Thursday, February 14, 2013

Clean Paleo Tomato Carrot Meat Sauce with Roasted Kabocha Squash - with Wheat-free alternatives to spaghetti

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone. Originally I was going to take the night off from cooking for Valentine's Day but baby was super co-operative this morning so I ended up making the girls favorite - "spaghetti" and meat sauce. My old self used to make this all the time by throwing a can of Ragu in with some browned meat and serving with white pasta. Well, now that processed food and wheat is literally off the table I have had to start making my own sauce from scratch and have come up with some alternatives for the wheat pasta I used to serve.

Tonight's Valentine's Dinner - clean, low-carb, wheat-free roasted kabochi squash with carrot and tomato meat sauce. Sprinkled with a bit of Parmesan!
Spaghetti Alternatives & Ideas
If you are also interested in moving away from the traditional wheat filled spaghetti here are some options for you:

Wheat-free and Gluten-free Brown rice pasta and corn spaghetti or Wheat-free Low-carb Shirataki noodles.

1) Brown Rice Pasta or Corn Pasta - these are wheat and gluten-free and seem to be kid-friendly (i.e. my picky eaters eat it and like it). Although you get away from the wheat, you don't get away from the high carbohydrate load so this isn't a great option for someone trying to stabilize their blood sugar and/or lose weight. But kids can handle more carbohydrates and love noodles so I serve these to my little ones.
2) Shirataki Tofu Noodles - they sell spaghetti shaped ones at Safeway. These are both low-carb and wheat-free so a great alternative to wheat pasta. My five year-old has tried and liked them.
3) Squash - there are all kinds of squash to try out there. Squash makes a great alternative to wheat-pasta because it is naturally low-carbohydrate and super nutrient dense. Traditionally people use spaghetti squash to replace spaghetti but today I decided to roast a Kabocha squash to have with our meat sauce. I'll post the roasting instructions here tomorrow.

That's a Kabocha squash cut in half.  In some cultures its revered as an aphrodisiac. Ahhhh - perfect for Valentine's Day!

Clean Carrot & Tomato Meat Sauce - low carb, low sodium, wheat-free 
I have tried to sneak more veggies into my kids foods on more than one occasion, often unsuccessfully.  The last time I tried to add shredded carrot to meat sauce my three year old picked it out and then claimed the whole dish unworthy of her palate (same goes for chunks of tomato). So today I put the sauce through the food processor before adding to the meat - problem solved??? Kind 5 year-old loved it but apparently my 3 year-old wasn't interested in supper after OD'ing on Valentine's treats at daycare - big sigh!!! I will keep trying.

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup carrot, shredded (I used my cheese grater but the food processor works awesome when baby isn't sleeping)
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
pepper to taste
5 drops liquid Stevia (optional)
28 oz/796 ml can Diced tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste (you could throw in the full can if you want)

1 lb lean ground beef, browned and lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder

Fry the oil, garlic, and onion for a couple of minutes until softened. Add carrot, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and fry over medium heat for about 10 minutes (until carrot is softened), stirring occasionally.  Add Stevia, diced tomato's and tomato paste. Mix well, and let simmer for about 10 minutes. If you want to make it a smooth texture for the kids put this mixture through the blender or food processor (let cool or use caution if its hot). Add browned ground beef. At this point I put the mixture in the slow cooker and cooked on high for 1 hour and low for 3 hours (simply because we had to leave for swimming lessons). If I were at home I would have probably let it simmer on low for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes to let the flavors blend. Serve with a spaghetti alternative and sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.

Kabocha squash topped with "spagetti" sauce.

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