Cheats Spaghetti and Meatballs

Cheats Spaghetti and Meatballs

On top of spaghetti. All covered with cheese. I lost my poor meatball. When somebody sneezed.

I will give you $5 if you didn’t just sing that in your head! Everyone loves spaghetti and meatballs! With the weather we’ve had today it was the perfect bowl of comfort our bellies were looking for. And this cheats version means no time wasted in making the meatballs.

cheats spaghetti and meatballs

This Cheats Spaghetti and Meatballs is a great way to squeeze some veg into a dinner that your whole family will eat. It’s a tasty combination of eggplant, sweet capsicum and yummy zucchini. The meatballs are made using simple sausages! Genius! All you do is squeeze the meat out of the casings straight into the pan to make little meatballs. Takes a moment compared to making your own. I used a $4 packet of sausages from Aldi (I’m totally converted!). Too easy! My secret ingredient is just a little pinch of cinnamon to add a lovely sweetness without any added sugar.

Possum loved her dinner and so did Legoman. Dinner success! This might be one that ends up on your meal plan for next week? Or even on your family favourites list?

cheats spaghetti and meatballs

Cheats Spaghetti and Meatballs – Serves 4

400g spaghetti

6-8 sausages (I have made this with beef sausages and with pork, both are delicious)

1 onion diced

1 medium eggplant diced into small cubes

1 red capsicum diced

1 zucchini diced

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 Tbsp tomato paste

2-3 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp cinnamon

salt and pepper

Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley to serve

1. Put a large pot of water on to boil, ready for the pasta.

2. In a large skillet/frying pan add the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until starting to colour. Add eggplant and cook stirring for 5-10 minutes until starting to soften. You may need to add an extra glug of oil.

3. Squeeze the meat out of the sausages into the pan to make little meatballs. Continue stirring to brown the meatballs.

4. When meatballs have browned, add in the remaining vegetables and garlic. Cook for a few minutes.

5. Add in your tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, dried oregano, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Continue to cook over low-medium heat for 20 minutes. Sauce should thicken and meatballs should be cooked through.

6. Cook pasta as per packet directions.

7. Serve with parmesan and fresh parsley. A lovely glass of red wine would go down a treat (this pregnant mumma has to wait a while longer for that!)

I hope your whole family can sit down together, enjoy your Cheats Spaghetti and Meatballs and enjoy each others company.

cheats spaghetti and meatballs

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Leftover Pies

I challenge you to think of a food that isn’t yummy when teamed with pastry… Anchovies? A tart! Strawberry yoghurt? Pastry dip sticks! Steak? Beef wellington! The list goes on and on! If you do think of something, leave a comment, enlighten me!

So it’s the end of a week, when there is food to be used up before the weekly shop and cooking cycle begins again. What better way to use up that food than to surround it in golden buttery puff pastry. The main items that needed eating this week were vegetables, I had been a bit over zealous at the fruit and veg shop last week! Tonight, I made Space Curry but with extra eggplant, no cauliflower and with zucchini, butternut pumpkin and silverbeet. Possum still loved it just as much as she did the first time and ate a heck of a lot of eggplant at dinner. For a bit of added fullness, I added 1/3 cup red lentils, 1/3 cup millet and 1/2 cup extra water and let it simmer away while Possum and I had 5pm dinner.

Space Curry Version 2.0

Space Curry Version 2.0

Just as I tend to over fill my tortillas, I also tend to over fill my pastry. I thought the pies were going to be melted blobs of goo coming out of the oven, but miraculously held together! There was enough filling to make two large parcels and 4 small ones with curry leftover for lunch tomorrow.

Leftover Pie

Leftover Pie

Just a reminder, take off the plastic backing from the pastry BEFORE piling on your filling… lesson learnt the hard way.

Leftover Space Curry Pies

Affordability : EXCELLENT. Cheap vegetables, canned chickpeas and some store bought curry paste and chutney, the added lentils and millet help to fill it out even further. The puff pastry adds about $5 (I buy the stuff made with butter as I don’t believe in margarine).

Time Factor : MODERATE. Quick to get the curry started, but allow 30-60 minutes cooking time depending how cooked you like it all to be. Allow 10 minutes prep to get pies made up and another 20 minutes in the oven. Despite the curry being cooked and ready, tonight’s dinner was a bit late.

Complexity : LOW. A nice simple curry to make. If making pies doesn’t tickle your fancy, then you could just make rice! (Even cheaper still!).

