OK, so I know in my “I’m Back!” post I said I didn’t have time to take a zillion pictures while cooking anymore, but get this, I actually started this post three years ago… I’ve been wondering how I was going to find the time to get this blog up and running again and there it was, a near complete post ready to go in my drafts plus a few other recipes already written. I’ll have to thank my old organized, two-steps ahead self who used to be so much more on top of things.
Speaking of on top of things… you can really use this sauce/meatball combo on top of anything: traditional noodles, zoodles, even roasted or baked sweet potato. I do spaghetti squash most often just because it’s easy to prepare, yields leftovers and gives a nutritional boost over traditional spaghetti noodles.
How to Cut a Spaghetti Squash Without Getting Your Knife Stuck
The trick to preparing spaghetti squash is to cook it whole. I don’t even try to cut into that sucker. I just put the whole thing on a baking sheet, stick it in the oven at 400° for 30-45 minutes and bake until the outside is just barely starting to brown and I can squeeze it a little bit. I let it cool and then cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and use a fork to pull the insides out in shreds. It’s stringy so you sort of get that spaghetti feel while adding one more veggie for the day. The stringiness is fun for kids too. If they can play with it AND eat it, that’s a win.
On the how messy is this meal for kids meter, I give this a 10 for most messy. I recommend doing what we do and serve it on bath night. The sauce and meatballs are great leftover as well. I like to make a big pot of the sauce, maybe double the recipe and freeze half. Leftovers also get used at other kid meals as sauce and dip. Again, with the mess, I know… But I’ll put it on plain chicken or just give them a dollop on their plate and let them “dip.” My God they love anything they can dip. But then again, don’t we all.
I’ve got a lot more tricks like these… both of the knife-skill-type and getting-your-kids-to eat-things-variety… I even have a program that can have you eating delicious meals like this every night. Check out my programs to learn more.
Spaghetti (Squash) and Meatballs
For the sauce:
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
6 roma tomatoes, (1 diced, 5 quartered) (or one large can diced tomatoes)
For the meatballs:
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 large spaghetti squash
handful fresh basil, thinly sliced
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add dried herbs and continue to sauté another minute. Add carrot, celery and diced tomato continue cooking until vegetables are tender. Transfer skillet contents to a blender or food processor and add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
In a bowl combine meat, onion, garlic and dried herbs, salt and pepper. mix well using your hands, then form into balls. Place meatballs at the bottom of a slow cooker, then pour sauce over the balls. Cook either on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
One hour before the slow cooker is done, preheat oven to 350°. Place whole spaghetti squash on baking sheet and bake 30 minutes for a small spaghetti squash, 45 minutes to an hour for a large one. When done, it should be slightly soft to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. Slice squash in half lengthwise with a knife. Scoop out seeds and gook and discard (or save the seeds to roast later). Using a fork, scrape the flesh of the squash away from the skin. It will separate into spaghetti like strands.
To serve, place spaghetti squash in bowls and top with meatballs and sauce. Garnish with fresh basil.
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps families find healthy routines that work, with no more “what’s for dinner?” stress, and a lot better food. Her family meal plans help moms take charge of their kitchen and their own health, leading to more vegetables and less junk all around. Megan also shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.