Hello world! (Spaghetti squash in a tomato sauce recipe)

December 14, 2009

Since I first started cooking for my mom a couple years ago, I discovered if I mentioned what I was doing I had many people request recipes and suggestions for how to cook healthy.  Finally, requests from my friend Megan convinced me to get started with a blog of successes and failures.  Because, yes, some things simply do not work!

My mom HATES cooking, and settled for whatever the best inexpensive pre-made store foods she could find were.  This resulted in food with too many preservatives, too much salt, and too many carbs for a diabetic.

My cooking is based off reading diabetes manuals from my mom’s doctor without a nutritionist breaking things down for me, so I’m currently looking for a site which gives number of carbs, different vitamins, etc., so I can break down nutritional info on meals.

Some tips:

One of the general rules I’ve discovered with my mom is most meals need to include some fat so she feels satisfied with the meal more easily,  and she will not be able to stick to healthy eating if she is deprived of her favorite foods – ground beef, veal, chocolate, etc.  Portion control and flavor are the keys to eliminating that “I’m missing out” feeling.

The more spices and flavor you give your food, the more quickly you’re satisfied.  This is a common refrain of dieticians and chefs who are trying to cook healthy.  I have heard it for years, and seeing how well it worked for my mom convinced me it’s true.

The recipe:

I’ll start off with one of my favorite discoveries.  I had never made spaghetti squash until the day it was delivered to us in our then-weekly organic produce delivery.  It doesn’t have all the carbs of regular spaghetti, and as a plus was a great option for my friend with a yeast allergy.

1/2 spaghetti squash
3 1/2 tomatoes
3 large cloves garlic
1 white onion
1/4 cup fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
broccoli or other fresh veggies
ground veal (no meat required, but ground tofu or grilled chicken could be used as a substitute)
Prepare the squash as directed on the sticker (microwave, bake or boil to soften) then use a fork to scrape out into spaghetti-like strands.  Because the squash were so huge we only used 1/2.
Chop garlic and onion and saute in a small amount of olive oil until onions turn translucent.  Chop tomatoes and basil and add to pot.  Simmer until tomatoes break down and it becomes a sauce.  Cut the veggies into small pieces and microwave in 1/2″ of water for 2 minutes.  Add squash and veggies to pot, mix and serve.
Options and changes possible:
I browned the veal separately, and mixed if in at the same time as the squash and veggies.  No meat is required, but you can do whatever you like for options as far as make a steak, grill some chicken breasts, brown ground meat and put it in with your portion, use tofu, whatever.
Regular spaghetti sauce can be used here.  The homemade sauce can be made a little more typical if you use thyme, oregano and sage or even a jarred “Italian seasoning” mix.
Of course, if you’re not avoiding flour when possible, you can go with regular spaghetti or whole wheat spaghetti or another type of pasta.