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By: By Between Carpools

Looking for a new kid-friendly dinner? This is a keeper.

This is one of the first recipes one of us ever made when I first got married...and we’re still preparing many years later. It’s different than the typical tomato-based spaghetti sauce and kids love it and never get tired of it...even my super picky ones. Bonus: it freezes really well.

Coca-Cola Meatballs

1 pound spaghetti


1 pound lean ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

¼ cup ketchup

2 eggs

2 garlic cloves

⅓ cup bread crumbs

¼ cup water


1 cup ketchup

½ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

2 (12-ounce) cans Coca-Cola

1 ½ cups water

½ cup apricot jam or duck sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients for meatballs and form into balls.
  2. In a saucepan, combine sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil. Gently drop balls into simmering sauce and cook for 45 minutes. Serve over spaghetti.

Yield: 6-8 servings

[scribble note:] We also make this using Dr. Pepper, though Diet soda will not work!

[sidebar:] Want to Make a Healthy Version?

*Spaghetti and meatballs is still very satisfying over spaghetti squash.

*This recipe will also work perfectly well using ground chicken instead of beef.

*Finally, you need a no-sugar sauce! In a saucepan, combine 1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce, 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, ½ can tomato paste, juice of ½ lemon, 1 ½ tablespoons Truvia or sweetener, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¾-1 cup water. Let simmer for 20 minutes to let the sauce thicken. Add meatballs and cook for 30 minutes. Serve over spaghetti squash if desired. You can find a meatball recipe that uses no breadcrumbs (it incorporates a shredded zucchini and potato instead) on betweencarpools.com.