Monday, January 3, 2011

Clean Eating #4: Potluck Dish Spaghetti & Meatball Casserole w/Basil Cream...

This recipe comes from the January 2011 Clean Eating Magazine.  It looks divine.  We love pasta, especially lasagna.  I think my husband could literally eat lasagna every day for the rest of his life.  Since he's being so supportive of us making this change in our lives as a family, I was thrilled to see this recipe that would still give him a touch of 'lasagna' with the creamy basil spread in amongst the spaghetti and meatballs.  Now, knowing him, he'll still take an extra handful of parmesan or mozzerella and toss it on top, but hey, we're still progressing:)

I'm just happy to have him on board because it is so hard to stick to a healthy eating plan when you're eating by yourself as the rest of your family eats the forbidden foods!

We changed things just slightly because I always make a ton of pasta sauce at once.  I don't want to take the time to always cook things separately.  So we used the sauce from yesterday.  We also used ground turkey instead of lean ground beef.  I always make as many meatballs at one time as I can too.  They freeze well and are great for grabbing for a quick meal addition that makes it seem like you took more time than you did!
The bean putting her first layer of sauce in the casserole pan.  We doubled the recipe and used a 9 x 13 pan with several layers.  I'm not sure that is how the recipe did it, but that's what we did.  There will be several pockets of the basil creaminess in the middle now, too:)

Layers:  Spaghetti Sauce, then mostly cooked spaghetti noodles, then spots of basil creamy cheese sauce (We pureed parmesan, asiago, cottage cheese, basil, roasted garlic, coconut oil & a little EVOO... we didn't follow the recipe excatly because... well, I hate to measure.  The Bean likes to measure everything, though, so it was probably pretty close)  This was difficult to blend since we don't have a food processor, even our little individual blender didn't like trying to chop through a little bit of somewhat dry stuff. 

**New Idea** Thanks to the magazine... we used Wheat Germ in the meatballs instead of bread/crackers.  Awesome idea, and they taste fantastic!

Then we added another layer of everything, topped with sauce, more spots of creamy cheese sauce and the rest of the meatballs.  Yummy!!  We have it in the oven right now...

Doesn't that look just divine?  Yummy!!
Notes for future reference:  
I'd make that Sunday/Big Baking Day include making and freezing meatballs, making sauce, roasted garlic and maybe even the basil cream part. In the end, it really wasn't all that time consuming, just more steps than I want to do in one day. It helped that I HAD made the pasta sauce and roasted garlic yesterday.

I really need to make sure that I always check ALL of the weeks recipes and do as much before prep that I can on the weekend with Patrick and the kids to make the week day meals easier. I am LOVING having new things to try, so I really want to keep up with trying at least 5 new recipes a week.
Its not a big deal this week because we're still on Winter break, but soon we'll be back to full out homeschool co-op classes, basketball practices for Kainan, Swim Team for The Bean, Dance for Paris and The Bean and Safari Joe for Jaedin. 
Yeah, as much weekend prep as possible will be the key to success in this new endeavor!