Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Pasta" and Meatballs

In my opinion, there is nothing like a yummy plate of spaghetti and meatballs with a delicious red sauce. However, I don't like the processed, starchy noodles that leave you feeling bloated and heavy after the meal is over. Yesterday I made a great meal that consisted of meatballs (made with organic, grass fed beef) and a red sauce filled with veggies. I put this over a plate of zucchini "noodles". Not only was it delicious, but I had tons left over! I froze most of the sauce and meatballs, but saved a portion for my husband's lunch and my lunch today. I truly think it was even better the second day!

That is a terrible picture. I really should have staged it better, but I was several bites into my lunch when I thought I should take a picture.
Spaghetti sauce is one of those things where it is easy to sneak in extra veggies that the kids won't even see. I did not puree the sauce I made, so the veggies were very visible, however you could hide them if you cut them much smaller or grated them rather than chopping. I made my meatballs first:

1.5 lbs grass fed ground beef (or you could use 1/2 beef and 1/2 italian sausage)
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 eggs
1/2 white onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 shakes Worcestershire
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Mix everything thoroughly. Form into 1-1.5 inch meatballs.  Place them on a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to put into the sauce. (These are great as a meal by themselves. If you are not making a sauce to cook them in, place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes.)

For the sauce:

1 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, choped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 container mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini)
2 - 28-oz cans whole tomatoes
1 - 28 oz can Italian seasoned crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 TBSP sugar
salt and pepper

Heat your oil over medium heat in a large, deep pot. Add onions and garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes until onions are starting to soften. Add the chopped veggies. Continue to cook about 5 minutes or so. Add everything else. (As I add the whole tomatoes, I usually crush them in my hand before adding them in) Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally, add your meatballs. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1.5 - 2 hours. I find that the longer I let the sauce hang out on the stove, the better it tastes. I got everything going in the afternoon, then went to pick the kids up from school. By the time dinner rolled around, everything was done and I had already cleaned up from the prep.

Prepare your zucchini noodles:

There are several spiral slicers out there that you can use to make veggie "noodles". I used my Pampered Chef Spiral and Slice tool, which I love. It makes really fun rotini shaped noodles:

If you are going meat-free, obviously eliminate the meatballs. By the way, I didn't cook the zucchini noodles. I literally just spiral sliced them, put them on the plate and put the sauce and meatballs on top. I added a sprinkle of parmesan as well. It was so nice to eat this and not feel that bloated feeling! It was filling and yummy!! There is nothing particularly special about this recipe. Add whatever veggies you like and any additional seasonings you prefer. 



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