Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce (Paleo)


I need to remember pictures.  They probably won't be lovely but it would enhance this place a bit more.  I'll work on it.

When you visit this blog you will find a lot about food.  Yes, there are other aspects to homemaking.  I am not always good at them.  That's okay.  I am learning about getting better.  I also feel like I am coming out of the fog and no longer in just survival mode now with three little ones.  But certain areas still lack.  We have clean clothes.  That's a win.  But priority comes to eating.  People need to eat or the natives get restless.  Right now I am cranking out meals for three adults and three munchkins, three times a day.  Sometimes there are snacks but not very often.

My girls generally like spaghetti and meat sauce.  For some reason all of them have really liked tomato or tomato sauce type meals.  However, the carbs in pasta stick with me and I would like to move away from it as much as possible... even if I DO love it.  When I did my first round of The South Beach Diet I made some spaghetti squash.  I didn't come out very well.  Nope.  So much so that I never made it again.  But I decided to try it this last Sunday.  OH. MY.  So very good.  The sauce came together very well and this has turned into one of my favorite meals for fall when the squash is in season.

My husband and I loved this!  I probably ate a little too much and was totally stuffed until I went to bed.  There was no urge to snack.  It was just happy to my soul.  Granted it's not an actual noodle texture but I thought it got the job done for sure!  My two-year-old, Miss A, asked for seconds.  Nuff' said.  My 11-month baby ate hers all up.  My almost four-year-old is a skeptic when it comes to dinner.  She just wanted to eat the sauce.  But after awhile she warmed up to the new foods and ate it all up with minimal fussing.  It was a total win in my book with her!

I found myself in a pinch when I went to make this as I didn't have the right amount of tomato sauce.  As in, I didn't have any.  I did have tomato paste.  A 1:1 ratio of tomato paste and water worked nicely.  Also, I realized later that if I had added vegetable broth (I like Pacific's Organic Vegetable Broth) it would have kicked up the favor and nutrient value a bit.  I think I will do that next time.  I also cut the red pepper flakes down to 1/8 just in case.  Oh, I think mushrooms (chopped for me please!) would be a good addition to this sauce, too.

Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce (from Cavemen Gourmet)

1 spaghetti squash
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion – chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 15 oz can of organic tomato sauce
1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper

Cut your squash in half lengthwise. Clean out squash.  Once you halved the squash, you can either bake it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or microwave it. Let cool for a few minutes.  It’s incredibly fast and easy. These ‘noodles’ taste great and are so easy to make. They have a high water content so keep that in mind when you add sauces.  

In a dutch oven, saute the garlic, parsley and onion in extra virgin olive oil and stir on high heat until nicely golden.  Add the ground beef, salt and pepper, and cook on high heat. Make sure to constantly stir the meat so it breaks nicely and you don’t have large chunks of meat.  We’re making bolognese sauce here – not meatballs.
Once the ground beef is nice and brown, add the tomato sauce, oregano, rosemary and red pepper flakes.  Stir the mixture so that all of the ground beef and tomato sauce are evenly mixed.  Taste and correct seasonings (add salt and/or pepper if needed).  Lower heat and let simmer for an hour. 

After an hour, the bolognese sauce should be meaty and delicious with a slightly sweet taste from the sauteed onions and have a little kick from the red pepper flakes. For those Lacto-Paleos out there, feel free to top with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Smoky Bacon Chili

I love food.

I have a love hate relationship with.  I love it.  But I hate what it can do to my body.  Okay, okay... it's the bad decisions I make about food that I hate.  I feel like I am in this new place learning about food.  I am wanting to teach my girls good things so that they don't face the same things I do.  It's no secret that I battled my weight for most of my life and especially now after three babies in just three years (my youngest was born the day before my oldest turned three!)  So, here I am evaluating my eating habits.  We did low carb (South Beach) for awhile and it worked for us.  Then something would happen and we would fall off the wagon into convenience and not-so-healthy options.

Recently, I have been reading about different "paleo" options.  There are some different ways to be paleo and if I had to choose one of the many tag lines it would be "lacto-paleo" because we enjoy some dairy things around here.  I have already noticed a decrease in how much we use and that is not a bad thing either.  Anyway, I am not going to go into the details of "paleo" here.  There are more than enough sites to read about it.  If you want some suggestions then please ask.  However, I am not claiming to be an expert and I am still learning.  Also, I really just like the recipes that I find.  Most are packed with flavor and are nutrient dense.  I didn't eat a lot of vegetables before I got married and now as I have been looking through paleo meals I am starting to think through at least two sides of vegetables depending on the meal.  I am more satisfied after a meal and I feel good that I am presenting my children with a healthy option.  Whether they actually eat it or not is an entirely different story.  More on that later.  Also, our change is gradual... more on that later, too.

So, here is one meal that I had this week that got RAVE reviews from my husband and my dad who is living with us for awhile.  It was indeed pretty tasty.  HOWEVER, if you make this as is and you have little mouths to feed it will be WAY TOO SPICY.  I just got in task mode and threw it all in and realized what I had done when it was TOO LATE.  So, the munchkins did have to take at least one bite (and they did pretty well as long as the bite had sweet potato with it... and a bit of sour cream for the two year old) and they had macaroni & cheese instead.

Smoky Bacon Chile (from PaleOMG)

o    1lb ground beef
o    6 slices of bacon, cubed
o    1 yellow onion, diced
o    1 red pepper, diced
o    1 green pepper, diced
o    1 garlic clove, minced
o    1 (14) ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
o    1 (8) ounce can of tomato sauce
o    1 tablespoon garlic powder
o    1 tablespoon chili powder
o    2 tablespoons smoked paprika
o    2 teaspoons cumin
o    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
o    salt and pepper, to taste
o    2-3 sweet potatoes (optional)
1.       Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke holes in your sweet potatoes with a fork. Place on rack in oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until potato is soft and cooked through.
2.       Now pull out a large pot, add your cubed bacon and let cook down.
3.       While the bacon is cooking, chop all your veggies.
4.       When the bacon has browned and is a bit crisp, add your veggies.
5.       Let cook for about 6 or so minutes, then add your ground beef and all the spices.
6.       Once the beef is browned, add your tomato sauce and fire roasted tomatoes.
7.       Mix well and let all the flavors meld together while cooking on low for the next 8 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
8.     Split Sweet potato and pour chili over it and enjoy!