Spaghetti (squash) and meatballs

Ah, the challenges of attempting to eat South Beach/heart healthy/low refined starch, and still eat inexpensively. It’s damn tough! This one’s been lingering in my draft pile, but it was so yummy I didn’t want to let it slide.

Back when Grant wanted spaghetti and meatballs RIGHT AFTER a bunch of starch-overloaded Stroganoff, I countered with spaghetti squash and meatballs. He consented. I cooked. I had never made this dish before, or even heard of spaghetti squash before my friend Jen introduced me to it a couple years ago. I was so thrilled to learn of a less starchy spaghetti alternative!

I used About.com‘s guide for cooking the actual squash, because Martha’s said to cut it open raw and I thought that might be too rough on my tennis-elbow-crippled arms. And I used roughly Martha’s turkey meatball recipe, but I kinda fudged it as I’m wont to do. My meatballs were better anyway, and beefier. (I don’t know why, but I just really really hate ground turkey. I think it’s sort of like carob — it feels like someone is just trying to trick me.)

Always better with some Italian flat-leaf parsley mixed in. And prettier, too.My sauce was just a jar of Newman’s Tomato Basil to which I added a bunch of herbs and veggies, as I usually do. It’s nice that there’s a cheap, easy to find, no sugar added natural sauce out there — makes me feel less bad about using a prepared sauce. This wound up being a pretty tasty dish, all things considered, though the meatballs make it much more labor-intensive than just a straight up meat sauce. It all depends on how much time you have to spare. Either way, yum!

And for those of you who, like me, are horrified at the idea of pasta plus more starches, this is a great way to feel less guilty about making the perfectly accompanying garlic bread.

Leftovers, sweet leftovers

In addition to, you know, eating nothing but turkey and stuffing for like a week, we had a few other leftovers to contend with in terms of ingredients aftermath. I had asked Grant to pick up buttermilk even though I don’t think I actually used it for any of my recipes, and I also had a bunch of chives, a tub of sour cream, various veggies and of course a giant turkey carcass. What to do?

One of the obvious answers is “make buttermilk chive biscuits,” but that just seemed too easy. Besides, we have loads of leftover pumpkin cheesecake which I actually don’t much care for, and I was jealous of Grant eating dessert without me. (And while I usually just eat delicious tangy cranberry sauce with a spoon, well… it’s almost all gone now.) So I wanted at least the buttermilk or sour cream to go towards something sweet.

I eventually settled on David Lebowitz’s recipe for Lemon-Buttermilk Sherbet, from The Perfect Scoop. I modified it slightly by straining out the lemon zest and whisking in a tiny bit of lemon curd from a nearly-empty jar, so I imagine my version is a tad richer and smoother than his.

There was some leftover gingersnap-pecan crust crumbles from my Thanksgiving pumpkin cheesecake that I had saved in the freezer, so I mashed those with some melted farmstead butter to make some little crust-cuplets. The combo, as I suspected, was lovely (though I think I might also try the sherbet with some cranberry sauce!).

I also made a proper stock out of my turkey carcass and remaining drippings, which eventually became a hearty turkey barley soup with carrots, onion, herbs (including chives), and spinach. This was even better with our short and heavy but delicious whole wheat homemade bread. And I have loads of stock and even a glaze to freeze and season my cooking for the next few months, yay! I’m glad I took the time to save the bones and everything after our meal. Leftover success!

Thanksgiving 2010

I decided to host Thanksgiving this year with my mum, hubby and five friends — this would be the first time we cooked for anyone else since our July wedding! Eek! It was a wonderful affair, though — I got to use literally every single wedding/engagement gift we had received, and all the foods turned out delicious (if not perfect). This post is hecka long and detailed, so read on if you’re brave or hungry! Continue reading “Thanksgiving 2010”