Spaghetti nights are the best. Or at least, they were…
Used to be, I could do a spaghetti night once a week or so, use very few dishes and very little money. Everyone was happy. It was like a day off for me.
Then the entire world fell apart when I realized pasta (and other sources of wheat) do not make me feel very good. I tried to sneak in the pasta, I really did. And then came the bloating, the gas, the cramps, the discomfort.
I’ve had to rework a lot of things in the family diet. We still do spaghetti nights. The kids and husband eat whole wheat spaghetti (baby steps), and I eat spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti squash is amazing because it looks like spaghetti, but it is not. The texture is different, and the taste is different, but it is actually very pleasant, and meshes well with tomato sauce and meat.
Spaghetti squash is really easy to make, too. Just chop it in half, (I promise you, this is the hardest part. You are going to need a little strength!), turn it upside down on a baking sheet, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes or so, depending on the size. I just stick a knife into it, and when the knife goes in easily, I know it’s done.
Meanwhile, I browned some ground beef (preferably grass fed) and heated up some jarred spaghetti sauce (au natural). I also got to work chopping some brussels sprouts in half and cutting off the stems. With about 10-15 minutes to go, I stuck the brussels sprouts in the same 400 degree oven covered in olive oil, salt and pepper.
I pulled the sprouts and the squash out at about the same time; the sprouts slightly browned around the edges, and the squash was tender. I flipped the squash over, scooped out the seeds and pulp with a spoon, then fluffed the meat of the squash with a fork, and it instantly turned into spaghetti! Amazing! I stuck that in a bowl. On top of it, I added spaghetti sauce. I try to choose a sauce with the least amount of ingredients that has no added sugar or any preservatives. This brand is pretty good:
If you can’t read the text it says “Ingredients: Imported Italian Plum Tomatoes, Imported Italian Olive Oil, Fresh Onions, Fresh Garlic, Fresh Basil, Salt and Spices.”
– No added sugar (Tomatoes have a little bit on their own)
– Not terrible on the Sodium (440 mg per half cup)
– Uses olive oil (although after reading this article about the virginity of olive oil, and whether or not it is even actually olive oil or not, I have to question whether or not this is true)
Overall, I think it’s a pretty good choice. I don’t really care about the brand or any of the claims on the front. If it says heart smart, it’s probably not. If it says it has extra veggies in it, it probably has something else in it that will shock and disturb you. Just read the ingredients label, and you will thank yourself later. After verifying the ingredients are good, I go for what’s cheapest. I do like a little spice in my sauce, though, so I tend to get a spicy variety.
So I have spaghetti squash and sauce in my bowl; then I added some grated parmesan cheese, the browned meat, and the brussels sprouts on top. Here it is!
It was very tasty, indeed. Tasty, fast, inexpensive, easy. Can’t ask for a lot more. Serves 4.
Large Spaghetti Squash: $2.50
Grass-fed Beef (1 lb): $7.95
Spaghetti Sauce (1 jar): $4.99
Brussels Sprouts: $1.99
Parmesan Cheese: $0.50
Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil: negligible
Total Cost: $4.48/serving.
If you have a friend who can’t eat spaghetti, whether it’s because of the wheat, because it’s high glycemic, or any other reason, please share this article with her! I know she will appreciate bringing spaghetti night back (Timberlake Style).