Homemade Spaghetti O's and Meatballs - Lunch Version

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Homemade Spaghetti O's and Meatballs - Lunch Version

The Cook
8 Servings
13 Ingredients

Saucy and flavorful this freezable Homemade Spaghetti O’s and Meatballs surpasses its canned counterpart in taste and quality. Chicken meatballs are seasoned with pesto and the rich tomato sauce is finished with butter and cheese for an oh-so-creamy bowl of pasta goodness.

8 Servings
13 Ingredients


  • ⅔ pounds Ground Chicken
  • 4 ½ tablespoons Pesto
  • ¼ cups Bread Crumbs
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt #1
  • 4 ½ cups Tomato Sauce
  • 2 ½ cups Water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 8 ounces Anelletti Pasta
  • ¾ cups Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • ¼ cups Milk
  • 8 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Salt #2
  • ¼ teaspoons Black Pepper



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Cooking Instructions

Freeze For Later Cooking Day Directions


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Make From Frozen Serving Day Directions

Easy Assembly/Ready to Eat

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Make It Now Cooking Directions

Stove Cook

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Nutrition Facts

  • Not available.


Join the discussion
  1. What can I use in place of pesto? I’m planning on making these, and they look yummy for my daughter and the kid in me!

    1. Hi Julieann, I guess you could use spaghetti sauce? I loved using the pesto because it added flavor and acted as a binder. I guess you could also just make them like regular meatballs – breadcrumbs and egg.

  2. can i use ground beef instead of ground chicken or turkey?? This sounds like the perfect meal to send with the DH for his lunches this winter~

    1. You do not, they cook in the pasta sauce. And no, it is not a dumb question because I asked Heather the same thing. 🙂

  3. Tried these last night. A big success. I did not make the meatballs because my kids will not eat them. Going to make another batch. Will be great for my 1st grader for lunch and for my highschooler when he needs to eat quick and get to a practice or game (I do have to double his portion lol)

  4. Made these last night for dinner and they were a huge hit with the whole family. I had enough left to freeze four 1 cup portions. Thank you for sharing this recipe. These are so much healthier and better tasting than the canned stuff. Now that I know how super easy these are to make (half an hour from start to table) I will always have these available for a quick dinner or school lunch.

  5. So I am totally new at the freezing meals thing, how do you freeze individually soups, what kind of containers are easiest to buy? Thanks!

  6. I am SO SO SO excited that I found your site! I just finished making this recipe and, of course, had to take a taste. This is delicious and my kiddos will LOVE to take this for lunch! I will be making this a staple in our household. SO EXCITED that I can make this for may family and serve them a healthy and delicious version of Spaghetti O’s! Awesome! =)

  7. Made this tonight because *I* had a serious Spaghetti O’s addiction as a young(er) person and was skeptical about the kids because they won’t humor me on most soups (sad face). The result- I loved it and THEY loved it! Clean bowls from the 1 and 3 year old, my daughter, the little one, had seconds and was clapping her hands!! Love this! And we have TONS left for the freezer. Thanks!

    1. Hmmm Kristen, they’re pretty small, you could probably just brown them on all sides in a bit of oil. Or bake them on a baking sheet for a few minutes.

  8. Do you think this would work in the Crockpot? I was thinking maybe simmer the sauce all day and then add the meatballs and pasta during the last hour.

  9. Currently converting this recipe for my thermomix. Hopefully I can work it out easily because all three of my kids LOVE this!

  10. This looks delicious. My toddler is allergic to all dairy and eggs. Here’s what I’m thinking. Please tell me if this might work.Omit the cheese. Use almond milk and our safe margarine for the milk and butter. Use flax eggs instead of the pesto as a binder. Use non-fun (ha!) pasta because we only have a few safe pasta options.The only major change is omitting the cheese. Will that change the taste? Thanks!

  11. This is a silly question but how much is 10 ounces ground chicken? I bought a package that is .61 ounces and it sure doesn’t look like it will make 40 meatballs

  12. Awesome recipe! I adjusted the ingredients just a bit to avoid having leftover chicken from the 1lb package. We love meatballs so a few more proportionately per pasta works well. We will repeat this one… soon! 🙂

  13. Made this last night, and had to fight to keep hubby and the boys from digging in (I made it for school lunches, NOT for dinner, my mistake!) Great recipe! I made a double batch and used 1/2 ground turkey and 1/2 ground turkey sausage. Great meatballs! Unfortunately, I got sidetracked and forgot to add the milk and butter, but no one seems to care! Thanks!

    1. Michelle – My 7 year old requests this for his lunch weekly! I can’t keep enough in the freezer. It is so yummy – glad your entire family enjoys!

  14. I like to use a small ice cream scoop and bulk sausage for this recipe. Scoop and plop little sausage balls! It is faster than making meatballs and a great use for sausage that is on sale!

  15. I just made this for the second time. Added a little more spice and tried sun dried tomato pesto to the mini meat balls. Excellent! Shredded some asagio that I had in the fridge. My kids and their friends ate it all!!!! I was planning on freezing the extra for a quick meal in the future, but there is none left!

    1. Oh sun dried tomato pesto sounds like an amazing twist to this recipe! We often have none left when it comes time to put in the freezer as well!

  16. Having trouble finding the tiny o’s pasta…. Out of stock on Amazon LOL
    BUT- did you love alphabet soup when you were a kid? I did. So I’m going to just use the La Moderna Alphabets Pasta from Walmart. Super cheap , similar size, and amusing to the kids.

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