Day 12: That’s a Spicy, Oddly-Shaped Meatball!

We’ve now made it through two exhausting work weeks doing The Whole 30. Some of the exhaustion is work-related — we’ve both had a lot going on at our respective jobby jobs — but the rest is from the constant prep/shopping/cooking/planning/etc., related to all of these delicious meals. I’m learning some new tips & tricks from the FB pages and Instagram accounts of Melissa Hartwig (the creator of the Whole 30) and other Whole 30 nutpodsenthusiasts that I think will help with my time-management, but some of that also requires that I purchase more  kitchen equipment (Instant Pot anyone?). My bank account is not loving that idea!

One thing I AM loving is the Nutpods dairy-free, sugar-free creamer I ordered on the advice of a fellow Whole 30-er. I’ve really been missing my English Breakfast tea (which must have sweetener and cream in it to really hit the spot), so she suggested I try the nutpods. They’re made from almonds & coconuts, so I ordered the multi-pack with Original, French Vanilla, and Hazelnut. After today’s taste test, I thought the original was meh, the hazelnut was pretty good, and the French vanilla was the best of the bunch. Don’t get me wrong — it’s nothing like my stevia and vanilla soy creamer — but it was close enough that I can drink my favorite tea without gagging! Hooray!

So after this long week, I decided that tonight needed to be comfort food-ish, so I made Spaghetti Squash with Chicken Meatballs in homemade Tomato Sauce. We’ve really enjoyed spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta! It does take about an hour to prep and cook, so I started with that tonight. They can be really hard to cut into, so I poked holes in it & nuked it for about 5 minutes, then was able to cut that sucker & de-seed it. Then drizzled each half with olive oil & threw some salt and pepper on there, put both halves face-down on a cooking sheet & put the tray in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.

While that was a-cooking I started prepping the sauce, since that also takes a little over an hour. I decided to use a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes rather than fresh tomatoes to veggies for meatballssave my sanity a little, so all I had to chop up was an onion, 2 celery stalks, a carrot, and 2 cloves of garlic. I added the veggies to the pot with some olive oil to let them soften a bit, then added in the tomatoes, some thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper, and then let it simmer for an hour, stirring sauceevery 20 minutes.

Once that was simmering away, I started on the chicken meatballs. I wanted to make a double batch so we had some leftovers, so I smooshed up 2 lbs. of ground chicken, 2 large eggs, 1/2 onion, 4 cloves of garlic, and some oregano, salt, & pepper in a large bowl. They were a little goopy and hard to ball up, but I did my best! I think next time I’ll add the optional almond flour in order to make them a little more dense. Next I browned each side of each meatball for about 30 seconds in a medium-high iron skillet, and placed those browned suckers on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper), and put them in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes.

And that was it! The meatballs were bizarrely shaped, but delicious. The sauce was really tasty, but we talked over dinner about running the finished sauce through a food processor next time to give it more of a marinara texture. I may actually do that with the leftover sauce, too! And the “spaghetti” was delicious and, as Chad mentioned, almost has the consistency of cheesy noodles. It was strange not to grab the grated parmesan cheese out of the refrigerator to put on the table, but when all was said and done this dish didn’t need the cheese!

This is definitely a dish that I’ll make again, with a few adjustments. But the taste was spot-on and it really did feel like comfort food. I highly recommend it!

dinner 12

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