Katie Green's Food Blog: Spaghetti and Meatballs
This is supposed to be a food blog. Oh well. There's a recipe below. I made it. It's good.
I'm the type of person who actually likes working out. I do it mostly because I feel like it gives me more than I give it. So, in effect, it seems to have become a part of who I am. But what do you do when you lose a part of who you are? When you can't just go for a run? A 30 mile bike ride at 6am on a Saturday sounds like a great way to start a weekend. But what if you're forced to start it on the couch? It seems like everyone else is out there working out, and then there's you, horizontal on the couch. Not just for one morning, but what about 5 days, or a week, or a month? Injuries have a way of forcing us to stop when we've seemingly been going at 100mph. And there we are, making a permanent indent on the couch.
I don't know what it's like to be an elite athlete experiencing a long term injury. But I think I got a glimpse of it after sustaining a concussion over 5 weeks ago, and having headaches and other symptoms for over 4 weeks after the injury. I craved being "normal" again, and gratefully, I think I'm finally there. There wasn't a lot of cooking happening during that time. Fortunately, I've now cleared myself for full kitchen participation.
This is far from your typical spaghetti and meatballs. Instead, we're cooking spaghetti squash, homemade marinara and turkey meatballs. Spaghetti squash isn't a highly nutritional vegetable, but it is tasty and 1/6 of the calories of regular spaghetti. It also has a decent amount of fiber at 2.2 grams per cup. Homemade marinara is one of the easiest things to make and it's leaps and bounds past what you will buy in a store. Plus, you can make tons of it at one time and freeze it in batches. Adding turkey meatballs to the squash and marinara completes the feeling of eating regular spaghetti and meatballs, but is incredibly more nutritious. I've also mixed the spaghetti squash with pesto and Morningstar Farms sausages. Very tasty. Another possibility includes mixing the squash with feta, fresh basil, olives, tomatoes and sautéed onions and garlic - my next plan.
Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
Cut squash in half lengthwise.
Scoop out seeds and innards. Lightly brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on rimmed baking sheet and into preheated oven. Roast for 1- 1 1/4 hours or until soft.
Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes until not too hot to touch. Use fork to scrape inside of squash into spaghetti-like strands. Serve immediately.
This is one of those recipes where there isn't really a recipe. Start off with some basics and then add and subtract ingredients to suit your palate.
Heat a sauté pan with about 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until translucent. Be careful not to brown the garlic. (If using a carrot, add with the onion and garlic. Add other veggies after the onions are done cooking.) Pour tomatoes into pan and increase heat to bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add desired spices, salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or let simmer on the stove for longer. (Increasing the cooking time evaporates the water and enhances the flavor.)
Quinoa Turkey Meatballs
One recommendation is to brown and cook these in batches of 5 in a pan on the stove. That takes forever. In addition, if you desire larger meatballs, baking them becomes necessary. I actually am not able to locate the recipe I used to make the meatballs (I have the excuse of being concussed at the time). But I found this one in my search, and it looks pretty good. The quinoa and spices in these make them intriguing.
Mix the quinoa with the spices and nutritional yeast.
Add the ground turkey and beaten egg and mix well (using your hands works best). Form into balls (about 20 medium).
Heat a pan with the oil over medium heat. Cook the balls for 12-15 minutes or until internal temperature is 170 degrees F (or open one up). They can also be baked at 350F for 30 minutes (browning first on the stove is best for color and outside crunchy texture).
And finally, combine everything together. Throwing some parmesan cheese on top wouldn't be a bad idea.
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