Paleo “Spaghetti” and Meat Sauce

When I need a meal that is simple and healthy, this is that dish. When I need a meal that feeds a pasta craving, this is also that dish. The longest part of this meal involves baking the spaghetti squash, but you really only need about an hour for that, or you can bake it ahead of time and pull it from the fridge when you are ready. Otherwise, the rest of the meal really only takes about 20 minutes to put together – which is sometimes just about as much time as I want to focus on cooking after a long day at the office. Feel free to adjust the seasonings as they fit for you, but I’ve hopefully given you a pretty good starting point below. Enjoy!


Typically when I make this, it’s a last minute decision after stopping at the store on the way home from work. The moment I get home, I pop on the oven and set to baking the spaghetti squash to get things rolling. Now, if you’ve ever tried to cut a spaghetti squash in half, you know what an impossible feat this seems to be. You may have heard about the microwave tip – but if not, I highly recommend using it. I throw the whole squash in the microwave for about 3 minutes, but you may need more time depending on the size of the squash, but it softens it enough to get the knife through much easier. Be careful, though – it’s usually good and hot by this time. Once you cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, place the two halves into a baking dish with the cut sides facing up, then drizzle with a bit of olive oil and oregano, with a dash of salt and pepper. (Some people bake it cut side down – do what works for you, I find cut side up to work best for me.) Bake on 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.


While the squash is baking, you can work through the next steps, keeping in mind that it will only take about 20 minutes. Sometimes I wait until the squash is nearly done to get things rolling, and sometimes I get it ready right away and just let it simmer on low for even longer – the choice is yours. For this preparation, I used ground turkey to keep a bit more on the lean side, but I often use ground beef when I want a richer flavor. In either a deep skillet or dutch oven, add a bit of olive oil and the garlic and onion, and cook over medium heat for about two minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the ground turkey, sprinkle in about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and stir frequently until browned (or cooked through – turkey doesn’t always “brown”). If you end up with lots of excess water in the pan from the meat, you can either drain the meat mixture then return it to the pan, or, I prefer to kick the heat up a notch and cook off the extra moisture.


Next, I stir in one can of tomato sauce and one can of diced tomatoes. I usually end up only using about 2/3 of the can of the diced tomatoes, but that’s because my husband is not a huge tomato fan and I try to lighten it up just a tad for him. Add in some oregano and a bit more Italian seasoning along with 5-7 torn leaves of fresh basil. Dried basil can be used, but the fresh basil really is the key to this dish. After about 10 minutes of a covered, low simmer, you should be ready to serve. Remember, you can let it simmer even longer – the longer the simmer, the stronger the flavor!

After removing your spaghetti squash from the oven, use a spoon or even a fork to scoop out the insides, which should form spaghetti-like strands. Serve the meat sauce mixture over the top and enjoy!


Paleo “Spaghetti” and Meat Sauce


Spaghetti Squash:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 tsp oregano for the squash
  • 1 Tbs olive oil for the squash
  • dash of salt & pepper

Meat Sauce:

  • 1 pound ground turkey or beef
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 15oz. can tomato sauce
  • 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on taste (I use 2)
  • Half of a medium yellow onion, diced
  • 5-7 leaves of basil (torn) – the more you use, the sweeter the taste
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning, then 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place in a glass baking dish – cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil, oregano, salt & pepper. Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
  2. In a deep skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil, diced onion and garlic over medium heat for approximately 2 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the ground turkey (or beef) and 1 tsp of Italian seasoning. Stir frequently until browned or cooked through.
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, add in the remaining ingredients (1 Tbs Italian seasoning, 1 tsp oregano, 5-7 torn basil leaves, salt & pepper to taste). Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove the spaghetti squash when it is done and carefully scoop the squash out so that is forms spaghetti-like strands. Serve the meat sauce over the squash and enjoy!

Sunday Reflection

Sunday mornings are always the best for reflecting on the week gone by and sometimes planning for the week ahead, but today I don’t intend of focusing on things to come…I just want to embrace this long, full day I have yet to enjoy. As I always like to start my Sundays out with a vinyl selection and coffee, today I’m spinning something new to my collection – Portugal. The Man.



Speaking of coffee, my husband is still sleeping upstairs, so I’ve had to resort to making my own coffee this morning – which tastes just fine, but there is something about it that’s always better when he makes it. Although, I think he’s good at everything he does. In fact, I want to mention that I am quite proud of him. I briefly commented in a recent post that he was away over a weekend for a class, well, that class was the CrossFit Level 1 certification course. I always thought he’d be a great “coach” (they can’t technically be called coaches, but that’s the term I’m using), as he has a natural ability to lead and a personality that people are just drawn to. He’s been doing CrossFit for years under various training styles/methods, and we both talked about the coaching possibility about a year ago, and finally the timing was just right. This past week, he started coaching at a local gym (or box, if you prefer), which he plans to continue doing as it fits into his schedule – and I think he really enjoyed it. I know that I was sure excited for him!

