Planning to blog about Paleo recipes has definitely confirmed two things so far: 1. I am not a food photographer. At all. You guys, I blame it on the terrible light in our house and the fact that we only have ONE window downstairs. And also, because I’m usually too busy with cooking to set up good pictures. You know. And 2. I really, really need to remember to measure things while cooking, because otherwise it’s just a guesstimate when it comes time to share the recipe. Oops.
Ever since I was little, spaghetti has been one of my absolute favorite meals. Growing up only changed one thing– now I actually like meat in my sauce, and possibly only this time because it’s homemade and I can control everything in it. Sadly, with Paleo I can’t have my beloved noodles (actually, I like angel hair pasta, so my spaghetti wasn’t even real spaghetti), but when you have something like spaghetti squash to stand in, who needs the noodles?
Let me warn you: spaghetti squash tastes absolutely nothing like spaghetti noodles, so don’t even start to expect that it’s a magical replacement for your pasta, because it isn’t. But the texture is fun, and the squash definitely merits its own praise for just being delicious.
Let’s get to it!
“Spaghetti” with Paprika and Ground Beef
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time 40 minutes. Serves 3-6, depending on how hungry you all are.
- 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
- 1/2lb ground beef, thawed
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, diced
- 4tbsp fresh chopped parsley, or 3 tsp dried
- 1tbsp fresh chopped basil, or 1tsp dried
- 1/2tbsp fresh chopped oregano, or 1/2tsp dried
- 1/2tbsp fresh chopped thyme, or 1/2tsp dried
- 1/2tbsp fresh rosemary, or 1/2tsp dried
- 3-4tsp sweet paprika (or more, depends!)
- Dash of cayenne pepper (to taste. I have a sensitive husband who can’t take spicy.)
- 2tsp honey, if desired(if you’re stricter than I am, you can nix this)
- Salt, to taste
- 1 can tomato sauce
Place your halved spaghetti squash cut-side down on a parchament-paper covered cookie sheet, and sprinkle around it with water. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until it has reached your desired softness.
While the spaghetti squash is cooking, toss your ground beef in a large frying pan and cook over medium (or high, if you’re impatient like me) heat until done. Drain off the excess fat and return to heat along with the chopped tomato, the diced green onion, and all of the spices. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until tomatoes are a bit soft. Add the tomato sauce (it was at this point — halfway through opening the can– that my can opener broke. I hope that doesn’t happen to you) and stir thoroughly. Turn heat down to low, cover, and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, while you continue making other food.
When your spaghetti squash is done, remove from the oven, flip over, and scrape out the flesh with a fork (which makes it all fun and spaghetti-looking. Salt to taste.
Of course, growing up, the standard spaghetti meal came with boiled green beans that my whole family topped with ranch dressing. To this day, I still love that combination. Usually, I would also throw ranch on my spaghetti too (the more ranch, the better!) but since ranch dressing has lots of dairy in it (unless you make your own with some Paleo mayo), I no longer put it on anything. So instead, I add bacon. And what doesn’t taste good with bacon?
Plus, these beans are REALLY easy (I mean… seriously, easiest thing ever) and can be made in a pinch.
Fried String Beans with Bacon
Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: until the bacon’s done. Serves 3-4 (or in my case, one, because I love green beans.)
- 1lb fresh string beans
- 2 pieces bacon
- Salt, to taste
Cut the bacon in half lengthwise, and then snip it with scissors until you’ve got a bunch of 1×1″ (approximately) pieces. Toss into the frying pan over medium-low heat. While the bacon is cooking, rinse your green beans and cut off both ends (you can also de-string them if you like). Toss into the frying pan with the bacon, and fry over medium-high heat until the bacon pieces are crisp, about 7 minutes (or so. I don’t really know.)
Eat, dance, and generally torture your cooked-veggie-hating husband with a meal that is pretty much all vegetables.
Okay, so I did give in and make him regular noodles, but still. He told me this meal was too healthy even with the (white wheat, gasp!) noodles I made for him, and EVEN though the green beans have bacon in them. And I told him it was too bad and he’d have to eat it anyway, because I’m a really good wife like that.
Trust me, though, if you like cooked veggies, you will not even miss pasta because this meal is so filling and SO good.
I could just be prejudiced. I really love spaghetti.
I hope you all enjoy the recipe if you try it, and have a happy Thursday!