Pasta la Vista Gluten!

Print the meatball and spaghetti squash recipe here!

I don't know if I consider myself a foodie per say, but I sure do love food.  There are times when I love to dine out and be waited on, to kick my feet up (metaphorically speaking) and not have to pre-wash veggies, slice and dice, cook over a hot stove, serve, then clean up... However, I do love to cook.  There's something very gratifying about the accomplishment and the reward of feeding the ones you love a healthy, home cooked meal.  Dining together is critically important in my opinion as it allows togetherness, bonding, sharing thoughts, feelings, and experiences from your day, and hopefully it starts off with prayer & thanksgiving to God as well! 

In my dream world, I'd get to start the day off preparing breakfast as well.  Truly, it's the best way to start the day with the ones you love.  Unfortunately my current life of waking up early to be at the gym by 5am and rush to get ready for work after that sprinkled in with the fact that I live alone means no breakfast!

Nevertheless, I can still make dinner for others especially if they're willing to bring a bottle of wine. ;)  

My most recent evening with said loved one was a hectic day for me.  My parents are moving out of state and I spent a large portion of the day helping them.  Knowing I had home-made meatballs on hand in the freezer and my imminent time crunch, I placed them in the refrigerator to un-thaw before heading out that day.

Occasionally when I order groceries I buy extra meat to keep in the freezer for occasions such as these.  No time to go to the store.  Little time to prepare an extravagant meal (which it doesn't have to be!).  Little time to even think about options.  When I do this I try to pre-make things like meatballs that you can freeze and easily un-thaw the night before and toss them into a Crock-pot to simmer for hours.  Delicious!  And now that I have an AMAZING remote-starting Crock-pot (link below), dinners like this will be much easier.  (I used this feature a week ago to roast a whole chicken in the Crock-pot for 8 hours...fell off the bone, incredible!)  And yes, I did say that I order groceries above.  I had hoped I wouldn't be fully converted to online grocery shopping, but unless I'm only picking up a few items my grocery store trips turn into 30 minutes to an hour in the blink of an eye.  Instacart delivery has become a luxurious time saver for me.  I battle myself over spending the delivery fee + tip every time I use it, but at the end of the day I pack so much in to each day that I value the time it saves me from driving to/from the store, picking out groceries, standing in line, etc. that I think the cost is worth my time. Way, way worth my time.

On this particular day, I was to be gone way too long that day to allow the meatballs to sit out before starting a Crock-pot so I took the expeditious route when I got home and used what I had on hand from my recent Instacart order.  Within an hour I whipped up the below meal. The main dishes really took 5-10 mins of prep time plus stirring, the bread and brownies took 3-5 minutes each to prep.  Baking another 30-45.  You can adjust to leave out the frivolous additions like home made bread and desserts to keep it simple of course.  I'm sharing to inspire an easy any-night-of-the-week dinner idea that is healthy, Paleo, & delicious.  In theory it's also Whole 30 ingredients approved, but Whole 30 doesn't like for us to make bread-like treats so that we break our addiction to textures (I think) and focus on whole foods.

Paleo Meatballs: 1 lb organic ground turkey (or beef), fresh chopped Italian parsley, coconut flour, 1 organic egg, a spoonful of organic tomato paste, a lot of Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, and sea salt to taste.  I don't use measurements because my precious Italian grandmother, Mammaw, instructs me to use a handful of this and a handful of that...well, handfuls can vary.  If you're not Paleo or gluten averse then you can add a handful of grated Parmesan cheese and a handful of Italian breadcrumbs, and thus skip the coconut flour.  To me, Mammaw's original version is better.  But, what's not better with cheese anyway??  However, for health purposes I am completely happy with my version!

Paleo Pasta: Easy!  Cut a spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy middle, coat the inside with a tiny bit of olive oil, and bake the halves face down on a foil lined baking sheet for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Or, if you're like me and like to switch up your veggies, you can use a multitude of vegetables using the Spiralizer (link below).  If you know me already, you know how much I love this thing!

(Not so Paleo) Caprese Salad: the usual sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, drizzled with Balsamic vinegar.  Always a pretty and simple side dish.

Paleo Coconut Bread: I found this excellent recipe by The Coconut Mama. I use the arrowroot flour option, and skip the honey option.  I like to sprinkle sea salt and rosemary or oregano on top before baking too.  It slices great and doesn't crumble apart. The loved one seems to love it.  I've eaten it with almond butter, etc.  I'd imagine you can add cinnamon  or other seasonings to make it more of a breakfast bread as well.  I'll dabble with that idea later!

Paleo Brownies: I used this simple recipe by The Big Man's World.  Note, there's zero added sugars in this recipe, even "Paleo approved" honey or Stevia.  So this recipe is not very sweet at all.  It does satiate the chocolate or brownie texture craving though.  And for my non-Paleo loved one, I added regular chocolate chips and sprinkled the top with sea salt.  Why?  Because there's little better than a salty-sweet combo!

These items have become staples for me to whip up quickly to add in to dinners as they're so quick and easy to make.  I hope you enjoy!

*Last note to a long post: I am brand new to blogging and hope to be able to better format recipes as I learn.  Please be patient!



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