“Now please, take a bite…so that I can watch you enjoy. That’s my favorite part.”
“Well, I’ll go with the right one. That looks good. That’s a good meatball!”
Every time I think of meatballs, I can’t help but think of that scene from The Wedding Singer with the little old lady slapping those two huge meatballs in Adam Sandler’s hands as payment for voice lessons. So. Freaking. Great.
This is a spaghetti squash. If you’re looking for gluten-free or low-carb options, or just want to see what the weird noodle-replacement tastes like, this is for you. I’m not lying to you when I say I truly enjoy this meal. And I’m not even on a diet.I know this looks like a pain in the behind, but it’s seriously not. I attempted a spaghetti squash several years ago when we were first married, and it was a total fail. I thought I’d try it again a couple months ago, and hallelujah! They have a slight sweetness to them, very similar to yellow squash, and if cooked properly, the noodles are soft with a tiny bit of bite to them. You can twirl them around your fork and enjoy a nice mouthful of noodles without the guilt. It was a glorious carb-free meal AND my 2-year-old gobbled it up. I just lied to his face and told him it was pasta. He’s a believer.
After you rinse and stab the spaghetti squash, bake it for a while, let it cool for a bit, scoop out the seedy goop in the middle, you’re left with these noodles basically begging to be scraped out. I hardly had to apply any pressure to get these out, they were practically falling out. Ooodles of noodles! Except it’s a vegetable. Don’t tell my little man.
Sometimes you just really want a meatball, yeah? Carnivore to the max, right?! I have a secret ingredient that keeps those meatballs from turning into tough chunks of hamburger.
Makes ’em fluffy and moist. Throw in some fresh basil and parmesan and you’ve got a juicy, flavorful meatball. You can pan-fry them, bake them, drop them directly into your sauce, so many options. I’m a firm believer in flash-frying meat to get that salty crust of flavored meat on the exterior. Tastes so good. You can finish in the pan, bake in the oven, or drop into the sauce to bake them through. I dropped them into the my sauce. The whole meal can be gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs, or I’ve heard cornmeal is another great substitute.
Goat cheese is kinda my jam lately. Salads, sandwiches, it’s whatevs. Carly got me hooked on it. I added it to a simple marinara sauce a while back and my eyes instantly lit up. It made it creamy (always a good thing) and added this delightful little tang to it. Tasted pretty similar to a yummy vodka sauce, without the vodka! I threw in some grated carrots for a little sweetness and more veggie goodness. So easy, nutritious, and a nice twist to the usual spaghetti.
Pile your plate high with spaghetti squash, spoon the meatballs and sauce over the noodles…
and garnish with parmesan and fresh basil.
How many vegetables have you had today?
Jam packed with vegetables and your little ones will be none the wiser!
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 c parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 yellow onion minced
- 1/2 c water
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t pepper
- handful fresh basil chiffonade
- 30 oz. tomato sauce 2 15 oz. cans
- 15 oz. fire-roasted tomatoes 1 can
- 2 c shredded carrots
- 1/2 yellow onion minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 oz. goat cheese
- 1 t salt
- Rinse spaghetti squash, stab with fork or knife several times all over. Set on plate and cover with damp paper towel, then microwave 4 minutes. Flip squash over and microwave another 4 minutes. Squash is done when it is pierced easily with knife. Depending on size, you may need to continue to microwave another minute or two. Remove from plate with hot pads and set on counter to cool.
- Set meats out in large bowl to get to room temperature.
- Saute onion and garlic in 1 T EVOO. Remove and place on plate or bowl to let cool.
- Combine all ingredients and form into balls. Any size is fine, just as they are all similar.
- Heat 1/8 c EVOO in large frying pan on medium-high. When water sizzles when flicked into pan, begin to place meatballs in pan to fry. Once meatballs have begun to form crust on bottom and require only a little nudging to remove from bottom, flip to other side. Once most of the meatballs have been flash-fried (insides will still be pink), remove from pan and set aside.
- Saute carrots, garlic, onion, and spinach in 1 T EVOO until soft.
- Add remaining ingredients to pan, bring to a simmer. Drop meatballs into pan, continue to simmer at least 20 minutes.
- Slice squash in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out seedy guts with spoon. Discard.
- Use fork to remove noodles from skin. Discard skin.
- Spoon spaghetti squash into large bowl, top with plenty of freshly-grated parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spoon goat cheese marinara and meatballs over spaghetti squash, serve immediately.