Browsing the archives for the pasta sauce tag.

Deceptively Delicious Spaghetti and Meatballs

Domestic, Healthy

This is the fourth recipe in my little kitchen adventure of cooking and baking my way through Jessica Seinfield’s Deceptively Delicious.

This recipe was a winner for the kids and myself, but my husband was not at all a fan of the chicken meatballs. He also commented that the pasta sauce tasted like the dipping sauce at Swiss Chalet (that’s a painfully Canadian reference, it just tastes sort of tangy). So this was an epic fail as far as my husband was concerned but the kids happily ate the pasta and the meatballs, so the next time I make this will be a lunch for the wee ones.

Spaghetti & Meatballs (with butternut squash and carrots) – from Deceptively Delicious (p. 120)

1/2 lb lean ground turkey (or chicken)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup butternut squash puree
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 1/8 tsp black pepper
cooking spray
2 tsp olive oil
1 (26-oz) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juice, pureed
1/2 cup water
1/4cup carrot puree
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
1 lb whole wheat pasta

When I made this I already had some butternut squash puree in the fridge, but I didn’t have any carrot puree so I whipped some up on the spot by steaming in a little water in a frying pan for about 15 minutes, till they were really tender.


Then I tossed the carrot pieces, along with the teeny bit of water that was left in the pan with them into the blender and voila. Once that was out of the way I could get going with the actual recipe.

Mix the ground turkey or chicken with thebreadcrumbs, butternut squash puree, garlic, 1/2 tsp of the salt, and 1/4 tsp of the black pepper till they’re totally mixed, you will have to use your hands a bit! Which is fine because you’ll be using your hands to shape the meatballs anyway! Make them about 1″ and put them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.


Coat a frying pan with non stick cooking spray, add the olive oil and brown the meatballs for about 5 minutes. I’m paranoid about chicken though so I cooked them for twice as long.

Then I pureed the tomatoes with their juice, and plunked over the meatballs with the water, carrot puree I just made.


Next add the garlic powder, cayenne, bay leaf and the rest of the salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, or till the meatballs are cooked all the way through. Take out the bay leaf.


I found the sauce as is to be really loose and watery at this point. It tasted great but wasn’t really thick enough for pasta, you know? So I added cornstarch. A rookie mistake is to just plunk a tablespoon or so of cornstarch directly into the sauce and try to whisk it in. That will give you serious clumps – everytime. Instead, take a little of the sauce, add the cornstarch to it and whisk it in the cup or small bowl. Then when that little bit is totally mixed in with no clumps, pour it into the rest of the sauce and whisk that in.


Then? Perfection. I turned it off but left it on the burner for a little heat while I boiled water, made the pasta and set the table. Rotini is a favourite around here so that’s what I went with. Nothing could save this dish for my red meat loving husband, but as I said the rest of us loved it so I will likely make it again for lunch.

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Homemade Spaghetti / Lasagna Sauce

Domestic, Healthy

In the last few months, I have mastered my husband’s favourite lasagna – his mother’s recipe. Last summer, I was buying frozen lasagna and now I’m making it myself! Doing more and more from scratch around here has really inspired me to keep going. So now, I’m breaking down the ingredients to make them from scratch too – which just means the sauce, stock and the pasta, really.

The pasta and stock will wait for another day, this week I made the sauce from my father’s classic recipe.

May’s Dad’s Pasta Sauce

2 lbs ground meat
(beef, chicken, pork, turkey or a combo)
1 onion
4 or 5 cloves of garlic
2 cans tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
5 tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
oregano to taste

Chop your onions and garlic first. It’s a big joke in my family that my father will chop onions and garlic before he even knows what he’s making, so all his recipes start like this. Anyhoo, once your onions and garlic are browning a little, add your meat. My dad tends to use pork and beef or turkey and chicken. I sometimes use pork and beef, but this time around I just used beef. Let that cook on a back burner, stirring from time to time to keep it from burning horribly.



Then put the tomato paste and chicken stock in a large pot and whisk together. As I was emptying the cans of tomato paste into the pot, I thought about making my own tomato paste too, because even though the ingredients on the side of the can just say tomatoes, we all know the can is full of chemicals. Eww. Next round, I’m doing the paste too! You decide if you use store bought chicken stock or homemade. I love homemade chicken stock and I swear you can taste the sodium in the store bought stuff after tasting scratch stock. I had no scratch stock though, so I went with the new little jelly-style stock from Knorr. It actually worked out really well and the sodium content wasn’t bad. While that’s simmering, chop your veggies, then add them to the sauce. Now sprinkle in your nutmeg and oregano, maybe salt and pepper if you feel the need. 😉

Meanwhile, your meat is probably cooked through now and the smell of garlic and onions have no doubt filled your kitchen at this point. Mmmm. Drain your meat through a colander lined with cheesecloth (or paper towel) and then add it to your sauce.


The sauce can sit as it is for as long as you’d like on a very low simmer, as long as you keep stirring. I left it simmering for about an hour or so, while I cleaned up my kitchen and got the cheese and pasta and all that ready for the lasagna I was making.

This recipe made about 4 mason jars full. I say ‘about’, because I usually go through 2 jars when I make it with store bought and here I used a bit more than typical and I still had 2 mason jars full.

It was fun to make, my kitchen wasn’t too much of a disaster and it makes lots. You can do two big lasagnas with it or four pots of spaghetti!


Kitchen Miscy – Everything Else


6. January 24 – Chicken Pot Pies

5. January 17 – Chocolate Tart (for a happy husband)

4. January 16 -Miss America Chocolate Cupcakes

3. January 16 – Sugar Cookie Ganache Sandwiches

2. January 14 – Cassoulet (French Winter Stew)

1. January 8- Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

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