I know it sounds crazy but I just couldn’t resist pairing two of my favorite foods. It was amazing!
If you haven’t read about this in my earlier posts the best way to prepare a spaghetti squash is to bake it whole. Pierce it a couple of times with a fork or knife and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour. Do this ahead of time; a day in advance, an hour in advance or whatever works for your time schedule. Once cool enough to handle cut in half, remove seeds and then using a fork fluff the “spaghetti” out of the shell.
So on to the recipe. In a large skillet heat up a bit of olive oil or butter. Saute squash about 5 minutes to heat through. Toss with your favorite homemade salsa. I used a simple tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice version but you can use something like the salsa fresco recipe, the tomatillo salsa recipe or my roasted jalapeno salsa recipe.
If you need some ideas ~ Just click on the kind of salsa you’d like to try for a quick link to the recipe.
I have posted some meatball recipes before but as I was contemplating fixing today’s dinner I realized: why not put them in the crock pot with the sauce to heat everything together? It was a brilliant idea if I do say so myself. It’s always so messy heating spaghetti sauce as it can splatter about if you heat too high and a longer heat time allows the sauce to infuse with the meatballs to perfection!
I added my sauce and cooked meatballs to my slow cooker and heated on high for about 1 1/2 hours. It was most likely ready sooner but I wasn’t. Here’s my meatball recipe for today:
3 cloves garlic – minced
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 crushed red pepper
1/4 black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Form into meatballs; I made large meatballs today and go about 10 from the mixture. Bake at 375 degrees until cooked through; about 30 minutes for large size.
Add to sauce and heat as desired; serve with cooked pasta.
I was using up some leftovers today so this might not be so much of a recipe as a creation. I wanted to use up the last couple of italian sausages I had from my stew the other day but I also had a craving for spaghetti so I put the two together along with some artichokes and chicken and called it lunch!
6 o.z. italian sausage
1 chicken breast
1/4 cup diced onion
1 can quartered artichokes
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 lb spaghetti ~ cooked to desired tenderness
Cook sausage and chicken breast; Leftover grilled sausages and any kind of leftover chicken would work great; I cooked mine in a skillet as both were raw. Allow to rest for a few minutes and cut into bite size pieces. Meanwhile begin sautéing onion in skillet; add sausage and chicken breast. Stir in artichoke and spaghetti sauce and heat through. Serve with cooked spaghetti.
I made this dish for for lunch yesterday. It was very good; really more than we should have eaten! This was a great alternative to my usual spaghetti dishes. I really enjoyed the fresh mushrooms and the green pepper. I’ve come to learn that marjoram always works well with tomato dishes; it used to be one of my underused spices but I find it making its way into more and more dishes all the time.
Chicken and Mushrooms with Tomato Sauce
1 large boneless chicken breast 6 o.z. fresh mushrooms ~ cut into sliced or chunks
1/4 cup onion ~ sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup green pepper ~ diced
1 jalapeno ~ diced 1 clove garlic ~ minced
2/3 cup diced tomato
1/4 tsp marjoram salt and pepper to taste
2 – 3 o.z. angel hair pasta ~ cooked according to package directions
2 – 3 o.z. goat cheese or mozzarella if desired
In large skillet heat oil; add mushrooms and onion. Cook about 5 minutes. Meanwhile cut chicken breast into small pieces. Add green pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and chicken to mushrooms and cook for an additional 7 – 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in diced tomato season with marjoram, salt and pepper. Serve over cooked pasta; sprinkle with cheese and broil for 2 – 3 minutes if desired.
I have made a couple of different shrimp and pasta dishes, but this one was exceptionally delicious. I think the marjoram really brought it to a new level. I seasoned my shrimp with paprika, cayenne, garlic, black pepper and salt. Simply just salt and pepper will do the trick though if you prefer to keep it a little on the milder side.
Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Shrimp
1 pound large shrimp ~ peeled
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium tomato ~ diced
1 Tbs fresh basil
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/4 tsp marjoram
salt and pepper to taste
4 – 6 o.z. dry pasta
Cook pasta according to package directions until desired tenderness. Meanwhile in skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Season shrimp as desired with salt and pepper; add paprika, garlic and cayenne if desired. Saute about 5 minutes or until finished.
Add tomato, basil, pepper, and marjoram. Cook an additional 2 – 3 minutes until heated through.
Serve over cooked pasta. Sprinkle with goat cheese or parmesan if desired.
We had a craving for some meatballs today. I’ve done a couple of different variations on meatballs but these were perhaps the best I’ve done so far. Very moist and cheesy; the spaghetti was terrific and I am sure the meatballs sandwiches will be delicious too.
Italian Cheesy Meatballs
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
4 slices white bread
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp marjoram
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Combine all ingredients well.
Form into balls or I prefer to flatten a bit into patties; this will make them easier to eat when we make our meatball sandwiches and easier to catch on the spaghetti.
Bake at 375 degrees on foil lined baking sheet for about 30 minutes depending on size. Mine were rather large; I made 14 so adjust time accordingly.
Remove from baking pan and place in sauce pan of spaghetti sauce; heat through. The longer they soak in the sauce the better. Serve with spaghetti or on sub buns for amazing meatball sandwiches!
I couldn’t resist using some more of that fantastic basil I have in my garden. It is flourishing right now despite the dry weather we are having. This pasta dish came out perfectly. I love the way the fresh ingredients play off of each other; the heat of the pasta adds just enough warmth to bring all the flavors together so there is no need to cook the “sauce”. Adapt to your liking; we went heavy on the garlic and the jalapeno was just an extra touch that sounded good. We did sprinkle a little more salt and pepper on at the table.
Stir together chopped basil, garlic, tomato, salt, pepper, jalapeno and lime juice. Set aside.
Prepare pasta as directed. Grill salmon as desired; we did ours about 3 minutes per side sprinkled with salt and pepper. Drain cooked pasta and toss with bruschetta mixture and butter. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
I think it was a jar of grated Kraft parmesan that first inspired these meatballs. The recipe has since evolved into an even more delicious meatball; the basic cheese, beef, egg combination can’t be beat. I like paring these with either spaghetti or making meatball subs. They also are a nice gluten-free option if your diet requires; pair with spaghetti squash and enjoy!
Italian Parmesan Meatball
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp italian herbs
Mix together all ingredients. Form into desired size meatballs; I made about 12 – 15 meatballs and left them a bit flat since we will be having meatball subs for dinner tomorrow. Spread onto baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes depending on size of meatballs. Remove from baking sheet and add to pan of spaghetti sauce and continue heating through. These are great to make ahead; in fact the flavor is even better the next day as the sauce has even more time to flavor the meatballs.