Nom Nom Paleo

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.

Day 27 of Whole30 Eats

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Today was a fairly typical full-time-mommy-mode day. After walking to school with the kids to drop off the older one, we came home. While the little guy entertained himself with his ever-expanding collection of Thomas the Tank Engine trains, I re-heated some leftover seasoned ground beef, garlic cauliflower puree and mixed veggies.

After scarfing down my breakfast, the two of us went to the park and synthesized some vitamin D while we goofed around on the swings and jungle gym. At lunchtime, we swung by the school to pick up the kindergartner and then headed home to eat.

For my lunch, I made a salad with a bunch of items I’d prepared yesterday, including mixed greens, roasted bell peppers, roasted beets, a hard-boiled egg, sous vide pork chop, cucumbers, and shredded carrots.

It’s a snap to whip together a meal when your ingredients are ready to eat. I gotta keep this in mind the next time I’m feeling too lazy for meal prep.

By the time lunch was done, I was already thinking about dinner.

The Food Lover’s Primal Palate just posted a tantalizing recipe for Paleo spaghetti and meatballs on their blog — and that’s EXACTLY what my older son has been nagging me to make this past week. (Okay, he didn’t specify that it had to be Paleo. Whatever.) So after I put the three-year-old down for a nap, the six-year-old and I began making Paleo meatballs for dinner. 

We gathered up the ingredients…

…and set to work.

My kiddo helped blitz the onions — though his itchy trigger finger lingered a bit too long on the “pulse” button, which just about liquefied the onions.

Another unwanted side effect: The whirring of the mini-prep woke up the napping rugrat (sigh), who then decided to groggily join our kitchen antics. 

See his bed head? He gets that from his dad.

After we incorporated the onions and other ingredients into the meat and formed the raw meatballs, we stowed ‘em in the fridge and drove off to the big kid’s kung fu class.

When we got home, I began making dinner in earnest by preheating the oven to 350 F and grabbing the meatballs out of the fridge. After sitting in the refrigerator for three hours, the slushy wetness of the too-finely-minced onions had combined with the meat to produce some brown ooze which pooled around the balls o’ meat. The stuff congealed as the meatballs baked. Not pretty. Next time, I’ll make sure the onions aren’t pulverized to death, and if they are, I’ll just add a little coconut flour to absorb the moisture.

While the meatballs browned in the oven, I sautéed some sliced mushrooms…

…and added half a jar of store-bought sauce.

Sorry folks, but I’m too lazy to make my own marinara sauce. I love Rao’s but Cucina Antica is tasty, Paleo-compliant, and cheaper to boot.

I simmered the sauce and mushrooms for a few minutes and set it aside until the meatballs were finished.

Then, I cooked up some green beans to go with the meatballs. I don’t really like the texture of spaghetti squash and I wasn’t gonna go out and buy one.

Since the meatballs weren’t super browned at the 25-minute mark (due to the excess moisture), I cranked on my broiler and blasted them for an additional 4 minutes. When I took them out…

…I scraped off the aforementioned goo around the meatballs…

…and tossed the meatballs in the sauce.

I plated the meatballs with some green beans and we dug in.

These meatballs were really easy and yummy — my favorite combination! (I mean, who in their right mind wants difficult and gross?) I can’t wait to revisit this dish and rectify the minor mistakes we made today. My older son was beaming with pride over the meatballs he made AND he wolfed down two helpings. Of course, the younger one didn’t like it at all (he covered his mouth with the crook of his arm and refused a second bite) but that’s another story entirely. He’s one stubborn mo-fo. We’re just relieved that he’s willing to eat scrambled eggs now, albeit reluctantly.

Thanks Bill and Hayley for another great kid-friendly recipe!

Day Two of Good Eats At My Sister’s Place

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It’s so nice visiting my sister. I know I’m sounding like a broken record but I feel so damned spoiled here. I just sit on my ass while my brother-in-law entertains my restless kids and my sister cooks me fabulous food.

For lunch, I chose to eat another helping of meatballs and slow-cooked broccoli.

I know this is the third time I’ve eaten them in 24 hours but they’re damn good.

Shortly after lunch, my sister hosted a small get-together at her home and she made a plethora of carb-y goodness (e.g. homemade char siu baos, sausage rolls, and cinnamon rolls). She also made sure to make a Paleo-friendly slow-cooked broccoli, ham, and cheddar frittata and a beautiful salad. Guess what I had two helpings of?

Dinner was something my sister happened to have ready in her freezer: braised short ribs with cavolo nero and carrots. She served it with roasted kabocha squash (my favorite winter squash in the whole wide world) and more yummy salad.

Life is good.

Eating Paleo On The Plane

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m visiting my sister and brother-in-law with my two rugrats. Although the flight down to L.A. is less than one hour, it can be potentially treacherous since I’m alone with two squirmy boys. Thanks to Mr. Jobs, my kids were pretty well behaved and the only minor disaster was a spilled cup of apple juice all over my pants.

Since our flight was at noon, I was going to break my fast while up in the air. I packed myself a can of sardines…

…a Tanka bar and some of Fitbomb’s Paleo trail mix.

Not super satisfying but it quieted my complaining stomach. FYI - the TSA guy made me open up my luggage and asked what was in my unlabeled tin. When I told him it was a can of sardines, he winced, and let me pass through.

When we arrived at my sister’s house, I ate a snack of homemade meatballs (grain-free just for me!)…

…and a delicious salad with super fresh organic greens, toasted almonds, and a balsamic vinaigrette (made with homemade mustard!).

This is the stuff my sis just has hanging out in her fridge. I wish she lived nearby ‘cause I’d be raiding her ice box all the time.

Quick Dinner on My Flip Night: Chicken Meatballs, Roasted Carrots, and Sautéed Spinach with Shallots

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Tonight, I’m dead tired.  I’m always beat on the Wednesday I get off my 7-night workweek. While my kids were transfixed in front of the boob tube (Scooby-Doo is a multi-generational crowd pleaser), I threw together a quick grain-free dinner for Fitbomb and myself. 

In the fridge, I had some sweet basil and parmesan chicken meatballs, carrots, and half a box of pre-washed organic baby spinach in the fridge.  Although the spinach is a great convenience item, if the box has been open for a few days, I gotta pick out a whole bunch of melt-y leaves.  Yuck.

I prepped the carrots for roasting and popped them in my good old toaster oven.  Then, I chopped up a shallot and threw them in a pan with melted lard.  Once they were softened, I dumped in the spinach and stirred the leaves around until they were wilted. 

I zoned in front of the boob tube while I waited for the carrots to finish roasting.  Then, I replaced the carrots with a tray of meatballs.

I normally nuke the meatballs when I’m at work but they taste MUCH better baked in the oven. I did nuke up some herb gravy which I served on the side.

Here’s everything plated up:

I used to always order out on my “flip night” and invariably what we ate was always super carb-y (e.g. pho, pizza, sushi, etc.).  Having easy to fix basics and pre-cooked proteins in the fridge has totally changed how I eat.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back.

I almost forgot my dessert! A shot glass of my favorite coconut milk: