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!

Paleo Sausage Cauliflower Casserole

After a long week, I find that I want to turn to pizza on Friday nights because it’s quick and delicious, and I am ready to relax at home and basically just veg out. With my healthy lifestyle mission, I instead turned to Pinterest for some easy paleo dinner ideas this past Friday and stumbled across some variations of this recipe, which I molded into something of my own and it was incredibly tasty and far more satisfying than a pizza. (Although sometimes you do just have to eat pizza.) I guarantee I’ll be adding this one to the meal rotation. It also makes plenty and would easily serve a small family, I’d say you could count on 4 full servings, plus some – which made for great leftovers when reheated in the oven. I hope you enjoy!

Not photographed would be the cauliflower preparation. I started out by cutting a head of  cauliflower into florets, and then blanching them in boiling water for 3 minutes, followed by removing and rinsing with cold water to stop the cooking process. I just set them aside while I moved on to everything else, and they still ended up with a slight crunch after the meal was completely done – but they were able to soak all of the flavors up which I thought was perfect in terms of texture and taste. If you prefer softer cauliflower, you could probably let them boil for about 4 minutes instead.

For the sausage, I used 12 oz. of uncured beef sausage, sliced. This would certainly be enough, but I wanted to add a bit of a kick, so I also use half a pound of hot Italian sausage, which added some nice heat. I would suggest you vary to your specific tastes, I think you could reasonably use just about any sausage option for this dish.


After browning the sausage in a bit of coconut oil, I added in the diced onion, garlic, fresh thyme, 3 fresh basil leaves (torn into pieces), and just a bit of dried oregano. I would suggest you adjust the basil to your liking, it can add a bit of sweetness and the 3 leaves worked quite well without overpowering the dish.


Once the onions were cooked until translucent, about 4-5 minutes, I added a can of diced San Marzano tomatoes and allowed this to cook with the sausage mixture for about 5 minutes. I had a 28 oz. can, but didn’t quite use the whole thing. I added about 3/4 of the can, along with the liquids. Next time, I’ll likely drain out some of the liquid from the can first, because there was a bit more liquid at the bottom of the casserole than I preferred, but you do still need some for the cauliflower to soak up. I’d say to play with this for your specific tastes, the extra liquid didn’t affect the taste or texture at all, I just had to drain a bit of it off before storing for leftovers.


After all of the above, I gently tossed in the cauliflower, poured the entire mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkled almond flour mixed with just a bit of Italian seasoning on top. After baking for about 30 minutes on 350 degrees F, I ran the boiler for a minute or so, watching carefully because I just wanted a bit more browning on the almond flour topping – not a burn. The result was absolutely delicious – and not bad to look at, either!


Paleo Sausage Cauliflower Casserole


  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 12 oz of uncured beef sausage (or sausage of your choice), sliced (I also added 8 oz of hot Italian sausage, you can be flexible here)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 5 springs of thyme, remove use the leaves and toss the stems
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, tear into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 28 oz can of diced San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (almond meal works best, as opposed to finely ground)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil, then add the cauliflower florets and boil for 3 minutes. (A minute longer if you prefer softer cauliflower) Remove and drain, rinsing under cold water in order to stop the cooking process, then set aside.
  3. Stir in the 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning into the 1/2 cup of almond flour and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat the coconut oil on medium heat. Add the sausage of your choosing and cook until browned, stirring often.
  5. Stir in the onion, garlic, thyme, basil and oregano. Stir often and cook until the onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes (you can add the whole can, or a bit less depending on your preference) and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring periodically.
  7. Turn off the heat and slowly add the cauliflower to the sausage mixture and gently stir together. Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish, sprinkle the top with the almond mixture and bake at 350 degrees F for minutes. You an also broil for 1-2 minutes after the baking process to brown the top a bit more, if you prefer.


Coconut Lime Shrimp

I was looking for something light, healthy and easy to cook for dinner last night, and I found it in this delicious coconut shrimp dish. Modified slightly from the Badass Body Diet, this paleo meal has quickly made its way on the keeper list in our home. After a day of multiple workouts (Yes, I lost my mind yesterday and oh, by the way, this heat in NC is absolutely ridiculous!), I was in serious need of some well balanced fuel, and this gem did the trick. I hope you give it a try.

While setting up my prep station for the shrimp, the recipe called for unsweetened shredded coconut, but a bag full of limes sitting nearby prompted the thought that a bit of zest might brighten this dish up. Besides, lime and coconut are meant for each other, right?

Lime zest and coconut - perfection!

Lime zest and coconut – perfection!

The simple shrimp station required almond flour, egg whites and the shredded coconut. I added some pepper and a bit of salt to the almond flour, and while I used superfine flour in this case, heavier almond meal might work even better here.



The only item that I might have done differently is my choice of shrimp. I picked this up at our local grocery store and while it was peeled and deveined, it was definitely previously frozen. The texture wasn’t exactly what I prefer. My husband thinks it might have even been precooked given the pink color, and I think he might be right, but the label at the fish counter didn’t say anything about that. Either way, it ended up tasting quite good, but next time I’ll make sure to get fresh shrimp, even if I have to peel and devein them myself. (I’ll never admit to saying that I’d take this task on.)


Cooked or not cooked? That was the question.

The original recipe called for spraying cooking spray on the pan and then also on top of the shrimp once they’ve been properly battered up, but to my surprise we were out of cooking spray. Although my dear husband offered to run to the store to grab some, I was hungry and couldn’t stand the thought of waiting, so I opted for coconut oil. After smearing it on the baking pan, I melted a bit and we drizzled it carefully over the prepared shrimp before popping it into the oven. While I can’t account for how the cooking spray might have turned out, the coconut oil worked just fine.



A quick 15 minutes in the oven on 400 degrees, right next to my roasting cauliflower, and voila! Well, before the “voila” I spiked up the heat and ran the broiler for less than a minute just to brown them up a bit more. Not only do they look great, there is nothing quite like the aroma of toasted coconut. My house smelled like a tropical dream last night.


I’d say that this turned out to be the perfectly balanced fuel for what my body and belly needed yesterday. Not to mention my nose!

Coconut Lime Shrimp

  • 1 Pnd. shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • Zest of 1/2 lime – or more, depending on your preference
  • 2 egg whites
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Coconut oil or cooking spray to grease the pan
  • 1 Tsp melted coconut oil OR you can use cooking spray to coat the shrimp

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil up a baking sheet either with cooking spray or coconut oil, your choice. Next, set up a shrimp dipping station by placing the almond flour, egg whites and coconut/lime in three separate dishes. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste in the almond flour. Dip each shrimp individually, first in the almond flour, then the egg whites, finally the coconut, and then place them on the baking sheet. Either lightly drizzle the melted coconut over the tops of the shrimp or spray them generously with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, turning each one over carefully about halfway through.

Bourbon Banana Blueberry Bread

This morning I pushed my way through a solid 45 minute bike ride for day 20 of the Oxygen Challenge with Christmas Abbott, which resulted in over 10 miles on the saddle, which is my longest ride, to date. I usually give in around 5 miles and call it a day, but this morning I stuck with the plan and let me just say that it feels amazing! However, after cooling down, I felt a craving for something starchy creeping up on me. While this isn’t exactly part of the Bad Ass Body Diet, I thought I’d share a delicious “nearly” paleo bread recipe, as it’s one of my favorites, super simple to make and holds up great for days after in the refrigerator. Enjoy…

Coffee Cup Optional

Coffee Cup Optional

This one has some simple, but tasty ingredients. I used superfine almond flour for this batch, which turned out great, but I have also used standard almond meal – it’s really your preference. As for the liquor, the Evan Williams bourbon is our house whiskey, but you could get creative here and use what suits your specific tastes. You won’t use much, so it’s more of a water replacement for the moisture, but with a little kick of flavor.

Bowl 2

The almond oil is also optional, you could go with your favorite oil here – but I prefer the flavor and lightness of the almond oil. It’s also my go-to product for salad dressings, even alone it’s delicious!

Parchment 2

Parchment paper is my friend!

Let’s talk about parchment paper. If you haven’t used it for baking, you might want to consider giving it a try. I’m in love with the ease of parchment paper. In this case, I line the pan with the paper, and pour in the batter. No greasing the pan, no mess, and easy clean up. When the bread is done you just lift up the paper to remove the loaf from the pan. Simply brilliant!

Bread 2

Bourbon Banana Blueberry Bread


1 Cup Almond Flour
1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking Soda
3 Eggs
1/4 Cup 100% Pure Maple Syrup
2 Tbs Almond Oil or Oil of your choice
2 Tbs Bourbon or Whiskey of your choice (substitute water for full paleo)
2 Very Ripe Bananas
3/4 Cup Fresh Blueberries – Use a bit more or less, depending on your preference

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine all of your dry ingredients into a large bowl
  • In a separate bowl, mash your ripe bananas, then mix in the rest of your wet ingredients
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and use either a hand mixer or a whisk to blend together well
  • Slowly fold in the blueberries
  • Place parchment paper in a loaf pan and pour the batter into the center of the pan and distribute evenly
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick or fork come out clean
  • Grab opposite ends of the parchment paper to lift the bread out of the pan, set aside and allow to cool on the paper
  • Give it some time to cool as the blueberries will be very hot – then slice and enjoy!