As much as I’d love to do something like this too, I am not exactly coach material, but my husband is an inspiration to me and I am so grateful for his drive and ambition. I tend to get stuck in my little world of work and home, and his actions encourage me to step outside of my box and seek out new experiences. I’ve been thinking this over quite a bit during this past week, and while I haven’t jumped into anything just yet, I am considering a handful of opportunities. I’ll have more to come on this in future posts.

This week I also spent some time reorganizing the plan for this blog – plus I switched themes, once again. I loved what I had previously, and then ran into a problem with the link colors, and it pretty much ruined everything for me. I’ve gone with this simple format, which I think should serve me well for some time to come. *Fingers crossed* Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my new plan, it shouldn’t change much, but should at least create some consistency. Now I just need to be sure to spend the time necessary to keep up with it!

As part of my new blog plan, I’d like to start sharing posts and sites that I find particularly noteworthy during my week as a part of my Sunday reflection. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

This week’s reads:


Pay it Forward Friday


Back in March, I wrote briefly about why I do these pay it forward Fridays, and as I work to create some organization to this blog of mine, I’ve decided to make it a regular theme each Friday. I don’t expect to always give the details of exactly what I choose to do on this day, although sometimes I might, but the goal is to spark the idea in the hopes that maybe someone who reads this might also choose to perform some random act of kindness as a result of stopping by my little corner of the internet.

For today, I have some thoughts running around my head on how I will take this on, and it mostly involves surprising a friend with something unexpected. I rarely see her since she moved to another state, but she has caught me by surprise on several occasions with completely random acts of kindness, and the joy that she gave still sticks with me even months and years later. My goal today is to grace her with that same feeling, and I think I know just how to do it.

Today, I direct you to Kindspring, which is a great spot to sift through hundreds of random acts of kindness ideas in a quick and easy format, some of which are so simple that it really is a no-brainer. What will you do on this pay it forward Friday?



Wednesday Quotables



Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.

-Marilyn Monroe

Sometimes You Just Need A Donut

Last weekend, I had planned a big weekend while my husband was in a class for two days. A big weekend of writing and of house projects, a big weekend of just taking care of myself. Well, I took care of myself, alright – with a visit to urgent care. After struggling through Saturday with an achy chest and lethargy, my Sunday morning doc visit confirmed that I had walking pneumonia. Let me tell you that this stuff is no joke, and the cough the came along with it might have been the worst of my life. After a week and two doctor’s visits, medicine on top of medicine, and lots of time on the couch, I am finally feeling better. Not in the “I can jump up and start working out now” feeling better way, but the “thank whatever god there is that I am not coughing to the point of choking and gagging” way.

One would think that I would’ve taken advantage of the time at home for writing and just taking it easy, but not so. Nearly every moment of every day and sleepless night (there were a lot of sleepless nights) was spent doing the work I get paid for as I’m under a tremendous deadline at the moment. I worked so much, that when I had to visit the doctor again on Thursday because I just wasn’t improving, he told me that it was time turn the computer off. Despite me thinking that working while laying on the couch counted as resting, it was causing stress to my system, which was having an adverse affect on my healing. When I emailed my boss that afternoon to tell him I had to shut down and try to force some rest, his response was “It took your doctor to get this through your head?”. I probably should’ve listened to my body, but the incredible weight of the work that needed to be done was hanging heavy on my shoulders, but I did finally stop and take a break. Between the forced rest, lots of water, and the wicked combination of cough meds, I finally started improving.

I may have had a hard time listening to my body screaming at me for a break, but I didn’t have any trouble listening to it tell me how much it wanted junk food while I was sick. I wasn’t eating much, but when I did I indulged in whatever my body told me it wanted. Ham sandwiches and salty potato chips, meatball subs, a cheeseburger, and donuts. Yes, I topped off my week of illness on Sunday

morning with donuts. I have been craving a good donut from my favorite local shop for a number of months, but have avoided it given my fitness goals. Well, I took advantage of my sick time to enjoy every bite of a lemon filled donut – plus one with sprinkles for good measure.


Showing my Carolina Panther pride!

Is there some grand lesson learned here? Not much more than needing to listen to my body and give it what it needs. Did I miss a week of workouts? Yes. Did I eat junk food all week? Yes. Do I feel guilty about any of it? Not one bit. Sometimes you just need a donut.