Fishstick Meatballs over Linguini

Main Ingredients
fishsticks garlic pasta pretzel spinach

IMG_1784Participating in Battle Yum! is like being a Disney theme park creator. They are called imagineers, and I like to look at these challenges as how I can be an imagineer of the ingredients.  The next important thought: what can I make that my kids will actually want to eat? If I get the two things right, all works out.  Therefore, it came down to the fishsticks. What was I going to do to re-imagine them and turn them into something they are not and what would my kids want for dinner?

Ground Fish Sticks

No children, including my two, ever get tired of spaghetti and meatballs. But would they eat “fishstick balls?” The first thing to do was to figure out how to turn them into meatballs.
I knew we had a grinder attachment to the mixer, and in they went.

For texture, I added the crushed pretzels. For additional flavor, I found some chicken and fish jerk seasoning.  I have to confess that I am not a fan of spinach or many leafy greens for that matter, but I am a fan of garlic. Something passed down from my dad I suppose.  So I decided to saute the spinach in garlic and hoped that it wasn’t to overpowering for the kids.

Fishstick MeatballsI cooked the linguini, and when it was finished, I mixed in the garlic-sauteed spinach and topped it with the broiled fishstick meatballs. The only thing missing was some sort of sauce. I’m not ashamed to say this… I’m terrible with sauces, and just about everything needs a sauce. That’s where the wife came in: she saved the meal. She asked what was in the frying pan (garlic and spinach) and she whipped up a garlic butter sauce to help make everything taste that much better.

So what did I learn?

The girl ate the meal without the sauce. She was apprehensive about fish balls but ate all three on her plate and said that they weren’t as bad as she imagined they would be. The girl asked for more spinach, but unfortunately I didn’t make enough and had no extra.

I think the wife was more apprehensive than the girl (she’s not a fan of fish sticks). She was pleasantly surprised that the fishstick balls weren’t horrid. And of course, the wife was the one that helped with the garlic sauce, without which the dish was dry and it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable.



Fishstick Meatballs over Linguini


Fishstick Meatballs

  • 15 fish sticks, warmed to room temperature
  • 10 pretzels
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp of Chicken and Fish Jerk spice

Garlic Sauted Spinach

  • 4 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 


  • Enough linguini for four

After fishsticks are no longer frozen grind them in a food grinder. Put pretzels into a plastic bag and crush with something heavy, like a rolling pin. Pretzels should broken into small pieces, but not crushed to powder. Add crushed pretzels, egg and jerk spice to ground fishsticks and mix thoroughly.  Shape mixture into meatballs. Preheat oven to broil and cook for 2min and then turn meatballs over for another 2min.

Heat olive oil in frying pan and add crushed garlic. Add spinach and saute in garlic oil until soft and pliable.

After pasta has cooked to desired tenderness remove from boiling water. Mix in garlic spinach and add meatballs. 


3 comments on “Fishstick Meatballs over Linguini

  1. You know, I think adding a marinara sauce would be the way to go with this meatball – I bet no one would have any idea really adding onions and tomatoes and that breading. Good job!

    • Thanks Elyse. I considered a red sauce, but I was concerned that it wouldn’t taste well with the fish balls. Kind of like ordering red wine instead of white wine with fish. In the end, I agree with you that a marinara sauce would have worked.

      • I melted some butter and creme fraiche, then cooked the meatballs in the sauce which thickened it up a little. Then I added some spinach leaves and heated until they wilted. It was good but there still was not enough!

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