Deliciousness : MODERATE. Tasty but I prefered the Space Curry as, Space Curry. But it did work well surrounded by golden puffiness.

Mess : MODERATE. One pot for the curry, but a couple of trays and some egg mess with the pies.

Tummy Filling Factor : MODERATE. Curry as curry would’ve been more filling, but the extra protein in there helped.

Possum Friendly? YES. Possum loves curry, and Space Curry especially it seems. Her patience was tested waiting for her serve to cool down enough.

Would I make it again? Yes, Space Curry is now planted in the go to list.

Leftover Pies

Leftover Pies

In Possum news, she had her first trip to the library today where she could get out of the Ergo and crawl around. She was more excited by two big kids there than the books (which is surprising as she loves her books!). She is starting to point and has learnt the concept of putting things in, which is a great achievement after months of pulling stuff out. Possum has also figured out a little game. She hides a piece of her dinner under the tray and smiles very cheekily at you and when you say “where did it go?” she pulls it back out and starts giggling. A very cute game, though she played it at lunch with spaghetti bolognese… a messy amount of fun. But worth it to see her be so creative.

We <3 books!

Ants Climbing A Tree… Where??

Legoman came home… “Mmmmm something smells good!”…

Me…”Ants climbing a tree.”

Legoman… “Where??” whilst looking out the window.

teehee

That is the oh so cute name of tonight’s dinner. A Chinese dish of mung bean noodles, shitake mushrooms, pork mince, tofu and yumminess. These are a few of a my favourite things! Legoman is out at an end of work season party tonight so I had no qualms about making something with mushrooms in it (he is allergic).

Possum seems to be a bit of a tofu fiend and devoured quite a few pieces. Plus two roasted field mushrooms, a few sweet potato wedges and some pork mince. Must’ve been hungry!

The recipe includes some fresh chilli, which I switched for red capsicum to make it more Possum Friendly. On my own bowl though, I topped with chilli sauce. A win.

Possum's Dinner

Possum’s Dinner

I did roast an eggplant for Possum after she gobbled up so much of it in the Space Curry last week. I have a great way to roast eggplant so it turns out both meaty and delicately silky. Beautiful. Possum picked it up, put it to her tongue, then flung it on the floor and screwed up her face like she’d just licked a slug. Not so successful. So my 5pm dinner was supplemented with some delicious roast eggplant. Here’s how I made it…

Silky Roast Eggplant

Cut an eggplant in half lengthways. Using a sharp knife, cut a criss cross pattern in the flesh, making sure not to pierce the skin. Brush the flesh liberally with olive oil (you will be surprised how much these lovelies will soak up!). Top with fresh thyme and a little salt and pepper.

Roast in a preheated oven at 180 C for up to an hour, depending on the size of the eggplant. Just keep an eye on them. When done, they will look a bit like this…

In other news, I continue to reap what others have sowed in our little garden. Today’s bounty was a few kilos of potatoes! Here’s just some of them. Now to figure out what to do with the garden where they were. Any wisdom to share with an absolute learner?

Ants Climbing a Tree

Affordability : MODERATE. Noodles are super cheap but having a combo of tofu and pork does bump the cost up a bit. Having said that this recipe makes a huge pile of noodles. I will be having this out of the freezer for a while!

Time Factor : EXCELLENT. A super quick one pan dish. It’s a bit light on vegetables though so you’d need to cook some in addition.

Complexity : LOW. A lovely simple stir fry.

Deliciousness : MODERATE. The chilli sauce made this more delicious but still a yummy dinner, just not mind blowing.

Mess : MODERATE. I like to get a bit cooking show organised when doing stir fries, this means having lots of bowls of stuff out and ready. You also need to bowls for soaking plus a wok or fry pan.

Tummy Filling Factor : MODERATE. I needed a second bowl (though that was about 2 hours later at my 7pm dinner). Glad I had the eggplant as a vegetable, you could probably even add an eggplant into the dish itself and would be quite yummy!

Possum Friendly? YES. You can modify the level of seasoning as needed. This just uses soy sauce and hoisin. We didn’t have hoisin but had an asian BBQ sauce which I just used one spoon of. Otherwise the flavourings are the mushrooms, spring onions, fresh ginger and garlic.

Would I make it again? Yes. Though I don’t need to for a while with the amount of leftovers I have!

Ants Climbing A Tree

Ants Climbing A Tree