spaghetti-squash_ready-to-eat1

Here is another post about a featured pantry item. This was not planned it just so happens that the last few times I cooked, I got so inspired by a key ingredient and just went off on different tangents with it. Which to me, is my favorite way to cook – when I am inspired and excited about ingredients – when they make me hungry and I can’t wait for the dish to be done. This post is going to feature different uses for tomato sauces, which I made from boxed tomatoes.

spaghetti-and-meatballs_preparing-meatballs

Now I am putting a disclaimer out there that this isn’t my mom’s, my grandmother’s or probably anyone’s grandmother’s recipe for tomato sauce, or meatballs. Even though I grew up both Spaghetti Squash and Spaghetti and Meatballs, I don’t like making anything EXACTLY the same way every time. Since I like to use my leftovers, when I make a sauce or any kind of dish, really, I always do a tour through the fridge to see what needs to be used yesterday, and find a way to incorporate it. Usually this means we get extra veggies in whatever dish I am making, which is never a bad thing. But it also ensures that my dishes are always slightly different every time, making it more interesting.

spaghetti-and-meatballs_on-dish

Here is the story of this Tomato Sauce Extravaganza! I bought a spaghetti squash with all intentions to make baked spaghetti squash with fresh mozzarella for dinner. Then on Twitter, I was chatting with some of my buds and Elle, from Elle’s New England Kitchen was making Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Peter, from Kalofagas was talking about garlic bread. So naturally, I started craving both things. So I decided to act on those cravings and just make everything all at once. So I made the tomato sauce so that it could go in my baked spaghetti squash dish and also be used the next day for the meatballs. I must admit both dishes were fabulous!

spaghetti-squash_garlic-bread-from-heaven

Then I made garlic bread topped with parm and a little leftover blue cheese. It was the perfect accompaniment.


Tomato Sauce


INGREDIENTS:

1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced – usually I prefer white, but this is what I had on hand
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 zucchini, diced
salt & pepper
1 small can of organic tomato paste
dash of red wine – we were drinking pinot noir that night, so that’s what went in
dried oregano, thyme and basil
1- 26. oz box of Pomi strained tomatoes
1- 26 oz box of Pomi chopped tomatoes

METHOD:

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add onion, garlic and zucchini and cook until veggies are soft. Add s&p and tomato paste. Cook until getting dry, then add red wine, dried spices and both boxes of Pomi. Cook sauce on low heat for about 45 minutes. Add water if getting too thick . TIP: this tip is actually my grandmother’s. Fill the tomato paste can with water to add to sauce – that way you are also cleaning out the cans.

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Mozzarella

spaghetti-squash_fresh-out-of-oven

INGREDIENTS:

1 spaghetti squash
1/2 cup caramelized onions (I had some leftover)
1 yellow squash – sliced
6 oz fresh mozzarella
sauce from recipe above
Parmesan cheese for top

METHOD:

spaghetti-squash_putting-squash-in-casserole

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and place cut side down in a baking pan. Bake the spaghetti squash in the oven at 350 F for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool, until it can be handled. Using a fork, loosen the spaghetti squash. If you have never used this kind of squash before, it gets it’s name because the strands of squash look like strands of spaghetti.

In a baking pan layer in this order: 1/4 cup of sauce, 1/2 of spaghetti squash strands, 1/2 of yellow squash, 1/2 of caramelized onions, 1/2 of mozzarella, then do it again. Top it all with a healthy grating of parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven at 400 F for 45 minutes. Sauce should be bubbly and cheese, browned.


Buffalo Meatballs

spaghetti-and-meatballs_preparing-meatballs

INGREDIENTS:

16 oz. ground buffalo meat (you can use any kind of ground meat you have)
1/2 of a small zucchini, diced into small pieces
1 small piece of bread, cubed
handful of spinach, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 egg
splash of red wine (again with the pinot noir)
salt and pepper and dried oregano, to taste

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl with your hands – this ensures that everything gets well incorporated. Form into meatballs – makes about a dozen to 15. I like to bake my meatballs in the oven, since it is healthier. Buffalo meat is very lean, so it will not make much grease and the cooking time is shorter. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, then add meatballs to the tomato sauce and cook another 15 minutes. Serve with Spaghetti

Garlic Bread

INGREDIENTS:
1 baguette
2 cloves of garlic
2 TBS Irish butter
2 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper
parm and blue cheese for top

METHOD:

Slice baguette down the middle. In a small bowl, mix butter, oil and salt and pepper. Pop in micro for about 20 seconds. Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of the baguette with mixture, then top each side with grated parm and blue cheese. Close bread, and wrap in foil. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes.