Thursday, August 18, 2011

Super Quick and Easy Spaghetti

It's a classic.  It's cheap.  It's easy.  It feeds a lot of people.  What's no to like about spaghetti?  Okay, the pasta maybe.  But we can easily fix that.  This is the time of year for zucchini and there is plenty of it to go around.  The past couple of weeks when I've gone to pick up our CSA basket, there are always a couple of extra huge zucchinis free for the taking and I always grab one.  Of course, you can always use spaghetti squash for this dish too, but it takes a bit more time and it can cost a pretty penny sometimes.

If you've got picky eaters in your family, I would suggest that you peel the zucchini (or yellow squash or whatever you use) to "mask" (okay, maybe hide?) the initial fact that it's a veggie.  Anyone with kids knows what I'm talking about.  If it's green, some kids won't even think about eating it.  It's not a trick that we've had to employ with our kids, but I'm not above eliminating things that might prevent your kids from even giving it a chance.  I'm not condoning deception, but more encouraging a better first I starting to sound like a politician?  Anyway, I really think that the veggies in this dish take on the taste of the meaty sauce and it really tastes like a genuine spaghetti dish.  Granted, I haven't had real spaghetti in over a year, but I think I have a pretty good memory.

This is our secret ingredient.  Of course, you could make your own, but having this bad boy in the pantry means that I'm just a few steps away from a quick dinner.

Super Quick Paleo Spaghetti

1 can spaghetti sauce
1.5 pounds ground beef, pork or italian sausage (we usually use a combo of beef and itialian sausage)
3-4 medium zucchini or sqaush
seasonings: garlic, onion, basil, oregano (whatever your preference)

Brown meat in pan and season as desired.  If you are using grass fed beef, I find that I really need to season it to dull the "beefy" flavor of it.  Just a preference thing though.  Once cooked through, add sauce and heat through.  While meat is browning, julienne slice zucchini.  Or just chop it up.  Heat a little oil in a skillet and drop zucchini in once hot.  I usually do this just before I add the sauce to the meat and they both end up being ready about the same time.  Season the zucchini with a little salt, garlic and onion powder.  Serve and enjoy!

And, if you have a little more time, make meatballs!  Actually, we tend to make big batches of meatballs ahead of time, so they are usually sitting there ready to go.

One more thing...some people can have a sensitivity to tomatoes.  They are inflammatory, so if you have arthritis or something, it might be best to stay away from them.  We have found that tomatoes in large doses tend to upset our stomachs on occasion, so it's just something to think about.  And I'm sure the 2.5 mile uphill trail run/hike we did after this particular meal had nothing to do with it...


  1. I recently used cabbage for the "noodles". I thought it was pretty yummy but the 4 yr old didn't think so. We're still working on getting him to eat his veggies.
    Erin Woodard

  2. Way to think outside the box Erin. Jack can be a bit picky about cabbage sometimes unless it's well (okay, heavily) seasoned and he absolutely loves it in stir fry.