Paleo Spaghetti and Meatball Feast

I have found that the paleo diet is what works best for my health and weight. Unfortunately, it does not work well for my love of pasta. I have no problem passing on the milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream, pizza, and bread, but I have a severe weak spot for pasta. Spaghetti squash is not quite the same, but it comes pretty darn close. It does the trick for a pasta fix plus you get a low calorie dose of fiber! Top it with a pile of tasty meatballs and you may actually forget you are missing the refined carbs!

It’s a chilly Sunday here, so I have designed this recipe to fill the house with delicious aromas as we watch football all day. Make sure you get all the prep work done before the games start and you will have a fabulous meal ready by dinner time with minimal couch time breaks! I have broken the recipe down into a timeframe to hopefully help you plan ahead. Don’t let the length of this recipe deter you! It’s designed to cook at a leisurely pace as you enjoy a lazy Sunday!

This recipe will create two giant servings and you will have leftover sauce and meatballs. Don’t worry! It freezes awesomely for a future meal when you are in a pinch for time!
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Grilled Zucchini Meatball Boats

It is great to come home from a long day and workout to a crockpot of turkey meatballs, but a bowl of balls just doesn’t cut it when looking for a complete dinner. This option keeps the carbs away and is delicious!

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Ingredients:
2 zucchini
12 warm meatballs and sauce of your choice (Try these!)

1. Preheat your grill to medium high heat.
2. Cut the ends off the zucchini and slice in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and fill the void with sauce and meatballs.
3. Grill for 10 minutes, top with a bit of fresh sauce, and enjoy!

Paleo Crockpot Turkey Meatballs in Meat Sauce

The majority of my recipes serve two. This one serves an army. Ok, maybe not an army, but enough to feed our family of 4 and then freeze the rest for a complete second meal at a later date.

I love pasta. There is no question that it is my favorite food. Ever. The paleo diet puts quite the damper on my pasta habit, but the flavors of this sauce (or as the Italian in me must say, “gravy”… Since it has meat in it) are incredible. It’s almost enough to fool me into thinking I am eating spaghetti and meatballs! The meatballs can be served as is, over zucchini noodles, on spaghetti squash, or the good old fashioned way – on top of a mountain of spaghetti.

Given the summer heat, I have turned this into a crockpot recipe. It allows me to do the “cooking” during the cooler morning hours and not heat up the whole house in the evening. Don’t have a big enough crockpot (you will need a 6.5 quart one)? Feel free to make in a good old fashioned pot and allow it to simmer for at least 3 hours over low heat.

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Serves a lot
Ingredients:
1 large onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic – minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
3 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes in sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped oregano
1.25 lbs sweet turkey sausage
3 lbs. ground lean turkey
2 eggs
1/2 cup almond flour (or substitute bread crumbs for non-paleo)
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt & pepper

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saut̩ olive oil, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper until fragrant Рabout 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and wine while stirring. Allow to saut̩ for 5 more minutes while occasionally stirring.
2. Transfer onion mixture into crockpot. Roughly chop the tomatoes right in the can (I take a sharp knife and give them a few slices to make sure they are at least cut in half. Add tomatoes and sauce to crockpot. Stir in basil and oregano.
3. Remove the turkey sausage from its casing and brown in a large skillet over high heat for about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to the crockpot.
4. Using your hands, in a large bowl, mix ground turkey, egg, almond flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Make 1 inch meatballs and place to the side. You should get about 30.
5. In two large frying pans (or two batches in one),heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat. Brown all sides of the meatballs while carefully turning for about 10 minutes. The browned crust will allow them to stay together while cooking all day.
6. Transfer the meatballs to the crockpot and very carefully stir to coat them with sauce. Set the crockpot to low and allow to cook for 7-9 hours.

Beets & Balls

Sometimes you wind up with an unexpected menu item that you have to create a meal using. I was sitting in my classroom when a student that isn’t even my student showed up. I had a conversation in passing with him yesterday about the incredible store in town that he works at. It is a little shop that sells all locally grown produce and products. As a part of this conversation, my love of beets came up. Today, he arrived to my classroom with a giant smile and presented me with some beautiful golden beets. Yes, I jumped up and gave him a bear hug!

I made this recipe with my grandmother in mind. Occasionally she would put raisins and pine nuts in her meatballs. It adds just the right amount of sweet to the meal. With Nanny as my inspiration, I decided to make my turkey meatballs over a bed of roasted beet slivers with goat cheese and toasted walnuts. It is not paleo, but it is a Friday night, so it is time to cheat a bit! Yummy!

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Ingredients:
1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 medium bunch of golden beets
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt, pepper, and basil to taste

1. Make the meatball mixture by mixing the turkey, bread crumbs, egg, and basil in a large bowl. Make golf ball sized meatballs.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. Preheat a large skillet over high heat. Drizzle a bit of olive oil to coat the pan. Add the meatballs an brown them by frequently turning. Cook until brown on all sides.
4. Transfer the meatballs to a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
5. While the meatballs are baking, wash, peel, and very thinly slice the beets.
6. In a large bowl, mix the beets with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the slices on a baking sheet and put in the oven when there are 15 minutes remaining for the meatballs.
7. Serve by placing the beets on the plate and sprinkling with as much goat cheese and toasted walnuts as you wish. Top with a mound of meatballs and enjoy!