If you removed the word “squash” from the title you would have totally had me fooled.
I am seriously craving some comfort food right now. You know, the type of food that makes you really happy and satisfied. Full belly, remove-that-belt-after-dinner kinda food. AKA as in carbs, kinda food.
Anyone with me?
My nutritionist doesn’t share my passion for carbs. She thinks I should be munching on cucumbers whenever the need to nosh strikes. Or celery. I bet she felt generous allowing me that cucumber past 8 p.m.
She obviously does not know me. I will eat a cucumber, sure. But then I will also need a rugelach to make it all right again.
Winter is here, the temperatures are beginning to drop, and the need for comfort food is real.
Some of you might know that I have recently published a cookbook entitled Our Table. And I am sure you are wondering why, a person like me, who (most probably, and maybe) knows a thing or two about cooking cannot figure out some form of comfort food that will make one happy yet still be guilt-free. Right? I was wondering that myself, to be honest. I was like “Renee, you can do this.”
So, as I was standing in the grocery the other day, with a glazed look on my face, facing the meat and poultry display, it suddenly hit me. Spaghetti and meatballs. That’s what I’m in the mood for. Did I mention my craving for comfort food??
Right then and there I decided I was going to figure out how to prepare this iconic dish, guilt-free.
And guess what: I nailed it! And here’s the icing on the cake: My super picky eater ate these meatballs happily (over spaghetti…. Let’s be real, ok?) and licked the plate clean.
So, this one is a keeper.
Oh, one more thing: divide this recipe into small containers (use these) and freeze. Dinner is ready in minutes.
Pulling the spaghetti from the squash. This part is actually fun.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Salt and pepper
- PAM cooking spray
- 2 (28 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons Truvia (or any sweetener you like)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½-2 cups of water
- 1.5 pounds ground chicken
- 1.5 pounds lean ground meat
- 1 zucchini, grated
- 1 small onion, grated
- 1 small Yukon Gold potato, grated
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Dash of pepper
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the meatball mixture ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate (this will help to ensure the balls don't break while cooking).
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spray with PAM. Place on a lined baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, get started with the meatballs. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Let the sauce cook for about 20 minutes, until it thickens a bit.
- Working in batches, form meatball mixture into balls and drop into the simmering sauce. Do not overcrowd the pot, or balls might break.
- Cook the meatballs for about 30 minutes. Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove from the pot and continue with the next round of meatballs. I usually cook the meatballs in 3 batches.
- Once spaghetti squash is cooked, remove from the oven and use a fork to shred into “spaghetti” (this part is fun, see photo below).
- Serve meatballs over warm spaghetti squash, with lots of sauce. Indulge. Try to forget it's not really spaghetti. And admit it, it is pretty close.