggish and had steadily rising blood pressure. So, he did what many people try to do – he started exercising to try to “out train” a poor diet. He quickly learned through periods of weight cycling that if he was going to accomplish his fitness goals, it would have to be through a steady, healthy diet, complemented by hard work in the gym.

He started studying nutrition and got started cooking! In 2012 Kevin started a small blog to share his meals online in order to build a community around healthy food ideas.

The blog was called Fit Men Cook and it had a simple message and belief system – “Our bodies are built in the kitchen, Sculpted in the gym.”

Kevin firmly believes that healthier food options do not have to be boring. Ever. In fact, they are pretty tasty!

Fit (Wo)Men Cook is the “fit” story of all of us. It is taking your individual success stories and things (in nutrition & fitness) that have worked for you, and sharing those ideas with the masses so we can all grow, improve together. Just everyday people – no matter the fitness level or athletic ability – aiming to live the best life possible through fitness and healthy eating. Are you a Fit (Wo)Men Cook?

You can find Kevin and follow the Fit Men Cook movement online at: