I made a really good dinner last night.
I’m probably the world’s most reluctant cook. For the first 10 years or so of our relationship, Jasper was the primary food-maker. He’s good at it and he claims cooking relaxes him. After we had kids though, he suddenly became the breadwinner and I the bread-maker. And to me, cooking will never be relaxing. It’s the exact opposite. If you don’t get the ingredients just right, if you don’t time everything correctly, then your dinner is a flop and everyone’s cranky and the evening is ruined. It’s the least relaxing thing in the world.
And all of that is really just my way of assuring you that this is not a cooking blog. It will never be a cooking blog. There are plenty of good ones out there for that, and I won’t pretend to be one of them. I did, however, make a winner yesterday that actually made me enjoy my time in the kitchen – spaghetti squash and meatballs – and I thought I would crow about it a little.
I know, I know. I can hear the internet groaning. Spaghetti squash and meatballs?! Jasper groaned the same way when I told him, and I didn’t even dare mention it to the kids. I just told them it was spaghetti, plain and simple.
To anyone who’s not a homesteader, health nut or real food fanatic, I admit it does sound kind of gross; it sounds like you have one of the best comfort foods there is and you’re taking out the comfort part and putting in squash instead. But you guys, this is good. It is a miracle. Jasper loved it. The kids loved it. I loved it. The squash “noodles” are essentially tasteless. They just soak up the flavor of the sauce, and that is no bad thing. And you can eat seconds (or thirds!) of this guilt-free, because it’s just squash, onions, garlic and tomatoes (and meatballs or ground beef, too, if you so choose). Healthy!
I think it also helped that this was all delicious homegrown food, and just a darn easy meal to make. If you don’t grow your own spaghetti squash (and you should, because it is one of those plants that needs practically nothing from you, but will produce dozens of football-sized fruits all the same), you can buy them cheaply at pretty much any grocery store right now.
Spaghetti squash and meatballs
1 spaghetti squash
3 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 pint jar of home-canned tomato sauce (or, you know, whatever size you get at the store)
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
20-30 meatballs (I used meatballs I’d made earlier from local grass fed beef and froze)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds in the middle
- Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle flesh with salt and pepper
- Place both halves skin-side down on a baking sheet and cover with tinfoil
- Cook for 30 minutes; take off foil and cook for another 30 minutes
- Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic, then add to the tomato sauce. Heat up. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat up the meatballs as well.
- After the squash has cooled, use a fork to scrape out the flesh into “noodles.” Transfer the noodles into a bowl, and toss with the Parmesan cheese. Add the tomato sauce, top with meatballs and serve!
It was so good that I now have about 25 spaghetti squash recipes on tap. I’m going to be cooking those squash a bajillion different ways and loving it: Spaghetti squash and pesto, spaghetti squash hash browns, spaghetti squash chow mein, spaghetti squash fritters! Spaghetti squash everything! I’m actually excited to get in the kitchen and make these. I’ll let you know if this new-found cooking enthusiasm lasts, but for now, I’m going to embrace it.