Everyone loves spaghetti and I am no exception. Luckily since going grain and sugar-free I have not had to give it up, just modify it a bit and I think I like this way better! (The bread in the picture is garlic bread using my grain free bread or Tasy Sandwich Buns from the cookbook.)
Pasta is the epitome of a carbohydrate. If I eat it, I crash, and crash hard and it definitely will pack on the pounds, no matter if it is made of whole wheat or not!
My solution, cauliflower or spaghetti squash as a substitute! I have found that with most high carbohydrate foods such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta, it is not the carbs you want, it is what put on top of it that makes it so yummy. Growing up, those types of foods were fillers, making food last longer, with little to no taste. Now, I always make my own sauce, meatballs instead of meat sauce and make it taste GOOD! Your kids are going to love this too. They will love the meatballs. Protein is so important for all of us, but in particular, our growing kids. Let them help you make them, or count the meatballs. Getting them into the kitchen is one of the best things you teach your children. Hunter watches me cook all the time, I can’t wait till I can put him to work!
Don’t be afraid of Spaghetti squash, they are quite delicious! It has a texture very similar to pasta and it’s stringy as you can see like spaghetti. Another great veggy to add to your arsenal!
The recipe also can be adapted to make Tomato Basil Soup, just add heavy cream at the very end before serving. I thought no one did it like La Madeline’s but I think this has them beat, hands down! I make a pretty big batch of the sauce but you are going to need it and it also freezes well (meatballs too).
I recommend getting a small cookie dough scoop to make the meatballs, the one I have is from Pampered Chef. It comes in handy not having to roll out all of those meatballs and that is what can be so time-consuming. Also, pick up some fresh parsley, it adds a nice freshness. I usually saute’ down onions and garlic before starting my sauce, but for this recipe, I chose to use chopped garlic in jar as well as dehydrated onions (you could use onion powder but I think the dehydrated onions give you a little more flavor.) Also, you can see that this recipe does not call for bread crumbs. You really don’t need bread crumbs if baking in the oven. You won’t miss them I promise.
Always taste your creation! Add a little more basil, add a little more thyme. This is your recipe now and I hope you make it for you and your family soon!
1 pound ground beef (preferably grass-fed)
1 pound ground chicken (you can use turkey, or just use another pound of beef)
1 egg (preferably pastured)
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tsp of pepper
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (fresh grated)
2 tbsp fresh chopped Parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium bowl, blend ingredients well. Use a small scoop (or a large ice cream scoop for BIG meat balls) and scoop meat mixture onto a foil lined baking pan or preferably use a broiling pan so that the grease can cook off, and away from meatballs. Don’t worry about them being not being “balls” because when you cook them, they shrink up and take a spherical shape!
Cook for 15-20 minutes, depending on size. I used a small scoop and got about 35 meat balls.
While meatballs are cooking, start marinara sauce.
Better than the Jar Marinara Sauce
28 oz of whole tomatoes
2 large cans of crush tomatoes
3-4 tbsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp dried basil (fresh is always good if you have it)
2 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp of dehydrated onion or 1 tbsp onion powder
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes (optional but will give your sauce a little kick)
Sweeten to to taste
Stove Top Directions: Add all ingredients to large pot. Crush whole tomatoes with your hands (or potato masher). Stir well and taste for seasoning. Simmer on medium-low, covered for at least 30 minutes but the longer the better. Add cooked meatballs and let soak.
Slow Cooker Method with Meatballs: Add all ingredients to slow cooker and crush tomatoes with potato masher. Add prepared (not cooked) meatballs. Cook on high for 4-5 hours on low for 6-8 hours.
Cut the cauliflower up and separated into “flowers”. Steam for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain off water. Season with butter, salt & pepper.
Spaghetti Squash (or see Slow Cooker Method)
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Cut Squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Use olive oil and rub over flesh surface of squash and place cut side down on baking pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on size until knife inserted into skin has little resistance.
If you are a little scared of cutting the spaghetti squash in half, you can keep it whole, pierce the outside with a few fork marks and bake for 1 -1/2 hours at 400 degrees.
Allow to cool enough to handle. Take fork ans start from outside of squash and scrape out “spaghetti”. In a small pot, add “spaghetti” and butter, salt & pepper to taste.
Serve meatballs and marinara over spaghetti squash and/or cauliflower for a filling Italian meal!
Nutrition: 1 cup of cooked whole wheat pasta has about 40 grams of carbohydrates while 1 cup cooked spaghetti squash has less than 10 grams! Cauliflower has less than 5! I’ll take another helping of spaghetti squash and cauliflower please! 😉