Semi-Homemade Paleo Spaghetti And Meatballs

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Tonight’s quick faux spaghetti and meatballs utilized some high quality prepared items that made cooking dinner a breeze. In a sense, it’s a semi-homemade recipe a la Sandra Lee.

I hate to even type that because Sandra Lee chaps my hide: her recipes are terrible, her tablescapes are retarded vomit-inducing, and she’s too damn perky for me. However, I do like the premise of her show – using shortcuts to get a tasty meal on the table fast. In fact, some might argue that’s kind of the idea of this here blog but I’m too much of a cranky mofo to be mistaken for a Paleo Sandra Lee.

Here’s what I gathered to feed 4 people:

  • A tablespoon or two of ghee
  • A pound of uncooked Italian sausage made from the trim of my Full of Life Farm  ½ hog

  • 1/2 a jar of my favorite spaghetti sauce

Here’s what I did:

I took the sausage out of the casing and rolled them into little meatballs.

Ingenious, right? I can’t take credit for it though ‘cause I was inspired by this recipe from the cool folks at White On Rice Couple.

I melted a tablespoon of ghee in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the pan was hot, I fried the mini meatballs in a single layer in the pan until they were browned on all sides.

I added about ½ a jar of Rao’s marinara sauce and brought the sauce to a boil.

Then, I covered the pan and simmered the sauce on low for about 5 minutes.

I rinsed off the kelp noodles in a colander and added them to the meatballs and sauce.

I covered the pan and simmered the sauce and noodles for a few minutes until the noodles were tender.

The softened noodles resemble  Asian bean thread noodles so don’t expect them to have the taste and texture of Italian pasta. Hell, you can leave out the kelp noodles and still have a quick and yummy meal.

What’s In My Pantry

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Here are some staples we keep on hand at Chez Nom Nom Paleo:

Coconut Oil: We normally stock up at Whole Paycheck when coconut oil goes on sale.  I used to avoid it like the plague since I was taught that saturated fats = heart attack (yes, I have a nutrition and food science degree from the mid 90’s).  Now, I use this stuff all the time time for stir-frying or high temperature cooking.

Here’s our coconut spray oil, also purchased at Whole Paycheck.  Fitbomb uses it for everything.  I prefer to scoop some coconut oil from the jar.

Our go-to brand of extra virgin olive oil for everyday cooking is the one in the biggest bottle from Trader Joe’s. It’s economical, tasty, and I love the pour spout that comes with it. Call me crazy, but I don’t like sticking my thumb on the bottle opening (á la Jamie Oliver) when I’m drizzling olive oil on stuff.

I use Conzorzio Roasted Garlic Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil to drizzle on foods post cooking, or on foods I’m not cooking at a super high temp.  The flavor is pretty strong so I don’t put it on things that it’s likely to overpower. Get it at Costco before they decide to take it off the shelves. I just wish these bottles came with spigots!

Since the Paleo gods frown on dairy, we don’t use butter as much as we used to. When we do, we use Kerrygold unsalted butter because it comes from grassfed cows. Plus, you can find it reasonably priced at Trader Joe’s.

When I need a high-smoke-point fat and coconut oil has too distinctive a flavor for my dish, I’ll use ghee.  I’m too lazy to make my own from Kerrygold, so I just buy Purity Farms Organic Ghee. Per their website, it’s made from grassfed, pasture raised cow milk.  This product is carried at Whole Paycheck and other fancy grocery stores.

Okay, vinegar isn’t technically Paleo because it may have some gluten in it but I really like balsamic vinegar and keep a few bottles in my pantry at all times. My favorite cheap balsamic vinegar is Trader Joe’s Gold Quality Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. I use this stuff all the time to marinate my roasted veggies. See how the label has rubbed off?

Having a fancy, aged, thick balsamic vinegar in the pantry is a must. I just buy whichever one is on sale at Whole Paycheck or at a nicer grocery store. I drizzle the nice stuff to finish my dishes.  A little bit goes a long way. This is the higher-end bottle that’s currently sitting in our pantry:

Since I’ve cut out soy and oyster sauce, we have some San-J Organic Tamari in the pantry when I make Asian food (which is rare).  I don’t use this too often, though, because it’s still made with soy.

The Worchestershire sauce we have in the fridge is The Wizard’s™ Organic Worcestershire Sauce.   This is the stuff Fitbomb uses in his jerky recipe.

Last but not least, is one of my favorite pantry items: Rao’s Marinara Sauce! Honestly, this canned sauce is better than most Italian grandmothers’. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s worth every penny. Anytime I see it on sale, I stock up. Buy it and put it on everything.

Early dinner: leftover cauliflower fried “rice,” sous vide chicken breast, Rao’s marinara sauce, and grated parmigiano reggiano.  I nuked it for only a minute so the chicken wouldn’t dry out.  I treated myself to two squares of dark chocolate and then started my fast — I’ll be eating again at around 4:00 p.m. since I’ll be flipping back to day shift.

Early dinner: leftover cauliflower fried “rice,” sous vide chicken breast, Rao’s marinara sauce, and grated parmigiano reggiano.  I nuked it for only a minute so the chicken wouldn’t dry out.  I treated myself to two squares of dark chocolate and then started my fast — I’ll be eating again at around 4:00 p.m. since I’ll be flipping back to day shift.